The Niners spent two of their first three picks on a running back and a receiver, which should be beneficial to quarterback Trey Lance. But, for as odd as it might sound, this draft could be equally beneficial to Samuel. Samuel accounted for 28% of the Niners' yards from scrimmage in 2021, which was the fourth most by a player in the NFL. Of course Samuel wants to keep getting the ball and playing a significant role, but if part of his dispute with the Niners is over his potential longevity, it stands to reason that adding help at the skill positions -- particularly running back -- could help lighten his load and settle his issues with the team. -- Nick Wagoner
In our post-free agency Power Rankings -- published on March 22-- I led my Niners entry thusly: "Jimmy G is still hanging around." Well, it's now May 2 -- and Jimmy G, like a college dropout at a high school kegger in the woods, continues to linger. This isn't Garoppolo's fault, of course -- shoulder surgery very clearly mucked up his market. Meanwhile, the Niners don't seem at all eager to move superstar wide receiver Deebo Samuel, trade demand be damned. Kyle Shanahan said on Friday the 49ers have yet to receive an offer that was "even remotely close" to what they'd consider fair. One explanation for that, as a prominent NFL reporter recently said to me, is that San Francisco has been "really unreasonable" in trade conversations. This entire scenario boils down to the team having no interest in parting ways with its most explosive player.
The quarterback situation is still unsettled, and if it's Trey Lance as the starter they might have to be patient early on. There is still an abundance of talent on this roster to make it a lot easier for him.
We think Trey Lance will be QB1, though it's not clear how ready he is. We think All-Pro Deebo Samuel will remain on the roster, though it's not clear how much of a distraction he'll be. We think this team will be pretty good, though it's not clear how many off-field issues coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch will have to manage, especially if QB Jimmy Garoppolo remains in the background.
This was supposed to be the offseason the 49ers moved forward with their plan to build their offense around second-year quarterback Trey Lance and do-everything receiver Deebo Samuel. That might still be the desired plan, but it's been, well, complicated. The 49ers haven't found a trading partner for 2021 starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Samuel wants out. With all that drama, it's easy to forget just how close the 49ers were to winning the NFC last season.
Instead of drafting a potential future replacement at quarterback, the Saints made aggressive trades to support Winston with two first-round picks in receiver Chris Olave and left tackle Trevor Penning. Throw in the healthy return of No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas, and we should get a much better idea of how well Winston fits in New Orleans this season. The offense was decimated by injuries in 2021 when Thomas missed all 17 games, Winston missed 10 games and the top four offensive linemen missed a combined 32 games. -- Mike Triplett
The Saints did strong work in the first round on Thursday night, landing an explosive complement to Michael Thomas in Chris Olave and a replacement for the departed Terron Armstead at left tackle in Trevor Penning. These were both necessary moves if New Orleans hopes to see sustained improvement from Jameis Winston -- currently rehabbing after reconstructive knee surgery. The team is on track to fill another pressing need, with All-Pro safety, and Louisianan native, Tyrann Mathieu expected to sign with New Orleans. The Bucs remain the favorite in the NFC South, but the Saints should not be discounted.
Let's not forget how close San Francisco came to reaching the Super Bowl courtesy of a stacked roster that could endure middling quarterback play. After a statement draft and signing of hometown S Tyrann Mathieu, New Orleans might have a better roster than those 2021 Niners -- and QB Jameis Winston showed a lot of promise prior to his ACL tear. But the main question is how this organization adapts to the departure of Sean Payton.
Are you ready for Year 2 of Jameis Winston in New Orleans? The Saints surveyed the quarterback market and, after missing out on Deshaun Watson, landed back on Winston. He threw 14 touchdowns and three interceptions for the Saints before suffering a torn ACL last October. Our panel picked the Saints as the second-best team in the NFC South. Will that be good enough for a playoff spot come January?
