Throughout this season, the criticism of Steelers' starting QB Kenny Pickett has been relentless. Fans have recently been comparing him to C.J. Stroud, with many asserting that Stroud outshines Pickett.
When we look at the comparisons so far, there's some truth to it, but it's essential to remember where each of them began. C.J. Stroud was the 2nd overall pick, while Kenny Pickett was drafted 20th overall, setting up their rookie seasons in vastly different situations.
Kenny Pickett's and C.J. Stroud's rookie experiences couldn't have been more distinct
Kenny Pickett entered his rookie season with no expectations of starting, barely receiving first-team reps during training camp. The plan was for him to sit out the entire year before being thrust into action midway through Week 4 last year against the New York Jets, followed by starts against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Pickett had to learn on the fly, with no prior rapport with the first-team offense. His slow start in his rookie year is directly related to the limited preparation and opportunities he had from training camp up to when he became the starter.
In contrast, C.J. Stroud was drafted with the expectation of starting from week 1. He had the entire training camp to take first-team reps and familiarize himself with an NFL offense, free from limitations or snap counts that could hinder his growth. Houston had a clear plan in place to support Stroud and set up the conditions for a young QB to succeed unlike Pittsburgh