With Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett already soaring up NFL Draft boards, it’s unlikely he even fall to the Steelers to begin with.
Pickett is a tremendous talent from the hometown Pitt Panthers, and while it’s easy for local fans to want the Heisman invitee to continue playing in the Burgh, it feels unlikely.
For one, just a few weeks ago it was reported that the Steelers preferred North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell to Pickett, in terms of NFL potential. While that’s hard to believe given we just saw the two players square off a little over a month ago, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert may know what he wants.
Incredible reporting just now from @RichieWalsh on the @PittsburghsCW Nightly Sports Call. He’s talked to a Steelers source who says the Steelers like UNC QB Sam Howell. And like Howell more than Kenny Pickett!!! I nearly fainted. Hope you’re watching.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) December 3, 2021
Colbert doesn’t have many Drafts left. Per Aditi Kinkhabwala, Colbert has stated privately that he’ll likely retire when Ben Roethlisberger does. That lines up this offseason as his last NFL Draft, potentially.
#Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has publicly said he likes being on one-year deals and less-publicly said he’ll retire when Ben Roethlisberger does. Well… the QB is back and so Colbert is too. Team announces the GM has signed a one-year extension, through the 2022 draft.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 15, 2021
Could Steelers pass on Kenny Pickett?
If the season ended today, the Steelers would select in the middle of the first round. Given how quickly quarterbacks usually fly off the board, it’d be a surprise if Pickett lasts until No. 15.
Now, Colbert could trade up, as he’s done in recent years for players like Devin Bush and for a proven talent like Minkah Fitzpatrick. But the Steelers hoard first-round selections, particularly because Colbert is confident in his ability to find talented players in the middle-to-late first round.
Unless Pickett takes a dive because of a bad Combine performance, he’s unlikely to make it out of the top-10. Pickett made the right call in returning to school for an extra season, and he has Peyton Manning to thank for that. In a weak quarterback class, Pickett is either the top quarterback selection, or at the very least a top-10 pick.
The Steelers won’t get him where they currently stand.