The Bears came away from the second round with two starting-caliber defensive backs and hope to revive their secondary off the play of rookies, including Jaquan Brisker. Jackson hasn't recorded an interception since the 2019 season and might stand to benefit from playing farther away from the box, with Brisker starting opposite him at strong safety. Brisker is a physical, versatile defender who played 400 snaps at safety, 100 snaps at inside linebacker and 100 snaps at slot corner in 2021 at Penn State. With this season being dubbed a "clean slate" for Jackson, aligning him with a DB whose skill set complements his could lead him to rediscover the level of play that made him one of the league's best safeties three years ago. -- Courtney Cronin
How confident should we be about Justin Fields and the opportunity he is getting in Chicago? The Bears saddled the quarterback with a lame-duck head coach as a rookie, then took away his No. 1 wide receiver by allowing Allen Robinson to leave for the Rams this offseason. Absent a first-round pick (that went to the Giants in the Fields draft trade last year), Chicago opted to wait until the third round in Vegas to address the offense. Perhaps Tennessee wideout Velus Jones Jr. carves out a role as a rookie, but it's more likely Fields will be staring down a lot of blanketed receivers when he drops back to pass this fall. Give the kid a chance!
They spent some draft capital on the defense, which you would expect with Matt Eberflus in as the head coach. They didn't do a lot early to help Justin Fields, which could be a concern and is somewhat strange.
What exactly have the Bears done this offseason to make things better and easier for their most important asset, quarterback Justin Fields? A change in coaching staff and scheme should help Fields' development in Year 2, but a scan through the Bears' roster after the draft and free agency doesn't reveal a team that looks much better suited to win with Fields now than it did last year.
The Eagles not only declined to draft a quarterback with either of their two first-round picks but traded a first-rounder to the Titans for receiver A.J. Brown, who is one of Hurts' best friends. He is also among the top receivers in the game. Hurts is entering a critical year in his career as he tries to prove he is the long-term answer at quarterback. With a solid offensive line and a group of playmakers that includes Brown, DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert, Hurts will be able to put his best foot forward. -- Tim McManus
Howie Roseman is on a heater. Last month, the veteran GM pulled off an excellent draft capital swap with the Saints that set up the Eagles well in the years to come. In Vegas, Philly fortified its defensive front with first-round pick Jordan Davis, then pulled off what might be remembered as the Ocean's 11 heist of the draft by landing Georgia middle linebacker Naboke Dean in the third round. A day earlier, Roseman pulled off another heist by landing star wide receiver A.J. Brown in a trade with the Titans. Given all the factors at play -- Brown's age (24), his All-Pro ability, and the team's struggles to identify wideout talent in the draft (outside DeVonta Smith) -- yep, just call the Iggles GM Danny Ocean.
Captivating team that's set up to build on last year's playoff run with the acquisition of WR A.J. Brown and two Georgia defenders (DT Jordan Davis, LB Nakobe Dean) but could also make an interesting QB pivot in next year's draft.
Our takeaway from the Eagles' offseason is that this is a make-or-break season for quarterback Jalen Hurts. There should be no questions about the receiving weapons -- hello, A.J. Brown -- and the defense should be better equipped to play complementary football, which always helps a young quarterback. The Eagles snuck into the playoffs last season. Now the expectation should be to get back and be competitive.
Player who benefited most from draft: QB Derek Carr
Well for one, the Raiders did not draft his replacement. But for another, the new regime did add some depth to protect him with a pair of versatile offensive linemen in Dylan Parham and Thayer Munford. Now, neither guy jumps off the page immediately, but they do make a suspect O-line better in terms of competition, right? And in May, that's all you can really hope for when you don't make your first selection until late in the third round of the draft. Plus, the Raiders did use those first two picks to get wide receiver Davante Adams for Carr in trade, yes? Yes. -- Paul Gutierrez
Anybody else hyper impressed with Derek Carr's new haircut? Carr's gone on quite the lettuce journey during his NFL career, but the modified faux-hawk debuted at the start of the draft is an ace look that will only endear him further with the beautiful lunatics of the Black Hole. Meanwhile, the Raiders' draft class was significantly downsized by the Davante Adams trade, something Silver & Black fans can surely live with. The biggest news before the draft revolved around the announcement that the team would not be picking up the fifth-year option on any of its three first-round picks from 2019. It's actually impressive the Raiders are in such a solid position despite that hat trick of personnel misses.
If the trade for Adams wasn't reminder enough, their decision to decline fifth-year options on all three of their 2019 first-rounders was a clear signal that the Silver and Black are under new management. Look for Round 4 RB Zamir "Zeus" White to eat into Josh Jacobs' touches.
The big trade for Davante Adams and signing of quarterback Derek Carr to an extension are indications the new regime believes the Raiders are ready to be serious competitors right away. Our panel clearly still has questions, picking the Raiders fourth among the AFC West teams.
