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The PFF team discusses the Pittsburgh Steelers selection of Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett at No. 20 in the 2022 NFL Draft.
- It's Kenny--
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: They took--
- It's Kenny Pickett.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Yeah.
- They took Kenny Pickett at number 20--
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Doesn't surprise me.
- --overall. I really did-- I thought it was going to be Malik Willis. I really did think that it was going to be Malik Willis up until--
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Good for them.
- --maybe the last couple of days when I saw that. And Pickett ends up being QB1 off the board. First quarterback doesn't go off the board--
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: Till pick 20.
- --until pick number 20.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: The biggest party in the history of the draft is going on in Kenny Pickett's house right now.
- Oh, of course!
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: He's going to a--
- Of course!
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: --team that has that kind of defense. He doesn't even have to move out of his college dorm. He can just stay right there.
- I hope he's moving out of his college dorm!
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: It's unbelievable.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: He doesn't have to.
- Right. He doesn't have to. Flexibility is good. It's a good thing.
OK, Mike, talk to me. Where did Kenny Pickett rank in the QB rankings? What kind of a quarterback is Pittsburgh getting here?
- Yeah, we had him as QB4, 42nd player overall. Obviously took an unprecedented jump. Like, we talk about Joe Burrow's jump, but he only had one year as a starter prior. Kenny Pickett at three years starting before this past year, where he never broke 75.0 overall grade. This past year, 92.2, consistent game in and game out.
And when you hear or just think of Kenny Pickett and who he is, you think of this pocket passer, or how he's been billed, but he's really not. He's more of this kind of freelancing playmaker, who is not like a Mac Jones coming out last year, who's going to operate your offense to a T. No, he's going to be late to some throws. He is going to be the guy that makes plays outside the pocket and use his legs. I mean, that fake slide that he had in the bowl game, or was it the conference championship game, it came on a 58-yard touchdown run. He can actually get outside the pocket and create on his own like that.
But to me, I keep going back to this, 3.19-second average time to throw, second highest in the country. Behind that Steelers offensive line, that's going to have to speed up by about a full second next year. He just played with too much time, played a little too freelancey for my liking to really get on board with him. And he's 24 years old. He is an old guy that should have the little things of the position down pat, and he really doesn't at this point.
- I'm sensing--
- I think you're spot on with what Kenny Pickett is, and he's not a-- he's kind of a pocket passer, but he really is a scramble, freelance guy. I think his processes can get-- the wires can get tangled a bit, and he's going to leave the pocket. And I just wonder if you're that guy, as a quarterback, that's your playstyle. Playstyle doesn't really change that much for quarterbacks. And if that's who you are, but you don't have any elite traits, like a huge arm, like insane accuracy, or legs to scramble at the NFL level, what really are you? That's my concern.
- Who's the better quarterback that's on the roster right now? Because they have Mitch Trubisky as well.
- I don't know. That's tough.
- Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph. Obviously, Kenny Pickett's going to get to start if you're drafting him this highly.
- Have to. Have to.
- I'm really surprised that they didn't go Willis, though. I do think that it looked obvious that Tomlin was really interested in Willis in this process. Everyone you talk to, you hear about Tomlin and his interest in Willis. To go Pickett here is a bit wild to me.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH: There's-- the mobility of Pickett definitely played into this, because the one thing that Pittsburgh did not want to get themselves locked into was another static quarterback that was just going to stand there in the pocket. This-- I think they can train Pickett to get the ball out faster probably sooner than they could get Malik Willis ready to take over the offense for this season. So they probably just went stopgap. They probably just went with somebody who's ready.
- It's really interesting, because they're something like 8 to 1 to win the AFC North, right? And do they think that they're going to be competitive this year? This division, with the Ravens stocking up again, the Bengals being a Super Bowl contending team, and then obviously, the Browns with Deshaun Watson, a quarterback kind of starting over would be a smart move for them.
- Last thing we have to figure out about Kenny Pickett, hand size. This is a real thing. 8 and 1/2-inch hands. He has the smallest hands of any starter in the NFL--
- That is wild--
- --smallest hands of any--
- --that a quarterback with that small of hands just went as QB1 in the draft.
- And not only QB1, too, literally the worst division in football to go to for this, because every single stadium is outdoors in cold weather. And yes, he played there in college, but the NFL ball is a touch bigger than the collegiate ball. And you play in December. You play in January. That is when you have to win, quite literally, to go to the Super Bowl. So that would be worrisome to me, because he did have fumbling issues at Pittsburgh, despite everyone saying he played with that, he also had fumbling issues playing with those gloves. So that to me, I just don't--
- Go ahead, [INAUDIBLE].
- Yeah, in games with any level of precipitation in his career at Pittsburgh, a sub 38.0 PFF grade. And then you saw day two, I think, at the Senior Bowl, it rained a little bit. You saw accuracy kind of jump up.
And the ball is bigger. And that's going to be a concern. He's obviously going to be wearing two gloves his entire career.
We talked to Brady Quinn a little bit-- obviously, former quarterback, former Golden Domer as well-- at the combine. He says, the gloves help with the grip strength, obviously, and him playing with the gloves is going to be a positive, but that's not necessarily-- the rain and the weather is going to be a huge factor.