Updated: Feb 2, 2022
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
The Senior Bowl is taking place this week in Mobile, Ala., and star Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett revealed to the media on Tuesday that playing for the Steelers would be a "dream."
Pickett says he’s had several interactions with Mike Tomlin and thinks he’s an awesome guy. The New Jersey native also called Pittsburgh his "second home.”
Pickett also mentioned that he's familiar with Matt Canada, as well. Canada recruited Pickett to Pitt when he was Pitt's offensive coordinator in 2016.
Most early mock drafts have the Broncos selecting Pickett at ninth overall. The Steelers have the 20th pick, so it's unlikely that Pickett will be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger unless the Steelers trade up for him.
Pickett literally came out of nowhere this past season, as his 42-7 touchdown-interception ratio and 4,319 yards passing are not even recognizable to his stats in his first three years as Pitt's starting quarterback. Pickett's prolific season led Pitt to an ACC Championship title and was a Heisman finalist.
Prior to throwing 42 touchdown passes in 2021, Pickett's career-high was just 13 touchdowns in a season. Pickett is labeled as a one-year wonder by some because of this, but Bill Cowher told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic that he likes the fact that Pickett was a four-year starter and a fifth-year senior.
“You see these guys coming out after one or two years, you’re doing yourself a disservice,” Cowher told Bouchette.
Bouchette cited the example of Joe Burrow, who was a two-year starter at LSU after three seasons at Ohio State as a backup. Burrow was drafted at No. 1 overall by the Bengals in 2019 and has his team in the Super Bowl against the Rams just two years later.
“That’s what I love about Kenny Pickett,” Cowher said. “He’s become a better quarterback at that level, and that will make him a better quarterback at the next level. History has shown that.”
Pickett's small hands have been discussed extensively, and he didn't have them measured in Mobile. He didn't have them measured because he's double-jointed, so his thumb naturally points in an odd direction, and he's doing extra exercises to get an accurate measurement at the combine in March, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now has heard that Pickett's hand size is 8 1/4 inches. Farabaugh notes that if that's his hand size, it's a historical outlier for most quarterbacks. Pickett also wears gloves on both hands, which probably has to do with his small hands. However, Burrow and Kyler Murray also have small hands, and they have turned out fine as quarterbacks in the NFL. So, it's really not that big of a deal, but something to monitor.
Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, Canada, quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan and several Steelers scouts are in Mobile to evaluate the prospects. And you can bet they're taking a good look at Pickett and the other quarterbacks. Sullivan was even seen talking with Pickett after practice.