The Pittsburgh Steelers are not in a great position to find an heir-apparent to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the 2021 NFL Draft. Such is the nature of the beast when a team is typically picking at the bottom of Round 1.
Slated to select 24th overall Thursday evening, Pittsburgh won’t be able to land one of the top-five guaranteed first-round quarterbacks barring a trade up. According to general manager Kevin Colbert, this is not in the cards.
Pittsburgh has eight selections in the upcoming draft. Moving up from the 24th pick would cost the team a huge bounty. For his part, Colbert believes the draft is stacked at need positions. That includes center, wide receiver and running back.
Where does this put the Steelers when it comes to finding a long-term replacement for Big Ben? Well, they do have both Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins on the roster. When reports broke earlier in the offseason that Roethlisberger and the Steelers might be involved in a divorce, indications were that Colbert and Co. were high on Rudolph as a potential replacement. We’re just not seeing that.
As for Colbert, he’s seemingly open to the Pittsburgh Steelers adding another quarterback to the mix during the 2021 NFL Draft. With that in mind, here’s a look at three potential options for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh Steelers trade down, select Davis Mills
It’s been noted recently that this former Stanford star is getting first-round buzz. The 6-foot-4 Mills joins the likes of Kellen Mond and Kyle Trask as second-tier quarterback options after having thrown a combined 438 passes throughout his college career.
Despite his lack of experience in the collegiate ranks, Mills is the type of prototypical quarterback that the Steelers have valued in the past. That included the 6-foot-5 Rudolph being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. If Pittsburgh views Mills as a higher-upside quarterback compared to his counterpart, potentially trading down to the end of Round 1 or top of Day 2 could make sense.
Pittsburgh Steelers draft Kyle Trask
Trask is of the same cloth as Mills in that he’s seen as a prototypical quarterback. Unlike his counterpart from Stanford, the former Florida star has extensive experience in the college ranks. In fact, the 6-foot-5 signal caller threw 43 touchdowns against eight interceptions en route to finishing fourth in the Heisman voting last season.
The quarterback has also been getting some first-round play recently. Primarily, Trask has been linked to the conference-rival New England Patriots. For good reason. Despite some issues in his game, we’re talking about an accurate quarterback who goes through his reads well and has a keen eye for the field. Those are three things that have defined Big Ben’s career in Pittsburgh. And it could lead to the Steelers exhausting the 24th pick on Trask.
Pittsburgh Steelers shock everyone, trade up for a quarterback
We know. Colbert said that he doesn’t envision using his any of his eight picks to trade up in the first round. But we also know that a lot of what general managers say publicly in the lead up to the draft really isn’t the truth. Should someone like Ohio State’s Justin Fields fall in the draft, Pittsburgh will have to think long and hard about pulling the trigger.
It was noted recently that the Steelers might look to the 2022 NFL Draft to find a replacement for Roethlisberger. Unfortunately, there’s too many unknowns as it relates to next year’s class. This year’s iteration is absolutely stacked. Why not potentially move off a 2022 first-round pick and change to acquire that franchise guy like Fields?