Player who benefited most from draft: DE/LB Josh Allen
Allen had his best season as a rookie (10.5 sacks) in 2019 when he had Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue on the field with him at the same time. Campbell and Ngakoue were traded before the 2020 season began, and Allen has had 10 sacks in the 24 games since without any meaningful help on the other side. Drafting DE Travon Walker with the first overall pick and adding LB Devin Lloyd with the 27th beefs up the pass rush and will keep opponents from focusing on Allen. -- Michael DiRocco
When you own the No. 1 overall pick in the draft -- the Jags' place in the NFL firmament for two years running -- you want to land a potential superstar. Trevor Lawrence was a no-brainer for Jacksonville brass in 2021, but the decision to tab Travon Walker this season is one of the biggest first-pick dice rolls in recent league history. In the end, the Jaguars banked on Walker's promise over the proven performance that Aidan Hutchinson put on tape for Michigan. It's a move that can make GM Trent Baalke and Jaguars brass look smart ... or get everybody fired. The stakes explain why the Jags reportedly hoped to hear from a team that wanted to trade into the first pick -- a phone call that never came.
With Doug Pederson calling the shots and RB -- not slot receiver -- Travis Etienne poised to make his NFL debut, it's almost like they're getting four first-round picks this year after getting DE/OLB Travon Walker and LB Devin Lloyd, both potential defensive rookie of the year candidates.
The best thing we can say about the Jaguars' offseason as they try to recover from the disastrous but short-lived Urban Meyer era is that Jacksonville was aggressive. Aggressive with its free-agent money (we're still not over that Christian Kirk deal) and aggressive in the draft, taking edge rusher Travon Walker at No. 1 based on physical traits and potential production.
The Browns entered the draft without a first-round pick, then traded out of the second round despite a need at wide receiver. Cleveland finally added one near the end of the third round, selecting David Bell from Purdue. Bell, who was ultra-productive in college, could play a big role in the Browns' offense. But he will likely be operating out of the slot and in underneath coverage. That should allow Peoples-Jones to remain a starter opposite Amari Cooper. And though the Browns could still add another receiver, they will be counting on DPJ to play significant snaps next season. -- Jake Trotter
The Browns remain an impossible team to rank in this exercise given what we don't know about Deshaun Watson. The quarterback remains in limbo on account of the 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct, as well as the ongoing league investigation. Will he even play in the 2022 season? And if he doesn't, how much can we realistically expect from a team -- 8-9 a year ago -- being led by Jacoby Brissett? Well, they do have Baker Mayfield, but the team will throw an anniversary halftime celebration for the 2000 Super Bowl champion Ravens before the former No. 1 overall pick plays another snap in Cleveland. The Browns have the chance to be an AFC superpower in the years to come, but they remain a messy proposition in the here and now.
Still turbulence to navigate given the likelihood of a suspension for QB Deshaun Watson and lack of resolution around his predecessor, Baker Mayfield. But if Cleveland can tread water until Watson is ready to play -- assuming he integrates effectively -- this team should be dangerous.
Now here's a team with a dramatic offensive overhaul. In: Deshaun Watson, on a guaranteed $230 million contract. Out: Baker Mayfield .... at least if and when the Browns can find a trade partner. Still, Cleveland is a tricky team to rank given the uncertainty about Watson's availability. A lengthy suspension for the 2022 season would dramatically impact the Browns' on-field fortunes.
Player who benefited most from draft: LB Cameron McGrone
The Patriots didn't select a linebacker in what was viewed by many as a deep class, and the position was also considered a top team need. But Bill Belichick & Co. didn't seem to see it the same way. Director of player personnel Matt Groh said McGrone, a 2021 fifth-round pick who missed his rookie season recovering from a torn ACL sustained at Michigan, is like an "additional draft pick" this year. McGrone is a legitimate candidate to start as he vies for the role alongside Ja'Whaun Bentley, Mack Wilson and Raekwon McMillan, among others. -- Mike Reiss
The Patriots' first-round selection of Chattanooga guard Cole Strange was deemed a significant reach by the draft community, but let's not act surprised when Strange is anchoring the interior of the New England line in 2030. Yes, we still respect the football acumen of The Hooded One. That said, the Pats feel shorthanded in the AFC's arms race. Trade acquisition DeVante Parker was a nice weapon to add to an underwhelming wide receiver room, but we would've liked to see the Pats get aggressive and land one of the Big Six wideouts that came off the board in the first round in Vegas.
