Steelers QB Coach Mike Sullivan Praises Kenny Pickett’s Work Ethic: “I Gotta Kick Him Out Of The Room”’s Missi Matthews sat down with Pittsburgh Steelers QB coach Mike Sullivan to talk about the progression of Pittsburgh’s four quarterbacks on the roster. Sullivan specifically praised the work ethic of rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

“Kenny Pickett, coming in, is working his tail off. I mean, I gotta kick him out of the room. I mean, he’s always in there putting in extra effort and picking things up,” Sullivan said.

If Pickett wants to win the starting job, he’ll have to show it with his work ethic. Sullivan talked about how Mitch Trubisky has played in four different systems, so adapting to a new one is a little bit easier, while Mason Rudolph has experience from already being in Pittsburgh. As a rookie who hasn’t spent time with the team, Pickett is at a little bit of a disadvantage. However, with his work ethic seemingly as good as it is, Pickett is showing the Steelers coaching staff and executives that he really wants to work for the starting job.

The story with a lot of rookie first-round quarterbacks who flame out of the league is their lack of work ethic, as guys will take their money and not put the work in to earn it and become a starter in the league. As the only first-round quarterback selection in 2022, Pickett is trying to avoid the fate of many who have come before him. Pittsburgh obviously hopes that Pickett can become their quarterback of the future, just like their last first-round pick at the position, QB Ben Roethlisberger. 

It won’t be an easy quarterback competition, as Trubisky brings starting and playoff experience, bringing the Chicago Bears to the postseason twice, while Rudolph started eight games when Roethlisberger went down with an elbow injury in 2019, Week 17 of the 2020 season and the infamous tie against the Detroit Lions in Week 9 of the 2021 season. Rudolph knows a lot of the system and has a familiarity with Sullivan and offensive coordinator Matt Canada that Pickett doesn’t have yet, but Rudolph hasn’t been particularly impressive when he’s been given the opportunity. Pickett seems to know that his pedigree as a first-round pick isn’t enough alone to earn him a starting job, and him putting the work in to catch up and learn the system is impressive for a rookie.

Pickett’s maturity was likely always going to be a plus, as he spent five years at Pitt and will be 24 years old tomorrow. As an older rookie, Pickett likely knows better than some what it will take to last and become a factor in the NFL, and it seems like the Steelers are happy with what they’ve seen so far.

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