Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: Kenny Pickett
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: In what should hardly be seen as a surprising turn, the rookie quarterback drew some mixed reviews during his first three weeks on an NFL practice field, based on a variety of reports from the beat writers.
If you’re crushed that Steelers first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett doesn’t already look like a prime Ben Roethlisberger, well then…calm down. But I doubt there are many of you out there, so I think we can probably relax for now.
The Pitt alum just completed his first set of spring drills with the Steelers, and what he did on the field—or more importantly how he looked doing it—didn’t really seem to draw a lot of consensus. You have The Athletic calling him a training camp loser, for example, while the local TV stations saying that the zip on his delivery stood out from the other quarterbacks.
Pickett was drafted for his pro readiness, in large part, and a lot more goes into that than playing on air. Really, we shouldn’t be judging him too much until we get into the preseason, I think. As for now, he’s running mainly as the third-string quarterback, with the third-string talent, behind Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph.
But we’re in mid-June, after all. And really, not everybody agreed that Pickett didn’t stand out. We have certainly gotten reports of him delivering quality plays during OTAs and minicamp, even if Trubisky seems to have been the quarterback who drew the most positive attention—as one would expect the most experienced quarterback to.
And so that’s why he’s ‘stock even’ for now—we’ve basically gotten thus far what we should have reasonably expected to get from him. He was never going to come in and surprise people, because part of his appeal was that you were going to get what it says on the tin. That’s Kenny Pickett, the guy who played at Heinz Field last year, and who likely will for years to come.