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Kenny Pickett Drops Two Spots In Latest QB Index

Sunday’s offensive performance against the New Orleans Saints at Acrisure Stadium in a 20-10 win was exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers envisioned the offense would play like coming into the season.

A strong rushing attack that could take over games, a quarterback with mobility that could extend plays and move the chains when needed, and no turnovers, allowing the defense to get after things on the other side of the football.

For rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, it wasn’t pretty early on, but the young quarterback turned things around in the second half, made some key throws and — most importantly — didn’t turn the football over. Despite a decent stat line of 18-of-30 passing for 199 yards and eight carries for 51 yards and a score, Pickett fell two spots in the latest QB Index from NFL.com’s Marc Sessler Wednesday. 

Pickett now sits at No. 31 overall in the weekly Index, falling from No. 29 overall last week and now finds himself behind the likes of New England’s Mac Jones and New York’s Zach Wilson in the index.

“Pickett’s environment grew more fitting of a rookie starter in Sunday’s lashing of the Saints,” Sessler writes regarding Pickett’s ranking in the QB Index heading into Week 11. “Abandoned all year long by a punchless ground game, Pickett helped the team with his own mobility — 51 yards on the ground — and the team helped him: The Steelers’ 217 rushing yards marked their gaudiest output since 2016. I still see a player confused by what the defense throws at him and mired in newbie processing, but Pickett deserves the benefit of time and meaningful snaps.”

On the year in six games, Pickett has thrown for 1,161 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions, completing 66.7% of his passes and averages 6.0 yards per attempt. He’s also added 149 rushing yards and three scores on the season, but has fumbled the football three times.

With the help of the run game on Sunday, Pickett wasn’t asked to do too much for the Steelers offensively, which should be the goal right now. In his previous three full games (Buffalo, Miami, Philadelphia) he had attempted 52, 44 and 38 passing attempts, which was asking the rookie to do far too much.

Sessler’s last line in his comments regarding Pickett is spot on. While the former Pitt Panthers star was quite experienced coming into the league after more than 50 career starts with the Panthers, the NFL is a whole different ballgame to deal with, especially in an offense that is mostly limited overall.

Pickett deserves the benefit of time and snaps. He’s going to get that in Pittsburgh from the franchise. We’ll see if it pays off down the stretch.

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