In the latest edition of AP PRO FOOTBALL with Rob Maaddi, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett came on the podcast to talk about draft night, his relationship with his QB coach, as well as what it will be like to stay in Pittsburgh after finishing his college career with the Pitt Panthers.
When asked by Maaddi about his chances of winning the starting quarterback job and what his mindset is going into training camp, Pickett kept it real
“Ya, I feel great,” Pickett said on the podcast. “My body feels great. I used this month, you know, they call it off but just being away from the facility at home, studying the playbook, getting prepared, and ready to go compete. And I’m got to learn from those guys. There’s a lot, I have to learn with the new system and I’m forward to getting some reps and playing in the new system and competing in camp.”
Even for rookies walking into their first training camp, having a month off can be a breath of fresh air that is much-needed, especially after coming off a full college football season along with the pre-draft process, rookie minicamp OTAs, and mandatory minicamp.
This is the case for Pickett, who was drafted 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Steelers, having been constantly immersed in football since the start of his prolific final season at Pitt, where he led the Panthers to the ACC crown. Since the season ended, Pickett had to prove himself to teams as a prospect and then quickly pick up the playbook once drafted by Pittsburgh as he looks to legitimately compete with Trubisky and Rudolph for the starting job.
While Pickett has played in a system like the one that OC Matt Canada will implement in Pittsburgh and has already been touted for his understanding of the offense during OTAs and minicamp, he admits to Maaddi that he still has things he needs to learn about the system he will play now in the NFL and will need the reps on the field to help that development.
Pickett also mentioned that he must learn from Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph who have that starting NFL experience to help him get up to speed and develop into a starting-caliber NFL QB himself. Trubisky has already said in training camp that he plans to help Pickett by being a great teammate, and Pickett has already commended Trubisky as well as every other QB in the room for being a great resource to him when the team met last prior to training camp getting underway.
Kenny Pickett’s path to becoming the Week 1 starter will come down to how fast he can develop this preseason and show coaches he is ready for the speed of the NFL game. That may take a slip up from Trubisky, who sits as the team’s #1 QB on the depth chart today, but showing improvement every day and being a consistent presence on the field will go a long way toward Pickett potentially overtaking Rudolph on the depth chart and putting himself in position to be named the starting QB.