The first quarterback taken in Thursday’s NFL Draft was a Jersey boy.
Kenny Pickett, who was born in Oakhurst, New Jersey, and starred at quarterback for Ocean Township High School was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, as he gets to start his professional career in the city he called home the past four years at college: Pittsburgh.
While under center for the Pitt Panthers for five years, Pickett threw for 12,303 yards and 81 touchdowns. The 81 touchdowns broke Dan Marino’s school record of 79 career TD passes. Pickett also passed Marino in the single season touchdown pass list with 42 touchdown passes last season.
Let's hear it for New Jersey's Kenny Pickett, who was scooped up in the first night of the NFL Draft by the Steelers. He played for Ocean Township High School before playing for Pitt. #nfldraft @kennypickett10 @Pitt_FB pic.twitter.com/ZW4k0EBvRP— njdotcom (@njdotcom) April 29, 2022
The Steelers were in dire need of a new franchise quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger retired at the end of last season. Pickett comes in already comfortable with the city and the stadium, since the Panthers play their college games at Heinz Field.
In many ways for Steelers fans this is a makeup for Pittsburgh’s passing on Marino in the 1983 draft. Marino went onto a Hall of Fame career with the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers were in transition out of the Terry Bradshaw era at that time, and would spend the better part of two decades looking for a true quarterback until they hit it big with Roethlisberger in 2004.
Pickett is the highest New Jersey born player taken in the draft since the Giants took Ron Dayne with the 11th pick back in 2000.