Kenny Pickett is among the shiny toys in what’s been deemed a weak quarterback class, but should the Steelers trade up to get him?
Pickett is a local product, having spent four years at the University of Pittsburgh. What better way to find a Ben Roethlisberger replacements than draft a QB prospect who’s shared the same training facility and played in the same stadium?
The Pitt product does have his flaws, however, the first being his measureables. Pickett’s hand size is rather small, rumored to be just over eight inches. It’s tough to find many starting-caliber QBs in the NFL with hand sizes in that range. While it sounds silly on the surface, there’s a reason some scouts deem it important.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pros of trading up for Kenny Pickett
Pickett is an immediate fit to replace Roethlisberger, and would likely compete with Mason Rudolph for the starting job in training camp. If he pushed Rudolph enough, Pickett could potentially be under center for Week 1.
The New Jersey product would invigorate a fanbase that just lost an all-time great. A large majority of the Pittsburgh-area Steelers fans are also Pitt football fans, and Pickett is very familiar to playing in that sort of environment. Pickett is just coming off his best season as a collegiate athlete — 4,319 yards passing, 42 passing touchdowns and just 9 interceptions — so his confidence is sky-high.
He’s proven he has the mobility necessary to play in Matt Canada’s scheme, and Canada’s familiarity with the Pitt offensive system might actually help him in this scenario, especially coming off an awful showing as OC in his first year.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cons of trading up for Kenny Pickett
As great as Pickett looked in the ACC, it was a down year for the conference as a whole. His senior year peak is impressive, but there’s a reason this QB class is considered weak by draft standards.
Trading up, in this class of all classes, isn’t wise for the Steelers and Kevin Colbert. They rarely trade up in the first round, and as tempting as it may be to leave the franchise in good hands, making such a deal would cost the Steelers extra draft picks they could use to plug other holes, like offensive line. Pickett needs a system built for him, he’s by no means ready to carry the Steelers offense.
Add in Canada’s struggles in year one, and the concerns over Pickett’s hand size, and it’s easy to see why the Steelers would rather wait and see who falls to them rather than trade up for the Pitt QB.