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NFL Combine

Can Kenny Pickett, Jordan Addison Form Next Burrow-Chase Combo?



Pickett Jordan Addison

INDIANAPOLIS — When the Cincinnati Bengals invested a top-five pick on LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the 2021 NFL Draft, it was to supplement a position group that already featured Tee Higgins (the 33rd pick of the prior draft) and Tyler Boyd (a proven veteran).

As quarterback Joe Burrow entered his second season at the helm of the Bengals’ offense, the Bengals’ front office added not just a stud wide receiver but Burrow’s former top target at LSU. It’s safe to say it’s worked out well for Burrow and Chase and certainly the Bengals.

It’s not quite a direct comparison, but Steelers general manager Omar Khan is obviously aware of the connection between Kenny Pickett and USC wide receiver Jordan Addison dating back to their time together at Pitt.

Pickett is entering his second season as the Steelers quarterback, with George Pickens (a second round pick from the prior draft) and Diontae Johnson (a proven veteran) at his disposal. And as was the case with Chase in 2021, Addison is one of the top choices — if not the top choice — to be the first wideout off the board in 2023. 

Addison is not quite the level of prospect that Chase was in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he appears to be a consensus first round selection at this stage in the draft process — a candidate to be off the board before the Steelers could consider selecting him. 

That Steelers’ first round pick can be taken a number of ways, with greater needs across the lineup. A wide receiver isn’t out of the question in the first couple of rounds, but it does not appear that Addison’s connection with Pickett is that much of a consideration for Khan. Or at least, he isn’t worried about finding a Burrow-Chase duo. 

At the very least, that prior history and connection aren’t much of a consideration when it comes to giving Pickett an “instant” fit.

“I think you always look at things like (Pickett and Addison’s past), but given the offseasons that you have, the time guys spend together, the transition and more receivers getting acclimated to quarterbacks, it’s not a hard process,” Khan said.

Pickett and Addison were certainly a dynamic duo in the 2021 collegiate season, though, combining for 17 touchdowns en route to an ACC championship and a number of individual awards and honors apiece. 

The 6-foot, 175-pound wide receiver will be in action at the NFL Combine this week, and Khan and the Steelers will have front-row seats to watch him — and all of the wide receivers in attendance — and meet with as many as considered necessary.

Pickett himself has been very vocal in his praise of Addison throughout the offseason, and Khan answered his own musings when he touched upon the idea of Pickett wanting to reunite with Addison. 

“You guys would have to ask Kenny about that,” Khan said, “but Jordan Addison is a good football player.”

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