Prominent NFL analyst has Steelers Kenny Pickett atop his 2023 Breakout Players List

The arrow is pointed up for Kenny Pickett, and the media is catching on.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

We are just a week away from the start of the 2023 NFL season. This is typically the time of year when NFL analysts and TV hosts start making their bold predictions for what we could see in the coming months. Since the end of the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been making headlines. Some analysts are buying into the hype.

Recently, prominent NFL analyst, Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football, continued an annual tradition of releasing his Top 10 Breakout Players List for the upcoming NFL season. Schrager had Steelers QB Kenny Pickett at the very top of his list.

Just below Pickett, Schrager listed players like standout pass-rusher, Jaylen Phillips and rookie running back, Jahmyr Gibbs. Two wide receivers made the cut as well, but George Pickens was not one of them.

Kenny Pickett's spot on the breakout list is warranted

Regardless, it's interesting to see Schrager label Pickett as his biggest breakout player in 2023. However, it's not hard to imagine why he went with the second-year quarterback. Pickett was astonishing in limited action this preseason, and he finished the summer with a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

This didn't come solely against scrubs either. In Week 2 of the preseason, Pittsburgh faced the Buffalo Bills, and head coach Sean McDermott left his starters in for the better part of two quarters. Pickett quickly scored touchdowns on his only two drives of the game.

By the end of the preseason, Pickett went a perfect 5 of 5 as his offense scored a touchdown every possession they touched the football. Pickett would also lead the NFL in yards per attempt by the end of exhibition action.

Schrager is hardly the first NFL analyst to predict a breakout year forthcoming for Kenny Pickett, as everyone in Steelers media (including myself) has essentially done the same. There are too many reasons to believe that it won't happen.

While Pickett is still working with offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, it was easy to see the strides he made this summer compared to his first training camp with the team in 2022. Pickett now overflows with confidence and his accuracy and willingness to rip the ball deep down the field is exactly what we were hoping to see.


Despite everything that is measurable, there's still one trait that truly can't be measured: The 'It' Factor. Whatever 'It' is, Pickett seems to have it. The young quarterback doesn't panic when he's under duress, and he's just as accurate throwing the ball on the run as he is letting it loose with a clean pocket around him.

Based on everything we have seen dating back to after the bye week in 2022, Pittsburgh Steelers fans have plenty of reason to be optimistic about Kenny Pickett in 2022. He truly is one of the biggest breakout candidates in the league this year, and it's not hard to see why Peter Schrager placed him atop his list of breakout players in the NFL in 2023.

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