One stat proves why the Steelers need to run far away from Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has struggled to move the ball during his two years in the NFL, and one statistic highlights his struggles more than any other.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The NFL is undergoing the dawn of a new era. The star quarterbacks of the prior generation are all nearly gone, and teams that didn't have a viable transition plan in place have found themselves at the bottom of the league's standings. The Pittsburgh Steelers are desperately trying to not become one of those teams.

Following Ben Roethlisberger's retirement, Pittsburgh selected quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Steelers were optimistic after Pickett showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, but his sophomore slump rendered the Steelers' offense ineffective.

While there are a multitude of numbers and statistics that can depict just how abysmal the Steelers were with Pickett, one particular statistic stands out above the rest.

Touchdown rate highlights the struggles of Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Through the first 25 games of his career, Pickett has thrown a touchdown on just 1.8 percent of his passes. That's the lowest touchdown percentage of all 391 quarterbacks with at least 500 attempts in NFL history, according to Scott Kacsmar.

Four other quarterbacks from the 2022 NFL Draft class attempted at least 200 passes during the 2023 NFL season, and all four of them had a significantly higher touchdown rate than Pickett. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy led the league with a touchdown on 7 percent of his passes this season. The other three were Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (3.1 percent), New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (2.8 percent), and Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (3.5 percent).

During the 2023 NFL season, the Steelers offense scored the fifth-fewest points per game (17.9) and had the eighth-fewest passing yards per game (186.1). Pickett finished the season passing for 2,070 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. His season came to an end after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 13, opening the door for third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph to step in and lead Pittsburgh to the playoffs.

Pickett failed to lead the Steelers to a 30-plus point game all season, but Rudolph did so twice in just three starts. Rudolph threw a touchdown on 4.1 percent of his 74 pass attempts, which suggests that Pickett's low touchdown rate doesn't stem from Pittsburgh's surrounding offense.

Coach Mike Tomlin made it clear that the team would be evaluating the quarterback position during his season-ending press conference.

"I want us to be versatile and dynamic," Tomlin said. "Obviously, we've got to score more points. I want to be able to keep defenses off balance. I want to utilize all the talent that we have at our disposal. I'm excited about this process, and in the talent pool out there, and based on what I've seen thus far."

There have been many quarterbacks linked to the Steelers, including Justin Fields, Russell Wilson and even a Mason Rudolph return. Whoever Pittsburgh elects to bring in, it's evident that the Steelers need to have another option available if Pickett doesn't show drastic improvement in his third season.

Steelers avoiding the Mason Rudolph discussion they need to have. Steelers avoiding the Mason Rudolph discussion they need to have. dark. Next