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Kenny Pickett Not Holding a Grudge after Saints Passed on Him in Draft



Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett was heavily linked to the Saints in the pre-draft process, as New Orleans was still in need of a replacement for future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, similar to the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger. The Saints had two first-round picks in 2022 NFL Draft and elected to select wide receiver Chris Olave at 11th overall and offensive tackle Trevor Penning at No. 19, which was the pick right before the Steelers. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi even thought Pickett was heading to New Orleans. Of course, Pickett ended up staying in Pittsburgh.

“You got so engulfed, and there’s some tape delay in what we were getting on TV compared to what was in real-time,” Narduzzi recalled back in April. “As that whole thing was going on, Kenny got the call, and he bent over. He bent over and you’re like, ‘Okay it’s the Saints.’ The Saints were still on the clock and it wasn’t like the pick was in when he got the call. So, I never looked back at that TV.

“We’re all hooting and hollering. You’re all ecstatic about what’s going on,” Narduzzi continued. “Then, my phone rings at 10:12. It’s coach (Mike) Tomlin. I’m like, ‘why is coach Tomlin calling me?'”

“So, coach Tomlin calls me and he says, ‘Hey, did you see who got him?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, the Saints. You’re one off.’ He’s like, ‘No, we got him.'”

With being the 20th overall pick, Pickett was the latest first-round quarterback drafted since 1997. He was passed on by several quarterback-needy teams and the Saints, who Pickett admitted to getting to know well during the pre-draft process on Wednesday. So, does Pickett hold a grudge against New Orleans for not selecting him?

“Nah, man, I’m happy as hell to be here,” Pickett said. “Everything works out for a reason. I’m incredibly proud to be the quarterback of this team, so I’m excited to go out there and play on Sunday.”

Through nine weeks, the Saints hold a 3-6 record and have received mediocre quarterback play from veteran Andy Dalton. Pickett has struggled so far this season with a 2-8 touchdown-interception ratio and a quarterback rating of 66.8. Getting back at the Saints on Sunday is probably the last thing on Pickett’s mind. He just needs to produce a solid performance and lead the Steelers to a victory, as the fanbase is restless with the 2-6 start and many are even questioning the selection of Pickett.

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