There’s pretty much only one possible reason that you draft a quarterback in the first round. You do it when you believe he is a guy who is capable of bringing your team to the Super Bowl and winning it. If he’s not that guy, and you’re not convinced he’s that guy, you just don’t do it.
We saw that this weekend with the league collectively spurning this year’s quarterback class. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only team to take one in the first two rounds drafting Kenny Pickett 20th overall. Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and company had to wait.
But the Steelers are not and cannot be concerned with what others have done. They had a guy, and they got their guy. And we know he’s their guy, because none of the other guys were taken when they picked, so they had their choice of all of them.
He’s the guy they think will be hoisting a Lombardi Trophy for them in the future—ideally multiple times. And that’s what he plans to come here and do, as he told Missi Matthews for an interview with the team’s website after he was drafted.
While taking a ‘tour’ of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex—it’s hard to call it a tour when he’s worked there for five years—he was asked what the one thing he wants to accomplish in Pittsburgh, while standing in front of the display case housing their six Super Bowl trophies.
“Right here”, he said. “Adding to this trophy case is the ultimate goal. It’s the ultimate championship, so I can’t wait to start chasing them”.
As the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Panthers last season, Pickett led his team to the ACC Championship title. He sat out the Peach Bowl game that followed against Michigan State, though, which he lost, thanks in part to his new teammate, Connor Heyward, who scored one of Michigan State’s three offensive touchdowns.
The Steelers’ six Super Bowl titles are tied for the most in NFL history with the New England Patriots, but they have not won one since the 2008 season, and have not reached the title game since 2010. Indeed, that haven’t even won a postseason game since 2016.
The quarterback position became their top need in the wake of the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, who helped bring trophies five and six to the ‘Burgh in 2005 and 2008, respectively. They reached peerless status with their six title until the Patriots matched them a few years ago.
They continue to have aspirations of being and remaining at the top, of course, which is what drove their move to draft Pickett. Whether or not history ultimately proves them to be right, he is the one they identified as their next leader, their next champion, and that’s what he’s here to deliver.