Steeler Fans: If You Don't Like Kenny Pickett By Now, You Never Will

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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Kenny Pickett has done nothing but exactly what he was drafted for.  There are two big elements of Pickett's game that have been on display as of late for the Pittsburgh Steelers that he also featured as a Pitt Panther for all of the years I was blessed to watch him.  When he is successful, Pickett takes care of the ball and is mobile.  It's those two reasons, I feel, the Steelers drafted him in the first place.

When Pickett was thrust into his first game against the New York Jets with few first team reps and zero NFL experience, he struggled.  He threw three interceptions and fumbled once.  The fumble was recovered by the Steelers, but he was not taking care of the ball.  This continued through his first five appearances. By the Week 9 bye, Pickett had thrown eight INTs and fumbled the ball three times.  

However, it would appear all Kenny needed was time with the first team offense, and a week off to get his head right.  Since the bye, Pickett has thrown just one interception and hasn't fumbled.  Just one interception and no fumbles in 195 passing attempts and 437 offensive snaps.  That's extremely impressive for a rookie QB in the NFL.  That's Kenny Pickett.  

He will get more comfortable, and (hopefully) the coaching staff will allow him more leeway to show off his arm.  There will be games where he throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns.  There will be games where he throws for 175 yards and no touchdowns.  But one thing you can count on, when given time to prepare, Pickett will take care of the ball.

Additionally, what Mike Tomlin stressed before the 2022 NFL Draft, is that they wanted mobility in their next quarterback.  I think many people heard that and thought of Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Justin Fields.  That's not necessarily how I interpreted it.  

I think Tomlin was tired of the last two seasons where Ben Roethlisberger, as much as I loved him, stood in the pocket like a statue.  Either he or the offensive coordinator refused to let him run even a 1-yard QB sneak, and he never rolled out or avoided sacks like he used to.  So when Tomlin wanted mobile, I think he just meant a guy who could make throws on the run and occasionally pick up a 1st down with his feet.  Pickett has certainly done that.  

The game-winning touchdown pass on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens was on the run.  And that wasn't Pickett's only pass that came as he was rolling out and avoiding sacks.  He actually looked better Sunday night out of the pocket than he did standing in it.  That is a mobile quarterback.  He doesn't need rushing numbers that jump off the stat sheet to be considered mobile.  Pickett just needs to continue to be able to avoid the rush, throw on the run when needed, and pick up the occasional first down with his feet.  

So that's what Kenny Pickett is going to bring to your football team.  He is going to take care of the ball, and he is going to be mobile enough to keep drives going.  He's also a winner, and the last drives of the last two games have proven that.  Pickett will never be the QB throwing for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, but he'll often give you full 4-game stretches where he doesn't turn the ball over.  We've seen it already just in Year 1.  

I'm not saying Pickett is perfect or will one day win a league MVP award.  I'm saying Pickett has done exactly what I expected since watching him all through college.  So if you're looking for something else, I'm sorry, you're not getting it.  This is Kenny Pickett and this is why we drafted him.  If you don't like Kenny Pickett by now, you never will.  I'm on board the Kenny train and I'm not getting off.