Connect with us


Kenny Pickett Showed Everyone the Player He Can Become



Kenny Pickett drops back to pass as the Steelers face the Ravens on Jan. 1, 2022 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)

BALTIMORE — It was a team effort to take down the playoff-bound Baltimore Ravens, but above all else, Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett stood tall and made the plays in the weighty moments when it mattered most.

So, when Pickett made a scramble out of structure and fired it on a line to Najee Harris to put the Steelers ahead late in the game, it showcased just more why Pittsburgh drafted Pickett in the first place out of Pitt. Mike Tomlin was not even close to shocked by the performance he saw out of his rookie quarterback, however.

“I can’t say enough about our young QB [Kenny Pickett],” Tomlin said. “He smiled in the face of it. He’s always ready to be that guy in the moments that we need him. And it’s just good to see the young guy. We marched forward.”

Related: Saunders: Kenny Pickett Shows Why Steelers Made Him First-Round Pick

A savvy veteran like Cam Heyward has seen how a franchise quarterback operates in the NFL. Not only is he impressed by the way Pickett carries himself in moments like the one he faced today against the Ravens, but the veteran sees Pickett’s growth throughout the season. With Pickett’s youth still in mind, Heyward is excited to see what Pickett can continue to do.

“The kid’s growing before our eyes,” Heyward said. “He’s making quality throws, leading us downfield. It’s really awesome to be 23 years old and a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You got to love the way he’s leading that offense. And he keeps growing week in and week out.”

It is hard to go out in two straight weeks to lead a team to game-winning drives and keep the playoff hopes alive. But maybe it is Pickett’s even-keel mentality that contributes to his easy ability to just calm everything down. No player ever feels like the moment is too big because Pickett does not believe that. Just ask his top receiver in Diontae Johnson, who will go to bat for the rookie quarterback whenever at any time.

“I’ve been staying on him all the time, trying to just get him to be himself out there,” Johnson said. “If he sees it, he can pick them apart. That’s what I tell him every time. Every play he is there, I try to keep his spirits up regardless. He’s been doing a really great job of that. I’m happy about it. That’s my quarterback.”

Even on the defensive side of the football, players have to appreciate the way that Pickett approaches the game. In the huddle before the drive, Pickett told everyone to believe they could do it, and there was no rah-rah speech that he gave in order for the magic to happen on the drive. Instead, he just went out there and did it in the clutch. For that reason, Pickett’s mentality stuck out to Alex Highsmith immediately.

“That man has ice in his veins,” Highsmith said. “It’s just so impressive. That guy is a competitor. Whenever he has the ball, we feel like we have a chance. We’re lucky to have him as our quarterback.”

The hog mollies up front reciprocate the same energy, too. Having the run ball at will all night, the Steelers were forced into a must-pass situation down the stretch. Not only did Pickett make unbelievable plays out of structure and extend plays when there was nothing, he lifted the team up to get them into the endzone. Mason Cole saw the playmaking that Pickett produced, and that is one of the main reasons he is proud of him as his quarterback.

“It’s unbelievable, for a young quarterback to understand that, not trying to do too much but do enough” Cole said. “He made plays with his feet and got out of the pocket with ease. Keeping his eyes downfield, man, it takes a special dude to do that.”

Pickett earned the entire respect of his teammates and in the future, that confidence in the team only seems to grow. As a rookie, Pickett is ready to lead the team, even if they don’t make the playoffs.

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Steelers Now in your Inbox

Sign up and get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox!

Thank you!