Mike Tomlin: Kenny Pickett will have an opportunity to compete to start

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After all the chatter leading up to Thursday night, there was only one quarterback selected in the first round of the 2022 draft.

Kenny Pickett will just have to use a different door on the building when he comes into his new football facility, as the Steelers drafted him at No. 20 overall.

As head coach Mike Tomlin put it in a press conference after the choice, “[W]e circled the globe — or at least the United States — here the last several months, man, just exploring and researching. And it’s funny, we ended up with a guy from next door.”

Tomlin touted Pickett’s “high floor” with the quarterback’s intangibles, anticipation, and accuracy “obvious and consistent when studying his tape.”

And while the Steelers have familiarity with Mason Rudolph already on the roster and signed Mitchell Trubisky in free agency, there’s a chance Pickett could be behind center Week One.

“He’ll be given an opportunity to compete, certainly,” Tomlin said.

Because Pitt shares a building with the Steelers, Tomlin noted he’s plenty familiar with Pickett already.

“I’ve known him for several years now,” Tomlin said, “whether it’s in the parking lot or what have you, wishing him good luck on a big game of the week, neighborly type things, in a very natural way, like I’ve done with those who have come before him.”

Now Tomlin will coach Pickett for the foreseeable future.

12 responses to “Mike Tomlin: Kenny Pickett will have an opportunity to compete to start

  1. That was the best moment of the draft, seeing how happy Pickett was to be staying home to play for the Steelers. It was a brilliant smokescreen to pretend they were really interested in Willis, even though it didn’t really matter.

  2. The thing about hand size and playing in Pittsburgh….well he just PLAYED at Heinz Field in the same weather for 5 years and seemed to do just fine

  3. There’s no reason not to let Pickett compete. Trubisky is not a long term option, Rudolph probably won’t make the roster, and Pickett was declared the most “NFL ready QB prospect” in the draft by many scouts.

  4. Pickett may have a high floor, but is that floor higher than Trubisky’s play today? Somehow I doubt it

  5. If I’m Trubisky, I’m wondering why on god’s green earth did I sign up for this. Matt Williamson said it best – Pickett is headed for “Kirk Cousins-land”.

  6. Well, for what it’s worth.

    He won’t have to adjust to a new city, new training facility, new stadium.

    He already knows the coaches.

    Pitt plays a pro offense.

    He’s 23 ( will be 24 before the season) so he seems mature and grounded.

    For whatever that’s worth.

  7. Probably not what I would have done, but I also haven’t been the GM of the most stable organization in sports for 22 years, adding 2 Lombardis to the trophy case. I tend to initially disagree with their draft decisions every year and more often than not, they were right and I was wrong.

  8. While I definitely view this as a wasted pick, #20 is not that high a pick. Why not take a chance on a quarterback? Maybe he will be good and maybe not. The Steelers have had some bad misses on first round picks so there is no guarantee that any player they drafted at #20 would be good. In the past 8 drafts (They did not have a 1st rounder in 2020) they have had 4 bust 1st round picks — 2019 Devin Bush/ 2018 Terrell Edmunds/ 2016 Artie Burns/ 2013 Jarvis Jones. That is a 50/50 chance that the pick would be wasted anyway. On the bright side at least they didn’t trade up to get him. GO STEELERS!

  9. I suspect it will take all of 15 minutes the first day of training camp to conclude that he will be the starter

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