(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The 2021 NFL Draft concluded on Saturday night and to no surprise, there's already a way too early 2022 mock draft out. Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports released his mock for 2022 today and has the Steelers selecting Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam at 15th overall.
Being that Wilson has the Steelers picking at 15th overall, he projects them to be around a 9-8 or 8-9 in 2021. Quarterback will be a big need for the Steelers in 2022 with this season assumably being the last year for the 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger. Wilson has five quarterbacks going in the first round in his mock draft -- North Carolina's Sam Howell to the Lions at No. 2, Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler to Washington at No. 8, USC's Kedon Slovis to the Raiders at No. 9, Liberty's Malik Willis to the Panthers at No. 10 and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder at No. 26.
No one saw Zach Wilson going second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft last year at this time, so it should be interesting to see which quarterbacks breakout this year. Way too early mock drafts last year also had the Steelers selecting Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman in the first round, and he ended up being undrafted, which just shows how projections can drastically change.
Cornerback should also be a big need in 2022 for the Steelers as Joe Haden turned 32 last month and they released Steven Nelson as a cap casualty this offseason. They signed Cam Sutton to a two-year, $9 million deal in March and are counting on him to replace Nelson at the right outside cornerback spot. If all works out with Sutton, they'll still need another cornerback to eventually replace Haden if Justin Layne and James Pierre don't pan out as outside corners.
Below is Wilson's summary on Elam and why he has the Steelers selecting him in the first round in the 2022 NFL Draft.
"Elam has the size (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) and athleticism to be considered among the up-and-comers to watch. He had two picks and 11 pass breakups last season playing opposite Marco Wilson, a 2021 fourth-round pick of the Cardinals."