First Call: Daniel Jeremiah still sees Kenny Pickett as ‘best fit’ if Steelers go QB in draft; Ravens may nab Jordan Davis

At least one NFL draft analyst still sees Pitt’s Kenny Pickett as the Steelers’ best option if they go quarterback in the first round of next week’s draft. However, the team is the betting favorite to land a different quarterback instead.

The Baltimore Ravens may scoop up a different player that the Steelers could be targeting.

There were lots of action in the NHL Eastern Conference besides the Penguins’ win against the Bruins. And a Duquesne basketball transfer is getting a look from Pitt.


Moving across the hall?

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah held a media conference call to preview next week’s annual selection process. At one point he was asked which of the draft-eligible quarterbacks was the best fit for the Steelers.

His answer was Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett.

“Obviously somebody they’d be a little bit familiar with,” Jeremiah said of Pickett. “He’s my No. 1 quarterback. I’ve kind of stuck with him through this whole process. If it was up to me, looking at that team and the best fit, I would actually probably probably lean towards Kenny Pickett. ”

Jeremiah tweeted this about Pickett earlier in the week.

The Steelers pick 20th in the first round. Right now, NFL.com has Pickett as their 20th-rated prospect.

I’d agree that Pickett is the most polished and NFL-ready of the quarterback class. I question if his ceiling is worthy of the No. 20 overall pick. Also, I see selecting him after they bothered to keep Mason Rudolph and sign Mitch Trusbisky as a bit redundant.

All that being said, I think it’s a moot point. Knowing how valued quarterbacks are, my bet is Pickett is selected before the Steelers have a chance. My hope is that Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis is on the board. He’s my favorite potential choice.


Oh. Never mind then

Well, so much for that idea.

Jeremiah was also asked about the Baltimore Ravens. They select at No. 14. And he thinks they’ll take Davis if he is still available.

“I just can’t see them passing on him if he were to get there, because just they collect these guys,” Jeremiah said. “These big, big, physical line of scrimmage players on the offensive and defensive line, the rare ones, especially it’s easy to sell SEC guys in that room. That would be one that would kind of make sense to me. ”

However, Jeremiah also highlighted Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie as a perfect fit for Baltimore. NFL.com has McDuffie rated as the second-best corner on the board behind Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner. So maybe they are tempted to help their secondary more than the defensive front if both are still available, and my dream can stay alive.


Different direction

Meanwhile, at least one gambling outlet has the Steelers as a favorite to land a different quarterback. FanDuel lists the Steelers as a +250 favorite to select Liberty’s Malik Willis.

Willis visited with the Steelers this week. He has been connected to the Steelers as a potential choice dating back to the Senior Bowl.

I’d keep an eye on Detroit as a dark horse. There has been some increasing scuttlebutt that the Lions may take Willis and give him a year to learn the position and mature behind Jared Goff.


Short move?

Amir “Primo” Spears led the Duquesne basketball team in scoring last year. Now he is transferring. Spears is saying Pitt is one team showing interest.

George Michalowski of the Portal Report and Pittsburgh Sports Now, says that he has spoken to Spears. And the freshman guard has had contact with the Panthers along with Oklahoma, Maryland, Louisville, Seton Hall, Kansas State, Wake Forest, Iowa State and Xavier.

Spears also apparently mentioned Jamie Dixon’s TCU Horned Frogs. He averaged 12.7 points and three assists per game last year with the Dukes.


Stuffed scoreboard

Along with the Penguins and Bruins playing each other Thursday night, five of the other six playoff-bound Eastern Conference teams were in action. The Washington Capitals are the only other Eastern Conference club that was idle.

As the Penguins were blanking the Bruins 4-0, the New York Rangers beat the New York Islanders 6-3, and the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2.

For the Rangers, Andrew Copp had a hat trick. Former Penguin Ryan Reaves scored, too.

So that means the Hurricanes and Rangers are tied atop the Metropolitan Division with 108 points. The Penguins are in third with 99, two in front of fourth-place Washington.

In the Atlantic, the Florida Panthers won a 5-2 contest over the Detroit Red Wings, and the Tampa Bay Lightning throttled the Toronto Maple Leafs 8-1.

That division has Florida in first place with 118 points. They’ve now clinched the regular-season division title and home ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Leafs are next in the Atlantic at 108. Tampa is in third with 102, three in front of fourth-place Boston.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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