(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Longtime NFL writer Peter King released his one and only mock draft on Monday, and King has the Steelers selecting Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett at 20th overall. King doesn't think the Steelers will pass on a star quarterback in their own backyard like they did with Dan Marino in 1983.
"Upset special: Pickett over Malik Willis—and it’s a gut feeling more than anything else," King said. "How cool would it be if the Steelers, who passed on Pitt’s Dan Marino is 1983 when a successor to Terry Bradshaw was desperately needed (they picked Gabe Rivera) would 39 years later take Pitt’s Pickett to be the long-term sub for Ben Roethlisberger? Pretty cool to think Pickett, who for the entirety of his college career has walked into the door to the right of the Steelers/Pitt complex on the South side of the gritty city, might walk into the left door as a pro now."
Many consider Pickett to be the most NFL ready quarterback in this year's class, but a lot of analyst don't see much upside with him. There's also major question marks about his arm strength and hand size. However, you can't take away the specular season that Pickett had in 2021, completing 67.2% of his passes for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
"We’ve gotten so used to excoriating any team that would even think of drafting a quarterback high this year that we haven’t just sat back and considered, 'Maybe Kenny Pickett is actually, you know, good,'" King said.
King also noted an interesting tidbit that he's heard the Steelers think Pickett’s more likely to succeed as a pro than Malik Willis. King went as far as saying that Pickett is the Steelers' "guy" in an interview on 93.7 The Fan.
King saying that the Steelers like Pickett over Willis is interesting, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. No one really knows what's going to happen until the Steelers send the draft card in on Thursday night.