Steelers draft former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett No. 20 overall in 2022 NFL Draft


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pitt redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) runs with the ball during the first half of Saturday evening’s ACC Championship game against Wake Forest University at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

By Dalton Coppola, Assistant Sports Editor

Former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett is staying in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Pickett with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Pickett became the first Pitt quarterback to be selected in the first round since the Dolphins selected Dan Marino in 1983.

Pickett broke Marino’s records in 2021, throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns en route to Pitt’s first ACC Championship. Pickett was also a Heisman finalist in 2021, the first Panther since wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.

Draft experts expected teams to pick the former Panther anywhere from the No. 6 pick to somewhere in the second round. Experts have called this draft one of the most unpredictable in recent history. ESPN analyst and former Panther Louis Riddick said early last week that he wasn’t sure who was going to pick Pickett.

“From No. 6 [overall pick] down, anything is possible,” Riddick said. “I would not want to be Kenny Pickett on Draft night. I just don’t know.”

The NFL held the Draft in Las Vegas this year and while Pickett received an invitation, he opted to stay in New Jersey to be with his family and friends, he said on the Breneman Shows Up podcast. Riddick said Pickett’s character and his family-oriented principles will serve him well in his NFL career.

“He’s aces, man — A pluses across the board,” Riddick said. “I think when you’re drafting quarterbacks and drafting people in the first round, the number one thing that you want as a team builder is you want someone who will allow you to lay your head down at night and sleep peacefully because you can trust that they are going to be a pro … That’s what Kenny Pickett is — he’s a pro.”

Pitt fans will get a chance to see Pickett in the NFL when the season starts in September. Pickett will vie for playing time this summer at training camp and the pre-season with the Steelers.