Bill Belichick always finds a way to surprise us, and this year's "Only in New England" move came when he drafted guard Cole Strange in the first round. Other key offseason moves include trades for linebacker Mack Wilson (from the Browns, in exchange for Chase Winovich) and receiver DeVante Parker (from the Dolphins). Useful additions, sure, but did New England do enough in the rest of the offseason to close the gap on the Bills?
Player who benefited most from draft: QB Jared Goff
Although there was much speculation about what the Lions would do with two first-round picks, they didn't go in the direction of a younger quarterback. Not only has Goff benefited from the draft, he has benefited from free agency. The Lions' front office has shown its commitment to adding game-changing offensive threats around him this season, which was a big problem during last season's 3-13-1 finish. Detroit also traded up to get rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams at No. 12 and many believe he was arguably the most talented at his position prior to his ACL injury. When he returns, Goff will have plenty of playmakers to help him succeed. -- Eric Woodyard
The Lions are starting to feel like what the Browns were a few years back: a likable underdog on the come-up. The draft provided more reason to believe Detroit is on the right track. Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall pick, is a hometown kid who will provide an instant jolt to the team's moribund pass rush. Detroit then made a surprise trade up the board to grab Alabama stud Jameson Williams, currently recovering from ACL surgery but gifted -- like Hutchinson -- with All-Pro potential. Jared Goff will remain the bridge at quarterback for another year, but the Lions are building something here. Hard Knocks is going to be fun.
We shouldn't have huge expectations for the 2022 Lions, because this is a team in Year 2 of a rebuild. They drafted a building block in defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and a No. 1 receiver (when he gets healthy) in Jameson Williams. Next year, the Lions can focus on the quarterback and major progress.
This could go either way. Darnold benefited in that Carolina made left tackle Ikem Ekwonu the sixth pick, strengthening an already rebuilt line that gave up 52 sacks a year ago. Darnold is best when not under pressure. At the same time, the Panthers traded back into the third round for Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, who will become the fan favorite to start if Darnold falls back into habits that have haunted him through his first four NFL seasons. This is Darnold's job, but only as long as he produces. -- David Newton
Good for the Panthers. As the results of the draft confirmed, talent evaluators had no affection for this class of quarterbacks, so credit Carolina brass for resisting the temptation to fit a square peg into a round hole with the sixth overall pick. The Panthers instead focused on another glaring weakness at that spot, selecting Ikem Ekwonu, a tackle with All-Pro potential. With one sensible move in the can, the Panthers made another by stopping Matt Corral's slide late in the third round. Barring a move that brings a veteran to town (Baker Mayfield? Jimmy Garoppolo?), Carolina could be ready to bite down hard and give Sam Darnold one more chance. If he flops, the team has the window to give the intriguing rookie from Ole Miss an early look.
With their skill players healthy and first-round LT Ickey Ekwonu stabilizing the offensive line ... Darnold and, very possibly, coach Matt Rhule are pretty much out of excuses when it comes to achieving forward progress.
Carolina entered this offseason seemingly desperate to make yet another change at quarterback. But after missing out on Deshaun Watson and waiting until the third round to draft Matt Corral, it appears the Panthers will start next season with Sam Darnold. Best case-scenario, then, is that Darnold will play better than he did last season thanks to a healthy Christian McCaffrey and the addition of first-round tackle Ikem Ekwonu. But even then, our panel isn't high on the Panthers' chances.
The Giants got Jones two offensive linemen (Evan Neal, Joshua Ezeudu) and a wide receiver (Wan'Dale Robinson) with three of their first four picks in the draft. Even more telling was that they passed on some of the perceived top quarterbacks over and over. This only improves the chances that Jones has a future with the franchise, with or without that fifth-year option. The Giants are trying to make sure they get a real chance to see if Jones can be their long-term quarterback. -- Jordan Raanan
The Giants desperately needed some good vibes, and they got them in a first round that ended with two potential star additions in defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal at Nos. 5 and 7 overall, respectively. Thibodeaux's talent and overflowing charisma -- prominently on display in consecutive appearances on the Around The NFL Podcast last week -- could make him a Michael Strahan-like star in the Big Apple. New York also made news with the decision to decline the fifth-year option of quarterback Daniel Jones' rookie contract. It's an unorthodox move, but one rooted in welcome logic. If Jones finally balls out in Year 4, Big Blue will live with the financial fallout.
