With the dust on the 2022 NFL Draft settled, it is now time for everyone associated with the draft to think back on the three day process and evaluate what went right, and wrong, for all 32 NFL organizations.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they didn’t hide their desire to draft a quarterback, but no one knew they would have their choice of signal callers at pick No. 20. As we know now, the team took Kenny Pickett out of the University of Pittsburgh with that pick, and in a recent ESPN article which interviewed Power 5 coaches, they agreed with the fact Pickett was the cream of the quarterback crop in 2022.
When it came down to it, the coaches agreed the right quarterback came off the board first. Here is what they had to say:
Coaches said a lack of size also hurt this year’s quarterback draft class. They felt the right quarterback went first in Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, who will stay in the same city and facility with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who selected him No. 20 overall.
“Pickett was by far the one true NFL guy,” a Power 5 coach said Friday. “I don’t think the rest of them are first-round guys. It would have been a stretch.”
“Super-competitive guy, playmaker,” an ACC coach added of Pickett. “He’s tough and obviously, being at Pittsburgh will be good for him. He does fumble a lot, and that’s probably the one thing that could get him.”
Shockingly, the coaches went on to suggest the quarterback they deemed to be the best after Pickett wasn’t Desmond Ridder, the next quarterback selected in the third round by the Atlanta Falcons, but Matt Corral, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round.
According to the coaches, the biggest surprise wasn’t Pickett going in Round 1, or Ridder, Corral and Malik Willis going in Round 3. Instead, it was Sam Howell out of the University of North Carolina not going until the 5th Round to the Washington Commanders.
“I was more impressed with Kenny Pickett, but Sam Howell makes enough throws, has enough competitiveness, and he’s got enough of a frame even though he’s not tall and big,” an ACC defensive coordinator said. “He’s put together and can take a hit. He’ll be able to stay in the NFL for several years.”
Reading these comments solidifies the fact this quarterback class wasn’t strong, but if you follow things closely you will see how the Steelers got the one player almost everyone considers to be the lone first round talent, and most NFL ready, of the entire class.
Some consider this to be a cut on Pickett, but the Steelers absolutely saw the board fall their way by not having to trade up to get their guy in Round 1.
Will Pickett be the Week 1 starter for the Steelers? It isn’t impossible, and something head coach Mike Tomlin has said is a possibility since the team drafted him. However, the open competition will begin in Organized Team Activities (OTAs), continue into minicamps, training camp and finish in the preseason.
For the first time in a long time, Steelers fans have to be extremely excited to see how the NFL preseason plays out for their favorite team. With Mitchell Trubisky on board, as well as Mason Rudolph, the Steelers have plenty of options at quarterback. The hope is one distinguishes themselves throughout the process.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason and get ready for training camp.