Throughout the pre-draft process, a quarterback class featuring the likes of Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker has received a ton of attention and praise.
This quarterback class is largely believed to be one of the better ones in recent memory, but one NFL analyst doesn’t believe that is the case, and instead has the weak 2022 quarterback class, in particular one quarterback, as better than the entire 2023 class.
That quarterback? None other than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett.
NFL analyst Brian Baldinger, who appeared on 93.7 The Fan’s Cook and Joe Show with hosts Ron Cook and Joe Starkey, said he believes that there is no quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft class that’s “as good as Kenny Pickett” who was taken 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
“Honestly, I don’t think there’s anybody as good as Kenny Pickett in this draft,” Baldinger said, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “That’s where I’m at with these quarterbacks. I’m not in love with this group.”
That’s high praise from Baldinger regarding Pickett, which has to be rather comforting overall.
Last season, Pickett was the only quarterback taken in the first round, remaining in the Steel City with the Steelers as the next guy in line after Ben Roethlisberger.
While there were questions about Pickett coming out last season, including one year of elite production, hand size, arm strength and age, Pickett hit the ground running in the NFL. He became the starter in Pittsburgh early in the season and showed flashes of being a franchise quarterback down the stretch, helping the Steelers go 7-2 in the second half of the season and just narrowly miss out on the playoffs.
The numbers weren’t all that impressive (2,404 passing yards, seven touchdowns, nine interceptions) from Pickett as a rookie but the moxie was present. He stepped up in the biggest moments, leading four fourth-quarter game-winning drives for the Steelers in the second half of the season.
As for Young, he’s the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and considered one of the best prospects in the draft class, regardless of position. But Baldinger doesn’t believe Young, Stroud, Levis, Hooker or even Richardson — who has an incredibly high ceiling with his physical traits — are as good as Pickett.
That has to have the Steelers feeling pretty good, considering they got their franchise guy at No. 20 overall, well below the usual spot to get a franchise quarterback in today’s NFL draft. Teams usually have to spend premium picks on these quarterbacks.
And hope that they’re good enough.