While it was a solid debut for the rookie quarterback, the Steelers can’t overhype the play from Pickett’s first snaps as a professional.
The Steelers beat the Seahawks in a surprisingly competitive game this past weekend. While the win isn’t really worth celebrating, the solid play from quite a few Steelers is. One player receiving a lot of praise is rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. While he had a fine debut, it seems as though some are overreacting to his first preseason game.
To be fair, Pickett did better than I expected him to. With early reports from camp seeming to indicate that he was struggling, a solid debut was just what he needed. He needed to flash some of the traits that made him the 20th overall pick.
To an extent, he did just that. Pickett went 13/15 or 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also added another 16 yards on the ground. On paper, those are solid numbers for a preseason game featuring two other quarterbacks who played before him.
Put Pickett’s numbers into context
The issue isn’t Pickett’s numbers, it is more so the context of them. Pickett played more of the late game, meaning he was up against the backend of the Seahawks depth chart. A lot of those guys aren’t going to be on active rosters in a few weeks, so the fact that Pickett looked as good as he did shouldn’t be surprising.
Sure, the same can be said for a lot of the Steelers offensive players at that point, but this team does boast a strong receiving core and had their backup running backs showing a lot of strength in this game. This isn’t to discredit those players either; they have made it extremely far in the game of football. That said, it should be expected that Pickett looked like he did against the competition he faced.
We also didn’t see a complete game from Pickett. Sure, he was efficient and safe, but his play lacked any big down-the-field attempts. Considering that was a weaker element of his game, it would have been nice to see him try and make some passes down the field.
Frankly, I was more impressed with both Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph in this bout. Trubisky came out and looked the part of a starter while Rudolph had the great pass to George Pickens in the endzone. Pickett’s game hasn’t resulted in him leapfrogging anyone on the depth chart yet.
This isn’t to say his debut was bad. Not at all, but the results he had on the field should have been expected. Pickett had a safe and conservative showing in his Steelers debut, but he still has a way to go before earning this starting job. It was a fine day for the first-round pick, but let’s not act like it was anything more than that.