NFL Rumors: 'A Lot of Chatter' Steelers Aren't Sold on Any QB Besides Kenny Pickett

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 22, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04: Kenny Pickett (8) quarterback of Pitt. during the ACC Football Championship game between the Pitt Panthers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on December 4, 2021, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.  (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly aren't "sold" on any of the 2022 NFL draft class' quarterbacks other than Pitt's Kenny Pickett.

ESPN's Matt Miller reported Friday there's "a lot of chatter" suggesting Pickett could remain in the city where he played college football, and Miller noted it's possible the team could select an offensive tackle if he's off the board at No. 20.

"In conversations with league sources this week, one told me that Pickett to the Steelers at No. 20 is the only Round 1 quarterback on which he would bet," Miller wrote.

It's been hard to get a firm grasp on where the top QB prospects will land because this year's class doesn't feature a surefire Pro Bowl signal-caller, but Pickett to the Steelers is the one link that's been consistent, likely because of the city connection.

Pickett is coming off a senior season with the Panthers in which he completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 13 games. He added 241 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.

Those numbers represented a vast improvement over his first four years at Pitt when he compiled a mediocre 39-25 TD-to-INT ratio, so whichever team ends up with the 23-year-old New Jersey native will be betting he'll continue that growth in the coming years.

"It's a crazy process," Pickett told reporters in March. "Every day I wake up and there's some news going on, guys getting traded. But I'll be right where I'm supposed to be at the end of April. So I'm excited to get there."

The Steelers took one step toward replacing longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger, who retired in January, when they signed Mitchell Trubisky in free agency.

Trubisky spent last season as the backup to Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills after four up-and-down years leading the Chicago Bears offense. In February, he told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler his time in Buffalo was a valuable learning experience.

"You can't be afraid to make mistakes," Trubisky said. "When guys are playing free, you can be at your best. I wanted to learn how [the Bills] helped Josh, and I saw that firsthand."

Trubisky will likely open training camp as the Steelers' No. 1 QB, which would create a pressure-free environment for Pickett to start his NFL career.

If he shines throughout camp and the preseason, it'll be possible for him to overtake Trubisky to win the starting job. If he needs development time, he can spend a season behind the former Bears starter, and the team can reassess the situation next summer.

There are other franchises still searching for a quarterback, so it's no guarantee Pickett will still be on the board at No. 20. If he is, it would be a surprise if the Steelers pass on him.


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