3 Kenny Pickett replacements Steelers should covet, 2 to avoid like the plague

If the Pittsburgh Steelers decide to move on from Kenny Pickett next season, here are the replacements that make the most sense — and a couple the team should avoid.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Pittsburgh Steelers' season hit a road bump with their 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 11. Kenny Pickett put together another stinker — 15-of-28 passes completed for 106 yards — and the Steelers, at long last, fired Matt Canada. There were celebrations in the streets.

But, at 6-4, the Steelers still have a lot to figure out in order to hang on to their wild card spot. The offense has been terrible all season and there's no guarantee interim O.C. Eddie Faulkner, who previously operated as the RB coach under Canada, will transform Pittsburgh into a passable unit.

It's now or never for Pickett to stake his claim on the Steelers' QB spot long-term. He was able to hide behind the shield of Canada's incompetence for two seasons, and Pittsburgh still has a winning record (13-9) with Pickett under center. That said, it's fair to say Pickett's success in the win column has been a product of his surroundings, not his production. If the Steelers' offense continues to flatline with a new voice in charge, it's going to be difficult to justify keeping Pickett around.

If the Steelers do decide to move on from Pickett in the offseason, there are several appealing candidates to replace him. By that same token, there are a couple of names the Pittsburgh front office should avoid like the plague.

Steelers should target Shedeur Sanders in the NFL Draft

The Colorado Buffaloes' season went south — fast — after their early surge under new head coach Deion Sanders. One of the team's few consistent bright spots has been Shedeur Sanders, the starting QB and Coach Prime's third-favorite child.

Despite playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in college football, Sanders has completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 3,230 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only three interceptions in 11 games. He is eligible for the NFL Draft as a junior, with a résumé that also includes SWAC Offensive Player of the Year from his time at Jackson State before his move (alongside his father) to Colorado.

While it's easy to chalk up Sanders' draft hype to his father's clout and the brighter-than-usual spotlight on the Buffs, the numbers stand up to scrutiny. He's not a runner, but he's mobile in the pocket with a genuine talent for evading tackles and reading the field under pressure. It cannot be overstated how limited Sanders' supporting cast has been, with the exception of a strong rapport with WR Travis Hunter.

Sanders' ability to make "NFL throws" should put him on the Steelers' radar as a mid-to-late first-round or second-round candidate. The Steelers won't be in position to draft the likes of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, but it's difficult to watch Sanders and not get the sense that he can make it at the next level. Obviously, he comes from a football family. There's a precedent in place.