Despite opening behind Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London to be the favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has taken over the top spot, according to PointsBet.
Pickett moved up to +500, leading London at +600 and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks at +700. Other quarterbacks include Titans Malik Willis at +1300, while Matt Corral of the Carolina Panthers and the Falcons’ Desmond Ridder both check in at +1500. The Steelers’ second-round pick, wide receiver George Pickens, has the 16th-best odds at +2500.
The shift further signals that oddsmakers believe Pickett will see significant time as the Steelers’ quarterback in 2022. Pittsburgh is expected to have a competition with Pickett and free agent signing Mitch Trubisky battling against Mason Rudolph for the starting job. The Steelers also have seventh-round pick Chris Oladukun on the roster.
There’s no doubt that if Pickett starts for the Steelers, he’ll have a good shot at winning OROY. The award traditionally favors quarterbacks, with 6 of the 12 winners since 2010 being a quarterback. It would be fitting if Pickett won the award, given that the last Steelers player to win was Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Like Pickett, Roethlisberger wasn’t guaranteed a starting job when he was drafted 11th overall, as he was behind Charlie Batch and Tommy Maddox on the depth chart. Batch got injured in the preseason, and then Maddox got hurt during Week 2, opening the door for Roethlisberger. Pickett is in a similar situation competing with two veteran quarterbacks, but it would be a mild surprise if he started the season lower than No. 2 on the depth chart.
While Rudolph has starting experience, he hasn’t been particularly impressive when given the opportunity to start. Trubisky is coming off a year sitting behind Josh Allen in Buffalo, but he spent four years as the starter for the Chicago Bears after being selected second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. While Trubisky took Chicago to the playoffs twice and would’ve likely had a playoff win it wasn’t for the infamous “double doink.”
Personally, I think Trubisky will be the Steelers starter Week 1, but given that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have said it would be an open competition for the quarterback job and their clear interest in Pickett (they reportedly told Trubisky they could potentially select Pickett), it could very well be Kenny Pickett under center to begin the 2022 season.
Sound off in the comments below about who you think will start for Pittsburgh Week 1.