Were Steelers talented rookies disrespected in NFL award voting?
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have a representative at the NFL award ceremony. Were rookies Kenny Pickett and George Pickens disrespected in voting?
On the evening of February 9th leading up to Super Bowl LVII, the league held its annual NFL honors and awards ceremony. Some were rather unsurprising. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was named to his second Most Valuable Player award, while 49ers edge defender Nick Bosa ran away with the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year award.
When it came time to announce the winner of the Offensive Rookie of the Year, some Pittsburgh Steelers fans held out hope that longshots Kenny Pickett and George Pickens would earn some respect, but that didn’t happen.
It was a tight race at the top, and while Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker received the most first-place votes, it was Jets WR Garrett Wilson who won the award thanks to a new points system that tallies first, second, and third-place votes.
This wasn’t completely out of the blue. Throughout the race, these two rookies had the highest odds to become the OROTY. But here’s the real kicker. Out of six offensive rookies who received first-place votes by AP voters to become the Offensive Rookie of the Year, Kenny Pickett and George Pickens were not among them.
Even Ravens center Tyler Linderbaum and Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier received a first-place vote for the award. Here’s a breakdown of every vote, according to NFL writer Rob Maaddi:
When factoring in the points system, Kenny Pickett finished 6th among rookies in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race — behind players like WR Chris Olave and Tyler Allgeier. George Pickens did not receive a single first, second, or third-place vote for this honor.
Steelers rookies didn’t deserve the award but deserve more respect
We know how these awards work. These typically come down to volume numbers and the two top Pittsburgh Steelers rookies just didn’t have enough of it. Though Pickett led his team to an impressive 7-2 record to close the season, his numbers were very unspectacular. Obviously, his four game-winning touchdown drives weren’t enough by themselves to sway AP voters.
The one that really gets me is George Pickens not receiving a single vote. Despite spotty quarterback play and being at the mercy of two different signal callers and a bad offensive coordinator, Pickens was one of the most efficient receivers in the league this year, as he earned an impressive 9.5 yards per target and had a 109.3 passer rating when targeted, per ESPN stats.
Unfortunately, Pickens’ volume numbers of 801 yards and 4 touchdowns couldn’t compete with Garrett Wilson’s 1,103 yards and 4 touchdowns — even if it took Wilson 63 more targets to accomplish this feat.
I didn’t expect either Steelers rookie to receive the Offensive Rookie of the Year award for the 2022 season, but I do think voters lacked a little respect for this pairing. Hopefully, this lights a fire under Kenny Pickett and George Pickens for the future.