Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 Mock Draft: Important Pieces Everywhere

Round 1, Pick 20

Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

Every single position on the Steelers offensive line could use an upgrade, so it would be wise to draft a lineman that has logged 35 college starts including every position other than center. Green has strong legs that allow him to move quickly and play with great strength, making him an asset on any run play.

This K. Green is a lot more promising than last years K. Green, and it wouldn’t take long for fans to see the impact he would have, benefitting N. Harris and making the job easier for whoever they have at QB.

Green has the athleticism and physical temperament to become an instant starter…

The Draft Network

Round 2, Pick 52

Damone Clark, LB, LSU

Last year’s poor run defense was a fault of many, however the inside linebackers rarely held up their end of the bargain. Clark plays with tremendous speed and instinct, racking up over 100 tackles and five sacks last season.

Additionally, he has the athleticism and tenacity to become a viable pass rusher, which could add a unique blend to his game, similar (but not to the magnitude) to M. Parsons for the Cowboys.

He uses his athletic traits to track and pursue ball-carriers and is a big reason why he ranks amongst the top in the nation in tackles for the 2021 football season.

The Draft Network

Round 3, Pick 84

Marcus Jones, CB, Houston

As of now, it is unknown how the Steelers will address free agent CB’s J. Haden and A. Witherspoon. I think at least one of them will leave, so grabbing much needed depth at a valuable position would be the right choice.

Jones is good in man coverage and has traits like length and instinct that make him a candidate for special teams and special assignments like slot covering or playing different sides of the ball. Yes, last season he got work in at WR and he didn’t look too bad. He could also be used as a kickoff or punt returner pending what happens elsewhere at the position.

Jones has the hips and feet to cover slippery slot receivers and the ballhawking instincts to make plays from zone

Lance Zierlein, NFL Draft Analyst

Round 4, Pick 137

Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan

Now I know the RB in Pittsburgh is among the leagues best young stars, however the usage rate Najee Harris received last year was too much for him to sustain a ten plus year career. To put the cherry on top, backup RB’s B. Snell and K. Ballage were nothing more than bad last season.

Haskins runs with a fierce demeanor and has exceled at many positions and roles on a football field. Steelers have been linked to Michigan players for quite some time now, and I think they take an extremely solid RB to spell Harris.

Tack on his receiving upside, ball security, and his blocking utility, as well as his special teams experience, and you’re looking at a safe Day 3 pick.

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network – Draft Analyst

The BEST Player for The next Pittsburgh Steelers starting QB

Mason Rudolph? Marcus Mariota? Jimmy Garoppolo? Jameis Winston? Or a rookie…

QB Ben Roethlisberger gave 18 hall of fame seasons to the Steelers, and replacing him will likely be the hardest replacement ever for the franchise. The realistic options for next year’s starting QB job in Pittsburgh are as follows and NOT in any order:

  • Kenny Pickett
  • Malik Willis
  • Sam Howell
  • Matt Corral
  • Mason Rudolph
  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Jameis Winston
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Mitch Trubisky
  • Russell Wilson

Here is how some of these QB’s compare in their last ten games started (Mason Rudolph’s sample size):

Players on these graphs are used as reference points and comparison; sorted from lowest QB rating (Rudolph) to highest (Burrow – good standard for franchise QB).
These two graphs together show a clear difference between what the Steelers’ options are and what they’re looking for.

This list has some talented QB’s and some not so talented QB’s. The craziest thing is that I think the best player for the job is one of the lesser talented names on the entire list… Factoring in everything that the Steelers front office should (like contract, familiarity, and draft capital) the best QB for the Steelers in 2022 is…

Odds provided by OddsChecker.

1- Mason Rudolph (+250)

This will make someone rage click off this page I’m sure of it. But hear me out; Rudolph has one of the best things an NFL team could ask for – a QB on a rookie deal. The resources saved by locking in Rudolph as next years starter could and should be used to acquire smaller pieces for a roster that desperately needs better pieces.

Not only that, but the Steelers (and most teams) will not be jumping at the opportunity to take more risk than they have to. Rudolph has shown the staff and fans everything that he can and cannot do on the football field with the current offense, which should make it possible to game plan around his strengths and weaknesses. Whereas bringing in anyone will require somewhat of an adjustment and the QB performance might be negatively affected as a result.

