The Pittsburgh Steelers had seven draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and recent history has shown the organization isn’t as hesitant to play rookies as they had in previous years. While this might be more necessity than anything else, the Steelers have several players in their current rookie crop who could turn heads this season.
Let’s recap the team’s seven picks:
Round 1: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
Round 2: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Round 3: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Round 4: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
Round 6: Connor Heyward, TE/FB, Michigan State
Round 7: Mark Robinson, LB, Ole Miss
Round 7: Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State
When looking at the above draft picks, it is natural to wonder which player will win the team’s Rookie of the Year (Joe Greene Award) this season. A lot of factors come into play when considering this award being given to the team’s top rookie.
If Kenny Pickett is able to become the team’s starting quarterback at any juncture of the season there is a strong possibility he could win the award based on the importance of the position. The only thing, in this scenario, which would keep him from winning the award would be if he floundered at the helm of Matt Canada’s offense.
George Pickens has a strong case for the award regardless of who is the quarterback. If Mitch Trubisky or Mason Rudolph are throwing passes, Pickens’ overall skill and talent would be an attractive option in the passing game. The more involved Pickens becomes in the offense, the better chance he has at winning the award.
As for DeMarvin Leal, how much he plays as a rookie will likely depend on the return of Stephon Tuitt. If Tuitt comes back, and can play the way he did in 2020, Leal would be nothing more than a rotational player along the defensive line. This doesn’t mean he won’t provide value to the team, but it would be tough for him to find a way to winning the Joe Greene Award.
Realistically, Calvin Austin III is the only other player in the rookie class would could somehow find a way to win the award. It is a long shot, but if Austin provides dynamic playmaking ability throughout the 17-game regular season, he could turn heads to the point where voters feel he was the team’s best rookie.
Here at SB Nation our DraftKings Reacts poll asked die hard Steelers fans who they thought would win the Rookie of the Year in 2022, and it was a dominant response for the team’s 2nd Round pick, George Pickens.
Check out the percentages below:
Who do you think will win this rookie award for the Steelers in 2022? Let us know 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 through Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.