Kenny Pickett is entering an all critical second year in the NFL as the Steelers quarterback, and they hope that he can manifest into the franchise quarterback of the future. However, there are some doubters, but Mike Tomlin believes his quarterback could be the next big thing. Well, he’s not the only one on that side of the coin, either.
While breaking down the fantasy aspect of this all, ESPN analyst Mike Clay deemed that Kenny Pickett could mirror the season that Trevor Lawrence had a year ago in Jacksonville. There is some optimism to surround what Pickett brought to the table, and while there are some production concerns, a lot of quarterbacks that struggled in year one turn the clock around in year two.
“None were as productive as rookies, which is notable here, as Pickett had some struggles (6.2 YPA, 12.8 fantasy PPF during 10 full games) in his first season,” Clay wrote. “The good news is that weak efficiency simply isn’t a concern for first-year QBs, who generally make a big leap in Year 2. Rushing ability is becoming more important for the fantasy relevance of QBs and Pickett delivered in that department as a rookie, ranking sixth in carries and seventh in rush yards during those 10 games. An improved offensive line and upgraded goal line targets (Allen Robinson II, Darnell Washington) should help Pickett to step forward.”
Lawrence seems to be turning into a superstar before everyone’s eyes, so it is quite the jump to call Pickett the next version of him. There’s the physical disparities, but even in a fantasy context, it seems that Pickett will depend far more upon his running game and is in an offense with less explosive potential than Doug Pederson’s quarterback-centric offense in Jacksonville.
Pittsburgh would love to see Pickett shatter the glass on the field and become the next of those year two leaps, though. If he can take the leap, it would not be that surprising to see the Steelers end up right back in the playoffs after missing out on the dance last year.