The last few seasons at the University of Pittsburgh, new Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Kenny Pickett was blessed with the opportunity to play with future NFL guys like wide receiver Jordan Addison and tight end Lucas Krull, to name a few.
Now though, in the NFL, Pickett, the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is seeing just what star-level talent looks like up close and personal with the likes of wide receiver Diontae Johnson and running back Najee Harris.
Following his fourth OTA session with the Steelers Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Pickett spoke glowingly about his two new teammates, calling them “different” in the way they move and compete and play the game of football at a high level overall.
“I mean, pretty much like Donate [Johnson], you just kind of tell when some guys are different,” Pickett said to reporters Tuesday, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “I mean, he’s [Najee Harris] a different kind of guy physically and how he could play the game and what he can do. So, he’s a guy that he’s been here for a year, so just kind of messing around with him, talking to him once in a while, and just getting what I can learn from the running backs too.”
Pickett, though mostly familiar with the Steelers’ offense under Matt Canada having run a very similar scheme at Pittsburgh in 2017, is still trying to play catchup with the playbook overall, and the new faces he’s going to be dealing with on a day-to-day basis in the black and gold. After being the guy for the Panthers the last few seasons, he’s now the new guy within the Steelers’ locker room.
OTAs are a good time to establish relationships with key players like Johnson and Harris, while also allowing himself to develop his overall leadership style away from the bright lights and the pressure-packed moments of the regular season.
With teammates that are truly “different” in their skillsets like Johnson and Harris, that takes some pressure off of Pickett right away at the quarterback position having those types of talents around him so early in his career. Of course, the Steelers are hoping that he’s a bit different at the position overall, hopefully leading the Steelers into a promising future overall as the black and gold aim to remain competitive long-term.