NFL Draft

Colbert Admits He Didn’t Expect Pickett To Be Available At #20

Not only could the Pittsburgh Steelers choose Kenny Pickett at #20, they could’ve selected any quarterback they wanted. Pickett’s selection is a true and honest evaluation of the team’s board. No guessing about *if* they had another QB ranked higher, only to see him taken away several selections earlier. No wondering if their “guy” was runner-up, a consolation prize, wearing the silver medal instead of gold.

For the first time in over 30 years, no QBs went in the top 19 picks. Pittsburgh had their choice of them all: Malik Willis, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell. And of course, Pickett, the man they drafted.

Speaking at his post-pick presser, even Colbert admitted he didn’t think it would happen.

“We’re super, super excited to be able to draft Kenny Pickett with our first round pick,” Colbert said in his opening remarks after making Pickett the pick. “Honestly, never thought he would make it to us at 20. Exciting times for us, for Kenny, for the University of Pittsburgh and for Pittsburgh in general. It’s great. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Pickett certainly could’ve gone higher in the draft. He was repeatedly linked to the Carolina Panthers at #6, having been recruited out of high school by Matt Rhule. But the Panthers went offensive tackle, selecting NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu. The New Orleans Saints also reportedly had interest. But they traded up for Ohio State WR Chris Olave, and with the 19th pick, one ahead of Pittsburgh, went tackle with Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.

None of the QBs went in the top 19. It was a coin flip if it’d happen. But a deep tackle and receiver class coupled with a weaker QB pool pushed the arms down the list.

As proven by the photos, videos, and dinners, Tomlin said the team travelled the U.S. to look for a QB. They found their man standing right next door.

“Boy, we circled the globe or at least United States here. Um, the last several months, man, just, exploring and researching…we’re excited about it. To be able to not only know what he’s capable of, but to see his process, his maturation process, his developmental process, just a great deal of comfort. And we’re excited.”

As of this writing, with only four picks to go, no other QB has been taken in the first round.

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