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Steelers land QB in new ESPN mock draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have hitched their wagon to quarterback Kenny Pickett for the upcoming season. Mitch Trubisky has been released, Mason Rudolph is headed to free agency and the endorsement of his head coach has Pickett on top at the start of the offseason.

But Pittsburgh needs more quarterbacks. You just cannot rule out the Steelers going after one of the top signal callers in the 2024 NFL draft. Pickett needs competition that won’t let him be complacent.

In the new mock draft by ESPN writer Field Yates, he decides that competition comes in the first round and comes in the form of Oregon’s Bo Nix.

Here’s what Yates had to say about the pick:

This one might be a surprise, as the Steelers have backed Kenny Pickett — whom they took at No. 20 two years ago — this offseason. But they also said they plan to add competition for him in the quarterback room. Quarterback picks in this range are often polarizing, but my fundamental mindset is the Steelers’ ceiling with Pickett under center is too low for a franchise with a standard that is not simply making the playoffs but making deep runs. Pittsburgh has lost five straight playoff games.

Nix blends sharp accuracy with some razzle-dazzle (something he has refined during his college career after transferring from Auburn) and an ability to quickly scan the field to deliver the right read. He set the FBS single-season record for completion percentage in 2023 at 77.4% while throwing 45 touchdown passes to three interceptions.

As a prospect, Nix checks most of the boxes. He’s a great athlete, had a strong arm and has been highly productive. However, the Oregon offense wasn’t exactly NFL caliber and Nix hasn’t really shown much in terms of going through reads and progressions.

We’ve talked about the Steelers bringing in a developmental quarterback via the draft and adding a veteran for the serious competition. If Pittsburgh can’t add a guy like Kirk Cousins or Justin Fields prior to the draft, look for the Steelers to focus on quarterback early.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire