Though he was the first quarterback off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft and is coming off of a historic season at the collegiate level for the Pittsburgh Panthers as a Heisman Trophy finalist, the knocks on new Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Kenny Pickett are his age and his limited ceiling overall.
While he took a substantial leap in 2021 after returning to school for a fifth season, the question of what his ceiling is still remains, as he appears maxed out physically and will be 24 years old at the start of his rookie season this fall.
All that doesn’t bother Pickett one bit, though.
Speaking with some members of the Steelers’ media Thursday night following his selection at No. 20 overall, Pickett touched on the concerns about his ceiling and his overall potential, according to a transcript of the answer from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko.
“There’s always criticism. It’s something I’m kind of at peace with in this game, and this position especially,” Pickett said to Batko. “When I said I would go back last year, I’m sure everyone said, ‘Why is he going back? He can’t get any better. What does he think five years is going to do?’ Now I’m sitting here and just got drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th overall pick. I’m always improving. There’s not an offseason I’ve had where I feel like I haven’t gone up. Because I go to work every single day, so I know I’m always improving, and there’s always something I can improve on. I know what it is physically, I know what it is mentally. I obsess over it. That’s what I’m going to continue to do. Nothing really changes in terms of my mindset and how I am about my business. It increases with the level of the NFL, but I just can’t wait to keep chasing that dream of winning a Super Bowl.”
I asked new Steelers QB Kenny Pickett how he would respond to the narrative that he doesn't have as much potential as other guys in this class. His response: pic.twitter.com/Cme2PxNzfQ
— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) April 29, 2022
Well, Pickett sure is well-versed in how to handle the media.
That’s a tremendous answer from Pickett overall. There were questions about him returning to school last fall after having already started three seasons and appearing maxed out overall.
He gambled on himself though, and then became the top quarterback off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Something clicked for Pickett in 2021, which led to his breakout. The Steelers obviously saw that something as well, leading to him being their top QB on the board.
How well he continues to grow at the next level will determine his fate as the franchise quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sounds like there won’t be any questions about his commitment level or overall work ethic.