Kenny Pickett’s awful start for the Pittsburgh Steelers should be a massive cause for concern.
It is a small sample size, but Pittsburgh Steelers fans are not going to love what it means for rookie starting quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Pittsburgh enters its bye week with a disastrous 2-6 record. They are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 14th place in the AFC. Only the Houston Texans are worse than them at 1-5-1.
Simply put, it is going to take a modern miracle for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to avoid his first losing season at the helm. Even more troubling, Pickett is showing signs that he is not the guy…
Pickett’s touchdown to interception ratio (2:8) is the worst of any former first-round quarterback in his first five NFL games dating back to 2010.
Of course, there is more than meets the eye. Here is why this is so especially troubling for him.
Kenny Pickett looks like total bust in his first five games with Pittsburgh Steelers
Pickett was the first, and only, quarterback taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He fell to his new hometown Steelers at No. 20. No other noted signal-caller came off the board until the third round. While Malik Willis is the only other rookie quarterback to see meaningful snaps of note, the Tennessee Titans put him into a situation where he could be successful in his first start.
Obviously, there is a lot to unpack here. Pickett seems like a likable guy, a player you want to pull for. Unfortunately, it may not be in the cards for the ole Fake Slide King. Although he had an absurd amount of starts at Pitt, it was not until his super senior season that he set the ACC on fire. His great final college season elevated a mid-tier prospect all the way up to a low-end, first-rounder.
Two-glove nonsense aside, there are four other things that Steelers fans should be concerned about.
Pickett’s best attribute coming out was his ability to start and play right away. He played his college ball on the same field as the Steelers. Matt Canada was a big part of his recruitment to flip from Temple to Pitt. We also cannot overlook the fact Pickett has to replace a legend….
And it’s not like the Steelers are devoid of talent. Najee Harris won the Doak Walker at Alabama in the Crimson Tide backfield. Pat Freiermuth was a stud at Penn State. Chase Claypool can make plays at receiver and George Pickens had so much untapped potential coming out of Georgia. While the offensive line is varying shades of horrible, there are teams with far worse weaponry.
In short, Pickett was only going to be as good in the NFL as his situation would allow for him to be. Many thought the Steelers’ culture would elevate him and help offset some of his deficiencies. Sadly, many of them have been exposed since taking over for Mitchell Trubisky. While it is understandable why Tomlin made the move when he did, he picked between two bad alternatives.
A lot of quarterbacks have bad rookie years, but Pickett is looking more bust than boom right now.