Combine notebook: Cosell talks QBs on SNR

Dale Lolley is co-host of SNR Drive on Steelers Nation Radio. Check out SNR's Combine programming schedule here:Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) | Pittsburgh Steelers -

INDIANAPOLIS - Greg Cosell has been with NFL Films for 42 years. He's seen a lot of teams try to figure out ways to replace a retiring future Hall of Fame quarterback.

He's seen it work. And he's seen it not work out so well.

The Steelers find themselves in that situation this year as they look for a potential replacement for Ben Roethlisberger.

"If you don't have a quarterback, you tend to jump and take one," Cosell said Wednesday on Steelers Nation Radio in Indianapolis at the annual NFL Scouting Combine.

"That's where mistakes are made. (Former Jets general manager) Mike Tannenbaum, I know Mike well and he's told this story, so I'm not speaking out of school, the year they drafted Sanchez No. 5, they had one quarterback on their roster, Eric Ainge from Tennessee, who they knew was not a No. 3 really. He was the only guy on their roster. They needed a quarterback. They knew Sanchez was not the fifth pick in the draft based on his traits and talent. But they needed a quarterback."

That was in 2009. The Jets went to back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010. But by 2012, Sanchez hadn't progressed and had worn out his welcome in New York.

Matthew Stafford went first overall in that 2009 draft and the Jets traded up from 17 to 5 with the Browns to acquire Sanchez.

This year's draft has no consensus top quarterback.

"The bottom line is, nobody knows how the draft will go," Cosell said. "Anybody who does is just guessing. But there's really two drafts each year. There's the quarterback draft and the rest of the draft. It's true. For all we know, four quarterbacks could go in the first round again. Nobody knows. They can say what they want right now."

• Pitt QB Kenny Pickett spoke on Wednesday as part of a general media session in Indianapolis. In that time, he recalled an early interaction with Head Coach Mike Tomlin at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, the training home of both the Steelers and Pitt.

"I remember as a freshman, the first time that happened, watching Antonio Brown and Ben out there and (Tomlin) would come sit down and hang out and I wouldn't leave the bench until he left. Been there for five years, so a long time I've known coach and it's been a pretty special relationship."

• Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson has a fan in Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson. Wilson, one of the top wide receivers available in this draft, is from Toledo, where Johnson starred in college. Thus, he's seen Johnson, who earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl this season, play quite a bit.

"Coming from Toledo, I think Diontae Johnson was someone I had seen play, just watching TV, watching dudes in Ohio, he could really ball coming out (of college)," Wilson said. "I did have a formal with the Steelers yesterday, it went well."

• If the Steelers need any background information on Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore, they shouldn't have any issues finding things out. Moore hails from New Kensington, and played football at Shadyside Academy in Fox Chapel, a pair of Pittsburgh suburbs. A quarterback/defensive back at Shadyside Academy, Moore's top target on offense was Dino Tomlin, the son of Head Coach Mike Tomlin.

"Me and Dino helped each other move on to college," Moore said. "We grew together. I remember getting there my freshman year and noticing him, even though he wasn't the starter.

"That's one of my best friends from high school."

Moore made the switch of positions at Western Michigan and took off. He had 52 receptions as a true freshman in 2019. Last season, he caught 95 passes for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns and is considered a solid Day 2 pick in the draft.

• There's been a lot of talk regarding who the top quarterback is in this year's draft. According to Cosell, the answer is pretty simple. "I would say the film tells me Kenny Pickett is No. 1," Cosell said of the former Pitt star.

• THEY SAID IT: When asked if he thinks he's the top quarterback in this year's draft, Malik Willis of Liberty was blunt. "I think so, but I don't make those decisions," Willis said. "I hate that for me."