2- Mitchell Trubisky (+1600)

Again, I’m probably not making a bunch of sense right now. But hear me out again; Trubisky just sat one year behind arguably the most talented QB in the world right now. The graph at the beginning shows one thing; his statistics look better than the others, namely his combination of rush yards per game, total touchdowns, completion percentage and touchdown percentage.

Based on current contract values, Trubisky will be cheaper than M. Mariota, J. Winston, A. Dalton and T. Bridgewater. He satisfies Tomlin’s desire for a mobile QB while actually improving the overall effectiveness of the offense, compared to Big Ben or Mason Rudolph.

3- Jameis Winston (+900)

Probably the most expensive name on the free agent list, I believe Winston can build off of his productive half-year in New Orleans. The stats don’t lie, and they tell us that Winston is truly the ‘all or nothing’ type of QB with a great ability to score touchdowns…and also the ability to ‘waste a pass’ (interception or incompletion).

That’s not exactly what the Steelers would sign him to be though, as he grew more patient and anticipated better throughout his time in New Orleans. He would only be brought in if other big upgrades were made to positions like WR and OL.

4- Malik Willis (+1400)

Here’s the first rookie, finally! The reason I don’t have any rookie higher than four is because I don’t think the better QB’s in the class will be available at pick 20, and I don’t see PIT trading up for any of them.

However if they did trade up, to get Willis, it would probably not be to sit him for a year, right? I would have to assume given his potential that they’re able to design an offense that he’s able to adapt to considering the offensive scheme they tried to run with the total opposite QB of Willis (Big Ben).

5- Sam Howell (+1800)

Oh another rookie? This rookie is (probably) the most pro-ready QB in the class, given his accuracy, experience and athleticism. Although I don’t like to put too much weight on this; Kevin Colbert and the scouting department have watched Sam Howell the most throughout the season/off-season. A real possibility could be the top five lineman are gone and the top two or three QB’s are gone, in either case might prompt PIT to draft Howell for safety and needs.

6- Marcus Mariota (+1300)

Mariota is probably dying to get the chance to start again, but even if he were to come to PIT, something tells me it would still be a battle between him and Rudolph for the entirety of preseason.

Although he could help boost the running game with his mobility, he hasn’t gotten the chance to do that in a while and his speed/elusiveness may be on the decline given his age. However, he has shown the ability to take care of the football and that could prove to be all a team needs from their QB.

7- Jimmy Garoppolo (+750)

Garoppolo has been discussed the most heavily in connection with PIT’s starting QB next season (at least among free agents). While he might have the innate ability to pull out wins and command a powerful offense, it isn’t as clear how much of that was because of him, rather than despite him. The price tag and expectations would far exceed the offensive productivity with him and the current scheme.

8- Matt Corral (+1200)

I won’t lie I think Corral would be fun to watch in PIT. He’d likely use his legs as much as he needed, and that in itself would give the offense a different type of style for the foreseeable future. Not sure how serious his injury is, but even if he’s fully healthy he doesn’t have the most prototypical frame of an NFL QB and will likely undergo A LOT of pressure if PIT drafts him in the first round. If it happens I wouldn’t surprise if Corral sat behind Rudolph to at least start the season.

9- Russel Wilson (+1200)

Well, Wilson is easily the most proven and valuable QB on this list, and adding an escape artist QB who throws one of the best deep ball passes in the game would instantly make the offense more explosive given their QB immobility last year and lack of deep ball success.

What’s important to keep in mind though is Wilson would cost at least two first-round picks and maybe even a player. The roster isn’t constructed to spend as much as possible on a QB when other pieces are needed yet would be forfeited with the acquisition of Wilson.

10- Kenny Pickett (+900)

Now this is NOT me saying Pickett is the worst QB on this list, please keep that in mind! As it stands now, I’m willing to bet that there’s a 99% chance Pickett gets drafted inside the top-15 and that would mean PIT sacrificing draft capital and/or players to jump up and select him.

I like the chemistry Pickett would have with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, however no amount of chemistry can fix the offensive line that would be in a state of unknown heading into next season, especially if a QB is taken in round one and not a lineman.

