Despite an early offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has been a busy man. Not only has he returned to the Steelers facility to begin working towards next season, he’s made several media appearances during the third week of January.
One common thread among all those interviews seems to be NFL draft prospect and wide receiver Jordan Addison. While a guest on The Pat McAfee Show on January 19, Pickett once again addressed the possibility of the Steelers selecting Addison in the 2023 draft.
“I would love it man,” Pickett said about the Steelers drafting his former college teammate. “I just talked to his mother, actually, yesterday. He’s down in Florida training, and I’m excited to get down there and train with him a little bit too.
“He’s a talented guy, man. He’s one of the best that I’ve been around. Just an all-around receiver, just a route runner. His speed will surprise people. I don’t think people are giving him enough credit for his speed, so I’m excited to see where he ends up.
“Hopefully in the black and gold.”
Pickett and Addison played together for two seasons at Pitt. During those two campaigns, the two set several school records. Addison posted 2,259 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns in 24 games. He averaged 14.1 yards per reception.
Pickett Endorsing Addison as Potential Steelers Draft Pick
During Pickett’s final college season in 2021, when he finished third in Heisman voting, Addison led the ACC with 1,593 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Addison was also second in the ACC with 100 receptions that season.
Pickett’s numbers were pretty good that season too. He recorded a 67.2% completion percentage, 4,319 passing yards and 42 touchdowns while averaging 8.7 yards per pass.
So it’s not at all surprising that Pickett is an advocate for Addison making his return to Pittsburgh. Addison spent his final college season at USC after he announced his decision to enter the transfer portal on NFL draft weekend last year.
Pickett appeared on ‘Not Just Football’ with Cam Heyward on January 17 and shared a lot of the same feelings with his teammate about Addison.
“That would be awesome.” Pickett said in response to the possibility of the Steelers drafting Addison. “We talked about playing in the NFL together while we were at Pitt. That’s like the college teammates’ dream, especially a quarterback-receiver, that kind of dynamic.”
While talking with Heyward, Pickett also raved about Addison’s speed, saying he’s “in and out of cuts” at his top speed, which he estimated to be under 4.30 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Potential of Steelers Drafting Addison
In the last 29 draft classes, the Steelers have selected a wide receiver in 25 of them. So the question isn’t really whether the Steelers are going to draft a wideout, but rather when it will be.
In a perfect world, the organization should make Addison the wide receiver it selects in the 2023 class. To do that, though, the Steelers will have to draft Addison with their first pick at No. 17 overall.
Although the Steelers have made it a habit of drafting a lot of receivers, the last time they selected a wideout in the first round was Santonio Holmes in 2006.
To end that drought, the Steelers will have to be willing to wait until the second round to address other major needs such as cornerback, linebacker and offensive tackle.
Draft rankings from ESPN, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus all rank Addison at least a Top 25 player in the 2023 class. Pittsburgh will make its second selection at No. 32 overall, but it’s not likely Addison will make it to that pick.
There’s a possibility he won’t even be on the board at No. 17.
If Addison does last on the board until No. 17, it will be interesting to see if Pickett’s endorsement of his former teammate plays a role in the Steelers’ selection.
And even if it doesn’t, the Steelers could still potentially be a team to watch in the Addison sweepstakes. Theoretically, they could use the No. 32 overall pick to trade back up into the first round to nab Addison late on Day 1.
After this week, Pittsburgh fans now know Pickett would be a fan of either draft strategy.