Kenny Pickett Named Steeler Who Can ‘Benefit Most’ From A Strong Training Camp By The Athletic

Coming out of spring and summer workouts that saw him third on the depth chart at quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett is gearing up for his first-ever NFL training camp, which starts in six days at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

In the rolling hills of Westmoreland County on Chuck Noll Field, Pickett will get a chance to compete for the Steelers’ starting job with the likes of veteran free agent signee Mitch Trubisky and fifth-year Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph ahead of the 2022 season. Heading into camp, Pickett might be a bit behind the other two in the battle, as the reps simply weren’t there for him in OTAs and mandatory minicamp.

However, according to The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly, Pickett can “benefit the most” from a strong training camp showing over the 23 practices in Latrobe over 29 days as he attempts to kick-start his NFL career with a bang. Kaboly ranked the Steelers’ rookie quarterback No. 1 Thursday in his piece detailing the top 10 Steelers’ players who can benefit the most from a strong training camp this summer.

Pickett edged out Trubisky, who ranked No. 2, and inside linebacker Devin Bush, who ranked No. 3 in the piece.

“Pickett is a hands-down No. 1 here. Right now we just don’t know what to expect. We are going off four weeks of football-like practices in the spring, and we don’t really know whether his spot on the depth chart was a precursor of what is to come or some other plan to get him ready for a camp fight,” Kaboly writes for The Athletic Thursday morning regarding Pickett and training camp. “All we know is what we saw last year at Pitt. Can that immediately translate into the NFL? Well, we don’t know.

“If getting only third-team reps all offseason was indeed the learning-stage portion of Tomlin’s grand plan, then it makes plenty of sense. Still, you would like to see Pickett have more of an opportunity to shine than he did during OTAs and minicamp,” Kaboly added, according to the article from The Athletic. “That’s why Pickett has the best opportunity of anybody on the roster to propel himself up the depth chart, regardless of what we think we saw in the spring.”

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise the Pickett was Kaboly’s top choice for the Steelers player that can benefit the most from a strong training camp. While I don’t believe he’s going to get the necessary reps with the first team to truly compete for the starting job under head coach Mike Tomlin and second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada, I do believe he could show enough to make the Steelers comfortable trading away Rudolph for a 2023 draft pick, elevating Pickett to the backup role behind Trubisky.

Coming out of the University of Pittsburgh ride a wave of hype, Pickett was seemingly held back some throughout spring and summer practices with the black and gold. That may have been by design from Mike Tomlin, as Kaboly pointed out. The kid gloves (no pun intended) have to come off for the Steelers with their handling of Pickett in camp, though, and let him sink or swim in the quarterback competition.

Who knows? Maybe he gets hot right out of the gate and forces the Steelers’ hand in the starting quarterback discussion. In the end, that wouldn’t be a bad thing whatsoever. Based on the way the Steelers doled out the reps in minicamp and OTAs though, I’m not expecting it from the former Pitt star.

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