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Lance Zierlein has the Steelers trading up for Kenny Pickett at 17th overall in mock draft


(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)


With the Broncos trading for Russell Wilson on Tuesday afternoon, you can cross Denver off the list among teams who need a quarterback. A lot of mock drafts had Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett going to the Broncos at ninth overall.


Pickett still might go in the top 10, but if he doesn't would the Steelers trade up to select the star Pitt quarterback? Lance Zierlein thinks so. In Zierlein's latest mock draft, he has the Steelers trading up to No. 17 with the Chargers. That would be right before the Saints pick at No. 18, who are in need of a quarterback, as well.


"For the second mock draft in a row, I'm having the Steelers swap spots with the Chargers; only this time, Kevin Colbert grabs a quarterback who might be able to start right away for a win-now team," Zierlein said.


Pickett played at Pitt for five years and had a standout year in 2021 where he put up gaudy numbers with a 42-7 touchdown-interception ratio and 4,319 yards passing. Pickett's prolific season led Pitt to an ACC Championship title and was a Heisman finalist.

Pickett revealed to the media at the Senior Bowl last month 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.

Pickett's hand size has been a hot topic recently, as his hands measured at 8.5 inches at the NFL Scouting Combine. It was the third-smallest hand size recorded at the Combine since 2003.


"It matters," Pete Schrager of the NFL Network said. "Everyone says it doesn't matter; it matters. When you want to grip it and rip it in New England or Buffalo in a cold weather game in December, it does matter.


"I think of all these quarterbacks he might be most ready to start Day One. But if anyone tells you the hand size stuff is an absolute joke; no, no, no, it matters."


Pickett also wore two gloves during drills at the Combine. Pickett always wears gloves on both hands for better grip, but it was unique to see during drills indoors. The minimum requirement for quarterback hand size among scouts has traditionally been 9.0.


"He has 26 fumbles in 49 games, which is a very large number," Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network said. "I think a lot of it, when he moves around in the pocket his hands separate. If he can just keep his off hand on the ball when he's climbing and moving around in the pocket, I think he'll be able to eliminate some of those fumbles."



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