Steelers: 3 possible games for Kenny Pickett’s first start

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Panthers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Panthers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Panthers
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh Steelers fans are eagerly awaiting for Kenny Pickett to make his first career start.

With the NFL regular season schedule being released in full on Thursday night, Pittsburgh Steelers fans should be looking at the 18-week slate to try to figure out when Kenny Pickett will make his first career start.

Even if this was a weak quarterback draft class, Pittsburgh took the Pitt product No. 20 overall with every intention of him being the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger. Pickett may not have a high ceiling, but he is without question the most pro-ready of any rookie quarterback prospect. While Mitchell Trubisky can win some games as the starter, Pickett needs to start this season.

There are not a ton of great entry points for Pickett to make his first career start for the Steelers this year, but he has to lead the team out of the tunnel at some point this fall. Otherwise, this is a massive problem for the Steelers organization. He was drafted to start at some point in year one!

Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 possible games for Kenny Pickett’s first career start

3. Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, Dec. 4)

Admittedly, this is incredibly late in the season, but a potential first career start for Pickett could come in Week 13 at the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 4. The reasoning behind this date is three-fold. One, the Steelers could be out of the playoff mix in the AFC by early December. Two, Atlanta projects to be a bottom-four team in the league. And three, this will be a pro-Steelers crowd.

Not only are those three things potentially working for Pickett in making his first career start in the first week of December, but keep in mind this one very important thing: Atlanta may have already turned the page on Marcus Mariota in favor of another rookie quarterback in Desmond Ridder. The Falcons took Ridder in the third round with the hopes he can play very well on his rookie contract.

In short, it would be a wasted opportunity for the Steelers to trot out Trubisky in a meaningless game, and lose, vs. a rookie quarterback in Ridder. The rest of the Steelers’ games after the Atlanta game aren’t easy, but they could serve as a good trial run for Pickett ahead of his first year as the full-time starter next season. There are worse games for him to debut in than vs. Atlanta.

A debut any later than this must mean the Steelers are pushing for a playoff berth with Trubisky.