ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, Connecting Kenny Pickett To Pittsburgh, Says Rookie Could Lead Steelers To Playoffs

ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, a former NFL executive with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, sure knows how to fire up the hot takes when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the quarterback position.

Of course, there was his “Ben Roethlisberger will be benched” in 2021 take that easily never came to fruition. But late last week, when discussing the 2022 NFL Draft, Tannenbaum fired off another hot take regarding the quarterback position in Pittsburgh.

Appearing on ESPN’s flagship morning show Get Up with Mike Greenberg, Tannenbaum stated that Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett could lead the Steelers to the playoffs in 2022, should he be the Steelers’ selection.

“I think he’s going to walk across that facility in Pittsburgh, be drafted by the Steelers and with that defense they could go to the playoffs this year,” Tannenbaum said on ESPN.

The former NFL executive went on to add that he believes Pickett is the most NFL-ready quarterback in the class, thanks to his 49 career starts and impressive senior season that saw him make his way to New York City as a Heisman finalist. However, Tannenbaum did add that, when aiming for the next Mac Jones-like season — meaning starting a playoff game — Pickett doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as Jones, though he has a higher floor.

“The problem is, Kenny Pickett isn’t dynamic enough, in my opinion, to be a front-line starter, high-end, longterm starter in the league,” Tannenbaum added.

While Mac Jones came into New England and led the Patriots to the playoffs right away, believing any rookie QB in this draft class could do the same thing in Pittsburgh is a real stretch, considering all the holes on the roster the Steelers currently have, and understanding the type of draft capital Pittsburgh would have to burn to move up for a quarterback this year.

Regardless of how good the defense is perceived to be, the secondary has a lot of question marks at the moment, as does inside linebacker. Getting guys back healthy such as Tyson Alualu and (hopefully) Stephon Tuitt in the trenches should help, but no QB in the 2022 NFL Draft class is leading the Steelers to the playoffs this season.

Pickett certainly has the highest floor of any quarterback in the class, but he just doesn’t feel like a game-changing QB that can pilot a team to the playoffs right away.

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