Steelers Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2022 NFL Draft Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 13, 2022

Steelers Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2022 NFL Draft Picks

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Steelers' free-agent signing of Mitchell Trubisky may not be the final answer to their quarterback situation.

    Trubisky was brought in after spending a season as the Buffalo Bills' backup. He was replaced in Chicago last offseason when the Bears drafted Justin Fields.

    Pittsburgh heads into the 2022 NFL draft with Trubisky and Mason Rudolph at the top of its quarterback depth chart. The AFC North side should not be content at the position in a division that features Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson.

    The Steelers will have by far the fourth-best quarterback in the AFC North entering the regular season, whether it be Trubisky, Rudolph or a rookie chosen with the No. 20 overall pick.

    However, Mike Tomlin and his staff may be willing to bypass a quarterback in the first round, potentially in order to land another offensive weapon.

    Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are the current top two wide receivers on the depth chart, but they could be challenged if the Steelers add to their receiver group April 28.

Mitchell Trubisky

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    Jeff Lewis/Associated Press

    Trubisky could be the starting quarterback for the entire 2022 season or he could be a placeholder for a first-round pick.

    He should not feel safe about his starting prospects until the Steelers leave the draft without a starting-caliber quarterback.

    NFL.com's Lance Zierlein has the Steelers choosing Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett with the No. 20 overall pick in his latest mock draft. ESPN's Jordan Reid went in a different direction with his first-round projection, as he sent Boston College interior lineman Zion Johnson to Pittsburgh.

    Some experts believe 2022 is a down year for rookie quarterbacks. Bleacher Report's NFL scouting staff has Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder as the only overall top-20 prospect in its rankings.

    A case could be made for five or six franchises ahead of the Steelers in the draft order potentially selecting a quarterback based on need.

    Trubisky's job would be safer if some of the premier signal-callers end up hearing their names called before the No. 20 pick.

    Pittsburgh should explore all options before settling on Trubisky, but the decision will be much clearer if the team selects a player at another position at No. 20.

Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    The Steelers should take a serious look at the wide receivers in the draft class.

    Claypool and Johnson are the clear No. 1 and No. 2 wideouts on the depth chart, but that could change with an early-round selection.

    Tomlin and his staff could make a run at Ohio State's Chris Olave, Arkansas' Treylon Burks or Alabama's Jameson Williams to bolster its positional depth.

    Pittsburgh is in a decent position with Claypool, Johnson, Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth to surround the new quarterback, but there is no such thing as having too many weapons in an NFL offense.

    The Steelers could land a new No. 1 wideout with the No. 20 pick, which may affect the number of targets Claypool and Johnson earn.

    Claypool went through some issues during the 2021 season, and Johnson has a history of drops, so neither player should feel like his spot on the depth chart is cemented if the Steelers select a wide receiver.

Stephon Tuitt

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Steelers could ignore their offensive needs and go after the best defensive player available at No. 20.

    Pittsburgh could use some younger pass-rushing help on the defensive line to provide extra support for T.J. Watt, and Stephon Tuitt is one of the players whose job could come under fire if the Steelers go the defensive route in the first round after spending all of last season on injured reserve.

    The elite pass-rushers in the draft class will not be around by No. 20, but Pittsburgh could still attempt to land someone like Purdue's George Karlaftis or Georgia's Jordan Davis.

    Karlaftis was a solid edge-rusher during his time in the Big Ten, while Davis is a preternatural player who could take over parts of the interior.

    Pittsburgh's needs at quarterback, wide receiver and offensive line may supersede a defensive pick, but it is not out of the question if its best player available comes from the defensive side of the ball.

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