On the first day of the 2022 NFL draft, Kenny Pickett was the first quarterback drafted 20th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pickett played his college football at Pitt, which shares a facility with the Steelers. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert saw Pickett daily, which aided their decision.
NFL insider Peter Schrager said on Good Morning Football if the Steelers passed on Kenny Pickett, it would've been an indictment on the Pitt quarterback. Schrager said:
“Pickett went to Pittsburgh. And if he didn't go to Pittsburgh at 20, and they took another quarterback? I think it would have been a major red flag. It would have been an indictment against Pickett. They've watched him every day in practice. They share a building. It actually turned out to be the greatest asset that they actually knew the competitor they were getting. I was on the set with Eisen there. We're talking to Mike Tomlin and the thing he kept on saying was competitor, competitor.
Schrager then brought up a quote from Colbert, who said the Steelers' search for Ben Roethlisberger's successor led them down multiple avenues, but they took the quarterback from their backyard. Schrager said:
"This is the advantage of having Pickett in that building. They could see how he handles the staff at the facility. They could see how he handles post-practice, walking in the hallways, walking into the building. There’s a great quote, I think it was Kevin Colbert, who said ‘We went around the globe, but we found what we're looking for at-home.’ And it was basically right under their nose. I want to see Pickett go and win that job over Trubisky.”
Kenny Pickett will battle Mitch Trubisky for starting QB job
Despite being a premium first-round draft selection, there's no guarantee Kenny Pickett will be the team's Week One starter.
Pickett will have to beat out Mitch Trubisky, who the Steelers gave a two-year contract to at the start of free agency. Tomlin isn't ruling out that possibility, telling the media Pickett has a chance to win the job.
Pickett's development will be paramount to the Steelers competing with the rest of the AFC North. In a division with Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Deshaun Watson, excellent quarterback play from the Steelers is vital.
The Steelers have a young roster, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, which is the lower-paid in the NFL.
With Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, and second-round pick George Pickens, the offense is locked and loaded but needs competent quarterback play to be a playoff threat.