Pickett’s current odds sit at +500 at both DraftKings and FanDuel as of writing this article. Following Pickett are wide receivers Drake London and Treylon Burks, both at +700. Another quarterback doesn’t even enter the conversation until Desmond Ridder at +1400 odds.
The Pitt alum, who was taken with the 20th overall pick, isn’t even a lock to win the starting job out of training camp. Pickett would have to first beat out former second overall pick of the Chicago Bears, Mitch Trubisky, whom the Steelers acquired in March at the start of free agency. It is possible for Pickett to see substantial playing time this season, even if he doesn’t start Week 1. OROY voters also tend to favor quarterbacks, with the honors going to the position six times dating back to 2010. Those quarterbacks were Justin Herbert (2020), Kyler Murray (2019), Dak Prescott (2016), Robert Griffin III (2012), Cam Newton (2011), and Sam Bradford (2010). Ja’Marr Chase won the award in 2021.
Pickett would be second Steelers quarterback to win the award
The only other Steelers quarterback to win the award was Ben Roethlisberger back in 2004 who was, at the time, only the second quarterback to win OROY since the AP started giving out the award in 1967. Dennis Shaw of the 1970 Buffalo Bills would become the first to win it 34 years before Roethlisberger entered the league. Those 34 years comprised mostly of running backs winning the award, 25 times to be exact. Only six running backs have won it since 2005.
Kenny Pickett is QB1 in a lesser draft class
2022 was considered to be a weaker class for quarterbacks than previous years. After Pickett’s selection in the first round, another quarterback wasn’t taken until Desmond Ridder went to the Atlanta Falcons in the third round, followed by Malik Willis (Titans) and Matt Corral (Panthers) in the same round. There was pre-draft talk of neither Willis or Pickett being available by the time the Steelers were on the clock. With most analysts mock drafts having a quarterback going 6th overall and as high as 2nd in others.
Why Pickett can win OROY
Of course, this is predicated on him opening the season as the starting quarterback or taking the reins shortly thereafter. Kenny Pickett was touted as the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft class this year. A 5-year starter at Pitt, Pickett set school records in competitions, passing yards and passing touchdowns and broke Dan Marino‘s single season touchdown record in 2021. If he can lead the Steelers to a winning record and even a playoff berth, one would think that would be enough to give him the award. Especially since ESPN has the Steelers ranked as one of the worst teams in the AFC. Unless Ridder or Willis step in and lead their respective teams to a playoff berth, I think Pickett is a good bet for the award if he plays. Treylon Burks could put together an impressive campaign for the Titans who just traded away AJ Brown. But a wide receiver has only won Offensive Rookie of the Year four times in the last 20 seasons.
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