Skip to main content

Mel Kiper Jr. Names 1 QB Steelers Should Draft In 2021

A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet sitting on the field.

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 01: A detailed view of a Pittsburgh Steelers helmet before their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

With quarterback uncertainty abound in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are diving head first into this offseason's QB pool.

Longtime Steel City quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, nearly 39, is heading into the final stages of his career. With backups Delvin Hodges and Josh Dobbs on expiring contracts, the Steelers were forced to look elsewhere to supplement lone second-stringer Mason Rudolph. In January, the front office signed failed Washington QB project Dwayne Haskins to evaluate his future potential.

According to NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., this isn't enough to solve the Steelers' QB situation. The ESPN personality believes now is as good a time as any to pull the trigger on a quarterback with a first-round draft pick.

With the 24th overall selection, Pittsburgh will almost certainly miss out on top tier QB options Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones. North Dakota State standout Trey Lance, who played in just one game in 2020, could potential fall this low -- but even that is unlikely.

Still, Kiper believes this class is deep enough for the Steelers to find their guy. The veteran draft analyst thinks former Georgia/Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman is the best bet.

"Once you know you have the guy, you're set for a long, long time," Kiper said. "You're ahead of everybody else in the league. Look at all the teams that are changing. If you can find that guy, you're in really good shape.

"If I'm looking at the quarterbacks this year for the Steelers, if I can't get one of those five -- I'm not really in a position to trade up to get one, unless Trey Lance drops down -- then I would think Newman. Newman would be an interesting guy for them in maybe late second, third round."

In 2019, Newman threw 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns through 12 games with the Demon Deacons. In 2020, the 6-foot-4, 230 lbs quarterback then transferred to Georgia for a chance to play in the SEC. Before he could get any time on the field, Newman opted out of the COVID-19 season.

Kiper recognizes the risk of drafting a player who hasn't seen the field in over a year. But, he still believes Newman is worth a shot.

"He goes to the Senior Bowl practice and he was all over the place -- he was all over the place with throws, he's inconsistent -- but he was rusty," Kiper said. "Here's a kid with talent. Didn't play this year. He would be the kind of guy you roll the dice on, Jamie Newman.

"Thinking that ‘Hey, this is a guy we're getting at a bargain point in the draft, maybe third, fourth round, who didn't play, and if he played well at Georgia probably would've been a first- or second-round pick.'"

What will the Steelers' depth chart look like in 2021?