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PFF Steve Puts Only Bryce Young Ahead Of Kenny Pickett From 2023 QB Prospects

Your team gets into debates about quarterbacks when people aren’t quite sure exactly what caliber of player they have under center yet. That’s where the Pittsburgh Steelers fall going into Kenny Pickett’s second year after drafting him 20th overall in 2022, the first quarterback drafted and the only one in the first two rounds.

With last year’s quarterback class being perceived as so weak, it’s naturally come up for debate whether the Steelers should have waited and tried to take a quarterback this year. The top of the class is populated by Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, who are expected to go one and two, followed by the athletic Anthony Richardson and rounded out by Will Levis. Some believe a fifth quarterback could also slip into the first round. But which among them will actually have a better career?

I like probably Bryce Young better than Kenny Pickett”, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus said recently when posed that exact question during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller.

“Kenny might be the two after what we saw as a rookie”, he added. “I think it’d be between him and Stroud as the next. Could Stroud have a better career? I could see it. I think Stroud probably needs to have a really good situation around him”.

Even though last year’s class was regarded as weak, there was still pre-draft speculation that a number of quarterbacks could still be taken in the first round because of the sheer value of the position. Yet the next quarterback didn’t come off the board after 20 until the Atlanta Falcons drafted Desmond Ridder 74th overall in the third round. Later in the round, the Tennessee Titans selected Malik Willis and the Carolina Panthers added Matt Corral.

The other quarterback in those early discussions was Sam Howell, who lasted until the fifth round, taken later than Bailey Zappe, who saw playing time with the New England Patriots as a rookie. The Steelers took one of three quarterbacks drafted in the seventh round as well, by far the most notable of which was Brock Purdy, who went 7-0, including the postseason in games he started and finished, with 16 touchdowns to four interceptions.

But what of the rest of this year’s class? “Anthony Richardson is as big of a wild card as it gets. If he turns out great, is anybody surprised?”, Palazzolo said. “If he doesn’t turn out great, is anybody surprised? I don’t know, so I wouldn’t necessarily put my name to that”. He added, “I think Will Levis is a clear fourth quarterback in this group. I think he’s a bit lower”.

The other factor to consider in this discussion, of course, is the fact that the Steelers got Pickett at 20. Which quarterbacks will be available for them to select at 17 this year? Some expect at least three, if nor four quarterbacks to be taken in the top 10. That’s what Pittsburgh is hoping for, anyway, because it would mean another talented player slips down the board for them to draft.

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