The Steelers may not be in the market for a quarterback at the moment, but the 2023 NFL Draft class is promising.
The Steelers just took Kenny Pickett in the first round of this previous draft, so jumping ship from him after this season is very unlikely. Even if he comes in and plays terribly, the coaching staff will probably stick with him for at least another season. With that said, stranger things have happened in the NFL and if you can improve your team, you go ahead and do what it takes.
This quarterback class for the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft seems like it could be filled with first-round talent when the event rolls around. There are a lot of players entering this college season with many aspirations of becoming the top dog of this class. If all these players, including honorable mentions, have great seasons then there could be five or more quarterbacks that go in the first round.
CJ Stroud would make sense for the Steelers, but it is unlikely
CJ Stroud might be the best overall quarterback prospect heading into this season. It is close between him and the next player listed below. It is more of what you want in your quarterback now than who has been the best player. Stroud would only make sense for the Steelers if the team had a top-five pick in 2023.
This Ohio State player has taken over the reins for Justin Fields with ease and had a breakout performance in 2021. He is primed for another big year that could land him into the Heisman talks with the great receiving group that his college currently has on the roster . All the pressure will be on him to perform, and Stroud should be the first quarterback taken off the board if his swan song is as good, if not better than his first performance.
Bryce Young could emerge as the top dog in this class
Bryce Young and Stroud are almost interchangeable right now when you look at most quarterback rankings for the upcoming NFL Draft. The issue with Young, when compared to Stroud, is the size differential, and many NFL teams do take stock in that aspect of things during their evaluation process. This player would be a nice fit with the Steelers in their current offensive scheme under Matt Canada.
One thing that Young has now that most others do not in this class is big game moments on his resume. He has not won a National Championship as a starter at Alabama for now, but that could change this year. He has already won the Heisman trophy and will be aiming to end his glorious collegiate career with a ring on his finger that he won as the starting quarterback.
Will Levis needs to prove that last season was not a fluke
Will Levis is the highest ranked senior quarterback on this list, and he came out of nowhere in 2021. Both he and Kentucky had a resurgence together after Levis transferred from Penn State after being a backup there. The offensive scheme was perfect for him and that led to him being one of the top quarterbacks in the nation last season.
Repeating what he did last year will be tough as his offensive coordinator from 2021 has gone onto another opportunity but was replaced by an NFL-level coach. Levis is a Tim Tebow kind of player that is not afraid to make contact while running with the ball, but he has better throwing mechanics.
This player could be a top pick in the draft or fall to a later round if he cannot repeat like last season. He also likes mayonnaise way too much and that should be a major knock on him.
Tanner McKee could be a fast riser come draft time
Tanner McKee is getting a lot of hype as the college football season is about to kick into high gear. He started for Stanford for the first time last season and had a good start at the helm. It was just the beginning and many thought that he could become the best mechanical quarterback in this class with a full season at his grasp.
Right now, this prospect is all based on the idea that NFL clubs could turn his stature and mechanics into a high-level NFL quarterback. He could end up like the current Steelers quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, if he cannot develop further. That works out sometimes, but he still needs to put up some monster numbers against some poor defenses in the PAC-12 conference. He is a name to monitor as many teams are looking for developmental guys to sit behind their starters to learn and grow.
Anthony Richardson is a physical freak that could put up monster numbers
Anthony Richardson is one of the most physically gifted dual-threat quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. He has shown a lot of promise before he suffered a setback with a knee injury. He is on track to return this season and that should allow him to show scouts how he can play against top level defenses in the SEC every week.
The stats both rushing and throwing the ball are about even regarding his yards gained. Richardson needs to show more in the passing game, or he might start looking like a prospect that the Steelers were interested in this past draft, Matt Corral. This season could make Richardson a stud or a dud, depending on what kind of offense he can produce.
Honorable mentions for this quarterback pool in 2023
Tyler van Dyke, QB, Miami
Tyler van Dyke is getting a lot of media attention heading into the 2022 season for the Miami Hurricanes. He fits the old type of quarterback style of staying in the pocket and letting the ball loose. He also fits the mold that most NFL teams look for in a franchise quarterback in terms of size and stature. He needs to put up better numbers this season as last year was a good start.
Jaren Hall, QB, BYU
This is another player who needs to use his previous year as a stepping stone towards greater things. He took over for Zach Wilson and did an admirable job and showed the ability to use his legs. Hall will need to show more with a lower tier of competition that BYU plays and since he is undersized for the NFL level.
Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
Spencer Rattler was the talk of the 2022 NFL Draft at this point last year and he had a quick fall from grace. Many thought that he could replicate what Kyler Murray was, but that did not work out and he transferred to South Carolina. He has a good skillset that should allow him to bounce back. If he can put up big numbers in the SEC this season and make that program competitive, he could get into the first-round conversation.
The Steelers seem like they are in good shape with Kenny Pickett for now. Quarterback might not be high on their to-do list next offseason, but the draft could be stacked with first-round talent.