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Best NFL Draft Fits for the Steelers at Quarterback

As we break down the NFL Draft one position at a time on the SCN Big Board, we will be highlighting specific players at each position for your beloved Pittsburgh Steelers!

This week, we released our initial quarterback rankings and analysis for the big board, and today, we are going to share with you our most ideal fits for the Steelers specifically. The quarterback position is not incredibly deep this year, and the prospects with first-round grades will likely be gone by the time the Steelers are on the clock, given the high demand for the position. Nonetheless, we will give you the top option for the Steelers in a trade-up scenario, at Pick 20, and in the mid to late rounds.

As always, be sure to share your thoughts on these prospects, and the NFL in general, in the comment section below.

Trade-Up Candidate

Jayden Daniels | LSU | 6’ 3”, 185 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Top 5
2023 Stats: Games 12, Comp 236, Att 327, Pct 72.2, Yds 3812, TD 40, Int 4, Rush 135, Yds 1134, Ave 8.4, TD 10.
Andrew Wilbar: Daniels caught my attention during the early portion of his time at Arizona State, and I fully expected him to develop into an early first-round prospect. However, I did not expect his collegiate career to become what it became. After struggling to develop at Arizona State, Daniels transferred to LSU for his final two years, taking his game to new heights and walking away with the Heisman Trophy this past season. Daniels has always had a strong arm and excellent mobility, but what he really improved on during his time at LSU was his accuracy. While he still struggles to get off his first read at times, he has learned not to force passes into traffic unnecessarily. I see a lot of Justin Fields in him, but don’t take that as a negative. Many of Fields’ struggles have been due to things he cannot control. Fit is such an important factor, and for Jayden Daniels’ sake, I hope he lands in a better spot than Fields landed.

At Pick 20

J.J. McCarthy | Michigan | 6’ 3”, 197 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Top 25
2023 Stats: Games 15, Comp 240, Att 320, Pct 72.3, Yds 2991, TD, 22 Int 4, Rush 64, Yds 202, Ave 3.2, TD 2.
Andrew Wilbar: Media personalities knock the fact that McCarthy did not do much to win Michigan’s big games, but at the end of the day, he didn’t need to, nor was he asked to. He did everything he was supposed to in order to put Michigan in position to win, even though it does not seem like much on paper. That aspect does not concern me. What concerns me the most, outside of his weird meditation routine, is his lack of touch on underneath and intermediate throws. McCarthy has a strong arm and a gunslinger mentality, but I would hate to be a running back trying to catch a swing pass out of the backfield from him. If he can learn the concept of touch, he will be a good passer at the next level. Despite not having an elite receiver or tight end, McCarthy was efficient in spreading the ball around to many different entities, making it difficult for defenses to defend. Yes, McCarthy has some mechanical issues, and he may not be ready to start right away, but for an inexperienced 21 year-old, he has done enough to warrant a first-round selection.

Late-Round Sleeper

Joe Milton | Tennessee | 6’ 5”, 244 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Mid 4th
2023 Stats: Games 12, Comp 229, Att 354, Pct 64.7, Yds 2813, TD 20, Int 5, Rush 78, Yds 299, Ave 3.8, TD 7.
Jeremy Betz: Joe Milton III is that guy in this draft. The passer who possesses all the physical tools and more to be a dynamic dual-threat QB in today’s game. The problem is he doesn’t always put those tools on tape. Milton’s arm is the strongest I’ve ever seen, and he can make any throw. He struggles mightily with consistency and accuracy, however, especially on short to intermediate throws in the middle of the field. He has an efficient, quick release but inconsistent footwork and poor anticipation often force him into bad throws. He needs some serious development as a passer, but the upside is there for him to be an elite NFL passer. At 6’4” and 244 lbs, Milton is closer to a Cam Newton or Josh Allen than he is to a Lamar Jackson as a runner. Operating best in an RPO scheme designed to stress defenses with the QB’s running ability, Milton is a bruising downhill runner with enough speed and quickness to break long gains into the secondary. A smart coaching staff will start there and allow Milton to refine his passing game over the first couple years of his career. An ideal stash and develop prospect, Milton could raise his draft stock with a strong offseason program and Combine.

What should the Steelers do?

I am rarely a proponent of trading up in the draft, and this year is no different, at least as it pertains to moving up for a quarterback. I like Jayden Daniels, but I think the best value the Steelers could get would be prying Justin Fields away from Chicago in the event the Bears select Caleb Williams. If the Steelers could get Fields for a second round pick combined with a Day 3 pick, I would give it strong consideration. However, I do not expect the Steelers to pursue a quarterback in the early round. I believe the most likely scenario is for the Steelers is to find a mid to late-round prospect and bring back Kenny Pickett and potentially Mason Rudolph.

Which quarterback do you think is a good fit for the Steelers? Be sure to share your thoughts on this and all things NFL Draft in the comment section below!


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