2023 Stock Watch – QB Kenny Pickett – Stock Up

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: QB Kenny Pickett

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: The 2022 first-round draft pick’s season trajectory was one that was nearly consistently upward, helping to take his team to a 7-2 record over the final nine games of the year and leading game-winning drives in the process. He protected the football better and began to make more plays as he grew more comfortable as the leader of the offense.

Kenny Pickett was intended as the future the second the Steelers knew that they were on the clock to draft 20th overall back in April. Although it wasn’t a slam dunk from the outside, within the organization there were zero questions about what the decision was going to be if the Pitt quarterback was on the board for them.

History will judge them based on how the next several years unfold, but so far, they have to be fairly pleased. While he didn’t have a statistically exciting rookie season—after all, he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes—studying the season-long trajectory is valuable in gleaning insights about what may come.

As I’ve pointed out previously, the offense did not put up big numbers even in the second half of the season in terms of scoring, but part of the reason for that was because they ran fewer drives than anybody else in the second half of the year. Their per-drive efficiency was significantly better.

The question is whether or not they can be more efficient at picking up yardage in chunks, thus shortening drives where appropriate, and finishing more of those drives with touchdowns rather than field goals.

Those are big questions, and a lot of them center on Pickett, who would be the first to admit that he has to get better with his decision-making, comfort in the pocket, and ball placement when working in the red zone. There was progress, but much work is left to be done.

He is the sort of player about whom you would be inclined to rattle off a list of ‘intangibles’, and that would certainly be applicable and appropriate. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about his ability to continue to improve. But it’s also a matter of fact, whether surprising or not, that he still has to get better, perhaps considerably better in certain areas, in order to make this a championship-worthy offense again.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!