‘We Did A Great Job:’ Kenny Pickett Reacts To Steelers’ 2023 NFL Draft Class

Coming out of April’s draft, Kenny Pickett is one happy camper and set up for success in an important sophomore season. In a draft class that was evenly balanced between offense and defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off the draft by taking its first Round One offensive tackle since 1996 in Broderick Jones, trading up to select him, along with adding a massive tight end in Darnell Washington on Day Two.

With more protection and weapons, Pickett sung the front offices’ praises. He joined Ben Roethlisberger and co-host Spence on a special edition of the Footbahlin podcast.

“I think we did a great job,” Pickett told the show. “The defense is strong and they got a lot stronger with the pieces they have. I think it was a really successful offseason for us.”

Pittsburgh made a clear effort to improve its offensive line, starters and depth, this offseason with the addition of Jones at left tackle and guard Isaac Seumalo. Depth pieces were added to with guard Nate Herbig while the loser of the Dan Moore Jr./Jones battle will become the swing tackle, immediately upgrading that area there, too.

“Having guys up front. I think we had a great group already but having depth, seeing how many injuries happen in an NFL season. You look at a team Week One and then you look at them Week 17, you may see a lot of new faces out there…just how physical the game is, injuries are just gonna happen. Adding depth is special.”

Pickett’s assessment is correct. Pittsburgh was extremely fortunate with a healthy front five last season, the only team in football to start the same five linemen from Week One to Week 18. Odds are, that won’t happen again and having depth that won’t ruin the team’s chances is critical.

His answer was a little diplomatic, referencing depth when Jones is the favorite to be the team’s Week One starter. But Pittsburgh also added seventh round selection Spencer Anderson, who has five-spot versatility to play up and down the line, increasing his chances of making the roster.

While Jones will be blocking for Pickett, he’ll be throwing to another rookie in Darnell Washington. Due to reported medical concerns, Washington went from potential first round candidate to late third round pick, falling into the Steelers’ laps at #93 even after trading down from pick #80. A unique body type at 6’7, 260 pounds, Washington’s experience as a blocker and in a pro-style offense will limit his NFL learning curve, allowing him to contribute sooner than many other rookies at his position.

“Having another added piece at tight end I think could really help us be more versatile and have more personnels in there.”

The Steelers’ offense should be able to effectively vary from 11 personnel (3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 RB) and 12 personnel (2 WRs, 2 TEs, 1 RB) this season, allowing them to change their style and adjust to the opponent and game circumstances. Balance is the operative word. So is progression. And the Steelers’ offense is expected to make a leap forward this year. How big of a jump it is will determine how successful the season becomes.

Catch the entire interview with Pickett below.

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