The last quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft beat out the first quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. On NFL.com’s All-Rookie team, San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Brock Purdy got the nod over Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Kenny Pickett.
In his write-up, author David Carr acknowledged the tougher road Pickett had but still gave the selection in Purdy’s favor.
“Purdy got the nod, despite Kenny Pickett (pick No. 20 overall) taking on a tougher task in Pittsburgh. Mr. Irrelevant did exactly what was asked of him when he took over for Jimmy Garoppolo, closing out the regular season with six straight wins, the NFC West crown and the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.”
Purdy was the mid-season replacement for two of the 49ers’ injured quarterbacks. First last year’s first round pick Trey Lance and then veteran Jimmy Garoppolo. When the latter went down, it seemed like the 49ers’ season was over. But Purdy came in and played well, surrounded by a talented group of skill players, including the addition of RB Christian McCaffrey, and one of the league’s top defenses.
Pickett also became his team’s starter by mid-year. But he didn’t have the benefit of a top-tier supporting cast or as fluid of an offense under head coach and playcaller Kyle Shanahan as Purdy did. His schedule was also tougher, his first career start on the road against Buffalo, a predictable blowout loss that saw the Bills play from ahead throughout the entire game.
Still, just looking at the numbers, choosing Purdy over Pickett is understandable. Purdy finished the year with 13 touchdowns to just four interceptions with a 67.1 completion percentage. Pickett had more interceptions than touchdowns and completed only 63% of his throws. All those numbers lack and need context but still, when it comes to these lists, stats matter. And they clearly worked in Purdy’s favor.
Elsewhere, WR George Pickens failed to crack either of the top two wide receiver spots. Instead, those went to New Orleans’ Chris Olave and New York’s Garrett Wilson. While Pickens had a fine first year that included several highlight reel catches, he wasn’t the #1 volume receiver like the others. Pickens finished the season with just 52 receptions for 801 yards while Olave and Wilson easily surpassed those figures. It didn’t help that Pittsburgh threw a league-worst 12 touchdowns, though Pickens was responsible for 1/3 of them.
Only one AFC North player appeared on the entire list. That was Baltimore Ravens’ center Tyler Linderbaum, who started all 17 games in the middle for the team and had a strong rookie year. Other notable names on the list include Chargers’ OG Zion Johnson, RBs Kenneth Walker (Seahawks) and Dameon Pierce (Texans), and Titans’ TE Chig Okonkwo.
No Steelers’ made the All-Rookie team on the defensive side of the football though that’s far less of a surprise.