The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of their busiest offseasons in recent history, with the team dedicating a lot of resources to rebuilding it’s offensive line. They went out and signed guard Isaac Seumalo in free agency while spending draft picks on Broderick Jones and Spencer Anderson and adding Nate Herbig as depth along the offensive line in free agency. As a result, CBS Sports believes that the rebuilt line along with an “underrated skill group” gives second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett the tools to succeed in the NFL.
In an article about what was learned about every NFL team this offseason, what was learned about the Steelers was that “Kenny Pickett suddenly has the tools to succeed.”
“After debuting behind a shoddy line in 2022, the second-year QB quietly has an improved supporting cast at every level, with Isaac Seumalo joining the trenches and Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson and TE Pat Freiermuth headlining an underrated skill group. Aided by Mike Tomlin’s perpetually resilient defense, Pickett could solidify himself as a fan favorite, even if his numbers aren’t always pretty,” Cody Benjamin writes.
Pickett’s numbers don’t need to be pretty for the Steelers to win, but I think people are overestimating his 7-9 TD:INT ratio from last season. Pickett struggled with turnovers early in the season, but in the second half of the season, he cut down significantly, and that’s when the Steelers began experiencing success. If they focus on time of possession and controlling the clock the way they did in the second half of the year last year, they’ll be just fine.
From the skill position side of things, the Steelers added tight end Darnell Washington in the third round of the draft in addition to trading for wide receiver Allen Robinson II. While Robinson has had some big seasons in the past, he likely isn’t a 1,000-yard receiver anymore. But he offers some help to Pickett in the slot, a position last year that was filled by Steven Sims and Gunner Olszewski during the second half of the season. Robinson is a massive upgrade over those two, and he can provide leadership to the rest of the room as well.
Washington’s addition will be felt more in the run game, and the run game is going to be important for Pickett to succeed. The Steelers can use the run to set up the pass while hopefully controlling the clock and picking up chunk yardage through the ground as they did when they finished 6-2 down the stretch last season.
With a full offseason under his belt where he knows he’s the starter and can train and prepare like one, I expect Pickett to take strides this season. Couple that with his upgraded supporting cast, and he should succeed this year and potentially even lead the Steelers to a playoff berth. He came close during his rookie season, and there’s a lot more hope and excitement around the team heading into Year 2. It could be a really fun season in Pittsburgh.