UNITY TWP., Pa. — The time was going to come eventually for Kenny Pickett. After working his way from the very bottom up at Steelers camp, Pickett now has his opportunity to go up from the third team. It was Pickett who impressed against the Seattle Seahawks, including commanding a game-winning touchdown drive. That drive ended up with Pickett throwing a dime to Tyler Vaughns with pressure in his face.
So, naturally, it was time for Pickett to get some movement in the depth chart position. That is what happened throughout the week, as Pickett worked with the second team throughout the week, and with the first team during the two-minute drill period on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he got an extended look with the second team and played the most reps out of any quarterback. For Mike Tomlin, this was all part of the master plan that he had for Pickett this season.
“His preparation, more than anything,” Tomlin said of the increased reps. “He’s going to get some reps and more varsity-like action in this game in an effort to get to know him and see how he fares. What he’s doing out here is just preparing for
For plenty of context, it should be noted that Pickett was mostly the scout team quarterback. Still, however, those are valuable reps against the first team defense. For the first time in his professional career in an extended look, Pickett took reps against T.J. Watt, Tyson Alualu, Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and players such as that. He was up against the first-team defense.
So, how did the rookie out of Pitt look? Well, at Steelers camp on Wednesday, Matt Canada hammered home the mobility factor. There were plenty of designed rollouts that Pickett needed to read at multiple levels. At times, he would simply check it down. Still, he made some extremely pretty throws on the move. On one throw, Pickett hit Gunner Olszewski down the sideline for 20 yards while rolling off balance to his left.
It is the off-platform throws that really pop with Pickett. Did he take that many chances down the field? He did not. However, that is to be expected with his first exposure to the big league competition. Pickett did fine and had no turnover worthy throws throughout the day. That was the most impressive part of everything.
It truly does seem like the closer the regular season gets, the better Pickett gets. The guy is a gamer. It takes watching him up close for a long time to appreciate that aspect of Pickett’s game and intangibles. Still, that is the crux of Pickett has a player. He loves the game, and as he continues to get reps, he simply gets more comfortable.
This is what Tomlin wanted to see out of his first-round pick when he put the plan in place. As Pickett has been elevated, he continues to look better. Over the weeks, Pickett has only improved as a player day in and day out. His biggest test will come Saturday against Jacksonville. But if Wednesday was any indication, Pickett could be just fine, yet again.
More to come…