Kenny Pickett: Rookie quarterback has chance to start first week for Pittsburgh Steelers, says head coach Mike Tomlin | NFL News
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Kenny Pickett was the first quarterback to be drafted when he returned to Heinz Field, where he played college football for Pitt for the past five seasons.
Last Updated: 04/30/22 11:44 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has suggested that first-back Kenny Pickett could start for the team in week one of the 2022 season.
Pickett was the only caller made in the opening round of the Draft on Thursday night when he landed with the Steelers in 20th place overall.
He comes to compete for the season acquisition Mitchell Trubisky and reserve Mason Rudolph following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger and the tragic passing of Dwayne Haskins.
“He definitely has a chance [to be week one starter] and I agree with that sentiment about his readiness from a professional perspective,” Tomlin told NFL Network on day three of the Draft.
“Those two things really drew us to him from a floor point of view, we think he has pro level prediction, pro level accuracy and often those are the two variables that really need to be many adjustments.
“We feel he’s ready in those ways, hopefully it’s an asset to have him ready to compete.”
Pickett needs no introduction to his surroundings nor will he have to move his belongings far back when he returns to Heinz Field, where he has represented Pitt at college for the past five seasons.
The 23-year-old finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote and was named the outstanding 2021 All-American team as he threw 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns, both single-season records.
“We were really drawn to the intangibles that everyone knows, the stellar season he had to lead his team to the ACC Championship, reaching the final of Heisman, rewriting the record books. of Pitt, reviewed alongside the likes of Dan Marino, we Tomlin said.
“But we also see his process, his growth and maturity as a footballer, his maturity and maturity as a leader, we I see him every day.
“Just everything from a close-up point of view, often times when you’re speculating in this process, we don’t speculate at all and feel really comfortable because of the deep knowledge we have about the young man beyond what we all know.
“One of the things that’s been very clear about Kenny being around is that he’s a ridiculous opponent, so we’re excited about bringing him into the mix and watching him play against Mitch and Mason. “
Tomlin also welcomed the opportunity to work with Texas A&M defensive midfielder DeMarvin Leal, who was picked by the Steelers with an 84th pick in the third round on Friday.
“We are very excited about this young man and his level of talent,” he said. “He’s experienced and young as a third year has played quite well, he’s really excelled at the highest stage you can excel at in college football in that department.
“I think he showed himself very well in some games like Sunday. I watched a lot of games between Alabama, for example.
“All of that being said, we still feel he’s a bit raw, he’s got a lot of ways to go from a development standpoint and that’s what we’ve covered here in Pittsburgh. We are delighted to be a part of his growth.”
In picking Pickett, the Steelers proceeded to solidify their pick up options on day two by picking George Pickens of Georgia with the 52nd pick, before adding Memphis widely Calvin Austin in the fourth round.
In one of Tuesday’s stories, they also featured Michigan State fullback Connor Heyward, the younger brother of Steelers defensive midfielder Cam Heyward.