2023 Offseason Questions: How Big Is The Gap Between Pickett And Burrow?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: How big is the gap between the Steelers’ Kenny Pickett and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow?

Well, we seem to be deep into the offseason cycle already even though the Super Bowl hasn’t happened yet. You know it’s that time when we’re processing manufactured conversations like Mitch Trubisky’s cap hit. And now competing interviews detailing the potential of two young quarterbacks.

One guy says one thing. Another guy says another thing. And here we are. We’re talking about Kenny Pickett and Joe Burrow. Now, one was the unanimous first-overall pick, and he’s won five playoff games in the past two years. The other threw more interceptions than touchdowns coming out of his rookie season where he wasn’t asked to start at the beginning of the year.

But where will they each be five years from now? 10 years? That’s why you draft quarterbacks in the first round, after all, because you intend to invest in the position for as long a period of time as you can get out of it.

In terms of pure talent, Burrow arguably has the advantage. He has a bigger arm and obviously a more proven track record for big plays. Neither were spectacular as rookies, but Burrow was further along in terms of downfield accuracy, for example.

Not that Pickett doesn’t have talent, and we shouldn’t pigeonhole him into his rookie performance. He’s obviously going to grow and put up better numbers, or at least that’s the reasonable assumption. That’s what makes it so hard to even have this conversation right now—there simply hasn’t been enough time.

But we didn’t start the conversation, we’re merely moving it to our stage. What is the gap between Burrow and Pickett, if it exists, between talent, and between potential? Both of them also seem to have those ‘intangibles’ that we all like to talk about so much. Will these two be competing for division titles for the foreseeable future?

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