In a rather eventful offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers, holes on the roster have been addressed (for the most part) and things are really starting to take shape ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City.
Though the Steelers have been quite busy this offseason in the first full year with GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl in charge, there remains one burning question from NFL.com’s Nick Shook for the Black and Gold, one that might not be addressed until the real games start in early September.
That burning question? Are the Steelers ready to level up this season under second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett?
“The future is bright and optimism runneth over in the Steel City, coming off the promising debut seasons of Pitt product Pickett and receiver George Pickens. The Steelers signed a veteran guard with Super Bowl experience (Isaac Seumalo) and resupplied their defense with a crop of incoming talent headed by difference-making linebacker Cole Holcomb,” Shook writes regarding the Steelers’ offseason and the question that remains. “They also have seven picks to continue building up their roster. Everything seems to be going according to plan, so what could go wrong? (Well, besides injuries.) There are still a few spots where the Steelers could use help on the defensive side of the ball, but as we all know, this ultimately rests on Pickett. He finished 2022 strong after getting off to a rough start, and he’ll need to continue moving in the right direction.”
Pickett certainly did finish strong in 2022, putting together an intriguing second half of the season following the Week 9 bye week. In the games following the much-needed bye, Pickett orchestrated four game-winning drives for the Steelers. Those included impressive road wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens with strong performances late in the fourth quarter, not to mention his play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10. Then there was the thrilling game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver George Pickens on Christmas Eve against the Las Vegas Raiders on an emotional night.
While the overall stats weren’t all that impressive (2,404 yards, seven touchdowns, nine interceptions), the moxie that he displayed week after week was quite impressive and has the optimism rather high entering the 2023 season. With all of the moves the Steelers have made to address holes on the roster and bolster key position groups, they appear ready to level up under Pickett.
That question can only truly be answered by Pickett himself in 2023 based on his play in his second season.