In a quarterback-driven league, and as the first quarterback off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft that also happened to land in an ideal situation with the Pittsburgh Steelers, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is the favorite to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, should he get onto the field this fall.
According to predictions from CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards and Ryan Wilson, Pickett is their choice for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, edging out the likes of Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver Treylon Burks in CBS Sports’ 10 bold predictions piece post-NFL Draft.
Edwards, Wilson, and Chris Trapasso dished on a number of things coming out of the NFL Draft for CBS Sports, including the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, as well as the best and worst draft classes, and rookie most likely to make the Pro Bowl in his first year.
Unsurprisingly, Pickett is the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year from CBS Sports as Edward and Wilson both tabbed Pickett as the OROY, while Trapasso went with Tennessee’s Burks.
“Kenny Pickett is the easy choice so we’ll go with that,” Wilson writes. “He has to beat out Mitch Trubisky, and if he can’t perhaps that’s reason enough for concern since Pickett is almost 24 and unlike, say, Malik Willis, is probably pretty close to his ceiling.”
Nothing like a backhand compliment while discussing the potential Offensive Rookie of the Year there from Wilson. Pickett certainly is the easy choice, but he will have to get on the field ahead of Mitch Trubisky in 2022, which is no easy task. Beating out Trubisky or sitting behind him in 2022 should have zero implication on Pickett’s future overall, regardless of his age.
Much like Wilson, Edwards went with Pickett for OROY as well.
“I was torn between Pickett and Burks so I will split the difference,” Edwards writes. “Although the wide receiver should be fed targets lost in the A.J. Brown trade, quarterback has the upper hand when it comes to winning awards. The Pittsburgh product could be starting in Week 1 based on comments from head coach Mike Tomlin.”
Edwards is spot-on that when it comes to winning awards, it’s usually a quarterback that has the upper hand. Dating back to 2000, nine quarterbacks — Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Young, Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, and Justin Herbert — have won the award, marking nearly 50% of the OROY winners in the last 22 years. Aside from quarterback, nine running backs have won the award in the same span, while four receivers have won the award, including Cincinnati Bengals’ star Ja’Marr Chase last season.
Of course, if Pickett doesn’t get on the field in 2022 it won’t matter what position he plays or what franchise he’s part of. But if he’s able to beat out Trubisky and see action right away, he’ll have a good shot at winning the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award this fall, becoming the first Steelers’ player to do so since Roethlisberger in 2004 on the offensive side of the football, and Kendrell Bell in 2001 on the defensive side of the ball.