Matt Canada Praises ‘Grinder’ Mentality Of Kenny Pickett: ‘A True Student Of The Game’

Coming out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2022 NFL Draft after a remarkable final season that saw him not only lead the Pittsburgh Panthers to an ACC championship and a New Year’s Six Bowl appearance, not to mention an individual trip to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist, Kenny Pickett was often praised for one thing consistently: his preparation overall.

After four seasons as the starting quarterback at Pitt, Pickett found a way to overcome some potential physical limitations by preparing like a mad man off the field through his workout regiments and his study habits, spending a ton of time in the film room breaking down not only his opponents, but himself, searching for any little edge he could find that would help him have an advantage on Saturdays.

Now, entering his rookie season in Pittsburgh, those study habits remain and drew some praise from second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Appearing on SiriusXM’s Movin The Chains Friday night with hosts Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller and Paul Alexander, Canada praised Pickett for his “grinder” mentality, calling Pickett a true student of the game, which is high praise for a rookie who is battling for the starting job in training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

“Kenny’s been exposed to a lot of offense, which is great, but what makes it great is he’s such a student of the game,” Canada said to Kirwan, Miller and Alexander, according to audio via SiriusXM. “From Day One, as soon as he was legally able to be in our building, he’s been in our building since May and there all the time. In with Sully [Steelers QB Coach Mike Sullivan] all the time.

“He is a grinder; he’s competing. His football IQ is off the charts and his want-to is off the charts,” Canada added, according to audio via SiriusXM. “He’s gonna be a tremendous player, and we just have to build that up and find out when that day comes.”

Hearing Canada praise Pickett as a grinder and a true student of the game, it’s hard to not make parallels to the rise of one Joe Burrow in college to where he is now in the NFL. Burrow, of course, went from being a backup at Ohio State before then transferring to LSU, where he then grew into a record-setting quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, national championship and eventual No. 1 overall pick, to then leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl in Year 2.

Pickett, for what it’s worth, was viewed as a mid-to-late round quarterback entering his final season in 2021 before rising to the first quarterback off the board following a record-setting season and a Heisman Trophy finalist appearance.

His rise can be credited to the comfort in the offensive scheme under former Panthers’ offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, and his work in the film room to prepare for each and every opponent. While he will have some overall physical limitations at the position compared to other quarterbacks, where Pickett can truly win time and time again is between the ears, outworking everyone during the week to be fully prepared for anything thrown at him on gameday.

So far, that sounds like that’s exactly the case with the Steelers’ prized first-round pick, at least in Canada’s eyes. That’s great news overall. The Steelers certainly aren’t dealing with any sort of Kyler Murray situation with Pickett.

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