Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has had his critics since the pre-draft process. Whether the size of his hands, his age, or his arm strength, there have been a lot of doubters about his ability to play at a high level in the NFL. One person who has been in his corner is Steelers defensive captain Cameron Heyward.
Heyward joined on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and told Cowherd what it is about Pickett that makes him believe he is the guy to lead the Steelers.
“I think it’s a culmination of things,” Heyward said. “When you look at the way he prepares and he gets after it in the film room and on the field, it’s really just night and day where he was during training camp. And you just see a hunger with him. It’s not like he’s just resting on his laurels and accepting anything, he understands he can even be better. The worker’s mentality really sets him apart because you can be an all-time great talent, but if you don’t back it up with your preparation you’re really gonna set yourself back.”
Pickett has been praised for his leadership since he joined the Steelers. He even called out his teammates after a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles saying that he didn’t think they were studying enough. After this and the bye week, Pittsburgh proceeded to go 7-2 down the stretch and come within a hair of making the playoffs.
While Pickett does not have the greatest physical tools, he is still athletic and can make impressive plays with his arm. Just looking at his game winning drive against the Baltimore Ravens, Pickett threw a dot to Steven Sims that fit in the smallest of windows.
As Heyward said, Pickett has a worker’s mentality. He is already training for next season and has gotten some of the offensive skill players to join him in Florida. This type of mentality will only allow him to get better and we already saw him improve a lot as last season progressed.
In Pickett’s first five games he threw two touchdowns and eight interceptions. In his final eight games he threw five touchdowns and one interception. Pickett finished his rookie season with pedestrian numbers, throwing for 2,404, yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions. But it was very noticeable how he improved with more reps and experience. Pickett led four game-winning drives in the second half of the season, showing he has the coveted clutch gene.
Pickett can become a very good quarterback even if he doesn’t have physical traits like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen. All he has to continue to do is keep training hard, continue building a rapport with his receivers, and have the game continue slowing down for him.
Even if the media may not believe in Pickett, his teammates and coaching staff do. It will continue to be that way for a long time.