Steelers Mock Draft 4.0: A Wide Receiver In Round One? Huh?

That was last week so of course the people of Pittsburgh and fellow Steelers fans have been up in arms since with questions continuing to grow about the status of Big Ben returning for another season, and if he does, if it will be with the Steelers. 

Of course it was downplayed afterwards, but we've seen the ol' "at this very moment currently as we speak because there is no other option to say, _________ is a member of _________" turn out to be a distant memory after said player is moved, cut, released not long after. 

March begins next week which means the real decision at the quarterback position for the Pittsburgh Steelers continues to approach quicker than their playoff runs have been the last two tries. I'm guessing we'll start to see more and more predictions of snagging best available QB at 24 or trading up to make a move for a guy in these next rounds of mocks. 

Let's take a look: 

CBS Sports(Trade) Mac Jones - QB, Alabama

"Maybe Big Ben returns for another season, maybe he doesn't. Either way, the Steelers are looking for their next franchise QB and will have to trade up to get him. Two decades ago Jones, a traditional pocket passer, would've been a top-5 pick. In 2021, he'll be valued less than the more athletic QBs in this class but has a chance to be as good if not better."

Right on cue. CBS predicting the Steelers will trade up with the Chargers to the 13th spot in round 1 and go from Big Ben to Big Mac. Wouldn't be a terrible spot for Jones to land. The offensive line is aging, but still has given up the fewest amount of sacks in the league since 2018. He'd have playmakers to get the ball to even if / when JuJu signs somewhere else with Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, and Eric Ebron still on the roster. Definitely would be interesting. 

Pro Football Network: Rashod Bateman - WR, Minnesota

"The needs keep piling up for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but one of the more underrated areas of concern is wide receiver. JuJu Smith-Schuster will almost certainly not be retained in free agency, and the only holdovers are Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington. All three of those receivers have starting experience, but by the same virtue, all three are lacking in certain areas and underwhelm as a collective unit.

Adding a glue guy like Rashod Bateman to an unstable receiving group could be what the Steelers need. Bateman has good size and athleticism, but beyond that, he’s one of the best route runners in the 2021 NFL Draft. Additionally, he has excellent toughness, instincts, and proactivity at the catch point."

Welp, right after I just listed a wide array of pass catchers still on the roster, PFN says the Steelers go WR with their first overall pick. I just don't see this. Sure, you can agree with his argument that those groups of receivers each have their flaws, but none more pressing than offensive line, extra pass rush, linebacker, and even corner. 

The Steelers are known for successfully hitting on WRs in the draft, but they haven't drafted a wide receiver in the first round since 2006 when they took Santonio Holmes. AB, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sander, JuJu, Claypool, Washington have all been 2nd or later. Wouldn't expect this to be the pick. 

NBC Sports: Amon-Ra St. Brown - WR, USC

"If JuJu Smith-Schuster does indeed move on from Pittsburgh this offseason, the Steelers can try to keep their draft magic going with St. Brown, an overlooked but intriguing option at wideout."

What the hell is going on? Did everyone get together and make WR to the Steelers in round one the consensus theme this week? There's just no way Pittsburgh takes a WR round one especially if Najee Harris or one of their top lineman are available. 

Bleacher Report: Jaelan Phillips - Edge, Miami

"The Pittsburgh Steelers won't replace (or find a successor for) Ben Roethlisberger this late, nor will they likely replace retired center Maurkice Pouncey this early. They also might survive the potential loss of left tackle Alejandro Villanueva by bringing back underrated offensive line options Zach Banner and Matt Feiler, so we're going to hit the defense instead of the less-robust offense.

There's a good chance they won't be able to afford to retain No. 2 pass-rusher Bud Dupree, so Phillips makes a lot of sense here. The Miami product is extremely physical and sports an impressive motor and the numbers to back it up. There are those aforementioned concerns about his injury history and background, but the ceiling is extremely high for a player who registered 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks last year in the ACC."

Finally we've returned from wide receiver la la land. Could absolutely see this being the pick at 24. Good value at a position that's always of need especially with a double digit sack guy in Bud Dupree leaving in free agency. 

NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah: Jalen Mayfield - OT, Michigan

"The Steelers will be restructuring the offensive line this offseason with center Maurkice Pouncey retiring and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva potentially departing in free agency."

Can always rely on DJ to drop some knowledge. Mayfield is relatively young in terms of experience (only a redshirt sophomore), but some youth is exactly what this Steelers o-line needs. Would love to have Mayfield (or whatever top left tackle they take) and Kevin Dotson (last year's 4th round pick) lining up on the left side of that line together for years to come.