2022 NFL Draft: Steelers select Kenny Pickett with 20th pick
Panthers quarterback Pickett is staying in Pittsburgh, after the Steelers took the 23-year-old in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday.
Unlike in 1983, when Dan Marino ended up at the Miami Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t pass on a Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback in the NFL Draft. With the 20th pick in Thursday’s first round in Las Vegas, the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett.
Pickett the sole QB pick in 2022 Draft first round
Pickett was the only quarterback to go on the first day of the 2022 Draft; the likes of the Liberty Flames’ Malik Willis, the Mississippi Rebels’ Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder of the Cincinnati Bearcats are still to be snapped up ahead of Friday’s second round.
Following in Big Ben’s footsteps
The Steelers had not recruited a QB in the first round of the Draft since their 2004 decision to choose Ben Roethlisberger, who retired from the NFL at the end of the 2021 season, having established himself as a franchise legend.
Speaking after the Steelers’ pick was confirmed, Mike Tomlin, the team’s head coach, said that Pickett will compete for the starting spot with Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph in 2022.
Meanwhile, general manager Kevin Colbert expressed his surprise that the 23-year-old was still available after the first 19 selections.
Pickett’s Panthers record
Pickett spent five years in college football, appearing in 52 games for the Panthers and throwing for 12,303 yards, 81 passes and 32 touchdowns, with a 62.4% pass-completion rate.
2021 was Pickett’s best season: the quarterback won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and was named ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. He also finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, behind fellow QB Bryce Young and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.