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Mitch Trubisky VS Kenny Pickett: Projecting the Ceiling/Floor for the Steelers in 2022 With Each Versatile QB

Abigail Dean / Pittsburgh Steelers

Mitch Trubisky VS Kenny Pickett: Projecting the Ceiling/Floor for the Steelers in 2022 With Each Versatile QB

This off-season has brought a lot of change to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the quarterback position is no stranger to that change. With the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger at the conclusion of the 2021 season, Pittsburgh did a few things in this off-season that they have not done as an organization in nearly two decades. The first thing they did was sign a relatively big name free agent quarterback in Mitch Trubisky. The second thing they did was draft a quarterback in the first round by selecting Kenny Pickett. Below I will dive into how good or bad Pittsburgh can be with each quarterback.

Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky makes a pass in OTA’s. (Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)


Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky Wasn’t “Blind-Sided” with 1st Round Pickett Selection; Something He Surprisingly Welcomed


The first quarterback we will discuss is the betting favorite to start Week 1 for Pittsburgh: Trubisky. After being selected second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Trubisky has had a rocky start to his career. Trubisky has a career record of 29-21 as a starter and led the Bears to the playoffs two times during his first four seasons. During this time, Trubisky made one Pro Bowl, but the coaching staff never truly bought into Trubisky, nor put the proper pieces around him to succeed. After spending the 2021 season as a back up for the Buffalo Bills, Trubisky is ready to compete for a starting job again.

CEILING: It’s no surprise that Pittsburgh brought Trubisky into compete. He has great athleticism and second reaction ability, but his arm strength and decision making have always been his biggest retractors. With everything going the right way and Pittsburgh catching all the breaks in the world, I predict an AFC Divisional Round loss as the ceiling for Pittsburgh with Trubisky at starting quarterback. Pittsburgh will absolutely be competitive with him, but they won’t be talented enough to surpass other great AFC quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or Justin Herbert in the playoffs. Pittsburgh should win double digit games and secure another AFC North division title, but won’t make it past the second round of the playoffs.

FLOOR: Trubisky has the highest floor in my opinion of all the options Pittsburgh currently has on the roster. The worst I see Pittsburgh being with Trubisky as the starter for 17 games would be 8-9. Yes, this would be the first losing season for head coach Mike Tomlin and fans would consider it an awful season. However, in comparison to some other teams in the NFL, this would be considered somewhat of a success.

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 first round QB Kenny Pickett drops back in minicamp. (Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)

The second quarterback to discuss for Pittsburgh is the aforementioned first round pick: Pickett. Pickett, a five-year standout at the University of Pittsburgh, was the first quarterback Pittsburgh selected in the first round since the 2004 draft of Roethlisberger. A Heisman finalist and ACC Offensive Player of the Year during his senior season at Pitt, Pickett comes into his first off-season as a pro with a real chance to compete for the starting job. Reports indicate Trubisky is the favorite right now, but there’s still a ton of football left until Pittsburgh opens the season in September.

CEILING: Somewhat surprisingly, I predict Pittsburgh will have the highest ceiling in 2022 with Pickett. Will there be some growing pains? Absolutely. Will Pittsburgh stick with Pickett for all 17 games? Maybe not. However, if Pittsburgh has aspirations of being a Super Bowl contender in 2022, then their best bet to do so is with Pickett. Pickett has exceptional athleticism, an above average arm, and he’s a great leader. Sure, he has his warts, but what rookie quarterback doesn’t? The old cliché of letting a quarterback sit for a couple years before letting him play has been proven wrong on multiple occasions. More and more quarterbacks are coming into the NFL as rookies and succeeding. In my opinion, Pittsburgh at the end of the season will be a legit Super Bowl contender if Pickett is their starting quarterback. They may not win as many games as they can with Trubisky, but they will be more competitive and have the ability to win a championship in 2022 with Pickett.

FLOOR: Now I get to play devil’s advocate with my previous claims. Can Pickett help Pittsburgh win a Super Bowl in 2022? Yes. Can he have a rough go of it and Pittsburgh ends up missing the playoffs? Yes, that’s why we are writing this article. Pittsburgh has a much lower floor with Pickett in comparison to Trubisky. However, they have a much higher ceiling and that’s the beauty of this quarterback competition. Pittsburgh could win six games in 2022 and have a top 10 pick with Pickett as the starter. It’s conceivable that both extreme outcomes are possible based on the fact that we have never seen Pickett take an NFL snap.

 

This off-season quarterback competition is going to be a first for a lot of Steelers fans. Both quarterbacks are capable of great things and the Steelers have a built a great team around each quarterback to promote success. If you are faint of heart, then maybe wait until next year to watch, but I am excited as hell for what the black and gold have in store for 2022.

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