From Big Ben to Big Ken(ny): Why I Love the Steelers' 1st Round Pick

Graphic obtained from Sports

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I promise this is the last time I will ever use the nickname "Big Ken" for Kenny Pickett.  I saw it on Twitter Thursday night after the pick and it seemed like a good headline.  

Earlier today, Brian Torchia talked about why he did not like the Kenny Pickett pick right here on Gold Lot Sports.  That's okay.  That is why sports talk is great.  Our opinions can differ.  You also have probably heard our differing of opinions a lot on Saved By the Ball.

I for one, love the pick of Kenny Pickett in the 1st round.  Does a lot of it have to do with being a die hard Pitt fan?  No.  Does some of it?  Sure, I'll admit that.

However, me being a die hard Pitt fan only comes into play because it gave me the opportunity to evaluate Kenny Pickett's abilities on a play-to-play, real-time, basis.  I did not simply watch highlight videos of a guy in shorts throw the ball to a receiver 80 yards downfield with no defense.  I'm looking at you, Malik Willis supporters, who probably don't even know what state the Liberty Flames home stadium is in.  

Kenny Pickett is an outstanding quarterback who stays calm under pressure and creates plays with his arm and legs.  Everyone is knocking him for being 24 years old, meanwhile that gives him five years of experience against Division-1 defenses.  How many did seasons did Willis and Desmond Ridder have at that level?  

Pickett also set career passing records at Pitt that beat the, one and only, Dan Marino.  Remember when the Steelers passed on him?  Plus, this experience also makes him the most NFL-ready, which appeared to be unanimously agreed upon.  

The NFL-ready aspect is important to me.  A lot of Steeler fans were ready to just hand over the reigns to Mitch Trubisky for the next two years while the other QB prospects, like Willis, Matt Corral, or Desmond Ridder, developed.  Trubisky's option last season wasn't picked up by the Chicago Bears who traded up to the No. 2 pick overall pick to select him.  If that doesn't show the bust he has become, I don't know what does.  And Mason Rudolph starting this season wasn't very appealing either.

Plus, it's a quarterback's league.  The Steelers squeaked into the playoffs despite an immobile quarterback behind a terrible offensive line and a defense that couldn't stop the run.  So they went out this offseason and signed James Daniels, Mason Cole, and Myles Jack to shore up those weaknesses.  Daniels and Cole, as well as the re-signing of Chuks Okorafor, were three ways in which the Steelers addressed the offensive line.  It was a clear weakness last season, but seeing the Steelers invest in improving that aspect of the team was cause for optimism.

There also looks like a non-zero chance we see Stephon Tuitt return to the defensive line this season.  If Tuitt returns and Devin Bush finds his rookie season awareness again, the defense will be just fine.  Especially with the signing of Jack who was one of the most talked about free agent linebackers on the market this offseason.  

The Steelers do have a need at wide receiver, even though they just recently claimed Miles Boykin a day after the Baltimore Ravens let him go.  However, every team in the league was seemingly clamoring for a receiver last night, so the Steelers would have had to either trade capital to move up or take one of the leftovers after every team ahead of them had their share.

The Steelers had all four top quarterbacks on the board at No. 20 and they took the best one.  It was the right move and I support Kevin Colbert leaving behind a legacy of the quarterback that successfully replaced Ben Roethlisberger.  Welcome back home, Kenny Pickett.