NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms is ranking the top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL for the 2022, and Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett came up early on his list at No. 39.
Pickett will be the only rookie listed in Simms’ top 40, he said on his Unbuttoned podcast. He ranked ahead of only Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock.
Simms does not think that Pickett will struggle with the transition to the NFL, but sees his overall ceiling as being somewhat limited.
“Pickett, as far as the mental aspect, is as impressive as it gets coming out of college the last few years,” Simms said. “Mac Jones and Joe Burrow are the only two guys I can remember in recent history where I went, ‘ooh’ in the pocket, making decisions, going through reads, putting the ball in the right spot. It’s as good as anybody we’ve seen come out there. I think that’s why some teams absolutely loved him in the draft. It’s the high-end talent that I question but, still a starting quarterback here. I wish there was some more big-play ability and some more aggressiveness, as I said in the draft process, but as far as being ready to play in the NFL, I have no doubt that this guy is going to be ready.”
So far, Simms has released slots 36 through 40 in his rankings, putting Teddy Bridgewater, Gardner Minshew and Tyrod Taylor ahead of Pickett. He has not yet ranked Steelers free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky, suggesting that the former Bears starter is higher on his list, but added that he won’t be surprised if Pickett beats him out for the starting job.
“If he’s a day one starter, I wouldn’t be shocked,” Simms said. “I think it will be a legit competition. It’s not going to be handed to him, because I don’t think they’ll be in any rush to just give it to him, either.”
Last season, Simms ranked then-Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as the No. 22 passer in the league. Roethlisberger retired after the 2021 season.