The 2022 NFL draft saw just one quarterback selected in the top 73 selections. This year, there could be five signal callers off the board in the first round alone.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the best quarterback in the past two drafts will automatically come from the 2023 class. In fact, NFL analyst Brian Baldinger claimed that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett was better than any of the signal callers available in this year’s draft.
“Honestly, I don’t think there’s anybody as good as Kenny Pickett in this draft,” Baldinger said while appearing on 93.7 The Fan’s Cook and Joe Show. “That’s where I’m at with these quarterbacks.
“I’m not in love with this group.”
Baldinger’s claim that he isn’t “in love” with the quarterbacks from this year’s class puts a little damper on his take that Pickett is the best signal caller of the past two draft classes.
But a lot of NFL analysts do really like Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis. So to hear an analyst rank Pickett ahead of all of them should be exciting for Steelers fans.
Kenny Pickett to be Better than Entire 2023 QB Class?
Pickett’s statistics left something to be desired. He threw for only 7 touchdowns with 9 interceptions in 13 appearances as a rookie. He also averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt and completed 63% of his passes.
But Pickett seemed to get significantly better as the season went. He led the Steelers to a 6-1 record down the stretch with the only loss being a game where he left in the first half with a concussion.
Over the final nine contests, Pickett threw just 1 interception in 224 attempts.
During two of Pittsburgh’s last three games, Pickett led the Steelers on game-winning drives in the final minute of the fourth quarter. He threw touchdown passes to win each game.
It will take at least one season to compare Pickett to the incoming 2023 quarterback class. But Pickett is an early favorite to be the top signal caller from the 2022 class.
Other than Pickett, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was the only other rookie last season to throw for more than 1,000 yards or 5 touchdowns.
Rich Gannon Also Hypes Pickett
Baldinger’s hot take that Pickett is better than any quarterback from the 2023 draft class will raise some eyebrows. But he’s not standing on an island with that opinion.
Former NFL MVP quarterback and analyst Rich Gannon also heavily praised Pickett when comparing him to the incoming quarterback class.
“If it were me, I’d take him in front of everybody,” Gannon said on his show on Sirius XM Radio. “I just really like him.”
“Trust me, [the Steelers] were looking ahead to this year’s draft a year ago, and they felt really good about Kenny Pickett at 20.”
Even if Young, Stroud or Levis become better quarterbacks than Pickett, there’s little that can change the fact the Steelers found great value in Pickett at No. 20.
Young, Stroud and Levis aren’t expected to be on the board beyond the top 10 let alone at No. 20.
“I think in hindsight when you look at what the Steelers did in the draft with Kenny Pickett and where they took him with that 20th overall pick, that was great value,” said Gannon.