Steelers 2021 mock draft: What if Ben Roethlisberger is done?

Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports)
Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers, 2021 NFL Draft, Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers, QB #7 Ben Roethlisberger. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 mock draft: What if Big Ben is gone?

After dominating them his entire Pittsburgh Steelers career, how ironic would it be if Ben Roethlisberger’s final NFL game was a devastating home loss to the Cleveland Browns?

The Steelers’ 2020-21 season is over, and they are now slated to pick 24th in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Could it not only be the end of their season but the end of an era?

Roethlisberger nearly thew 70 passes in the Steelers’ loss to the Browns, and as the agony of defeat set in, perhaps also the realization of what is to come did as well.

Roethlisberger has had an incredible NFL career since he was drafted in the vaunted 2004 class (Eli Manning, Philip Rivers). How would the Steelers move on?

The reality is, Pittsburgh is a team in need of a veteran presence at the QB position, and they would likely make some kind of move there for a bridge at the very least.

Barring any trades for veterans, however, here is what the first four picks of the Steelers’ 2021 NFL Draft class could look like if Roethlisberger decides to call it a career.

Steelers 2021 mock draft: 1st round

It’s a testament to the Steelers’ defensive front that the team was able to lose as talented of a player as Javon Hargrave in free agency and still finish the season with a whopping 56 sacks on the year.

That sack production is fairly well spread although TJ Watt and Stephon Tuitt finished in the double-digit tier with 15 and 11 respectively.

For teams in transition at the quarterback position like the Steelers, it’s almost a non-negotiable to find a way to strengthen a strength. One way to do that in the 2021 NFL Draft would be selecting Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon, a freakish athlete on the defensive front who was absolutely outstanding in 2020.

Nixon flew under the radar in his first season with the Hawkeyes (2019) as AJ Epenesa drew all of the NFL attention.

The Steelers’ defensive front would get a nice boost from having Nixon, who could use his quickness off the ball to absolutely destroy the interior offensive line as the other playmakers on Pittsburgh’s defensive front draw attention themselves.