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Dane Brugler has the Steelers selecting Desmond Ridder at 20th overall in his mock draft

Updated: Apr 15, 2022

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Dane Brugler of The Athletic released his seven-round mock draft on Thursday, and he has the Steelers selecting Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder at 20th overall. Ridder's stock has risen within the last month and most draft analysts expect him to be a sure-fire first-round pick.

"The Steelers have spent a lot of time and resources evaluating this year’s crop of quarterbacks, and they won’t be shy trading up to get 'their guy' if they need to," Burgler said. "But 'their guy' might be Ridder, who impressed the Steelers’ key decision-makers, including ownership, during pre-draft meetings."

Along with bringing Ridder in for a pre-draft visit last week, the Steelers have hosted quarterbacks Carson Strong of Nevada and Matt Corral of Mississippi. Malik Willis of Liberty is slated to come to Pittsburgh next week. Pitt's Kenny Pickett already met with the Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who doesn't count against the 30 pre-draft visits that the Steelers are permitted because he's local. Brugler has Pickett going to the Panthers at sixth overall and Wills to the Falcons at No. 8.

Ridder is a big-armed quarterback who possesses mobility, which is exactly what the Steelers are looking for. Mike Tomlin is a big proponent of quarterback mobility and is reportedly very intrigued by Malik Willis. The Steelers might not have enough draft capital to trade up into the top 10 for Willis, however. So, would the Steelers settle for Ridder at 20th overall? Next year's quarterback class is considered to be more talented, but there are no guarantees that the Steelers will get either C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young. If Tomlin sees potential in Ridder to grow and develop, the Steelers very well could take him.

Ridder was a four-year starter at Cincinnati and finished his career with an 87-28 touchdown-interception ratio. Including a career-best 30 touchdowns and more than 3,300 yards as a senior last season. The Steelers met with Ridder at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, and he had a steak dinner with Mike Tomlin the night before his pro day last month.

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