What was largely expected and reported on is now official: the Kenny Pickett Era as the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh begins.
Pickett, whom the Steelers drafted at No. 20 overall in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, was officially listed as the starting quarterback on the latest depth chart released by the team Tuesday morning ahead of the Week 4 matchup against the Buffalo Bills on the road at Highmark Stadium.
The change in the depth chart isn’t a surprise, considering head coach Mike Tomlin made the switch at halftime Sunday in the 24-20 loss to the New York Jets, inserting Pickett into the starting lineup and benching Mitch Trubisky, handing the reins to the future franchise quarterback of the black and gold a bit earlier than expected.
Though he wouldn’t commit to a Week 5 decision under center — or beyond — following the loss to the Jets, there was no real way to truly go back to Trubisky as the starting quarterback. The toothpaste was already out of the tube.
In his NFL debut in Week 4, Pickett finished 10-for-13 for 120 yards and added two rushing touchdowns, becoming the first rookie quarterback in his debut to have two rushing touchdowns. However, he was charged with three interceptions, including one late in the fourth quarter that essentially changed the game for the Steelers. Granted, two of the three interceptions were balls that bounced off of Chase Clayool and Pat Freiermuth’s hands, and the third one was a Hail Mary at the end of the game.
Still, the turnovers hurt.
Now, he’ll get a full week to prepare as the starter after being inserted into the lineup without any true practice reps leading up to gameday. He’ll have a tough early test with matchups against Josh Allen in his first career start on the road, and Tom Brady in his first career home start as a Steeler at Acrisure Stadium.
The future is now though, with the Steelers sitting at 1-3. The Pickett Era is here. Let’s see how it plays out.