With the 2021 NFL regular season now starting to wind down, it’s slowly becoming mock draft season once again, and that means it’s time to start passing along the early predictions from the major media draftniks. Tuesday morning, Todd McShay of espn.com released his first mock draft of the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he has the Pittsburgh Steelers projected to pick 12th overall, and selecting Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Here is what McShay wrote about his mock selection for the Steelers:
The wait is over: A quarterback finally comes off the board, and Pittsburgh gets its pick of the top prospects. Ben Roethlisberger is likely in his final season, and his predecessor is not currently in the building. The Steelers’ offense has playmakers, but it needs someone who can distribute them the ball as the team tries to stay competitive in an AFC North division stacked with young franchise QBs. Pickett moves through his progressions and gets the ball out quickly, and he has the class’ best combination of pocket awareness, accuracy and decision-making — which I think are the three most critical traits when projecting a quarterback forward to the NFL.
During the 2021 season, Pickett completed 334 of his 497 total pass attempts for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. For his five seasons at the University of Pittsburgh, Pickett completed 1,045 of his 1,674 pass attempts for 12,303 yards, with 81 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.
Picket is listed at 6’3″, 220 pounds on the Pittsburgh website. He is 23 years old, and his birthday is in early June.
The last time the Steelers selected a quarterback in the first round of an NFL Draft was in 2004 when they picked Ben Roethlisberger at 11th overall. The last time the Steelers drafted any quarterback was in 2018, when they selected Mason Rudolph in the third round.
In total, McShay has five quarterbacks being selected in the first round as part of his first mock draft for 2022. Pickett is the first quarterback he has being drafted.
We’ll likely see Pickett and a few other quarterbacks mocked to the Steelers in the first round between now and the actual draft, especially if 2021 winds up being the final season for Roethlisberger. That said, there have been a few reports from Jay Glazer over the course of the last several weeks that include him stating that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t interested in starting over with a rookie quarterback once Roethlisberger’s time in Pittsburgh is up.
The 2022 quarterback draft class isn’t a great one, and Pickett could indeed wind up being viewed as the top member of it come the start of the draft. We’ll absolutely have several more scouting reports on Pickett and other quarterbacks in this year’s draft class during the offseason. We already have a few game-specific profiles done on Pickett, and you can view those at the links below.