ESPN Insider Mike Tannenbaum went on 93.7 The Fan Friday to give his thoughts about the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers, talking about the team’s roster makeup currently in 2022 and what potential holes they should look to address given the team’s struggles so far this season.
When asked about rookie QB Kenny Pickett and his first impressions, Tannenbaum mentioned that he liked him coming out, yet doesn’t sees his ceiling as limited and has some issues to work out.
“I liked him coming out,” Tannenbaum said about Pickett on 93.7 The Fan. “I considered him like Matt Schaub, I thought he was ironically similar at the Jets’ Chad Pennington. Maybe a little bit of an underrated foot athlete. A very good, not great arm. A smart player. I’ve been a little disappointed with some of his decision making so far, but again, that comes with being a rookie.”
Tannenbaum compared Pickett to Matt Schaub earlier this offseason as well, stating that Pickett reminded him of Schaub from a talent perspective as well as potential ball security issues dating back to the small hands conversation that blew up during the pre-draft process.
Tannenbaum also mentioned that while he liked Pickett coming out and complimented him on being a smart player, he has been disappointed with his decision making up to this point after playing 1.5 regular season games. The INT last game against the Bills can be one instance that Tannenbaum can go back to where he is justified as Pickett under threw WR Diontae Johnson, putting the ball up for grabs for CB Kaiir Elam to go up and make a play.
However, the other INTs in his first game action against the jets are hardly his fault as two of them hit TE Pat Freiermuth and WR Chase Claypool in the hands, but were unable to secure the catch, tipping the ball into the air to be intercepted.
There is no doubt that Pickett needs to improve in terms of going through his reads and his mechanics to make up for the lack of pure arm strength, but all things considered, Pickett has played well given the circumstances the last two weeks in terms of accuracy and decision making on most of his throws.
Tannenbaum was part of a Jets staff that evaluated Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez as first-round QBs which isn’t the best of track record when it comes to franchise QBs. However, while some will say that Pickett has a higher ceiling than a Pennington or Schaub, no one claimed him to be the next Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes earlier coming out of what was considered to be a bad QB draft class.
Still, while Tannenbaum may not think Pickett has the immense physical tools to be one of the league’s best at the position, he doesn’t think that Pittsburgh can win with him as their franchise guy if the situation around him improves from what they have at this time.
“So, I think you can, but you have to be strong on the offensive line, which as we’ve discussed, is definitely an area they need to improve,” Tannenbaum said on Pittsburgh winning with Pickett at QB.