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APC Community Mock Draft 2022: The Steelers are on the clock at No. 20

The Steelers are up to pick after the Saints selected Bernhard Raimann with the 19th pick.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

With one minor hiccup in the picks, the New Orleans Saints selected Bernhard Raimann with their 19th pick, an offensive tackle who will be expected to fill the shoes of Terron Armstead at left tackle. Raimann is inexperienced, but the Saints are in a transition period as they look for their next QB, so he will have time to grow into the position.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a disappointing 2021 season. After going 12-4 the previous year, the Steelers went 9-7-1 and lost in the Wild Card for the second straight year. The biggest story of their off-season is the retirement of longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The team brought in Mitch Trubisky on a 2-year, $14m deal to be the starter this season. Presumably a transition piece until the team finds their next franchise QB, Trubisky’s job will be to keep the team afloat this season. While the roster has plenty of holes, the Steelers did their best in free agency to shore up a few positions, signing Mason Cole and James Daniels to help on the offensive line. Levi Wallace and Myles Jack headline the defensive signings.

Wide receiver is a spot lacking in-depth for the Steelers. Diontae Johnson is currently seeking a new contract and the team lost both Ray-Ray McCloud and James Washington. Luckily for Pittsburgh, this draft is filled with talent at the position and they should have no problem finding a pass-catcher to complement Chase Claypool and Johnson, should his contract situation get sorted out. Chris Olave would be a slam dunk pick here and give Mitch Trubisky three gifted receivers to throw to.

The Steelers’ biggest hole right now could be safety. Terrell Edmunds’ 5th-year option was declined and the young safety is still a free agent. Securing a running mate to pair with Minkah Fitzpatrick in the defensive backfield will be a high priority. Lewis Cine would fit the strong safety role the Steelers are looking for and be a force in run support early on in his career.

Finally, the elephant in the room is quarterback. Yes, Mitchell Trubisky is currently the starter, but the Steelers have not been shy about sniffing around QBs in the draft process. Malik Willis has seen his name come up in connection with the team, but the strong-armed QB went off the board early in our mock to the Seattle Seahawks. With that being said, it’s still possible the Steelers see enough in another prospect to take the plunge at 20 and prepare for the future. Desmond Ridder is seen as QB1 in many circles and could be the franchise’s heir apparent to Roethlisberger if he isn’t thrown into the fire right away.


Chris Olave, WR, OSU

Olave broke out during his sophomore season at OSU as the top target for Justin Fields and continued to shine his next two years, ending his career as the school’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with 35. In 2021 he was named a second-team All American to go with his third straight All-Big Ten nod.

Olave is considered the best route runner in a class overflowing with 1st round talent. Playing with NFL-caliber QBs like Justin Fields and CJ Stroud has made him great at finding soft spots in scramble drills. His catch radius and red zone prowess will make a QB very happy for years to come. While he could stand to improve his play strength, Olave can be a field-stretching WR1 out of the gate.

Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Cine has skyrocketed up draft boards since the Combine. Cine showed off his elite athleticism by running a 4.37 forty-yard dash and jumping 11’1’’ on the broad jump. He may be light at 199 pounds but he plays like a bat out of hell. Plenty of running backs will make business decisions rather than challenge Cine. He is a violent player that has the potential to make big impact plays as a box safety.

Unlike Daxton Hill and Kyle Hamilton, he won’t excel in man coverage right away. Cine is susceptible to getting beat over the top due to issues with positioning and play speed. Working in a split safety alignment would be a perfect fit for Cine and allow him to showcase his range when tracking down ball carriers.

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

After redshirting his freshman year, Ridder went on to start 4 years at Cincinnati, culminating in a magical final season where the Bearcats made the College Football Playoff. Ridder was named the AAC player of the year after throwing for 3,334 yards and 30 TDs. He can be erratic at times with his ball placement, which leads to inconsistency.

However, he has solid mechanics and processes the field quicker than any other signal-caller in the 2022 Draft. While much has been made about Malik Willis’ arm and mobility, Ridder is no slouch there either. His deep ball touch is apparent and he is quick enough to escape the pocket and get past a defender on the outside if he has to. Ridder can start on day 1 but would do well sitting behind a veteran as he cleans his game up.


Poll

Who will the Steelers select at no. 20?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Chris Olave, WR, OSU
    (87 votes)
  • 16%
    Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
    (68 votes)
  • 62%
    Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
    (253 votes)
408 votes total Vote Now

Will the Steelers fill the holes at receiver or safety early in the draft? Or will the team plan for the future by drafting Desmond Ridder? Check back later to see the results and be sure to vote here and on Twitter (@acmepackingco). Up next, we have the New England Patriots up to pick at 21.