Steelers’ first-round pick Kenny Pickett was heralded as the most pro-ready quarterback in this year’s draft by Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert, which makes sense being that he’s 24 years old and started 49 career games at Pitt. To put his age in perspective, he’s three months younger than Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who’s heading into his third season. So, many are expecting Pickett to start sooner rather than later even though he received third-team reps in OTAs and minicamp.
If the quarterback battle in training camp and the preseason is close between Pickett and Mitch Trubisky, Joy Taylor of FS1’s The Herd thinks the Steelers should give the nod to Pickett.
“If it’s close, you go with the rookie. You’ve got to get Kenny Pickett the reps,” Taylor said on Wednesday. “If nothing else just to see what you have in him. To see if you take another swing in the draft next year or the year after that. Don’t sit tight and go with the safe choice, which is Mitch Trubisky, just to say competitive. Take the risk, if they’re close. Now if they’re not close then we’re maybe having a different conversation with Kenny Pickett entirely. But that’s what I would do because I’m pro starting young quarterbacks and getting them real game experience as soon as you can.”
"Don't sit tight and go with the safe choice, Mitchell Trubisky, just to stay competitive. Take the risk if it's close." @JoyTaylorTalks makes the case for Kenny Pickett to start Week 1 pic.twitter.com/2guTGgW7I9
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 29, 2022
Taylor thinks there’s no value in Pickett sitting on the bench. She believes that “you get better at doing something by doing it.”
“Yes, I think there’s value in sitting behind a veteran like a Brett Favre or an Alex Smith,” Taylor said. “And this is no disrespect to Mitch Trubisky, but there is only so much you’re going to learn from sitting behind Mitch Trubisky. Will you learn how to be a professional? Will you learn certain nuances of the game? Yes. Can he help you with learning the playbook? Yes. Yes, he can help Kenny Pickett become a pro, but he’s not going to guide him any more than that.”
While Taylor doesn’t see Trubisky as a franchise quarterback, she does think he got unfairly criticized in Chicago.
“Despite all of the fantasies about Mitchell Trubisky’s career, he is not as bad as you imagine. He really is not,” Taylor said. “If you look at the statistics that he’s put up throughout his career, in not the most functional situation either, he has had some success. He’s 29-21 (as a starter), 64.0 completion percentage, 64-37 touchdown-interception ratio and a passer rating of 87.2. He’s not a disaster.”
Josh Edwards of CBS Sports recently made his projections of when rookie quarterbacks could make their first NFL start. Edwards thinks Week 10 against the Saints, which is just after the bye week, will be the ideal spot for Pickett to make his debut. According to Adam Rank of NFL.com, there have been just seven quarterbacks selected 20th overall or later who actually started Week 1 of their rookie season since 2015. Three of the names include — Dak Prescott, Derek Carr and Russell Wilson. So, despite Taylor wanting Pickett to start in Week 1 if the quarterback battle is close, the odds are not good. In all likelihood, Trubisky will be the starter when the Steelers play the Bengals in Week 1 at Paul Brown Stadium. It’s Trubisky’s job to lose.