Over the last 20 years, there hasn’t been a quarterback class quite like 2022’s group of guys. In the first year the Pittsburgh Steelers needed a starting quarterback, they were met with one of the lowest-ranked and selected group of arms in recent memory. But no team did their homework on the position like the Steelers, and no one seems more optimistic about the group than Kevin Colbert.
Colbert joined 102.5 DVE Tuesday morning to talk drafting Kenny Pickett and his outlook on this entire class.
“We were ecstatic that that Kenny was still there throughout this process. As I mentioned in the press conference, there were quality quarterbacks. I didn’t buy into the fact that people say this class wasn’t great. And I thought there’s quality quarterbacks. I think there there’s going to be five that come out of this as NFL starters.”
Based on how they were drafted, Colbert is in the minority. Pittsburgh sweated out Pickett and the other top quarterbacks making it to them at #20. While we’ll never know how far Pickett may have slipped had Pittsburgh passed, the other quarterbacks dropped into the third round. Even the NFL seemed fooled, inviting Malik Willis and Matt Corral to Las Vegas, typically a sign the league believes they will go within the Top 50 picks. After Pickett, the next QB to be taken wasn’t until the Atlanta Falcons nabbed Desmond Ridder at #74. Willis and Corral went later in the third round while Sam Howell, considered a top 10 pick a year ago, wasn’t taken until the fifth round and after the New England Patriots drafted Bailey Zappe ahead of him.
With all the quarterbacks available to them, there’s no doubt Pickett was #1 on the Steelers’ board. Colbert said he’s held that belief for months.
“With Kenny throughout the whole process, we always thought Kenny was the best. I remember talking to Coach Narduzzi when Kenny decided not to play in the bowl game. He said, ‘what do you think?’ And I said, Coach, ‘he’s the best one.’ There’s no doubt about that in our minds. He progressed through the Senior Bowl and the whole scouting process…never did we think that Kenny would be available. When he came in to visit us after the draft, we just felt that much better having spent a day with him.”
That sure sounds like he was Colbert’s #1, even before Mike Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff go onboard with the scouting process. Pickett remained in pole position the rest of way before becoming Pittsburgh’s pick.
Pittsburgh knew Pickett as well as anyone, perhaps as well as any team has known their first-round, franchise quarterback. Whether or not Pickett becomes as successful as the team believes is anyone’s guess. But in Colbert’s mind, Pickett and the rest of this class will make the teams who drafted them look brilliant.