Steelers surprised by rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett’s maturity
After an outstanding debut with two touchdown passes, rookie QB Kenny Pickett gets ready for his second preseason game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kenny Pickett had an enviable debut with Pittsburgh and has immediately made Steelers fans dream.
The rookie quarterback (the only quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL Draft) completed 13 of 15 shipments, with two touchdowns and a rating of 132.6 in the victory of the Steelers over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 of the preseason.
In that game, Pickett was the third quarterback used by coach Mike Tomlin, behind Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, who also threw a touchdown pass each.
However, after his performance, Pickett began getting reps with the second team at Steelers practices, ahead of Rudolph.
“Kenny is very mature. He behaves very well. The maturity, the confidence and he’s humble,” Steelers quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan told AS during the first week of training camp in Latrobe.
“He puts a lot of time into his preparation, works extremely hard and as soon as he walks on the field he’s ready to compete. He’s not overwhelmed by being in the NFL, nor is he overwhelmed by being a first-round pick. He is ready to compete,” Sullivan added.
Pickett, Trubisky and Rudolph are vying for the starting job in Pittsburgh, which for the first time in 18 years will start a season without Ben Roethlisberger on the roster.
The ‘Big Ben’ announced his retirement at the end of the 2021 campaign and now the Steelers must find their next franchise quarterback.
Pickett turning out to be a contender
Although Trubisky is the favorite to start the regular season, the rookie’s play-stretching skills could quickly move him into the starting job.
“He’s also shown the ability to make a lot of plays while extending those plays and moving around in the pocket,” Sullivan said. “It’s nice to be able to do that, but it’s also important to be able to connect with the target. And he has done a great job with his mobility and accuracy. And as with any rookie, there are mistakes, it’s a process, it takes time, but we’re very pleased with his progress.”
Pickett will have his second preseason audition on Saturday in Jacksonville, though coach Tomlin is pleased with his three quarterbacks and is in no rush to name the starter for Week 1 of the regular season.
“Everyone moved their units,” Tomlin said. “They did the informal things associated with the position from a leadership and communication standpoint. It was a good first time for all three.”