Steelers draft picks show Pittsburgh preparing for the future

PITTSBURGH — The 2022 NFL Draft weekend is in the books, and the Steelers are ready to move forward with a list of exciting selections.

Five of Pittsburgh’s seven draft picks were offensive players.

First-round pick Kenny Pickett leads the way.

The selection of Pickett with the 20th overall pick has created a buzz among the Steelers Nation like none in recent memory.

The Steelers have made it clear that they drafted the player they wanted from the start. It appears the Steelers were even prepared to trade up to draft Pickett if they felt they needed to.

Pickett will compete with 2017′s second overall pick, Mitch Trubisky, for the starting job.

The Steelers second-round pick (52nd overall), Georgia wide receiver George Pickens, is also a head-turner.

Pickens is 6-foot-3 with an aggressive style and a tremendous ability to get to the ball.

Pickens is coming off knee surgery a year ago after tearing his ACL, but is a big receiver who makes big plays. Pickens is a lethal downfield threat.

In Round 3, the Steelers selected one of their two defensive picks when they drafted Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, a versatile player who can help the Steelers both inside and outside.

The Steelers have indicated that they’ll put Leal at defensive end, but if so, he’ll have to put on weight. Leal is currently listed at 283 pounds.

In the fourth round, the Steelers drafted another receiver, Calvin Austin III of Memphis.

Austin is only 5-foot-7, but the former track sprinter runs a 4.32 40-yard-dash. Austin will fit nicely in the slot, but could also help the Steelers on the outside.

New Steelers receivers coach Frisian Jackson says Austin plays like he’s 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2.

Pickens and Austin are much-needed additions after the departures of Juju Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ray Ray McCloud.

The Steelers didn’t have a pick in the fifth round, but in the sixth (the 208th overall selection), they drafted halfback/tight end Connor Heyward of Michigan State.

Heyward is the younger brother of Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward.

The Steelers finished their drafting with two seventh-round picks, Ole Miss linebacker Mark Robinson (225th overall) and another quarterback, Chris Oladokun (241st overall) of South Dakota State.