The Giants are sending mixed messages: They didn't draft a quarterback this spring, but they also declined to pick up the fifth-year option for starter Daniel Jones. That means Jones is at a critical point this season. Either he proves to the Giants he's worthy of an extension, or they can easily move on. Will the team around Jones help his chances of earning a new contract? The addition of right tackle Evan Neal, especially, should help.
Not selecting a quarterback with any of their nine draft picks wasn't a vote of long-term confidence in the Seahawks' current options. It was instead a reflection of how the Seahawks simply weren't sold on any of the options in what was a lousy draft for quarterbacks. But that still means Lock and Smith won't have to compete with a highly drafted rookie as they battle to replace Russell Wilson. Baker Mayfield is still out there and could potentially be signed on the cheap if he's released by Cleveland, but for now it remains Lock and Smith. -- Brady Henderson
There's a plausible scenario in which Baker Mayfield still eventually lands with the Seahawks, but it's far from a sure thing following Ian Rapoport's report that Seattle's interest in the Browns QB is "lukewarm at best." And if that's true, it might be time to recognize the very real possibility that Pete Carroll and John Schneider are preparing for a post-Russell Wilson world with Drew Lock and Geno Smith as the options under center. Perhaps this makes sense. It feels like Carroll has been dying to lean back into his ground-and-pound preference for years, a theory propped up by a draft class that saw the Seahawks add two tackles and a running back in the first three rounds.
Quick history lesson -- the last season (2011) Pete Carroll didn't have QB Russell Wilson or Wagner ... he still had a hungry, young team that featured a top-10 defense and went 7-9 with Tarvaris Jackson throwing most of the passes.
Things have certainly changed in Seattle since February. Russell Wilson is gone, and the Seahawks are prepared to move ahead in 2022 with either Drew Lock or Geno Smith as the starting quarterback. (Seattle did not draft a quarterback, nor does it appear to have significantly pursued trading for Baker Mayfield.) So, where does this leave the Seahawks this season? A lot further from a Super Bowl than they ever were with Wilson.
Yes, the Texans used their top draft pick on a defensive player, but they certainly upgraded around Mills on the offensive side of the ball as well. Houston's second second-round pick was guard Kenyon Green, who should slide right into the Texans' starting lineup. The Texans also added wide receiver John Metchie III on Day 2 and running back Dameon Pierce on Day 3. Houston is slowly improving an offense that ranked 30th in Football Outsiders' DVOA. Mills might not be the Texans' long-term answer at quarterback, but general manager Nick Caserio is certainly setting him up for more success in 2022. -- Sarah Barshop
Deshaun Watson is mercifully someone else's responsibility, and the draft represented the official reboot of a new era in Houston. The team laid the foundation with nine draft picks in Vegas, starting with cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick. More instant starters were added next: offensive lineman Kenyon Green (No. 15 overall), defensive back Jalen Pitre (No. 37) and wide receiver John Metchie III (No. 44). Metchie will be catching passes from second-year man Davis Mills, who notably found no new competition entering the quarterback room from this draft class. Mills was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, and the Texans appear committed to giving him a real chance to cement his status as Watson's successor.
Headlined by No. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley Jr., this draft class' first six picks could provide Week 1 starters for Houston, which seems to be out of dry dock as the franchise finally moves forward from the Watson controversy and former coach Bill O'Brien's egregious roster mismanagement.
The Texans are finally free of Deshaun Watson, and the rebuild is underway, with Davis Mills expected to be Houston's starting quarterback again in 2022. The Texans have a long way to go to even just be competitive in the AFC South, but it starts with getting significant impact from their rookies. That includes first-round picks Derek Stingley Jr. at cornerback and Kenyon Green at guard.
The Chargers selected a guard in Zion Johnson, who figures to be a Day 1 starter, and running back Isaiah Spiller, who provides a much-needed alternative to Austin Ekeler, with two of their first three draft picks. That's more good news for Herbert, who saw the Chargers re-sign receiver Mike Williams and add tight end Gerald Everett in free agency. -- Adam Teicher
The Chargers used free agency to improve a defense that cost them a playoff spot last season. The draft found Los Angeles targeting improvements to its exciting offense. First-round pick Zion Johnson is a plug-and-play starter at guard who meshes well with the franchise's unofficial edict: Protect Justin Herbert At All Costs. After adding secondary help in the third round with Baylor safety JT Woods, the Chargers used their fourth-round selection on running back Isaiah Spiller, an intriguing complement to touchdown machine Austin Ekeler. The AFC West is as rugged as any division in football, but the Bolts will be ready for the fight.
