The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need help along the offensive line, but here’s why The Draft Network asked their board to help the OL in 2022.
The Steelers have many needs to meet in the 2022 NFL Draft, and not enough capital to fill them all. Even before the end of the season, draft pundits were busy mocking quarterbacks and offensive linemen in Pittsburgh in the first round. It’s safe to say they’re doing the same now that they’re stuck with the 20th overall pick heading into the offseason.
It doesn’t take a football expert to understand why the Steelers might be interested in tackling both quarterback and offensive line this offseason. Currently, the unspectacular Mason Rudolph is the only quarterback under contract in Pittsburgh for the 2022 season, while the offensive line was in shambles in 2021 with four new starters.
As for the offensive line, it’s clear they need more time to gel. Maybe players like Dan Moore Jr. and Kevin Dotson end up being long-term solutions for them. However, even if that turns out to be the case, the Steelers will need 2-3 more players of starting caliber.
Recently, The Draft Network’s Keith Sanchez composed his final 2022 NFL simulation draft now that the draft order is decided for all but the two teams heading to the Super Bowl. Despite a rush of offensive linemen in the top 10 picks, Sanchez asked the Steelers to dig their roster for the OL assist at pick 20 and take Boston College OG Zion Johnson. Here’s what he had to say about their selection:
The Steelers need a QB and they need offensive linemen to protect the quarterback. I believe the Steelers are an attractive destination for one of these great quarterbacks and they will be able to lure one into the organization. So instead of having to go quarterback here, they can upgrade an offensive line unit that is in dire need of help. They do this by drafting the Boston College IOL Zion Johnson.
Sanchez’s reasoning for not going with a quarterback here is that he thinks they’re an attractive enough destination to land a veteran who will want to come in and lead this team. Even if it’s not the Steelers’ way of thinking, taking a player like Zion Johnson is possible, but is it the right choice?
The Steelers would be wrong to dig their draft board
I can understand that you want to fill your greatest needs in the draft. The Steelers, quite frankly, had a terrible offensive line in 2021, and they can’t expect things to get any better if they ignore tackling the trenches again in the NFL Draft.
However, one mistake teams often make — and one the Steelers have been strangers to in the past — is reaching a position of need. Pittsburgh did it in 2013 when they needed a pass rusher. They chose Georgia’s, Jarvis Jones. Colbert did it again in 2016 when they needed a cornerback, and they took Artie Burns despite a run on the CB position before their pick.
It’s such a horrible way to do business, and the Steelers can’t just get to their editorial board. This is less an impeachment of Zion Johnson than a critique of the process in general.
Maybe Johnson ends up being a really good NFL player. However, he’s ranked in the 40s on most draft boards right now, and until he proves he belongs in the discussion as a true first-round pick, he shouldn’t sniff. the 20th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
You can almost never go wrong taking the best player available (BPA). This is a draft philosophy that more teams should embrace. In that case, given who’s still on the board, the Steelers would be much better off talking about a standout defenseman like David Ojabo, or going with one of the top two linebackers on the roster in Devin Lloyd or Nakobe Dean. . Additionally, two impressive cornerback prospects are on the board in this simulation with Roger McCreary and Kaiir Elam.
The Steelers have reached their draft committee in the past to fill needy positions, and I’m afraid they’ll make the same mistake again in 2022. I know Pittsburgh needs offensive line help, but reaching a needy position is never the answer. They have to be ready to take the best player available if the draft goes like this.