The 2022 NFL Draft begins on April 28, which means that The Game Haus will be debuting draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2022 NFL Draft targets. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the subject of today’s 2022 NFL Draft profile.
2021 was the last season of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s 18-year career. Along with Roethlisberger’s retirement came general manager Kevin Colbert’s last year of service and the Steelers’ first without Maurkice Pouncey since 2009.
Pittsburgh snuck into the playoffs with a record of 9-7-1, after needing help from other teams in Week 18 to secure a berth. They went on to lose in the Wild Card Round to the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 42-21. They had the NFL Defensive Player of the Year on their roster, in T.J. Watt, who tied Michael Strahan’s all-time sack record. The team had four Pro Bowlers and two All-Pros in total.
As the Steelers enter a new era, the 2022 NFL Draft will be especially important. Here is a look at what they can do to bolster their roster through the draft.
2022 NFL Picks
Pittsburgh will have three picks to use in the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No. 20
Second Round (one pick): No. 52
Third Round (two picks): No. 84
Quarterback- It may not be their biggest need, but Mitch Trubisky is almost certainly not the long term starter the Steelers are looking for. This draft is limited in that department, so they may kick this can down the road, but some are looking for them to draft Roethlisberger’s replacement in 2022.
Wide receiver- Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster to the Chiefs in free agency. The Steelers had been historically excellent at drafting receiver talent during Roethlisberger’s career, so they shouldn’t miss a chance to draft more in the midst of a deep wide receiver pool.
Safety- Minkah Fitzpatrick needs a running mate. They could sign one, but drafting one with upside to learn the system could be invaluable to an already stout defense.
Offensive line- There are many questions surrounding the Steelers’ offensive line. It may need to be rebuilt almost entirely.
2022 Draft Targets
Pick No. 20: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Offensive line or safety may be more pressing needs when addressing a re-tooling of a roster, but the talent that will still be on the board at pick 20 is hard to pass on. Especially when considering the Steelers’ history of grabbing great offensive talent. Their rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, chose to grab Ja’Marr Chase instead of offensive line reinforcements, and they reached the Super Bowl.
Olave had 65 receptions for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021. He comes out of a high-powered offensive system at Ohio State, which may make him a bit more pro-ready. Also, one of the best ways to hide Trubisky’s shortcomings may be to surround him with excellent offensive talent.
Pick No. 52: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Brisker is one of many versatile defensive backs in the 2022 NFL Draft. He can play multiple positions, and covers well enough to let the Steelers’ front seven do what they do best, and get to the quarterback. His best value comes at safety, and he will get to learn from Fitzpatrick, which is a boon to his potential.
Pick No. 84: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
Mitchell fits Pittsburgh’s needs and proclivity to draft lesser-known prospects from smaller schools. He was named a starter in his sophomore season, then was allowed to move back and forth from left to right tackle during his junior and season seasons.
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