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Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett Should Be Steelers’ Starting QB in 2022

  • Jack McKessy
  • May 19, 2022
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The 2022 NFL Draft draft featured an underwhelming crop of quarterback prospects, and there’s a chance none of them are Week 1 starters this year. But if there’s any team that will start the season with a rookie behind center, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers and first-round pick Kenny Pickett. 

Every year there’s a debate about when highly drafted rookie quarterbacks should take over their team’s starting job. Is it wise for teams to throw such valuable assets into the fire? Or should they give them the time to develop with a year on the sidelines?

Much of that decision depends on how well a team is set up for a rookie quarterback.

Some teams, those that didn’t have an answer at quarterback before drafting one, often start the rookie in Week 1. Others have the freedom to protect their rookie signal-callers, allowing them the time to sit on the bench and develop in an NFL system. Think of the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes or the San Francisco 49ers with Trey Lance.

After quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement at the end of the 2021 season, Pittsburgh needed to find their next franchise guy. Roethlisberger was the Steelers’ starting quarterback since Week 2 of his rookie year. There was never a threat to his job, even in the twilight of his career. Players like Mason Rudolph never stood a chance, nor are they realistic generation-next options.

Pittsburgh quickly snatched up the free-agent quarterback with the most buzz, former Chicago Bears starter Mitch Trubisky, who spent 2021 as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo. Trubisky has his fair share of question marks, so quarterback remained a need on draft weekend.

Trubisky is on a two-year contract. He has a chance to earn low-level starter money. But the Steelers’ decision to draft Pickett in the first round suggests Trubisky’s time in the lineup will be short-lived (if at all).

Kenny Pickett gives Steelers best chance to win

Trubisky may be a sunk cost, but that isn’t a reason to force him into the starting lineup. He might not give the team the best chance to win, given his history of poor processing and questionable accuracy. Kenny Pickett, meanwhile, hits his targets with consistency and gives his receivers an opportunity for yards after the catch. Head Coach Mike Tomlin has to prioritize and start the quarterback who gives Pittsburgh the best chance to win, regardless of NFL experience.

Pickett has a proven track record of success at Heinz Field. He played all of his college home games there, and he excelled. In 2021, Pickett went 6-1 at home, with his one loss still being a six-touchdown performance.

Tomlin has already said Pickett has a chance to be the Steelers’ starter in Week 1. While there will undoubtedly be a quarterback battle during training camp to determine who will start once the season rolls around, plenty of factors are already in the rookie’s favor. Don’t be surprised if we see him under center when the Steelers kick off their season in Cincinnati against the Bengals.

Written By

Jack McKessy