More than a month prior to the start of most training camps, the entirety of the NFL’s first round has signed.
So has the full Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 draft class.
The headliner signed his contract Thursday morning: first-round pick Kenny Pickett.
The former Pitt quarterback was the last remaining unsigned first-round pick in the league, and the final of the Steelers’ seven draft picks to sign.
Financial terms have not been announced, but under the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players union, rookie contracts are valued by way of a slotting system based on where the player was picked in the draft. All first-round picks get a four-year deal with a team option for Year 5.
Taken No. 20 overall, Pickett is the first quarterback selected by the Steelers in the first round since Ben Roethlisberger went 11th in 2004. Now, he has a chance to be Roethlisberger’s successor.
During organized team activities and minicamp, Pickett confirmed he was taking third-string reps behind veterans Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. Rudolph is entering his fifth season with the Steelers and has been repping as the No. 2. A former second overall draft pick signed to a two-year free-agent contract in March, Trubisky has been practicing with the first team.
“It’s really my job to ask questions and learn from (Trubisky) and watch how he does things and how they go about their business,” Pickett said. “There is kind of a fine line between that mentoring thing, but we have a great relationship and everything is going smoothly.”
Pickett was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021 after guiding Pitt to the ACC Championship Game, which the Panthers won over Wake Forest for the program’s first conference title. For the season, Pickett completed 67% of his passes for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Pickett finished his Pitt career as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,303), completions (1,045), total offense (13,112 yards), 300-yard passing games (16), 400-yard passing games (five) and passing touchdowns (81).
Barring something unforeseen, Kenny Pickett still will be the No. 3 quarterback when the Steelers report to Saint Vincent on July 26 to open camp. https://t.co/GJKyQ80WrJ
— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) June 19, 2022
“He’s doing good,” Trubisky said of Pickett after the completion of minicamp. “He’s grown and getting better every single day.”
Pickett turned 24 earlier this month and was one of the oldest and most experienced players in the draft, regardless of position. He won 32 of his 49 college starts, including starts in the only two conference championship games in program history (Pitt lost the 2018 title game to Clemson).
“He’s got a good understanding of how everybody is in the locker room,” running back Najee Harris said of Pickett. “He obviously brings a lot to the table, too, and he works hard.”
Pickett was the only quarterback selected among the first 73 picks of the draft. The Steelers also took a quarterback with their last pick: Chris Oladokun of South Dakota State in the seventh round.
“Obviously, me and Kenny being rookies, I’m getting to spend a lot of time with him,” Oladokun said during OTAs. “We were both saying the other day that we are pretty fortunate we get to go through this together, just figuring out new ways to study and new ways to learn the playbook. Kenny is picking this up well.”
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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .