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Steelers 1st Round Pick QB Kenny Pickett Settling Into The Offense: “The More Reps I Get, The More Comfortable I Felt”

Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers 1st Round Pick QB Kenny Pickett Settling Into The Offense: “The More Reps I Get, The More Comfortable I Felt”

Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 first round draft pick, quarterback Kenny Pickett addressed reporters about Tuesday’s Organized Training Activities (OTA’s). He was asked if he thought he fit in here with the team:

“I do, I mean every practice, the more reps I get, the more comfortable I felt. I know you saw as the two-minute went off, I completed passes going down the field. I was in good sync with the linemen and the kind of cadences we want to use. Getting the guys lined up and the communication we want to use with the headset, it’s the first time doing that since the Senior Bowl, so overall I thought it was a pretty good day.”

Pickett is a work in progress. The Steelers knew when they spent the 20th overall pick on him that unlike previous years when quarterbacks came off the board early in the first round, that Pickett was not a lock to start right away. It is probably why they invested in Mitch Trubisky as a low risk short-term option who had previously led teams to the playoffs as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Trubisky even made a Pro Bowl appearance before the Chicago Bears decided to move on from him. Pickett would be wise to glean everything he can from Trubisky’s experiences on and off the field with the Bears.

Trubisky was also the first quarterback off the board and ultimately was judged more by the success of his draft mates more than his performance. He will never be Pat Mahomes, or Deshaun Watson and it was not his fault he was selected prior to those players. Pickett will be judged against players like Malik Willis, Matt Corrall and Desmond Ridder. Time will tell if he is the head of the class, but if he is not, he could not find a better mentor than Trubisky.

The questions continued with another reporter asking: “In the two-minute, do you kind of forget everything when you are kind of running that offense?”

“Yeah, I mean it’s just executing really, that’s all. I get the call from Coach [Matt] Canada, I want to get our guys aligned, make sure we’re set in a legal formation, complete passes, move it down the field and score which is obviously our number one goal. We got down there, we didn’t finish, so I’m looking forward to next time getting down there and finishing the deal.”

Pickett is less than two weeks into his NFL experience and the number one observation about him has been that he has strong leadership qualities. He has gotten good reviews and during team situations, he seems to be ahead of Mason Rudolph in his command of the huddle and the line of scrimmage. It is becoming more apparent that Rudolph is fast losing his opportunity with the team that drafted him and if they can move him prior to training camp with a willing trade partner, it is best for all parties. As Steeler Nation’s  Justin McGonigle shared yesterday, the Jacksonville Jaguars lost backup CJ Beathard to a knee injury and if the Jaguars are willing, the Steelers should take what they can get sooner rather than later.


Steelers Could Absolutely Have A Trade Partner For Mason Rudolph After Mini Camp Injury Monday


Another reporter asked Pickett, “is there any level of excitement? I know its just mini camp, your just getting started here, two-minute, the crowd’s going, crowd noise is going. Time’s up on the clock, everybody’s yelling. What was the couple of minutes like for you?”

“I had a lot of experience in college, so it’s familiar. I felt pretty comfortable even though being in a new system. You know Coach did an unbelievable job getting me prepared in two-minute situations and situational football, so I’d like really shoutout him and thank him for that. Like I said before, I wanted to execute and move the ball and get points on the board. We did everything except finishing, so next time I just want to get out there and do that.”

Steelers Mike Sullivan

Steelers.com

Pickett led a solid two-minute drive that got close, but came up short on fourth down. The drive was highlighted by a great one-handed catch by Connor Heyward. Pickett is getting more comfortable by the practice for the Steelers and if his learning curve continues to sharpen, then his opportunities during contact drills and the preseason should be his best opportunity to demonstrate his progress and grasp of the offense.

I am firmly of the opinion that if you draft a quarterback outside of the top 10 picks, you should not be in a rush to get him on the field unless his skillset is so overwhelmingly superior to his competition that you have no choice. Barring something unforeseen, at this point, that does not seem to be the case. Pickett will find the field soon enough, naturally there is no need to force it at this point.

Near the end of his time with the reporters, they followed up with a question about the big play in his drive: “Were you looking for Connor or was he just open?”

“He was open (laughing). I mean he had the guy beat, I put it up on him and he made a, like I said before, he made a hell of a play. That’s why I keep looking for this guy down the field.”

Pickett developing a connection with fellow rookie Heyward is a great sign for the offense. Pat Freiermuth is set to be a dangerous option for the Steelers and if Pickett is looking for the tight ends early in his development, a Pickett to Freiermuth connection could become lethal, especially with all the talent on the outside considering the Steelers outstanding positional depth at wide receiver. Play-action passing off RPO’s should leave Freiermuth, Zach Gentry and Heyward open down the seams.  If and when defenses adjust to take away the tight ends, it will force them into single coverage on the outside and that should lead to big plays down the field.

 

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Are you counting the days to the first preseason game to see Trubisky and Pickett demonstrate their ability on the field? Please comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.

I have been rooting for the Steelers actively since 1975. I love the Black and Gold and support them through thick and thin. I am a Navy Veteran, living in Jacksonville, FL and never miss a chance to go to the neutral site games here in Jacksonville. I am new to the Steeler Nation website, but I love discussing Steelers Past, Present and Future.

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