If Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick Kenny Pickett goes on to have a special career in the NFL then you can give some credit to Dwayne Haskins. Even though Haskins was tragically killed on April 9th, he may still have a hand in the future success of the Steelers.
Haskins and Pickett met at the SVS Sports Camp which is described by it’s website as the leading provider of quarterback, wide receiver, and kicking camps, showcases, and private instruction. In their about section it names Pickett and Haskins as players who have gone through the camp and made it to the NFL level.
PA Hall of Fame Coach, Jim Cantafio, founded SVS in 1998 and has been coaching for over 45 years and running High School Football Camps for over 30 years. Through his instruction and guidance, Cantafio has seen many of his high school players go on to play football at the next level including Dwayne Haskins, Alex Hornibrook, Andrew Ford, Adam Brenneman, Kasim Hill, Kenny Pickett, Chad Henne and many more.
When the Steelers signed Haskins following the 2020 NFL season Pickett and Haskins connected. They were roommates at the camp and got to know each other a little bit then. With Haskins battling to reinvent his career in Pittsburgh the two quarterbacks would often spend time throwing well after everyone else had gone home from the South Side practice facility.
Haskins was watching Pickett with a close eye as he was preparing for his journey to the NFL. It was a journey that Haskins had already went down. Haskins understood what was needed to be successful at the Combine, a Pro Day, and what it was like to hear his name called during the first round. He knew the stress, and the struggles of preparing for those moments. He knew what it was like first hand, and he wanted to help Pickett through those moments.
Haskins pulled Pickett aside one day at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and shared some knowledge with Pickett.
“It was really special,” Pickett told Steelers.com . “Before the pro day we were both working in the indoor. I was going through my pro day scripts. He was throwing with one of the guys. We both got done and we kind of just sat down and talked for about 20 minutes. I was talking to him about my concerns and the draft and things I was worried about. He reassured me that I’ll be right where I’m supposed to be, and you can’t really control too much”
It was almost like Haskins knew that Pickett would end up in Pittsburgh. Right where he was supposed to be. In the city that had already embraced him and knew him. That would be the last moment that the two would share together before he was taken from this world.
“That whole process, he was where I wanted to be in terms of the next level…first-round draft pick, doing a lot of great things. It was really cool to have that moment. It’s definitely a great memory to have, my last memory that I had with him.”
It was reported at the time that Haskins went to Pitt’s Pro Day to show his support for Pickett. The support was noticed by Pickett, and the advice from Haskins helped get him through a tough time that Pickett recalls isn’t exactly like it’s portrayed through the media.
It’s definitely not what it’s made out to be by people in the media and people from the outside looking in,” said Pickett. “It’s stressful and you don’t have any control at all. All you could control is how well you performed at the Combine, the Pro Day, your interviews. My sole focus was doing the absolute best I could at all aspects of it.
If only Haskins would be able to see how Pickett ended up just ‘where he was supposed to be’. He’d be so proud of how he handled it all leading up to draft night. And he will be just as proud to see how Pickett develops into a Pittsburgh Steeler.
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