Kordell Stewart Believes Kenny Pickett Is Ready To Start: ‘He’s Not Your Typical Rookie’

Kordell Stewart recently jumped on 93.7 The Fan for The PM Team w/Poni & Mueller to speak about rookie QB Kenny Pickett and his first experience in an NFL regular season game last week, coming in at the half to relieve Mitch Trubisky. Prior to Pickett’s first start on the road against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Slash commended Pickett for his performance last week, and is confident that the rookie is ready for the spotlight against one of the NFL’s best this weekend.

“I think he’s ready,” Stewart said about Pickett while on 93.7 The Fan. “He’s not your typical rookie. I think the offense he was running at Pitt when it comes down to the experience in a spread-style offense and getting the ball out fast. It’s a matter of getting his feet wet and letting the excitement come down.”

Pickett was touted as the most “pro-ready” QB in the 2022 NFL Draft, having been a four-year starter who amassed 12,303 passing yards and 81 TDs during his college career across 52 college games (49 starts). While lacking the athletic upside of a Malik Willis, Pickett has proven that he is more than mobile enough at the QB position to move the pocket, work outside of structure, and improvise with his legs, having rushed for two TDs in his first regular season performance against the Jets last weekend.

HC Mike Tomlin mentioned after Pittsburgh selected Pickett that his high floor, leadership, and accuracy made him attractive to the Steelers, who opted to take him 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft as the first QB off the board. His familiarity with the team also aided in Pittsburgh’s evaluation process, as he played right next door for the Pitt Panthers and had already established a connection with Tomlin. He also was recruited by OC Matt Canada back when he was in the college game, and came from an offense at Pitt that ran similar concepts to what Canada wants to do in his offense scheme with the Steelers, making Pickett an ideal fit like Stewart mentioned.

It will be a trial by fire experience for Pickett, who likely would have sat longer behind Trubisky if Pittsburgh were able to have more success on offense than they have had to start the season. Still, Stewart believes that Pickett not only has the physical traits and experience to get the job done as the Steelers’ starting QB, but also the competitive demeanor you want in a starting QB.

“This game is a game of attitudes,” Stewart said. “You’ve got to be cocky. You have to have swag and you want to be confident. Sometimes they can confuse confidence with arrogance and vice versa. If that’s who the person is, you have to let them be who they are. You can’t change them for TV. That swag has to be presented and to get from your quarterback is even better.”

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