We’re in the midst of the annual NFL Combine, and with that comes the meteoric rise of some, and the falling of others due to poor 40 times, agility drills, etc. Sporting News is the latest to take their stab at a mock draft with their 2-round offering, and to nobody’s surprise, they have Pittsburgh opting to go quarterback in Round 1 in the form of local product Kenny Pickett from the University of Pittsburgh.
Recently on ESPN and NFL Network telecasts, I’ve seen numerous analysts like former Packer James Jones and Max Kellerman connect the dots between the two, citing both positional need and the fact that, frankly it makes just too much sense considering the proximity. Pickett even can recall as a freshman after watching Big Ben rifle passes to Antonio Brown, who else walked up and took a seat next to him on the bench other than Mike Tomlin.
“He would come and sit down and hang out,” Pickett said. “I wouldn’t leave the bench until he would leave, obviously. I’ve known coach for a long time. It’s been a pretty special relationship.”
The Sporting News had this to say of their mock selection.
“The Steelers can look down the street for their preferred pocket-passing successor for Ben Roethlisberger. Pickett has natural deep-ball accuracy and football intelligence. He also has that underrated Joe Burrow-like swagger.”
Arguably the top passer in this year’s somewhat underwhelming QB class, Pickett has prototype size at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds. Of course, we all know that he can play in the elements as well. However, much has been made of Pickett’s hand size measurements at the NFL Combine, where his 8.5 inch measurements were considered historically small. In fact, no quarterback with hands that size or smaller has entered the league in the last five years.
It is worth noting that two of the past six #1 overall picks in Joe Burrow and Jared Goff have comparable hands, measuring nine inches. After doing some research, I found another quarterback with the same hand size as Pickett who had great success in the NFL in the form of Michael Vick. Pickett’s game film doesn’t reveal any hand size concerns, and he does certainly possess the mobility that the front office covets in it’s next QB, as he ran a 4.73 in the 40 at the combine. Whether or not this marriage comes to fruition remains to be seen, with the team reportedly enamored with Liberty’s Malik Willis.
Another position that needs vast upgrading is the offensive line, and that’s exactly where this mock goes with their Round 2 selection of Louisiana offensive tackle Max Mitchell. Standing 6-foot-6 and 307 pounds with long arms, Mitchell displays the size and versatility to man either tackle spot, and with the promise shown by Dan Moore as a rookie left tackle last season, drafting Mitchell would give the Steelers a good problem to have, with a pair of promising young bookends for their next QB. Sporting News had this to say of the selection.
“The Steelers got their quarterback in Pickett here in Round 1 so they must work upgrading their offensive line specific to his protection. Mitchell has the footwork and athleticism ideal for the left side.”
This draft would check off arguably the top two need areas on the current team, and with the right spendings in free agency, help push this team closer to championship contention. Let me know your thoughts below.