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Daily Links: Steelers as a Sleeper Team, Ranking Kenny Pickett

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Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Bleacher Report believes the Pittsburgh Steelers are the NFL’s top “sleeper team” entering the 2023 season.

“Pittsburgh has plenty of firepower surrounding its young quarterback. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren form a quality backfield platoon, while Diontae Johnson, Allen Robinson II and sophomore George Pickens represent a sturdy set of hands for Pickett to lean on. If third-year tight end Pat Freiermuth makes a leap, the Steelers could field one of the more dangerous aerial offenses in the league,” Alex Kay of Bleacher Report wrote. “The protection should be improved thanks to free-agent pickups Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig in addition to first-round pick Broderick Jones, who figures to start at left tackle from the jump and should serve as an anchor in the offensive trenches for years to come.

“The Steelers defense didn’t see any major additions outside of second-round rookies Joey Porter Jr. and Keeanu Benton, but this unit already looked sharp following a Week 9 bye last year. It improved from a bottom-eight group in terms of yards allowed during the first half of the campaign to ranking No. 5 in that category in the back half. If their first-year talents are as good as advertised and stars like like T.J. Watt can stay on the field, Pittsburgh will be in good shape defensively and a sleeper squad to watch in 2023.”

๐Ÿˆ Pro Football Focus: Sam Monson of PFF has Kenny Pickett ranked as the 22nd-best quarterback in the NFL.

“The best quarterback in what was deemed an awful quarterback class, Pickett performed admirably in his rookie season even though the statistics werenโ€™t necessarily pretty,” Monson wrote. “His PFF passing grade was good enough to rank 16th in the league, but he finished the season with more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (seven). Pittsburghโ€™s scheme was toothless and predictable in 2022, and that might be the biggest obstacle standing between Pickett and real improvement in these rankings.”

๐Ÿˆ Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who was the starter when Pittsburgh played the Chicago Bears in Ireland during a preseason game in 1997, is on hand at Croke Park in Dublin today. Steelers President Art Rooney II announced on Monday that the team received marketing rights in Ireland.

๐Ÿˆ NFL on CBS: Since the AFL-NFL 1970 merger, the Steelers’ 24 division titles rank first in the league. The New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are tied for second with 21 division titles.

๐Ÿ“… On this date in 1986, Steelers quarterback David Woodley told head coach Chuck Noll that he was retiring. Woodley and Mark Malone had split the starting duties in 1984 and 1985, but after Noll decided on Malone to start the 1986 season, Woodley decided to quit. He had been set to make $500,000 in 1986, the largest salary for a player in Steelers history at that time.

The Steelers later traded Woodley to the Green Bay Packers, but he never played another NFL game. Woodley died in 2003 at the age of 44.

Somerset Daily American, May 26, 1986

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