Every rookie who comes into the league does so with room for improvement, which isn’t going to be unlocked in a year’s time. The experience of actually going through an NFL season will greatly inform how one does it again, and what adjustments must be made to do it better.
For Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett, one thing he’s set his mind on doing this offseason going into year two is putting on some weight. And according to his personal trainer, Tony Racioppi, he’s already managed to do that.
“He wants to put some size on, which he’s doing now, for sure. He’s much bigger than he was last year when he played, which is great”, he recently told Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s got to stay healthy, obviously, and take hits, but at the same time keep his speed, which is part of his game”.
Officially listed at 6’3” and 220 pounds, Pickett won’t ever be mistaken for being one of the biggest quarterbacks in the league, but his size as considered in a vacuum should not be a significant hindrance to him. The important thing is that he has a frame that supports added weight, which he’s evidently already proving this offseason.
He told Pat McAfee a couple of months back that his intention was to add weight this offseason, so it’s good to hear an update a bit on down the line about progress being made. “I think the Combine training, man, I got a little too lean, I’d say. I was a little under 220”, he said back in January. “I want to gain a little bit more weight and have a little bit more muscle mass on me heading into this season after experiencing a lot of these hits”.
The Steelers’ first-round draft pick last April with the 20th-overall selection, Pickett is the quarterback the team believes is their future, although he did not begin his rookie season as the starter. Veteran Mitch Trubisky was pulled after four games, not because of anything the rookie was doing, but because Trubisky was struggling.
Pickett had plenty of struggles of his own, but a learning curve was expected. He did finish his rookie season with a 7-5 record as a starter, though that includes one loss in which he hardly played due to a concussion that he suffered on the opening drive.
He rushed 48 times during his rookie season, excluding kneeldowns and aborted plays. Many of them were designed runs, including quarterback sneaks, accumulating 243 yards with three rushing touchdowns and 24 first downs with his legs.