CBS values Kenny Pickett over Steelers' Justin Fields in backup QB rankings

One way Justin Fields can be disrespected in a hurry is by slotting Kenny Pickett ahead of him in QB rankings.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

As we kick off the summer, most football fans are going to have to wait until late July to see their team take the field again. Now offseason topics are beginning to swirl as we prepare for the longest football-less stretch of the calendar year. The Pittsburgh Steelers just wrapped up mandatory minicamp and are hoping they have most of the kinks ironed out before training camp.

This is the time of year when lists and rankings start to build steam ahead of the new season. Recently, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports ranked the top 10 backup quarterback situations in the NFL. Justin Fields was recognized on this list... but former Steelers QB Kenny Pickett was ranked higher.

Fields landed 4th in the rankings of the league's top backup quarterbacks entering 2024 -- edging out Jets' Tyrod Taylor and Rams' Jimmy Garoppolo. However, Pickett one-upped Fields as he claimed the 3rd spot on CBS Sports' list.

Carson Wentz and J.J. McCarthy earned the top two spots on the list, while former Steelers fourth-round pick and quarterback, Josh Dobbs, ranked seventh on the list as the 49ers backup QB behind Brock Purdy.

Steelers fans can only laugh that Justin Fields is ranked lower than Kenny Pickett

The irony here is comical. The Pittsburgh Steelers were willing to ship their disgruntled former first-round quarterback to the Eagles after a cringeworthy second season. In 2023, Pickett started 12 games where he recorded a dismal 172.5 passing yards per game, 6.4 yards per target, 6 passing touchdowns, and a sickening 38.1 QBR.

Meanwhile, Justin Fields is coming from a worse football program with less talent around him but is coming off the best season of his three-year NFL career.

Like Pickett, Fields wasn't able to play a full season due to injuries (he started and played 13 games in 2023). But the numbers were not comparable between the two quarterbacks. Fields averaged just shy of 200 passing yards per game to go with 16 passing touchdowns and 6.9 yards per attempt. Admittedly, his 46.1 QBR was not a good number, but it still easily tops Pickett's performance from a season ago.

The factor that's hardly being considered here is Fields' dynamic rushing ability. The young quarterback gashed defenses for 657 yards and 4 scores on the ground in 13 games last season. In comparison, Pickett had 54 rushing yards all year and averaged 1.0 yards per carry.

While Pickett is going to a great situation as the backup quarterback on a talented Eagles team, Fields will also be behind a better offensive line with better coaching at his disposal in 2024.

Even with his struggles in his first two seasons, Kenny Pickett is a competent enough QB to rank among the top 10 backups in the NFL, but in no world should he be ahead of the younger, more productive, and more talented Justin Fields.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.