Brutally honest NFL quarterback rankings place Kenny Pickett in a despicable group

The latest QB rankings show why the Steelers desperately need to upgrade.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills, Kenny Pickett
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills, Kenny Pickett / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The postseason just wrapped up, but we are already starting to see power rankings and positional rankings for 2024 being released. Oddsmakers have posted Super Bowl odds for next year before teams have even had a chance to retool their rosters in 2024. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a significant amount of work to do this offseason.

Following the Chiefs' Super Bowl win, the Steelers sat at $16 million in the salary cap hole before releasing Mitch Trubisky, Chukwuma Okorafor, and Pressley Harvin III. This was just the first wave in many steps to fixing the Steelers roster ahead of the 2024 season.

Unfortunately, all of their efforts could be for nothing if they aren't willing to aggressively pursue a significant upgrade at the quarterback position. Recently, Derrik Klassen of The 33rd Team released the rankings of his top 32 quarterbacks entering the 2024 offseason. Kenny Pickett barely cracked the list.

The 33rd Team has Pickett as the 31st-ranked NFL quarterback as we get set to enter the 2024 offseason. This puts him behind players like Aiden O'Connell, Desmond Ridder, Bryce Young, and Sam Howell. The only starting QB he edges out on this list is New England's Bailey Zappe, who took over for Mac Jones as the starter during the 2023 season.

What's even more disheartening is that these rankings only take on QB from each team. If they didn't several backups (like Gardner Minshew) might even be higher on the list.

These 2024 quarterback rankings also don't take into account a phenomenal QB class that will be added to the mix this April. Highly touted prospects like Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and even J.J. McCarthy could step into a starting role early and prove to be better than Pickett as well.

It's never been more clear that the Steelers can't settle at QB

Regardless of how you feel about The 33rd Team's 2024 quarterback rankings, it's hard to argue that Kenny Pickett should even sniff the top half of the league when players like Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff, and Kirk Cousins hardly rank inside the top 16.

Pickett was essentially demoted late in the season, as the former first-round pick didn't get his job back from Mason Rudolph despite being physically cleared to play. In his first two seasons, Pickett has just 13 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 25 games (24 starts). This equates to a dismal 6.3 yards per attempt and a passing rating of just 78.8 entering Year 3, via Pro Football Reference.

While it's possible that Pickett could take a step forward in his third season with a new offensive coordinator calling the shots in Arthur Smith, the pedestrian traits aren't worth betting on for a quarterback who hasn't proven anything and is about to turn 26 years old.

The fatal flaw that bad teams make is naively believing that average quarterback play will be enough to get the job done and compete for a Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers have proven that you can have regular season success with poor QB play, but they will never become true contenders until they upgrade the quarterback position. That's never been more clear than it is right now.