Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett’s development last year didn’t go unnoticed inside or outside the Steelers locker room. His development heading into Year 2 is going to be one of the biggest storylines in Pittsburgh. Cornerback Arthur Maulet went on The Cook and Joe Show on 93.7 The Fan today, and he praised Pickett’s growth throughout his rookie season and said he expects him to be “really” good in 2023.
“I see a lot of growth. I see that he’s tough, he’s not scared to make the play. He takes ownership of his mistakes and that’s being a leader, he’s a young leader and I tip my hat to him for that. He’s a highly competitive guy as well. He’s smart. You could tell that he learned while he was playing throughout the year. You could see glimpses of him learning, not throwing the ball into tight coverages and just throwing it away, extending plays with his feet, using his quarterback mobility. I think he’s going to be really good going into Year 2,” Maulet said.
The most noticeable improvement in Pickett’s game came in the turnover department. After the team’s bye week, Pickett threw just one interception in the six games he started after throwing eight in his five appearances before the bye week. Limiting turnovers allowed the Steelers to win the possession battle, and with an offensive line that really began to gel with a solid run game, Pittsburgh began to win football games. Pickett also made winning plays like his back-to-back game-winning touchdown passes against the Raiders and Ravens, and in general, just looked better and more comfortable.
Now, with the same system, an improved offensive line and potentially more weapons acquired through the draft (a healthy Calvin Austin III will help as well), Pickett has high expectations heading into Year 2. Former NFL quarterback and current analyst David Carr said he expects Pickett to take a big jump next season, and inside the building, it seems those expectations are similar.
It’s always good to hear a player’s perspective on things like this. While outside the building it’s reasonable to say Pickett looked better and looked more comfortable, we don’t really fully know what those inside the building think. Maulet clearly saw the same growth out of Pickett that everyone else did, especially in regard to his decision-making and general feel for the game. That sort of stuff is important to learn early on, and it only took Pickett a few weeks to improve on a lot of the flaws in his game.
With a full offseason to prepare as a starter, Pickett could really take a big step forward in Year 2. With months instead of weeks to go back and watch the tape and digest what he did right and wrong as a rookie, Pickett’s growth could help the Steelers return to the playoffs in 2023.