The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to step into the modern NFL. Finally. That’s going to be a fresh change, especially for dynasty managers. The results have been terrible, whether it’s been Randy Fichtner or Matt Canada. I have avoided the Pittsburgh Steelers skill position players like the plague the last few seasons. There just hasn’t been enough offensive production on the field for me to warrant an investment in. As a Steelers fan, it truly pains me to say that. But facts are facts. It might be the players on the field, the coaching, or simply all of it.
Something will have to change, though, for dynasty managers to be excited about the players they’ve invested in or players they’d like to invest in. Those dynasty managers with shares of Diontae Johnson, hold on helps on the way in this mock draft revisit.
- Wide Receiver
- Offensive Line
- Defensive Line
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a whole host of needs, but due to trading up in the draft in 2021 to select defensive lineman Isaiah Loudermilk on day 3 of the draft. The team also traded their 5th round pick from this draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars for linebacker Joe Schobert. The Joe Schobert trade didn’t work out as the Steelers intended, and he’ll probably be one and done in Pittsburgh. Those trades leave the Pittsburgh Steelers with just six selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.
With the help of the mock draft simulator found on pff.com, let’s get to work.
(1.12 Tyler Linderbaum, C Iowa)
In the January Dynasty Nerds mock draft scenario, the Steelers moved up to select Tyler Linderbaum, while that would go a long way to resolving their offensive line woes. It would leave the team with very few selections and some pretty big holes to fill.
1.20 Malik Willis, QB Liberty
Find someone that looks at you the way Mike Tomlin looks at Malik Willis. The Steelers head coach would probably do a backflip if Malik Willis were on the board at pick #20. Well, Coach Tomlin ask for some space because there he is still on the board. The Steelers excitedly turn the card into the commissioner.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select QB Malik Willis – Liberty University
With this selection, a new chapter begins in Pittsburgh. How successful it becomes remains to be seen. The ceiling on Malik Willis is the highest of the quarterbacks in this draft class; however, his floor could hit the lowest as well. A wise man once said that fortune favors the bold. If the Steelers are going to hang with teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, they will have to kick their offense into high gear. Malik Willis can make plays with both his arms and his legs.
It will take some seasoning, watching a veteran quarterback from the sidelines, possibly Marcus Mariota, for a season. Also, it will take a bit of retooling to the Steelers offensive personnel for Malik Willis to be successful. The Steelers have not had a running quarterback since Kordell Stewart was in his brief heyday. This selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers would push Malik Willis into likely being a first-round pick in rookie dynasty drafts.
(2.52 Desmond Ridder, QB – Cincinnati)
Desmond Ridder was the selection in January, though the ceiling is a bit higher with Malik Wills. There are also some legitimate concerns with Desmond Ridder‘s accuracy.
2.52 Jalen Tolbert, WR – South Alabama
Jalen Tolbert is fast, really fast. His selection would bring an element to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense that they have not had since Mike Wallace was in Pittsburgh. Jalen Tolbert would likely be the slot wide receiver in the Steelers offense, with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool playing out wide.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select: Jalen Tolbert Wide Receiver – South Alabama
Jalen Tolbert is a threat to score every time he gets the football in open space. That’s not something that the Pittsburgh Steelers have right now. Diontae Johnson is a fine possession style wide receiver. However, he’s not going to run go routes and take one sixty yards. Jalen Tolbert would be a difficult matchup for slot corners and impossible for most linebackers/safeties.
Unfortunately, this selection would be a blow to Chase Claypool’s dynasty stock. Diontae Johnson would remain the outside most valuable WR1 or X receiver. Chase Claypool would stay the Z receiver least valuable WR3. Jalen Tolbert would again be the slot receiver WR2 or Y. Those rankings are specific to the Steelers and not the receiver’s overall fantasy rankings.
For the offense the Pittsburgh Steelers want to run, Chase Claypool just might not be a fit. Jalen Tolbert, though, is the perfect glove fit for what the Steelers do. I would take him in the second round of a rookie draft, just simply because there’s going to be an adjustment period as he’s leveling up quite a bit in competition. Also, he’ll likely be catching passes from the likes of Marcus Mariota/Mason Rudolph/Carson Wentz in year one.
(3.84 Traded to Minnesota)
With Joe Schobert carrying such a large cap hit, on a rebuilding team, no less. He will very likely be cut when the league year opens. Also, Devin Bush did not play well at all in his return from tearing his ACL in 2021. Even though he was ready to go beginning in training camp, both he and Joe Schobert we’re giving up snaps to Robert Spillane, who, bless his heart, is a special teams player at best. The Steelers are likely to reject the fifth-year option on Devin Bush. It’s time to begin reinvesting in the position.
