CBS Sports Writer Predicts QB Kenny Pickett Will Make First Career Start Against Saints

With less than a month to go before the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for the start of their annual training, it’s not looking like rookie quarterback will open the 2022 regular season as the team’s starting quarterback. Obviously, things can change before the Steelers play the Cinninciniti Bengals on the road in Week 1, but as of right now, newcomer veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky seems poised to be the starter in that first contest. On Wednesday, Josh Edwards of CBS Sports attempted to predict when we might see the regular season debuts of six quarterbacks taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. Pickett was obviously included in those six.

“The most logical position for Pickett to be thrust into the starting lineup is Week 10 at home against the New Orleans Saints,” Edwards speculated in his post. “The latter half of the schedule features a game against every team in the division, including the Ravens twice, as well as the Panthers and Falcons.”

Edward’s prediction that Pickett’s first NFL start will come in Week 10 against the New Orleans saints probably shouldn’t be considered an awful shot in the dark. After all, the Steelers Week 10 home game against the Saints comes after the team’s bye week. That means the Steelers will have had played eight games at that point and presumably with Trubisky as the team’s starter. The Steelers record at that point, combined with how Trubisky has played up until then, will play a big part in whether or not Pickett will make his first NFL start against the Saints.

Edwards further explained his prediction on Pickett as it relates to Trubisky.

“Pittsburgh did not give Mitchell Trubisky a veteran contract where he needs to be on the field to justify the cost,” Edwards wrote in his post on the subject. “Training camp should feature a healthy competition between Trubisky and Pickett. In the end, head coach Mike Tomlin will probably give the veteran the first opportunity to win the job and then bring the rookie along at his own pace. The opening portion of the schedule is not necessarily conducive to early success for a young quarterback; chief among those early opponents is Bill Belichick and his impressive history against rookie quarterbacks.”

The Steelers first six games of the 2022 season collectively make for a rough slate. After opening against the Bengals on the road, the Steelers next five games will be against the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The games against the Patriots, Jets and Buccaneers will all take place at Heinz Field. The Steelers two games prior to their bye week are against the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles and both are road contests.

Pickett played his college career at the University of Pittsburgh and that obviously means he’s extremely comfortable playing at the confines of Heinz Field. In short, and baring injuries, it would make sense that Pickett’s first NFL start will take place at Heinz Field, assuming such an occurrence happens at all in 2022.

The best-case scenario for the Steelers come Week 10 of the 2022 regular season includes Trubisky leading the team to an above .500 record at that point and playing above the line overall in those first eight starts. Should that best-case scenario wind up playing out, it would obviously delay any talk of Pickett hitting the field as the team’s starter.

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