The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was expected to make a big leap in the 2023 season, the second year with first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett at the helm. Though two weeks is a small sample size, the results have not delivered on the hope for progression -- not even remotely close.
Through the first two games for the Steelers this year, Pickett is just 46-of-76 (60.5%) for 454 yards with only two touchdowns and three interceptions. Moreover, the club ranks just 29th in the NFL through two weeks in offensive yards per play. If not for the Pittsburgh defense, it's entirely possibly that the club would be off to an 0-2 start.
And this all makes the NFL scouting presence at Saturday's Colorado vs. Oregon matchup in Eugene all the more intriguing.
According to Matt Prehm of 247Sports, the Steelers are the only team that sent a scout to the game at Autzen Stadium between the Pac-12 opponents. Naturally, one has to wonder if they are eyeing a Pickett replacement in either Shedeur Sanders (Colorado) or Bo Nix (Oregon).
NFL Rumors: Steelers scouting Shedeur Sanders and Bo Nix to replace Kenny Pickett?
Obviously, there are other players eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft that the Steelers could be scouting. However, with the growing uncertainty around Pickett as the franchise QB they'd hoped he'd be, it's hard to ignore that the two best prospects in the Colorado-Oregon matchup are the quarterbacks, Sanders and Nix.
Of course, the argument could be made that we don't entirely know if Pickett is the guy at this point. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been under heavy criticism for his performance schematically and as a play-caller, potentially holding QB1 back.
Even still, the Steelers are wise to be sure that they're, at the very least, doing their homework on quarterback options. This isn't to say that the team's scout is for sure in Eugene to watch Sanders and Nix, but it would make sense. The 2024 draft class is deep at quarterback and, if there remains a big question about Pickett, Pittsburgh can't hesitate to change course.
It'll be interesting to see how the quarterback situation with the Steelers moves forward. Based on this scouting note, though, they could very well have started putting together a Kenny Pickett contingency plan.