When it comes to ideal landing spots for a collegiate quarterback making the jump to the NFL, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better landing spot for Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett than the Pittsburgh Steelers themselves.
That’s obviously where Pickett landed in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at No. 20 overall, staying within the same city and same facility he’s spent the last five years at, allowing for a quick, relatively seamless transition overall, at least off the field.
On the field is another story, but NFL.com’s Marc Ross believes that of all the players drafted two weeks ago, Pickett is the top rookie that landed in the best situation to succeed now and into the future thanks to his fit within second-year offense coordinator Matt Canada’s scheme, as well as staying within his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett working 5 Quick throwing 10-12yd Speed Out with anticipation, accuracy and velocity turning on last crossover step to make a straight, balanced throw with consistent sequence. Last training session before rookie mini camp. @kennypickett10 #qb pic.twitter.com/u2qFeICDVf
— Tony Racioppi (@Tonyrazz03) May 11, 2022
“Like James Conner before him, Pickett has the luxury of staying not only in Pittsburgh but in the same facility as he transitions to the NFL. This familiarity will allow Pickett to focus on football and competing for the QB1 job,” Ross writes. “Pittsburgh has the stability — from the coaching staff to the playmakers on both the offense and defense — to help Pickett succeed no matter when he steps on the field. He has all the tools as an athletic passer to help Pittsburgh win games as a piece of the puzzle in Matt Canada’s offense, and maybe most important, he has the confidence and moxie to win over the locker room and coaching staff — ultimately helping Pittsburgh return to the playoffs.”
It’s hard to state just how important staying within the same city and the same facility will be for Pickett. As Ross writes, his focus can be entirely on football and competing for the starting quarterback job right away with Mitch Trubisky, rather than splitting his time between football and acclimating to a new city, finding a place to live, and places to eat and shop for necessities. Five years as a Pitt Panther has helped Pickett lock all that down.
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) May 10, 2022
On the field, the fit is ideal in Canada’s system as Pickett brings adequate mobility and high-level accuracy overall, especially on the move. He’ll be a much better fit right away in Canada’s scheme than Ben Roethlisberger was one year ago, which should only help improve the Steelers’ offense overall in 2022.
Of course, he has to beat out Mitch Trubisky for the job in training camp, as well as Mason Rudolph, but long-term the prospects are good for Pickett in the Steel City.