The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an up and down season so far in 2023, and they have a lot of question marks surrounding second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett. He has had his clear struggles so far in his career, but he was playing well ever since the Steelers fired Matt Canada up until he suffered an ankle injury. It’s unclear if the Steelers will decide to draft a quarterback in the 2024 draft, but analyst Emory Hunt acknowledged that the Steelers will have many options to improve their quarterback room through the draft, in free agency or the trade market.
Steelers Could Land Jayden Daniels In 2024 NFL Draft
Jayden Daniels played college football at Arizona State before transferring to LSU before the 2022 football season. Similar to Joe Burrow, Daniels also excelled once he arrived in Baton Rouge. He had a great season in 2023 and won the Heisman Trophy while being named the AP College Football Player of the Year. He has vaulted over the younger quarterback prospects like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, and his draft projection is a little cloudy right now. Hunt spoke about this, and other options for the Steelers at quarterback in 2024.
“Before everyone got on board with what I was talking about in the summer, Jayden Daniels would have been perfect for Pittsburgh and where they were going to be projected to pick. That was going to be my surprise first-round pick. But I’ve got some options. What if Chicago wants to move off of Justin Fields? That’s an option. How about Spencer Rattler? On maybe Day 2? Rattler makes a lot of sense. Or, how about America’s quarterback? Jameis Winston could give them what they want in a capable back-up who can also start.”
It’s unclear where the Steelers will be picking in the 2024 NFL Draft, but it is likely it will be somewhere in the mid to late teens. If they find a way to make it into the playoffs, the earliest they’ll be picking is the early 20s, barring a deep playoff run. Daniels will probably be gone by then, but the Steelers could trade up if they really like him, and there is always a possibility that he will fall in the draft. The question is whether or not the Steelers want to use another first-round pick on a quarterback.
The Steelers selected Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and it is still unclear whether or not he is the future of the franchise. Knowing the Steelers and how they operate, they will not want to move on from Pickett after just two seasons. Especially when the majority of that time was tainted by Canada being the one calling the plays, and the entirety of Pickett’s first two seasons being were spent running the same schemes and concepts from Canada’s predictable offense.
It has been a small sample size, but Pickett had looked a lot better now that the Steelers parted ways with Canada. The stats haven’t been spectacular, but he has looked more confident, efficient and precise in the passing game. The likelihood that the Steelers spend another high pick on a quarterback is very slim, and if they wanted to bring in a new face to the quarterback room it is more likely it would be someone like Justin Fields or Jameis Winston.
The Chicago Bears could look to move on from Fields during the offseason. He has had three seasons to show he is their franchise quarterback, and it doesn’t seem he has done that so far in his career. The Bears will also be picking at the beginning of the first round, and will have a shot at selecting one of the top quarterback prospects in 2024. The Steelers should call Chicago if they make Fields available, as he will likely cost them a second or third-round pick.
Winston is also an option for the Steelers, as he will be a free agent following the conclusion of the 2023 NFL season. He would be cheap, but would probably only be an option if the Steelers part ways with Mitch Trubisky. The Steelers could benefit from both Fields and Winston, as both quarterbacks would be good competition for Pickett and both players have the ability to start.