With the 2022 NFL Draft less than 10 days away, the anticipation builds as to who the Pittsburgh Steelers will take with the 20th overall pick. If we were to trace back their moves since the Senior Bowl in January, it becomes clear that the team is focused on finding their future franchise quarterback. Yet, one must consider the possibility that the quarterback they desire may not be there by the time they reach the Steelers' turn to pick. With this in mind, here are three candidates that could surprise Steelers fans.
Defensive Back Daxton Hill - Michigan
What is perhaps not known to many, is that the Steelers have made their need for a safety as much of a priority as their need for a quarterback. At this point, the team has not signed any during free agency, including the 2018 first-round pick, Terrell Edmunds. One of the names that have surfaced is Michigan standout Daxton Hill. Last season, Hill finished second on the team with 69 tackles, with 4.5 for loss and 8 pass breakups. With the ability to play at all positions in defensive backfield, including special teams, he would be an excellent fit in the secondary.
Safety Lewis Cine - Georgia
In keeping with the theme of safety, Georgia standout Lewis Cine has been on the Steelers' radar since their first meeting at this year's NFL Combine. At 6'1 and 200 pounds, Cine's size, speed, and physicality made him an integral part of the Bulldogs' top-rated defensive unit in 2021. Similar to Hill, Cine can play multiple positions in the backfield, including slot cornerback. His style of play would compliment that of All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, which could result in a formidable tandem.
Defensive Tackle Devonte Wyatt - Georgia
Let's face it, the Steelers' defensive line is an area that needs a lot of attention. Even with the return of Tyson Alualu, his age is an area of concern as he closes in on 35. All-Pro Cam Heyward is arguably the best interior defensive lineman in football, yet with Stephon Tuitt's future with the team in doubt, Heyward could use someone that could help him dominate inside. Enter Devonte Wyatt from Georgia. Last season, he and Outland Trophy winner Jordan Davis formed a dominant interior tandem that terrorized opposing offenses in college football. At 6'3 and 307 pounds, Wyatt is an incredibly athletic person for his size. At this year's NFL Combine, Wyatt registered an incredible 40' time of 4.77 seconds while posting a 29-inch vertical jump. Last season, the Steelers' defense was the worst at stopping the run, which should indicate that getting a defensive lineman like Wyatt is not out of the realm of possibility.