There are many paths for the Pittsburgh Steelers to find their next QB, whether it be for one year or the next ten. There are pros and cons to each of their options and a lot of the decisions will likely come down to cost and risk. Mason Rudolph should be the starting QB next year, because he is the lowest-risk option on this list and is also the cheapest while he’s still on his rookie contract.

With that being said, if the objective is to look at the odds and make money on this situation; my bets are going to be placed on Mason Rudolph ($5), Marcus Mariota ($1), and Sam Howell ($1). I wouldn’t take them though until more of the draft process gets going, as that will tell the fans a lot about who is focused on who.

NFL Same-game PARLAYS: Wild Card Weekend – SATURDAY

Thanks to FanDuel’s same-game parlay promotion, I will be placing $200 on same game parlays over the course of the Wild Card Playoff weekend to receive $100 of credit back, regardless if my parlays win or lose.

LV vs. CIN (+524):

J. Chase TD Scorer, +100

D. Carr u257.5 pass yards, -114

Alt points u51.5, -150

LV vs. CIN (+482):

D. Waller o59.5 rec yards, -110

2H Total Points o23.5, -112

J. Chase o70.5 rec yards, -110

Reflection: The first half of this game is what I expected the second half to look like, with 33 points scored. I anticipated OAK being down some and relying on their passing game and chunk plays from Waller, which they got on occasion but not enough. Ja’Marr Chase is a top ten WR in the NFL, and his receiving props should be set at 100 every week, if not more.

NE vs. BUF (+499):

D. Harris TD Scorer, +120

J. Allen o243.5 pass yards, -114

C. Beasley o33.5 rec yards, -110

NE vs. BUF (+609):

D. Knox u32.5 rec yards, -110

D. Singletary u59.5 rush yards, -110

M. Jones u204.4 pass yards, -110

NFL Playoffs – Wild Card Bets, Previews, Stats: Underdogs and Money Lines; peas and carrots

Enjoy these short paragraphs for my reasoning on betting these teams this weekend:

NE ML (+170)

I’ll put my money on Bill Belichick in the playoffs against a divisional team he just lost to a few weeks ago. BUF might have the advantage on offense and even overall defensive unit, but NE can scheme up defenses that makes QB’s see ghosts. If J. Allen makes big throws like he did in their last matchup, BUF has a much greater chance at winning. I expect NE to control the game and keep BUF uncomfortable.

Reflection: Well, Josh Allen and the Bills played a literal perfect game. No punts, field goals, or turnovers. All touchdowns. Every time they wanted to score a TD, they did. Take my money.

SF ML (+150)

I always enjoy placing money on good offenses. SF leads the NFL in yards per play at 6.1, followed third by DAL at 6.0. Needless to say the offenses in this matchup are efficient. However, DAL is the worst team in the NFL at committing penalties (on both sides of the ball) and we all know how pivotal a pass interference or holding can be to a game. SF has the kicking advantage which could be a deciding factor in a closely rated matchup such as this one.

Reflection: This one felt a little too mainstream by the time the game rolled around, and SF did exactly what they needed to in order to win; establish the run, limit DAL offense and get creative. Almost gave up a crucial comeback attempt, but prevailed nonetheless.

ARI ML (+155)

We know this ‘upset’ is possible because it has already been done earlier in the year. I know it was early and these teams are at much different places now, however it’s still a divisional game in the playoffs that makes me think it will be closely matched. Would Kingsbury be on the hot seat if they lose this one?

Total Risk: $30
Total Return (so far): $25

NCAA National Championship Bets: Alabama vs. Georgia

If you’re a fan of college football, or even if you just pay attention to the big games and big schools, it was no doubt that the two best teams in the sport are the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs.

During this national championship, I am excited to see how a few things play out including Bama’s offensive firepower without Metchie III, as well as if Bama’s defense can continue the hot streak they have been playing with. Here are my picks:

Alabama Money Line +125

This could end up being a trap, one that I have fallen victim to before. The line at Georgia -2.5 feels wrong. Based on everything that has unfolded recently, Bama should be the favorite in this game by about a FG.

Since they’re not, I’ll definitely take them at plus-money odds to win outright on the money line. This game is truly a toss up for me, and I probably would take Georgia if their money line price was plus money too.