The Chargers have to feel good about their roster after free agency and the draft. Getting Khalil Mack was big. The only problem is they play in a brutal division. Even so, this is the year they should compete for a championship.
Sure seems one of the league's more talented teams has filled the few holes it had at the end of last season. And the Bolts were already good enough to go toe to toe with Kansas City prior to the departure of WR Tyreek Hill.
The offseason Chargers hype train is moving full steam ahead, thanks to the additions of edge rusher Khalil Mack and cornerback J.C. Jackson in free agency to fill two glaring needs. Combine that with quarterback Justin Herbert's rapid upward trajectory, and our voters see the Chargers as an AFC playoff favorite.
Player who benefited most from draft: QB Tom Brady
The Bucs invested a second-round draft pick at guard in Luke Goedeke, brought in a pass-catching running back in the third round in Rachaad White, and selected two tight ends in Cade Otton and blocking specialist Ko Kieft to possibly add to Rob Gronkowski. While the Bucs will always look to the future when they draft, their decisions very much reflect their current win-now mindset behind their soon-to-be 45-year-old, future Hall of Fame quarterback. -- Jenna Laine
The Bucs traded out of the first round and used their first two picks to address holes in their starting lineup. Logan Hall, the 33rd overall selection, should line up next to Vita Vea as a potential replacement for free agent Ndamukong Suh, while 57th pick Luke Goedeke profiles as a replacement for Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet, who retired in February. Speaking of retirement, Rob Gronkowski continues to fist-pump away during his now obligatory offseason dance. While Gronk "decides" (c'mon, he's coming back), Tampa Bay imported a tight end of the future with the fourth-round selection of Cade Otton. It's unlikely Gronk is even aware this happened.
Still awaiting verdicts on free agents Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh, though the draft provided insurance for each, notably second-round DL Logan Hall. The path to the NFC's No. 1 seed could go through Tampa ... or Munich.
When our staff last ranked teams, Tom Brady was retired and Bruce Arians was not. And with the reverse now true, we like the Bucs' chances in the NFC. Tampa Bay wasn't able to bring everyone back this season like it did last year -- guard Ali Marpet retired; tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to decide if he'll return. But Brady is back, and that gives the Bucs and new head coach Todd Bowles top-tier quarterback play and stability at the most important position.
Okorafor gets his name in bold, but Dan Moore Jr. also qualifies as a player who benefitted from the Steelers' draft. The team didn't address the tackle spot through an external signing in free agency or via the draft, all but solidifying its confidence in Okorafor and Moore. As a rookie, Moore started every single game and showed signs of being the left tackle of the future, while Okorafor had an average season. Either position could've benefitted from an upgrade this offseason, but that didn't happen, so Okorafor and Moore won't have their spots threatened. -- Brooke Pryor
Kevin Colbert's final draft as Steelers GM went the way many expected. The man responsible for bringing Ben Roethlisberger to Pittsburgh targeted Big Ben's successor with the first-round selection of Kenny Pickett. The Steelers know Pickett better than anyone -- Pitt and the Steelers share the same practice facility -- and it was telling how Mike Tomlin chose to answer a question about Pickett's immediate viability as a potential Week 1 starter. "He certainly has a chance," the coach said. "... We felt he came ready-made in those ways. Hopefully that's an asset to him in terms of being able to compete and being ready, if his performance dictates." The Mitch Trubisky era could be over before it even started.
First-round QB Kenny Pickett could be an upgrade juxtaposed to the declining play of now-retired Ben Roethlisberger. Yet Pickett might not be much of an upgrade at all from Mitch Trubisky nor have the long-term impact Willis could. Gonna be fascinating to see how this unfolds.
This has been an offseason of tremendous change for one of the NFL's most stable franchises. Ben Roethlisberger retired, so the Steelers begin on-field practices this month with two new quarterbacks, free agent Mitch Trubisky and first-round pick Kenny Pickett. The Steelers like to think the rest of their roster is strong enough to remain competitive during the quarterback change. Our voters aren't as sure, dropping Pittsburgh seven spots from where it finished last season.