The Steelers famously passed on Pitt legend Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL Draft. With Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett there for the taking Thursday night the Steelers selected him with the 20th overall pick.
With the 52nd pick the Steelers added to their receiving corps by selecting former Georgia wideout George Pickens. In the third round Pittsburgh selected Texans A&M defensive tackle DeMarvin Leal.
That receiving corps will also include Pickens who caught 14 touchdowns during his first two seasons with the Bulldogs.
Pittsburgh kicked off Day Three of the draft by selecting Memphis wideout Calvin Austin III with the No. 138 overall pick.
Here are three quick facts about Pittsburgh’s seven picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pickett broke two of Marino’s long-standing Pitt records during the 2021 season. His 42 touchdown passes broke Marino’s single-season school record of 37 touchdown passes set during the 1981 season. Pickett also reached 81 career touchdown passes breaking Marino’s career mark of 79 touchdown passes from 1979-82.
Pickett helped the Panthers capture their first ACC Coastal Division crown in 2018. Last year Pickett led the Panthers to their first-ever ACC title. In the process Pickett won ACC Offensive Player of the Year and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting.
He is not the running threat Malik Willis is but Pickett clearly has enough mobility to satisfy Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert. Pickett ran for 21 touchdowns at Pitt that included 13 rushing scores over the past two years.
Pickett’s mobility actually led to an NCAA rule change following his 58-yard touchdown run in Pitt’s ACC Championship Game win over Wake Forest. Pickett’s mobility will come in handy while running Matt Canada’s offense.
2021: 42 pass TDs (ACC single-season record)
Pitt all-time leader in pass yards (12303) and pass TDs (81)
Consistently shows great touch on mid-range passes and the ball comes out quickly and on time. Maximizes yards-after-catch possibility for his targets on short and intermediate routes.
Good athlete who when needed can consistently win with his legs outside the pocket.
Delivered calmness when leading the offense during pivotal moments in close games.
Doesn’t have an elite arm but can make every NFL throw. Sometimes has tunnel vision and misses open targets downfield and instead opts for checkdowns or looks to run. Sometimes his ball can lose steam on deep outs.