Updated: Mar 28
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert attended four pro days this past week where the quarterbacks were the main attraction -- Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Malik Willis (Liberty), Matt Corral (Mississippi) and Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati). In addition, Tomlin took Willis out for chicken wings and had a steak dinner with Ridder on the nights before their pro days.
This has led to speculation that the Steelers are going all-in on the quarterback position. That could be the case, but it would be a massive mistake. Willis is the only quarterback worth trading up for, as he has by far the most upside. And reaching for Ridder at 20th overall would be foolish. Even sillier, would be to trade a first-round pick in 2023 to the Vikings to move up to No. 12 and select Ridder, as Chad Reuter of NFL.com suggests.
The Steelers must avoid drafting a quarterback just for the sake of doing so. They have a ton of needs elsewhere -- defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver and possibly strong safety if they don't re-sign Terrell Edmunds.
The Steelers should stick with the model of best player available, and if Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt are still around at No. 20, you go with beefing up the defensive line that is aging rapidly instead of reaching for Ridder or Corral.
It's just common sense. This year's quarterback class isn't that great and next year's crop of quarterbacks are supposed to be significantly better. If Willis is gone, the Steelers just need to ride it out with Mitch Trubisky for a year and wait until 2023 to get Ben Roethlisberger's true heir apparent.
I think the quarterback interest has been a little overblown, as Tomlin is a football lover and just enjoys the process of getting to know prospects. These same players can be free agents down the line four or five years from now. I think Tomlin is definitely intrigued by Willis, however. He wants a mobile quarterback. We'll have to see on draft night just how much Tomlin loves Willis, as the Steelers would have to trade up into the top 10 to select the star Liberty quarterback. If not, the Steelers shouldn't even bother with the rest of the quarterbacks.