Kenny Pickett, QB, Steelers
In my opinion, the Steelers have the best overall roster on this list. Ben Roethlisberger retired following a playoff berth in 2021, leading the franchise to search for a starting quarterback for the first time in nearly two decades. Mitchell Trubisky was signed during the free agency period, but few around the league expected that to be the only move. This was further exacerbated following the tragedy of Dwayne Haskins. Mason Rudolph proved that he’s barely even a spot-starter in this league, so the franchise knew what they had to do.
General manager Kevin Colbert announced before the 2021 season that he, too, would be retiring following the season. He decided to hang around for one more draft in an attempt to set the team up for the future. Rumors were aplenty throughout the process, with the common belief being that Pittsburgh would take Malik Willis if he fell to them at No. 20 overall. Colbert threw a wrench into those assumptions, instead choosing to take the guy from their backyard.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett played his college ball in the Steel City, and is coming off of a Heisman invite in 2021. He has an infectious energy about him, which surely won over the front office during the interview portion. Pickett looks the part of a new age quarterback in the NFL, consistently displaying an ability to throw off platform and create extra yards with his legs. He came into the NFL Combine hoping to prove that his hand size wasn’t going to be an issue in the league. I left the event unconvinced, but clearly that was not the case for Colbert and company.
Pickett will be given the opportunity to lead a team that was just in the playoffs and looks to be improved as an overall roster. They boast one of the best defensive units in the league, an ascending offensive line, and a bellcow running back in 2021 first-round pick, Najee Harris. He is set up to succeed, but due to physical limitations, I’m skeptical how high his ceiling truly is. Ultimately, if he ends up reaching the “Kirk Cousins” ceiling that some forecast, I doubt the Steelers or their fans will be too upset. A steady leader could be the final piece to the puzzle for Pittsburgh.