Who will the Pittsburgh Steelers select with their last pick in NFL Draft?
Picking at the very end at the NFL Draft, teams are more likely to take a chance on guys they think can develop as backups in their system. The Steelers have two selections this year in Round 7, spending their first pick of the round on pass rusher Victor Ochi of Stony Brook.
Despite not needing a starter or even a number two guy, the Steelers could still draft a quarterback with their last pick in the 2016 Draft. Mike Vick will not be returning as the mulls the decision to bring back Bruce Gradkowski, who is recovering from surgery. The team has also explored bringing in veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer as a backup. Hoyer started nine games for the Texans last season and has visited the Jets and Broncos as well, two teams looking for starting quarterback.
If the Steelers pass on Gradkowski and Hoyer signs elsewhere, quarterback Cody Kessler out of Southern Cal could be their pick at 246 overall. Kessler was a three year starter for the Trojans, leading them to the Pac-12 title game his senior season. USC was thought to be an afterthought in the Pac-12 in 2015 with the firing of Steve Sarkisian and injuries along the offensive line. However, the Kessler and his teammates rallied to win the Pac-12 South.
One of the most accurate quarterbacks in this draft, he completed 67.5% of his passes and threw only 19 interceptions in his career. Playing around high level talent at USC, Kessler benefited greatly putting up 10,000 passing yards and 88 touchdowns. He is able to get the ball out of his hands quickly and climb in the pocket when pressured.
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Despite being a highly regarded quarterback, Kessler is a projected late round pick due to his size and concerns with his arm strength. He was a great game manager at USC, but never wowed or showed he could carry a team on his own, relying on his star playmakers. Kessler has also struggled throwing the deep ball for much of his college career.
Drafting a quarterback like Kessler will not end the Steelers search for the eventual replacement for Big Ben. However, with time developing in Todd Haley’s system, he could push Landry Jones for the backup job.