In the immediate aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett at No. 20 overall in last week’s 2022 NFL Draft, opinions varied, from many loving the pick overall as the Steelers secured the seemingly consensus QB1 across the national draft boards, while others lamented the pick, saying the Steelers reached on a QB with a limited ceiling, one that won’t compete with the likes of Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen in the AFC.
Then there’s NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger, who highlighted Pickett as one of his top 10 favorite selections of the entire 2022 NFL Draft, even dropping an interesting comparison for Pickett overall, at least when he’s on the move.
“My seventh favorite player of the draft is Pitt Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett. Kenny Pickett’s got good size and good movement,” Baldinger said, breaking down tape of Pickett in the process. “Six three and a half, two hundred seventeen pounds, but he throws really good on the run, okay? Had a great senior season — his fifth year at Pitt. You watch him throw the ball so accurate on the run. Ran for twenty touchdowns as well. Started forty-nine games for the Pitt Panthers as well.
“…He has a lot of Patrick Mahomes in him when he gets outside the pocket,” Baldinger added. “He can run, pull it down. Ran about a four seven three forty. Ran for 20 touchdowns at Pitt; the only quarterback taken in the first round with the twentieth pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
There’s certainly an eyebrow-raising comparison in there from Baldinger, who is one of the best pure tape analysts in the industry. Though Mahomes has a much stronger arm that Pickett overall, the two are rather similar as overall athletes, especially on the move.
That ability to throw on the run, move outside the pocket and extend plays with his legs had a large part in the Steelers calling his name at No. 20 overall last week in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Throughout the entire offseason, Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin talked about wanting mobility at the most important position in football. Pickett certainly brings that. Outgoing Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert also highlighted accuracy as the most important trait. Pickett checks that box too.
Ideally, Pickett ascends into the starting role sometime in the 2022 season taking over for Mitch Trubisky, giving him the chance to showcase that mobility and accuracy on the move, which could harken back to the younger days of one Ben Roethlisberger, who made a name for himself early in his career for creating out of structure.