Re-grading the Steelers 2022 NFL Draft class
The NFL season has come to an end and the 2022 NFL Draft class saw their rookie seasons come to a close, as well. The Steelers draft class had mixed reviews directly after the draft concluded in April but, after a full season, how might those views have changed?
Most of the reviews centered around the team's first-round pick. With Ben Roethlisberger retiring, many expected the team to take a quarterback but many also felt it would be a reach in a weak class.
Steelers 2022 NFL Draft: Kenny Pickett, Round 1 pick 20 overall
Pickett's college career was not exactly stellar through his first four seasons throwing for a combined 672-of-1111 for 60.5 percent, 7,475 yards 38 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions in three seasons. It wasn't until the fifth season that he exploded on the scene completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.
He received mixed reviews from scouts and analysts alike both before and after the Steelers selected him. Some felt he was the right selection and Pittsburgh had its franchise quarterback while others felt the team should have bolstered other areas of the team and waited to take someone in the 2023 draft.
Pickett started the season as the third quarterback on the roster behind Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. The team was expected to take things slow with him and only play him if necessary or he was undoubtedly ready.
He played well in the preseason and earned the number two spot and by week four he was thrust into action. The start to his career was rocky with turnovers and a 2-3 record as a starter before the bye week.
After the bye, Pickett started to show steady improvement resulting in the team going 7-2 over their last nine games. He finished with 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions and 2,404 yards. He also ran for 3 touchdowns and showed good mobility, something the Steelers hadn't had from a QB since Big Ben's prime.
Overall, the 2022 season was filled with ups and downs for Pickett but, the rookie showed flashes of what he could be and seemed to improve with each week. He will have a full offseason to prepare for 2023 and take a step forward in his second year as a pro.