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Kenny Pickett calls Pittsburgh his second home – can the Steelers make it permanent?


It’s a feel-good story that satisfies a really big need. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett is vying to be the top fullback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. And for the first time in 18 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the market for a top-flight arm. Put the two together and there’s a very real chance Pickett will not stay in the ‘burgh.

Pickett was one of two players who spoke Tuesday morning to kick off the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Steelers Depot claimed the benefit of sharing the same facility as an NFL program.

“To see how they work at practice every day,” Pickett told us. “We share a training facility. That does not mean we see them in the building. But we see them outside the building, see how they go about their business, how they work, go through their doors, how professional they are. As a young child coming into Pitt, freshmen and sophomores can see how things are supposed to be done on our practice field, of course, at the highest level next door.

Pickett, who is healthier and more agile, enjoyed an outburst campaign in 2021, with 42 touchdowns to just seven interceptions as he led the Panthers to a season of 11 wins, their first since Dan Marino did so in 1981. Pickett is part of that close-knit group of quarterbacks chasing for position in Mobile, fighting against people like North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Cincinnati’s Desmond Knight and Liberty’s Malik Willis. There’s also Matt Corral, who is not eligible for the Senior Bowl, but part of that Top 20 talk.

If there is one team that will know Pickett as well as anyone, it is the Steelers. Not just for their closeness to each other, but a relationship that has been building back since Pickett came out of high school in New Jersey.

ā€œ[Iā€™m] really familiar with Coach Canada too. He recruited me to Pitt. So I have a good relationship with him. “

Canada served as the Panthers’ attacking coordinator and QBs coach for the 2016 season, which helped persuade Pickett to join Pitt over the ten other offers he received. Canada never coached him in a game, and left for LSU in 2017, but that connection still exists. The parallels do not stop there. Pickett was coached by Mark Whipple, the Panthers’ OC. Whipple was Ben Roethlisberger’s first QB coach when he arrived in the league in 2004.

The NFL Draft can be cold and calculated. Players are not drafted just because it’s a good story. They are drafted because they are talented, a scheme fit and above all can help the team win. Sometimes, though, it’s both. The perfect fit. Hearing Pickett tell it would be a storybook ending to stay in Pittsburgh.

“The possibility of being set up there will be really incredible. Pittsburgh is really my second home. It will be kind of a dream. To be recruited to Pitt and perhaps to the next level. So we will see what happens. ā€

Pickett has been calling Pittsburgh home for the past five years. The Steelers can make it home for another ten.



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