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Steelers Daily Links: Grading 2022 Draft, Pickett Looks Back



Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Nick Shook of gave the Steelers a B+ when re-evaluating their 2022 draft class after the end of their rookie season.

“It’s hard to not love the top of this small class for Pittsburgh. The Steelers selected the local hero, Pickett, then allowed him to learn behind Mitch Trubisky until it became clear Pickett was likely their best option at quarterback,” Shook wrote. “Down the stretch, Pickett sorted out the turnover issues we saw early in the season, impressing onlookers with his decisiveness and composure and leading many to believe he could become the long-term answer at the position. His knack for clutch play sent the Steelers into the offseason with plenty of optimism.”

Pro Football Focus: Kenny Pickett reflected on his rookie year, draft night stories and goals for 2023 with Trevor Sikkema of PFF. Ending the season strong was important to Pickett, allowing him to reflect on a lot of lessons learned.

“Out of 10 throws, you’re probably only throwing in rhythm three times out of 10,” Pickett said. “The pocket is always hot with how great these pass rushers are. The speed of the game is more mental. I’m learning a new system, I’m seeing new things from the defense. Learning new coverages, fronts, structures. Guys are obviously bigger, faster and stronger, but it just takes time and reps. Everyone wants to go in there and light it up, but sometimes it just takes some time to play and get your feet under you, and then you see those jumps and improvements week by week.”

Pickett also noted that his journey at Pitt aided his first year with the Steelers in more ways than just staying close to home.

“There’s highs and lows,” Pickett said. “I was grateful for my experience at Pitt. I wasn’t lighting it up like I was my last year during my first couple years. Having those moments of adversity prepared me for the NFL. It allowed me to not waver too much because I’ve been there before. I knew I was going to work my ass off to get where I wanted to get to.”

Footbahlin: Ben Roethlisberger thought the James Bradberry holding call on JuJu Smith-Schuster in the Super Bowl was weak. “I hate that that great game ended that way. I hate that,” Roethlisberger said on his Footbahlin podcast. “I’m really mad at that call because I think things like that happen every play.” Alex Highsmith discussed his breakout year in 2022 with Teresa Varley. “It was a good year, but I’m far from satisfied,” Highsmith said. “I never get complacent or comfortable, but I am grateful for a better year and being injury free for a year. I got hurt before the year in camp but was fortunate that I went through the season without an injury. I got little bumps and bruises, but I’m just blessed to have this platform that God has given me. I always want to be grateful no matter how it’s going. I never want to get complacent, but I always want to be grateful.”

The Score: For the first time in franchise history, the Steelers’ offense has ranked 20th or lower in yardage for four straight years.

Steelers: Only Dick Hoak, who coached the Steelers running backs for 35 seasons, had a longer tenure with the franchise as an assistant coach than John Mitchell’s 29 seasons. 

A total of $517,400 in donations, from both the organization and individual players, was made to the Steelers Social Justice Fund Initiative this past year.

🎂 Former Steelers legend and Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis celebrates his 51st birthday on Thursday. Former Steelers first-round pick Ziggy Hood also turns 36 years old today.

The Steelers Hall of Honor Museum Artifact of the Week is Jack Lambert’s false teeth.

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