Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett "certainly has a chance" to be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1.
Pickett, 6/1 to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, will plunge straight into a training camp competition with veteran QBs Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph as the Steelers move into a new era following the offseason retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.
The 23-year-old from New Jersey excelled in his final year of college eligibility, amassing 4,319 passing yards and 42 touchdown tosses to set new school records for Pittsburgh and going on to finish third in the Heisman Trophy voting.
The nearby Steelers clearly took notice and ensured Pickett became the first quarterback selected in the 2022 draft when they used their 20th overall selection on him.
It should be a relatively seamless transition for the ex-Panther, whose college team use the same practice facility as the AFC North franchise .
"They both reached out," Pickett said of Trubisky and Rudolph shortly after the draft was completed. "Two great guys. I'm really looking forward to working with them."
And despite his obvious lack of experience compared to his camp rivals, Tomlin is not ruling out the possibility that he could make the starting job his own come September.
"He certainly has a chance (to be our Week 1 starter)," Tomlin told NFL Network's Rich Eisen during Saturday's coverage of the 2022 NFL Draft.
"I agree with that sentiment of his readiness from a professional perspective.
"One of the things that was very evident about Kenny being next door is he's just a ridiculous competitor, so we're just excited about putting him in the mix and watching him compete against Mitch and Mason and seeing where that leads us."