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NFL Draft 2017: Do The Pittsburgh Steelers Want Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer?

It totally doesn’t make sense for the Steelers to use a first-round pick on the former Irish quarterback. But, hey, it’s the Draft!

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It seems improbable that the Pittsburgh Steelers, one win removed from a Super Bowl appearance last year, would spend a first round pick on a quarterback they wouldn’t intend to use right away.

The NFL Draft has officially entered the Twilight Zone.

Charlie Campbell, a senior draft analyst at WalterFootball.com, reported Tuesday that the Steelers “have been asking around to other teams, trying to gauge where DeShone Kizer could be drafted and who could be interested in taking him. Pittsburgh has to start planning for the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger and it sounds as though Kizer is viewed as their developmental starter in waiting while Roethlisberger finishes out his career.”

What makes this report even more confounding is that the Steelers — who hold the 30th pick overall — haven’t had the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback in for a private workout.

Here’s who they have had in for a private workout, according to Walter Football:

Campbell explains:

The Steelers have tried to be discreet with their vetting of Kizer with offensive coordinator Todd Haley at the Notre Dame pro day rather than a big contingent of general manager, head coach, and other top executives. However, teams have told WalterFootball.com that Pittsburgh has revealed some nerves about Kizer not getting to their pick as they've asked around the league where he might go and what teams are interested in taking him.

So the Steelers were discreet in vetting Kizer but now they are calling teams trying to gauge where he’s going to go? That seems antithetical, right?

The Steelers greatest needs are at outside linebacker, cornerback, wide receiver and running back, according to CBS Sports and Rotoworld.

I believe my Steelers fanatic friend summarized it best:

Meanwhile, mock drafts continue to proliferate online. Of the 31 mock drafts released Tuesday, just seven had Kizer being picked by a team in the first round. As always, you can go here for all 270 (!) mocks I’m tracking. (Be sure to use the “Kizer” tab on the bottom to see them all.)

DeShone Kizer’s Position in Mock Drafts Released Tuesday

Draft analyst Publication Date of Mock Kizer at... Team
Draft analyst Publication Date of Mock Kizer at... Team
Brett Kollmann Battle Red Blog 4/25/2017 13 Arizona Cardinals
Carl Cockerham With the First Pick 4/25/2017 25 Houston Texans
Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 4/25/2017 25 Houston Texans
Joe Redemann numberFire 4/25/2017 25 Houston Texans
Doug Farrar Bleacher Report 4/25/2017 27 Kansas City Chiefs
Levi Damien Silver & Black Pride 4/25/2017 27 Kansas City Chiefs
Connor Hughes NJ.com 4/25/2017 30 Pittsburgh Steelers
Phillip Heilman The Florida Times-Union 4/25/2017 33 Cleveland Browns
Erik Lambert NFL Mocks 4/25/2017 34 San Francisco 49ers
Peter Schrager Fox Sports 4/25/2017 34 San Francisco 49ers
Eric Galko The Sporting News 4/25/2017 35 Chicago Bears
Steven Petrella Land of 10 4/25/2017 36 Chicago Bears
NFL Wire editors USA Today 4/25/2017 45 Arizona Cardinals
Andrew Norton Buccaneers.com 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Barry Wilner Associated Press 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
BGN community Bleeding Green Nation 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Brian Miller Phin Phanatic 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Casey Phillips Buccaneers.com 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Chris Boden CSN Chicago 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Dan Sager Behind the Steel Curtain 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Daniel Jeremiah NFL.com 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Daniel LeBaron Silver & Black Pride 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Jeff Spiegel Silver & Black Pride 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Joe Kania Buccaneers.com 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
John Harris Washington Post 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Kristopher Knox Bleacher Report 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Louis Kamberovski Local 4 / Click on Detroit 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
NFL Nation ESPN 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Peter King MMQB 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Richard Graves Sky Sports 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Scott Smith Buccaneers.com 4/25/2017 Not in the first round n/a
@andrewwinn

Here’s the QB board. The numbers represent their draft positions. (“xxx” simply means “Not in the first round, but no specific number given.)

@andrewwinn