QB Bryce Young torched the Georgia defense last time out, and it seems like the Alabama offense can operate while supporting the pass AND the run game as the primary force. I expect both teams to take their punches and I’m rooting for an ending like the last time these two teams played in a championship:

NFL Same-game PARLAYS: Week 18

All odds and props provided from FanDuel Sportsbook.

PIT vs. BAL (+575):

C. Claypool o50.0 rec yards

N. Harris u71.5 rush yards

T. Huntley o50.0 rush yards

Reflection: Claypool was utilized as a runner and had 33 yards (team leader) in that category to keep his total below 50. Other two were great hits. Tough loss.

CHI vs. MIN (+1141):

D. Mooney TD Scorer

K. Cousins u249.5 pass yards

MIN ML

Reflection: Well, MIN won and D. Mooney was active. He wasn’t active in the end zone however and ultimately K. Cousins finished with exactly 250 passing yards total, .5 above the prop. We don’t talk about those though since Mooney’s ruled it out anyways!

SF vs. LAR (+724)

G. Kittle TD Scorer

M. Stafford o277.5 pass yards

E. Mitchell o68.5 rush yards

NYJ vs. BUF (+876)

M. Carter o38.5 rush yards

S. Diggs u70.5 rec yards

D. Knox TD Scorer

NFL Week 18 (final week!) Bets, Previews, and more:

Three bets this week, feeling good about all of them. It’s the last week to shake up the draft order, which will cause a new, more accurate edition of my 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

DAL -4.5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

PHI has been a good team throughout this season, able to control most games with their league leading rushing attack (in terms of yards and rush TD’s), and could potentially be a team to upset someone in the playoffs. With that being said, they have yet to beat a team that’s currently above .500, and DAL is the best team in the league at covering the spread (meaning they can typically handle less talented teams).

Additionally, in today’s NFL I believe the team with a better passing offense has a better chance at winning games for a variety of reasons, and DAL has the better passing QB and WR’s in this matchup.

SEA vs. ARI o47.5 (-110)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Russ and co. are going to want to cook one last time before a potential off-season departure for the franchise QB. A game like this could turn into a shootout and both teams have the playmakers and QB’s to make it happen.

ARI offense has hit a wall lately, but they are still one of the most efficient teams in the NFL, and SEA will have a hard time forcing turnovers against them. It also makes an over easer to bet on when SEA is dead last in offensive turnover percentage, meaning their offense production is more ‘readable’ and ‘predictive’.

LAR -4.5

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I know all about the dominance of SF over LAR in their past six matchups, however I think this spread is an overreaction to recent games as well as over compensating for previous head to head trends.

As many games do, the difference in this spread covering or not could come down to turnovers. Both teams commit turnovers around the same rate, however LAR defense forces turnovers at a top ten percentage (12.9%), compared to SF who is 26th (8.7%).

Parlay:

LAR, LAC (+135)

‘Sharp’ bets to keep an eye on (but not my own):

GB vs. DET u43.5 (-115)

CHI vs. MIN u44.5 (-110)

CAR vs. TB u41.5 (-110)

NO vs. ATL u40.5 (-110)

NFL Week 7: Bets, Stats, Previews: Bengals vs. Ravens, Panthers vs. Giants and more

CAR -3 (-102)

I’m taking another FG favorite, and this time the biggest mismatch will be the CAR defense against the NYG offense. CAR ranks near the top in categories such as yards per play (5.2), scoring percentage (29.3%) and points per drive (1.68). Meanwhile, the NYG offense has 5.6 yards per play, 35.4% scoring and 1.74 points per drive. If it wasn’t for a OT win against NO, NYG would be winless on the season, and they’ll be without Saquon Barkley in this game who scored twice against NO in that upset.

Reflection: Sam Darnold is not a good NFL quarterback, and the CAR defense was massively inflated due to their easy schedule to start the season. NYG still aren’t a good football team, but I have bet on CAR twice this season and both times they have looked terrible.

CIN +6.5 (-110)

I am betting against a BAL team that outscored CIN a combined 65-6 in the two games last year, but the beginning of this season shows a much improved CIN defense that is able to give the offense enough opportunities to hit their home runs. The BAL offense is among the most dominant in the league, but there can be weaknesses in their pass rush and secondary on the other side of the ball. The only common opponent among the two this year is winless DET, and CIN handled them with much more ease than BAL did. I think the divisional underdog keeps it within a field goal, perhaps something like a 30-27 loss.

