The 2022 NFL Mock Draft cycle is bound to drum up some exciting, albeit worrisome, future times for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s simply because, for the first time in nearly 20 years, the franchise will be banking on someone not named Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. As a new era begins, where does Pittsburgh go in the 2022 NFL Draft? Who can you expect to see selected with their seven rounds of picks? And what names should you be on the lookout for? Here’s a complete 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-Round NFL Mock Draft
The Steelers currently own eight draft picks. Without a pick in Round 4, the Steelers hold two third-round and two seventh-round selections. However, their first pick is No. 20 of Round 1.
Round 1, Pick 20: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Is there a more perfect fit for this year’s draft than Kenny Pickett to the Steelers? I think not. With much to do about the 2022 NFL Draft class at quarterback, Pickett’s monumental surge to the top of the class is well documented. He’s accurate with the football and sharp with his reads.
Pickett is even more athletic than folks give him credit for. But one thing that makes him fit in with the Pittsburgh way of life is his toughness. Pickett is as gritty as they come, and he possesses every other quarterback intangible you could ask for from a first-round signal-caller. The new era in Pittsburgh begins with the same guy who’s already won the hearts of the Steel City during his five years at the University of Pittsburgh.
Round 2, Pick 52: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
If it wasn’t apparent all season long, it was incredibly visible in the Wild Card round against the Kansas City Chiefs: The Steelers need help in the secondary, and they needed it yesterday. During their national championship run, Derion Kendrick had a great season for the Georgia Bulldogs. He was sticky in coverage and routinely tasked with covering an entire side of the field against some top-notch competition.
Round 3, Pick 84: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
The Steelers need help at many places, and the offensive line is certainly one of them. Bernhard Raimann is next up with quarterback and cornerstone cornerback off the list. A big man with a mean finish, Raimann mauls defenders in the run game.
He proved time and time again that MAC defenders were no match for him, as he routinely found players to either block through the end zone or out of bounds. Raimann will plant defenders in the run game and is also sound in pass protection, where he’s capable of becoming a cornerstone piece.
Round 3, Pick 97: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
Pittsburgh could address wide receiver earlier in the 2022 NFL Draft, but taking Khalil Shakir with their second pick of the third round showcases how much value there is in this year’s receiver class. Shakir wins all over the field but dominates in the short to intermediate area. He owns a full route tree, plenty of speed and shiftiness, and presents a mismatch if he’s defended by linebackers. Finding ways to get him the ball will be integral.
Round 5, Pick 177: Sterling Weatherford, S, Miami OH
The wait is finally over for Pittsburgh. They get their next great Miami (OH) RedHawks player with a longer-than-normal last name. Sterling Weatherford is as experienced as they come and presents a high-upside prospect who should see action right away. Weatherford comes with a strong safety style in terms of how hard he hits and diagnoses plays but free safety coverage ability.
Other alternatives at No. 177: Nick Cross, S, Maryland; Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M; JT Woods, S, Baylor
Round 6, Pick 191: Kyle Philips, WR, UCLA
Pittsburgh shouldn’t be content with just one receiver from this class. As such, they go back to the well and grab UCLA’s Kyle Philips in Round 6. Philips is a terrific receiver with great speed. He is also a willing special-teams contributor, and not just as a return man — though that is where he could excel in Year 1. He owns sure hands, even better routes, and arguably Day 3’s best first step off the line of scrimmage in this receiver class.
Other alternatives at No. 191: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers; Emeka Emezie, WR, NC State; Reggie Roberson Jr., WR, SMU
Round 7, Pick 224: Ali Fayad, EDGE, Western Michigan
Back to the MAC, the Steelers add to their edge rotation with Ali Fayad. With their first pick of Round 7, Pittsburgh grabs an ultra-productive edge rusher with a great get-off. Fayad is a bit in between positions but has the versatility to potentially play as a down lineman or as a stand-up, off-ball defensive end. Fayad is as durable as he is talented when rushing the passer and comes with five years of starting experience at WMU.
Other alternatives at No. 224: Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB; Chris Allen, EDGE, Alabama; Mike Rose, LB, Iowa State
Round 7, Pick 240: Clarence Hicks, LB, UTSA
With their final pick in this 7-round mock draft, the Steelers grab an emerging talent and one of the most productive linebackers of this past college football season. Clarence Hicks did just about everything for UTSA in 2021. It didn’t matter whether it was rushing the passer, dropping back in coverage, or stuffing the run — Hicks did it all. He was our Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year for good reason. Hicks will have to add a bit of muscle to his frame, but he is built for this Steelers defense.
Other alternatives at No. 240: Kana’i Mauga, LB, USC; Olakunle Fatukasi, LB, Rutgers; D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State