Pittsburgh is set to play Baltimore this weekend and one Ravens player has nothing but kind words to say about Steelers rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett.
Whether you agree with Pittsburgh’s decision to take Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft or not, most would admit that he’s an easy guy to root for. Pickett carries himself with confidence and always seems to have the right response when the media asks questions. Despite 2022 being his first year in the NFL, he exuberates leadership qualities.
Some of these traits have caught the attention of opposing players. As the Pittsburgh Steelers get set to play the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday, outside linebacker, Tyus Bowser, gushed over Pickett when asked about facing the rookie quarterback this week. Here’s what he had to say, according to Ryan Mink of the Ravens’ official website:
"“He looks great. Definitely a talent. I watched him when he was at [University of] Pittsburgh, so just to see him now kind of flourish and play his game now, it’s good to see. So, I’m looking forward to this week and playing against him. Hopefully, we can hold him to as much as we can, but he’s a great player, and we’re going to respect him.”"
It’s not uncommon for opposing players to speak highly of their upcoming opponents, but Bowser made it clear that he believes Pickett ‘looks great’ and is in fact a ‘great player.’ He wasn’t the only one who was quick to praise the rookie quarterback.
During his press conference this week, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh sang the praises of Pickett as well — noting his talent and why he was deserving of being a first-round pick:
"“He’s doing well, looks good. [He’s] a very talented guy, obviously befitting [of] the first-round pick that they took him with this year. That’s our challenge along with that whole offense.”"
This is clearly high praise for a player who has started just 8 games in the NFL. But are these just routine comments or are rivals really starting to take notice?
Steelers QB Kenny Pickett might have that ‘it’ factor
It’s one of the vaguest things to describe in football: the ‘it’ factor. The definition varies, but it’s clear that some players have it and others simply don’t. Kenny Pickett doesn’t have an elite arm or velocity behind his football. But what he lacks in this regard, he very well might make up for it with a moxie that is hard to ignore.
Despite a tremendously rough start to his rookie season that included just 2 passing touchdowns to go with a whopping 9 turnovers prior to the bye week, per NFL on CBS, Pickett clearly did not let this phase him. Since the break, his team has scored over 9 offensive points per game more than they did in the first 8 contests. He hasn’t recorded a single turnover since then.
There’s no doubt that players like Tyus Bowser and coaches like John Harbaugh have taken notice of his ability to hang in the pocket and deliver a strike while taking a big shot from a defender, or the fact that he is quick to get up and laugh in the face of the defensive lineman who just hit him.
It’s these types of traits that not only force other teams to respect Pickett but could possibly make them a bit fearful of what he could become. I don’t know how great the upside is for Pickett because of his average arm, but these leadership traits can go a long way — especially if he does have that ‘it’ factor.
It’s nice to see that some inside the Ravens organization are taking notice of Kenny Pickett’s development. Let’s hope the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie gives Baltimore an even bigger reason to respect him after this Sunday.