PITTSBURGH — Kenny Pickett’s loved ones in attendance at his NFL Draft party didn’t think the Pittsburgh Steelers called. Instead, they thought he was on the phone with the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints picked 19th, one selection before the Steelers at 20. And like the rest of the country watching from home, those at Pickett’s party saw New Orleans on the clock, and the quarterback on the phone.
Told by Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, those in attendance at Pickett’s draft party were thrown for a whirlwind of emotions a little after 10 p.m.
“You got so engulfed, and there’s some tape delay in what we were getting on TV compared to what was in real time,” Narduzzi said. “As that whole thing was going on, Kenny got the call, and he bent over. He bent over and you’re like, ‘Okay it’s the Saints.’ The Saints were still on the clock and it wasn’t like the pick was in when he got the call. So, I never looked back at that TV.
“We’re all hooting and hollering. You’re all ecstatic about what’s going on,” Narduzzi continued. “Then, my phone rings at 10:12. It’s coach [Mike] Tomlin. I’m like, ‘why is coach Tomlin calling me?'”
“So, coach Tomlin calls me and he says, ‘Hey, did you see who got him?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, the Saints. You’re one off.’ He’s like, ‘No, we got him.’
“Then all of sudden [Pickett] has a baseball hat on.”
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Luckily, the Steelers had their opportunity to draft Pickett at 20 after the Saints selected offensive tackle Trevor Penning 19th. And while everyone would’ve been happy the QB went anywhere, it feels best he stays in Pittsburgh.
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