Steelers Rumors: QBs Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell to Visit PIT Ahead of 2022 NFL Draft

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2022

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly set to host two quarterback prospects, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and North Carolina's Sam Howell, on predraft visits this week.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Ridder will meet with the Steelers' brass on Thursday followed by Howell on Friday.

The 2022 NFL draft kicks off April 28. Pittsburgh owns the No. 20 pick in the first round.

The Steelers signed former Chicago Bears starter Mitchell Trubisky, who spent last season as the Buffalo Bills' backup, to a two-year, $14.3 million contract in free agency. That hasn't taken them out of the running of one of the class' top QB prospects, though.

Ridder is coming off a decorated four-year tenure as the Bearcats starter. He earned AAC Rookie of the Year honors in 2018 and was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons.

The 22-year-old Kentucky native completed 62.1 percent of his throws for 10,239 yards, 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions across 50 games at Cincinnati. He added 2,180 rushing yards and 28 more scores on the ground.

ESPN's Matt Miller reported Tuesday he's hearing Ridder could come off the board inside the top 20, which matches perfectly with the Steelers being his latest possible landing spot.

Meanwhile, Howell entered his final college season as a contender to become the top prospect in the 2022 class, but he endured an up-and-down final year with the Tar Heels.

He threw for the fewest touchdowns (24) and most interceptions (nine) of his three-year college career in 2021, but he still finished his UNC tenure with a strong 92-23 TD-to-INT ratio in 37 games.

"That's kind of the main thing I learned throughout this past season. I don't have to be the hero on every single play. Just stay with my framework and I stay true to who I am as a player," Howell told reporters in February.

In all likelihood, if the Steelers draft a quarterback at No. 20—Liberty's Malik Willis, Pitt's Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss' Matt Corral are other options, depending on who's still available—they'll likely enter their rookie year as the backup to Trubisky.

Going with both a veteran and a prospect will increase the team's chances of quickly finding the long-term replacement for Ben Roethlisberger, who retired in January after 18 years of leading the offense.


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