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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 quarterback would be the first person to critique his performance during any given week, but Kenny Pickett is certainly coming off of one of his best games so far, if not his best. Other outlets certainly seem to think so, and in the process, he claimed the first game-winning drive of his very young career.

It is an unfortunate reality that opinions are going to be deeply entrenched and loudly expressed when it comes to the quarterback position. After all, it is of paramount importance. If you don’t have a good starting quarterback, you don’t have much chance of winning the Super Bowl.

Writing a positive or negative article about a ‘franchise’ quarterback serves as a good litmus test for people because we bring our own biases to the table. The exact same content can be viewed as either too charitable or too critical depending upon one’s opinion of the player and their perception of the player’s reception and his coverage by media outlets.

But I feel bad for anybody who can’t see that Kenny Pickett has been making some serious strides as the season progressed. Sure, there are several plays from Monday’s game that he would like to have back—a sack he should have avoided, an overthrow in key spots here and there—but by and large, he looked more in control of the team than he has in any other game this year.

The jury is going to be out on Pickett for some time, but there is enough to be excited about. There are specific areas of his game that are a work in progress, such as improving his efficiency of execution in the red zone and some other situational nuances, but those are things that can be learned through coaching and experience.

Monday’s win was certainly a good experience, and he showed a little bit of everything. Big plays. Poise in critical moments. The ability to wisely use his feet both to scramble and to buy time. Making adjustments at the line. Diagnosing the defense. He might not bat 1.000 in every category, but he’s improving his average on a weekly basis. Is he the franchise? I don’t know, but I’ll settle for that for now and just watch the show.

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