The final season of the Ben Roethlisberger era reached unexpected levels. But now, the franchise must move forward without a clear direction under center.
In a crowded AFC North, the Steelers faced a difficult path to return to the playoffs last year. However, thanks to late-season collapses by other AFC wild-card contenders, Pittsburgh slipped into the postseason to bookend Big Ben’s Hall of Fame career. That head coach Mike Tomlin navigated his team despite Roethlisberger’s game enduring yet another level of atrophy serves to underscore the strangeness of the campaign.
Ultimately, the Steelers’ 2021 season lasted only one week longer than anticipated. They fell to the Kansas City Chiefs by 21 points in Arrowhead Stadium, ending Roethlisberger’s run in Pittsburgh on a somewhat sour note. The quarterback announced his retirement soon thereafter, creating a void not seen in the Steel City in nearly two decades.
2022 Draft Picks
Round 1: No. 20 overall
Round 2: No. 52
Round 3: No. 84
Round 4: No. 138
Round 6: No. 208** (from Chiefs)
Round 7: No. 225 (from Jets), 241
Quarterback ranks atop the list of needs for the Steelers at this stage of the offseason. That remains true even after the signing of former first-round pick Mitch Trubisky. While Trubisky will have the inside track to the starting job, the front office could still pursue a rookie to challenge him. Outside of signal-caller, Pittsburgh could use some help along the offensive line. The arrival of James Daniels and Mason Cole should solidify the interior, but adding some tackle depth/competition ranks high on the team’s to-do list.
The secondary could use some attention with Joe Haden and Terrell Edmunds currently without contracts. The draft has some top-shelf prospects at both positions, but those options could realistically come off the board prior to the Steelers’ first selection.
Dream first pick
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
It doesn’t matter that Pickett spent his college years at the local school. In a soft class of rookie signal-callers, he stands as the most likely to contribute early. Given Trubisky’s limitations, the Steelers might need him before the end of 2022.