3.84 Darrian Beavers, LB – Cincinnati
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the market for a buck linebacker. They haven’t had a good one on the inside since Vince Williams was in his prime. They need that type of linebacker, usually on the bigger side. They are the ones that take on pulling guards/centers. New defensive coordinator Tyrell Austin would be very excited to see Darrian Beavers on the board in Round 3.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select: Linebacker Darrian Beavers – Cincinnati
(4.138 Traded to Minnesota)
Both of the Steelers starting cornerbacks from the 2021 season are unrestricted free agents. Joe Harden had a career resurgence with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he’s going to be 33 years old and unable to run with receivers anymore. Ahkello Witherspoon did play well for the team down the stretch after coming over in a trade from Seattle. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers were his third NFL team since he was drafted in 2017. He signed with Seattle in the 2021 off-season and never even logged an official snap for the Seahawks.
Whether the Steelers decide to bring Witherspoon back on an incentive-laden deal or not, they must reinvest in the position perhaps via free agency as well as the draft, which makes sense as Cam Sutton is in the final year of his contract as well.
4.138 Cam Taylor-Britt, CB Nebraska
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have found their slot corner of the future in Tre Norwood in the 2021 NFL Draft. But, with the outside cornerback depth all but depleted, the team wasted no time selecting the physical cornerback from Nebraska.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select: Cam Taylor-Britt Cornerback Nebraska
Cam Taylor–Britt knocked away 22 passes throughout his collegiate career. He would be very busy in Pittsburgh having to deal with the likes of Jamarr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Hollywood Brown, Rashod Bateman, and that’s just the receivers on the Bengals and Ravens. Quite the challenge, but that’s what’s expected of outside cornerbacks.
(Steelers traded pick to Jacksonville for LB Joe Schobert)
(6.204 Jerome Ford, RB Cincinnati)
The January Mock Draft had the Steelers selecting the running back from Cincinnati. However, the Steelers decide to shore up their defensive line depth in this mock draft.
6.207 Marquan McCall, NT Kentucky
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their nose tackle Tyson Alualu early during the 2021 NFL season to a fractured ankle. They went on to rank as one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. The 2021 defensive unit had the worst Steelers team run defensive statistics since 1966. Tyson Alualu could return to the team for the 2022 season, but he’ll be 35. The Pittsburgh Steelers were lucky to find Montravius Adams on the Saints practice squad. However, if Alualu doesn’t return and Adams returns in free agency. The Steelers will be very thin at the nose tackle position. Marquan McCall is a space-eater plain and simple.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select: Marquan McCall Defensive Lineman Kentucky
The Pittsburgh Steelers got pushed around on the ground in 2021. That cannot happen, so they add another name here to the defensive line room to try and shore up the middle of their defense. They will certainly have to do that, as they will see some of the top running backs in the NFL in 2022:
- Christian McCaffrey
- Nick Chubb
- Joe Mixon
- Jonathan Taylor
- Alvin Kara
Not to mention the Baltimore Ravens will get J.K. Dobbins back from injury. The Pittsburgh Steelers will have their hands full, Marquan McCall will have to be ready to contribute early.
(7.223 Josh Proctor, S Ohio State)
In the January Mock Draft, the Steelers addressed the safety position. This time around, they add some speed to their Running back depth chart. Benny Snell is special teams only. Anthony McFarland can’t buy a snap on offense. The team will have to get some usable depth behind Najee Harris.
7.221 Tyler Badie, RB Missouri
Tyler Badie would form an interesting duo with Najee Harris. The Steelers would be able to pound teams early with Harris and then force them to contend with the speedy Badie later in games when they wear down. Najee Harris is a fine running back, but he will not last at the current pace he was used for in 2021.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select: Tyler Badie Running Back Missouri
Matt Canada should be able to find ways to situationally get Tyler Badie on the field in the screen game and other creative avenues. Since the Steelers decided to make Malik Willis their next potential franchise quarterback, and he’s got that running ability, they’ll have to add running back. They will likely copy some principles the Baltimore Ravens employ, which will require running the ball more.
7.237 Conner Heyward, TE Michigan State
The Pittsburgh Steelers love putting brothers together. But Connor Heyward is a fine special teams player in his own right. The Steelers are, not surprisingly, expected to allow Eric Ebron to depart in free agency. I’d be more than willing to drive him to the airport. Pat Freiermuth was everything advertised and more for the Steelers as a rookie, and Zach Gentry took a much-needed step forward as his backup. However, the team could shore up the position a bit, and Connor Heyward can even play some running back in a pinch.
Dynasty Impact and Analysis
It will take time to know if Malik Willis can fill the void of Ben Roethlisberger’s deserved retirement. But, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have an interesting fantasy quarterback for the first time in four years. Jalen Tolbert could step in and steal the show at wide receiver as Diontae Johnson is in the last year of his contract, and you never can tell how negotiations will go. Jalen Tolbert could potentially be the Steelers WR1 in 2023.
Tyler Badie would immediately be the most valuable running back behind Najee Harris. Also, Darrian Beavers could be starting at inside linebacker by the end of the preseason. That’s a pretty decent dynasty haul.
If the Pittsburgh Steelers want to keep pace in their division and conference, they have to add some dynamic pieces to this offense. If they don’t, the 2022 Team MVP could very well be the punter.
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