3 Late-Round Picks the Steelers Can Make to Build Around a Rookie Quarterback

Larry Rupp
Three late-round picks the Pittsburgh Steelers can make to build around a rookie quarterback.
Three late-round picks the Pittsburgh Steelers can make to build around a rookie quarterback. / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in free agency to seemingly battle it out with three-year pro Mason Rudolph for the starting gig. The only problem is that neither signal-caller won a game during the 2021 season, which has to make fans worried about the direction of the team.

Pittsburgh's front office has a chance to enter a new era by drafting a top QB prospect with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and many mock drafts project that to happen. With that in mind, here's a look at three late-round picks the Steelers can make to build around a rookie starter.

Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft

1. Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor

Tyquan Thornton has become a rather recognizable name in this draft class after he put up a blazing 4.28-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine in March. Pair that with his 6-foot-3 stature and people begin to wonder why he is only expected to go in the third round. Thornton saved his best season for last with the Bears, posting 948 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns on 62 receptions during he 2021 season (14 games). The 21-year-old needs to add on some weight to compete with the toughness of NFL cornerbacks, but the raw potential is there. Thornton could be a rookie's go-to deep threat on offense.

2. Abraham Lucas, OL, Washington State

While the Steelers were sufficient at limiting sacks last season, it's worth noting that they averaged just 3.8 yards per rushing attempt (No. 28 in NFL). It wouldn't be surprising to see the front office add more offensive line depth in one way or another during this draft. Abraham Lucas out of Washington State is a name to keep an eye on given his mix of size (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) and experience starting. The Cougars standout appeared in 29 games over his final three college seasons and gave up only 4.0 sacks in that span (2,017 offensive snaps). Lucas could act as pass protection insurance in case an injury were to occur.

3. Jerrion Ealy, RB, Ole Miss

There's no doubt that starting running back Najee Harris exceeded expectations by racking up 1,667 yards from scrimmage in 2021. Pittsburgh is still in search of the perfect complementary back to pair with him, though. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada thrived during his time coaching at Maryland when he had a smaller back capable of lining up in multiple spots on the field. Jerrion Ealy showed flashes of that kind of versatility by tallying at least 700 rushing yards, 150 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns in each of his three college seasons. He could be the perfect late-round addition for a rookie QB in need of a reliable dump-off option.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.