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A Letter From the Editor: When it comes to rookies, who cares about ceilings and floors

Everyone is obsessed with ceilings and floors anymore...

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

If you were someone who didn’t follow the NFL at all, especially the NFL Draft, and just listened to some of the pundits talk, you would be mighty confused.

You’d hear talk about tangibles and intangibles.

Measurables and draft stock.

But what has become a very common saying in the draft realm these days is all about ceilings and floors.

No, I’m not Bob Vila, I’m talking about how all these “experts” with the draft talk about a player’s maximum potential as their ceiling, and their absolute worst as their floor.

To be honest, talking about a player’s overall potential is nothing new in the NFL, and especially in the draft, but what is genuinely new is how these “experts” are putting caps on how these young players’ careers could ever develop.

The perfect example is when you hear any number of draftniks talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers 1st Round pick of Kenny Pickett.

“Pickett’s ceiling is probably Kirk Cousins.”

Now that expert is a dual threat expert considering he was able to take Pickett’s potential and also merge it with a player comp (comparison).

“Pickett has the highest floor of the 2022 quarterback class.”

This expert is essentially saying Pickett stinks the least entering the NFL compared to the likes of Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis, Matt Corral and others.

“Pickett might have the highest floor, but the lowest ceiling of the entire group.”

These are the experts who like to somehow span Pickett’s entire career, and overall potential in one sentence. All without him ever playing a single snap in the NFL.

These are all fictitious expert statements, but if you follow the draft closely you might have thought these were quotes from actual draft articles. Some might have even come from this very website.

But this is also the problem I have with this verbiage being used. How can anyone, especially someone who hasn’t seen Pickett practice and play every game in college, tell anyone what his maximum potential could be in the NFL? You think when Tom Brady was selected in the 6th Round someone said his ceiling is Mark Malone? I know for certain it wouldn’t have been Joe Montana.

This is where the entire draft “season” frustrates me. These players are being drafted by a new team, a new offensive system and new teammates. In most cases, all of the above are steps up compared to their college careers. If you use the Pickett example again, he is joining the Steelers who should have a better offense, a system which he should be comfortable with and a very talented offensive roster, who’s to say what his ceiling can be?

In a world where everyone wants to be right, and even wants to somehow prove they predicted the future, I’m going to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the Steelers rookie quarterback. In fact, I’ll take that approach for all of the Steelers 2022 NFL Draft class. After all, players can change, they can find a good landing spot and, believe it or not, they can improve their game.

So for me, I’ll leave the ceiling and floors to contractors, and rather just sit back and watch how these young players develop in the league.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor feature runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)