After four disappointing weeks with Mitchell Trubisky under center, the Pittsburgh Steelers have named Kenny Pickett as the starter of the team. Given the circumstances of the situation, Pickett being thrown into the starting role was a matter of time.
Mitchell Trubisky signed with the Steelers during the offseason and was likely promised a starting job. He “won” the job in the offseason, and I say won in quotation marks because that was likely the plan all along.
The Steelers started 1-0, but then dropped their next three games to fall to 1-3. During their week four game against the New York Jets, Mike Tomlin finally had enough of the Trubisky experiment. He yanked Trubisky from the game and inserted rookie Kenny Pickett.
After four weeks, Mitchell Trubisky finishes with a 59.5% completion percentage, 653 passing yards, two touchdown passes, two interceptions, and a 73.7 passer rating. Trubisky isn’t a good quarterback, but I think part of his performance in the first four weeks also falls onto the offensive coordinator, Matt Canada.
Unless something major happens, Pickett is likely to hold the starting job for the rest of the season, making him the first 2022 rookie quarterback to start a game. The 2022 quarterback class was seen as a weaker one overall, but Kenny Pickett was largely seen as the best.
His NFL.com draft profile notes that he compares to a “prime Andy Dalton” at the next level. Lance Zierlein also notes that Pickett has good size and tools for the next level, can extend plays, and that his college scheme did require him to make some full-field reads.
It does seem like the rookie can carve out a career like an Andy Dalton or even someone like Kirk Cousins. That mid-tier of quarterbacks who can still produce and make a ton of money might be his ceiling. He doesn’t have the elite physical tools that some of the best do, but he appears to have enough ability to make it in the NFL.
Another reason why he could make it, and why the Steelers could be the best scenario for him is that the Steelers have done most of their damage sporting a strong defense, good offensive line, and an adequate running game. During both of their Super Bowl runs in the 2000s, this was the case.
Perhaps Pickett can allow the Steelers to get back to doing what they know the best.