Heading into his second year in the NFL, Kenny Pickett hopes to entrench himself as the franchise quarterback. While that is not certain, there are some projections that might put him into even loftier expectations than just that. With the Steelers offense trying to find its bearings fully, could this be a year Pickett really explodes?
Well, former Buccaneers and Hall of Fame cornerback Ronde Barber thinks it could be. The 33rd team asked a panel of experts to select who could be the dark horse MVP candidate, and with 40/1 odds, Pickett certainly ranks well down that list of smart bets. But Barber gave his reasoning for why he decided Pickett could be a good candidate.
“Dark horse candidates are always bad bets because they’re always on average-ass teams and they need everything to go right for their team to win,” Barber wrote. “Kenny Pickett showed that he has some serious game down the stretch in 2022 and that he is suited for the NFL. He’s got two really good young receivers and a stud tight end. If the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense rebounds, he’ll get them into the playoffs.”
Again, this is not Barber’s prediction. As he notes, guys like Pickett in these situations are historically bad bets. Most on the market or just in general will think about obvious candidates like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and others who are up near the top of that market. Pickett is not there, and it’s because he has yet to prove himself to be on the level of a franchise quarterback in the NFL.
So, in order for this to come to fruition everything has to go right and then some. Even in Pickett’s development and the team overall, it feels like they might be one season away from really cracking through the glass ceiling. As Barber notes, they could make the playoffs this year, I think that is realistic, but the team and Pickett himself are unlikely to take the next leap into the stratosphere until next year when most of the pieces really click together.