Steelers Draft Recap


Carl Ackerman

New Steelers QB Kenny Pickett during a game at Pitt.

Will Carney, Staff Writer

With many holes to fill in the Steelers’ roster such as QB, WR, OL, and DL, all eyes have looked towards the draft to see how the organization will address those issues. 

The Steelers had seven picks in this year’s draft: 20th, 52nd, 84th, 138th, 208th, 225th, and 241st.

First Round Selection (20): Kenny Pickett

With many from the Steelers staff attending several of the quarter-back Pro Days there was no doubt that the Steelers would take a QB in the draft; it was just a matter of who and when. It turned out that the Steelers had their sights set on Pitt QB Kenny Pickett. Pickett’s final season was one to remember. In that season, Pickett had a total of 47 TDs, he threw for 4,319, and had a completion percentage of 67.2%.

Pre-Draft, there were doubts as to whether he would be available at pick 20, but teams like the Lions, Panthers, Falcons, and Saints who all had legitimate quarterback needs passed on Pickett and every other QB in the first round. The Steelers took this opportunity to select Pickett. 

Positives: Pickett is mature and possesses valuable leadership qualities. Pickett’s throwing accuracy is also very precise and he has shown the ability to fit the ball into extremely small spaces. Furthermore, he is athletic, a quality runner, and can make throws from outside of the pocket.

Negatives: One of the concerns about Pickett’s game is the amount of time that he holds the ball before he throws it. This is something that needs to be fixed immediately because of the risk of taking excess hits. Another issue many have with Pickett is his hand size. His hands measure at about 8.5 inches. According to, that is the 3rd smallest hand size measurement of any quarterback at the combine since 2003. This raises concerns about how well he will be able to grip the ball in cities that have harsh weather conditions like Pittsburgh. 

Second Round Selection (52): George Pickens

Because of the need at wide receiver, many people expected to take a WR relatively early in the draft. George Pickens went to the University of Georgia and is 6’ 3”, 201 lbs. Pickens is coming off an ACL tear which happened during a spring practice in March of last year. He is seen as one of the most talented receivers in the draft. 

Positives: According to, Pickens has good height and uses that to his advantage with his large catching range. The physicality and blocking has proved to be extremely beneficial not in just the pass game, but also the run game. Pickens’ strength allows him to go up and get the football and when he does that, he rarely drops it. 

Negatives: Pickens has had some character issues in the past and his ego can get in the way of his game. Under Mike Tomlin and other coaches, this is hopefully something that can be fixed. Pickens route running needs polishing and there is some concern about how he will play coming off of his ACL injury. 

Third Round Selection (84th): DeMarvin Leal

DeMarvin Leal is  6’3 ⅞” and weighs 283 lbs according to He attended Texas A&M and is a defensive lineman. The Steelers addressed another need in the draft by taking Leal. In the 2020 season, Leal played extremely well and was talked about being a middle first round pick, but in the 2021 season his level of play dropped and his draft stock fell significantly. 

Positives: He has extreme explosiveness and can quickly change directions. Moreover, Leal has excellent pass rushing moves and can squeeze through gaps in the offensive line. His versatility as to where he can play on the defensive line is also a positive.

Negatives: Leal does not display much physicality in the run game. In addition, Leal has not been very effective at pass rushing when he is playing in the interior.  

Fourth Round Selection (138th): Calvin Austin III

The Steelers added another wide receiver to their arsenal in the fourth round, Calvin Austin III. Austin attended the University of Memphis. Austin is 5’7 ¾ “ and weighs 170 pounds. He ran a stellar 4.32 40-yard dash time and can play in the slot or outside.

Positives: Calvin Austin III has shown the ability to beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage by blowing by cornerbacks. He also is reliable at catching the ball, will work over the middle of the field, and runs great routes. 

Negatives: Austin has a very small frame which can be worrisome against pro-defenders.

Sixth Round Selection (208): Connor Heyward

Connor Heyward, the brother of Steelers star DT Cam Heyward, attended Michigan State University and is 6’, 230 lbs. He played multiple positions at college including TE, FB, and HB. 

Positives: According to, Heyward can make difficult catches, is an effective lead blocker, is able to break tackles, and has good speed. 

Negatives: Heyward cannot change directions very quickly, is not explosive, and is a poor route runner. 

Seventh Round Selection (225): Mark Robinson

Ole Miss LB, Mark Robinson, is 5’11”, 235 lbs. He is physically strong, seeks contact, and can slip off blocks, but is not good in coverage, is not a true pass rushing threat, and has limited experience at LB. 

Seventh Round Selection (241): Chris Oladokun

With their final pick in the draft, the Steelers selected their second QB of the draft, Chris Oladokun. Oladokun is 6’1” and attended South Dakota State. He throws a good deep ball, is athletic, accurate, and buys extra time in the pocket, but his coverage recognition needs work, and he struggles throwing intermediate distances according to

The Steelers addressed many of their needs in the 2022 Draft. It will be interesting to see how these picks play out this upcoming season.