Reflection: Probably not a final score many saw coming, but CIN looks to be the real deal. The offense is fully capable of scoring with the best of them and the defense has been among the leagues most surprising this season. BAL didn’t put up much of a fight and now the AFC North looks open for potentially every team.

WSH vs. GB o48.5 (-110)

So far these two teams average out to surpass this total in their games’ combined scores this season. WSH does have enough of an offensive attack to put points on the board, but it has been their poor defense that has caused such high game totals. Their opponents average well over 30 points per game in their last five, and this GB team still has Rodgers and Adams at home where they continue to take care of the football and convert drives into points. Not quite a shootout, but a reasonable score could be 31-20 and we’ll take that.

Reflection: GB did their part, they scored when they had the chance thanks to Aaron Rodgers and company, but WSH was not able to do anything on offense despite GB being without four defensive starters. The WSH defense has not lived up to the hype coming into the season and perhaps their offense is feeling the weight of having a backup take all the snaps under center.

PHI vs. LV u49.0 (-110)

PHI has a very inconsistent offense, scoring on a relatively low 33.8% of their drives. On defense though, PHI has shined more than I expected. Against some of the best offenses (KC, TB, DAL) they broke down, but they have four straight games with a turnover and have not allowed 300+ yards passing in any game yet this year. LV will be looking to throw the ball more often than run, as they have only ran for 100+ yards once this year. I predict a teeter totter game ending somewhere along the lines of 27-20.

Reflection: I was right about the PHI offense, it is extremely inconsistent and they were out of this game before they even got their footing. LV has dealt with plenty of distractions in recent weeks but they showed up against a decent PHI defense and put up 33 points. A garbage time TD prevented this from going under and that has been PHI motto all year.

DET vs. LAR u50.5 (-110)

Forget about Jared Goff’s “revenge game”, DET hasn’t cracked 20 points in five straight games. We all know what the LAR offense is capable of; they own the first rated passing attack in the league at 8.6 NY/A. Couple that with going against the worst pass defense in the league in DET and this could become a very lopsided game, leading to a lot of bleeding clock and unmotivated drives. This game shouldn’t be close, no matter how you stack the pieces. Final score around the likes of 30-17.

Reflection: DET still hasn’t scored 20+ points in any of their last six games, despite showing some trick plays to get a head start early in this game. LAR are as good as any team in the league when they’re firing on all cylinders, and it was nice to see that their offense didn’t have a huge field day in terms of scoring points against a troublesome DET defense.

NFL Week One: Three Gotta See Bets

PIT ML (+265)

Most football fans won’t like this pick, but for some reason I can see a lot of value in PIT rallying behind a completely new offensive look and capitalizing on all of the mismatches they are able to create while on offense. BUF has struggled with run defense, and I firmly believe Najee Harris will cement himself as one of the most well rounded running backs in the entire NFL this season. BUF is legit, no doubt about that. But let’s not be so quick to rule out the team with a hall of fame coach, QB, and top five defense, especially with the amount of value we can get here.

TEN -3 (-105)

I was a bit confused to see such a small spread for this game. Last year TEN had one of the most efficient offenses led by Derrick Henry and AJ Brown, leading to the fourth highest scoring percentage in the league at 47.9% to pair with the leagues second best turnover percentage at just 7.2%. To make it better, they added one of the most generational talents the game will see at WR in Julio Jones. Maybe it takes a few weeks for everyone to gel together, but for now I have to assume that the offense is going to remain unstoppable when firing on all cylinders, similar to NFL.com writer Gregg Rosenthal.

WFT ML (+102)

The Washington Football Team surprised many people last year, including me. On a per drive basis, WSH was in + range for scoring percentage and points per drive, despite not having much of a consistent offensive approach. Ryan Fitzpatrick should have enough help on offense to be more explosive and rewarding than last year, and with their defense being among the leagues best, it’s probably only going to take a few trips to the end zone to determine the winner.

All stats/data pulled during my research comes from Pro Football Reference.

All odds are pulled from a variety of sources including but not limited to: DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, MGM.

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