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2022 Stock Watch – QB Kenny Pickett – Stock Up

Now that training camp is over with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Pittsburgh and gearing up for what they hope will be a much more productive season, it’s time to take stock of where the team stands. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of training camp and the preseason and the regular season as it plays out. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning for each one. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.

Player: QB Kenny Pickett

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: The rookie first-round draft pick made his NFL debut yesterday for the Steelers after head coach Mike Tomlin sat starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky at halftime. Though he finished the game with three interceptions, two off of ricochets and one on a Hail Mary, he also gave the team the lead with two touchdowns, the defense unable to retain it.

When the Kenny Pickett era didn’t begin at the start of the regular season, it’s likely that almost everybody expected that we would be in for a long wait. Head coach Mike Tomlin is not one who is quick to pull triggers. But he did so at halftime yesterday, inserting the rookie following a six-point first half from the Mitch Trubisky-led offense.

Both Trubisky and Pickett said after the game that they had no idea a potential change was coming until Tomlin informed them at halftime that the rookie would be going into the game. No pre-game planning about how this might be the week. Just, ‘You’re out, Mitch. We’re calling Kenny’s number’.

All things considered, he answered the call as well. For starters, he led two touchdown drives—or at least scored two, as one of the drives began inside the five-yard line following an interception. But the fact is the offense only scored four touchdowns in the first three games combined. Pickett scored two in a half.

Of course, he also threw three interceptions. The first one was a play deep down the field on which he was giving Chase Claypool a chance to make a play. The throw could have been better, but it didn’t need to end up in the opponents’ hands. Pickett knows that the second interception targeting Pat Freiermuth is something he can’t do. The third was on an end-game Hail Mary, so really not statistically important.

It’s a start, and really probably doesn’t need to be overanalyzed. Assuming that Pickett starts next week (and I’d go ahead and put money down on that), that game will be much more indicative of what’s to come than him being thrown in at halftime.

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