Philadelphia

Kenny Pickett first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft

Philadelphia

Kenny Pickett is heading back to Heinz Field, this time donning the Steelers black and gold.

Pittsburgh delivered the first major surprise of the 2022 NFL Draft, opting to take Pickett with the 20th pick and making him the first quarterback off the board in Las Vegas. 

Pickett entered the combine as a potential top signal-caller, but he dropped in most draft boards behind Liberty’s Malik Willis. Several teams took particular note of Pickett’s usually small hands, believed to be a potential deterrent at the quarterback position. 

Pickett spent five years at Pitt, where he made 49 career starts where he compiled a 32-17 record with the Panthers. He threw for 12,303 career yards and 81 touchdowns.

He reportedly considered declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft but opted to return for a fifth year, capitalizing on the additional year of eligibility available to players as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was the longest quarterbacks have had to wait since 1997, when the San Francisco 49ers took Jim Druckenmiller with the 26th overall pick. This also broke a four-year streak featuring Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence as quarterbacks going No. 1 overall.