The Pittsburgh Steelers made a strong statement in the 2022 NFL Draft when they selected Kenny Pickett out of the University of Pittsburgh. The statement wasn’t just how they took the player who practiced right next door for five years, but also the fact the Steelers had all available quarterbacks open to them and they chose Pickett.
Pickett finds himself in a pretty good spot with the Steelers. With Ben Roethlisberger officially retired after 18 seasons, Pickett will be the next quarterback, and face of the franchise, in either 2022 or 2023.
A pretty good landing spot, most would assume, but not the folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF). No, in ranking the best landing spots/situations for the Top 5 quarterbacks in the 2022 draft, Pickett landing in Pittsburgh wasn’t considered the best.
Why? Well, see what PFF had to say about Pickett landing with the Steelers:
2. KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Even if the offensive line he’s getting thrown behind placed 26th in PFF’s final rankings last year, there are a number of reasons why this was still an ideal scenario for Pickett. The first is obviously comfortability. Pickett took 1,054 drop backs at Heinz Field for the Pittsburgh Panthers and earned an 85.5 passing grade (compared to a 73.6 on the road in college). The second reason is the Steelers’ revamped receiving corps, featuring Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens and Calvin Austin III. That has the potential to be the most dynamic group on this list. The final reason is stability. Now, that may not apply to offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who is on the hot seat after the way that offense performed last season, but it does apply to Mike Tomlin, who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The one worry is that Pickett’s 8.5-inch hands couldn’t have gone to a worse landing spot to alleviate the fumbling issues he showed in college. Every single team in the AFC North plays its games in cold-weather outdoor stadiums. And before you say, “he played there in college what’s the big deal?” understand that the latest game he ever played in Pittsburgh came in November and he’ll play six games later than that next season.
That’s right folks. The reason for Pickett not finding himself in the best landing spot is due to his hand size. Wondering how the Top 5 shook out, according to PFF? take a look below:
Top 5 QB landing spots
1. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
2. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans
4. Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots
5. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
When you look at the above quarterbacks, each player finds themselves in a unique situation. For Howell, he will be playing behind Carson Wentz, someone the Commanders traded with the Colts to get. Willis is behind entrenched starter Ryan Tannehill, and Zappe behind Mac Jones who is going into this second season as the starter. Ridder was the second quarterback taken in the draft, and might have as good a chance as Pickett to play. In Atlanta Ridder is behind Marcus Mariota, and would likely be in a similar situation as Pickett in Pittsburgh.
Most people love to bash the 2022 quarterback class, but only time will tell if any of these players will pan out and be regular starters in the NFL. In the meantime, Pickett, and all of his fellow quarterback classmates, will try to carve out their own niche in the NFL with their respective teams.
Do you think Pickett’s landing spot was the best? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the offseason.