Quarterback Kenny Pickett is the current QB1 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But that distinction isn’t exactly set in stone for the foreseeable future.
In his second season with the Steelers, Pickett was awarded the full-time starting job after initially sitting behind Mitchell Trubisky for the early part of the 2022 campaign.
However, a late-season ankle injury prevented Pickett from finishing out this past season in the driver’s seat. Instead, backup QB Mason Rudolph stepped in to keep the team afloat and even started Pittsburgh’s first postseason game of the post-Roethlisberger era.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Will Keep Their Options Open At The Quarterback Position
Steelers owner Art Rooney II was recently interviewed by KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani about the future of the team. Pompeani asked Rooney about the possibility of trading for a new quarterback. Rooney stated that the team isn’t “closing the door” on the idea.
“As we sit here in early February, we’re not closing the door on anything,” Rooney told Pompeani. “We have a lot evaluations to go through and we’ll go through all the options. Do what we need to do to be better this coming season.” (H/T Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk)
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 7, 2024
While it’s not exactly a clear sign that the Steelers are urgently looking to upgrade at the position, Rooney didn’t express 100% confidence in Pickett either. Sticking with the young QB represents the most cost-efficient option for the Steelers given that the 2022 first-round pick is entering just the third year of his rookie deal.
Rooney did say the Steelers “still feel good” about Pickett just a few days prior in an interview with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Joe Rutter. But the Steelers exec also bared that the team is still expecting Pickett to take “the next step.”
“We still feel good about Kenny Pickett and his future,” Rooney said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He knows he needs to work hard to take the next step, and we’ve talked about that.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers Are Still Waiting On A Leap From Quarterback Kenny Pickett
Steelers fans had hoped that Pickett would have taken that next step this past season.
The Pitt alum again flashed some of the promise he teased during his rookie year. He also significantly lowered his interception tally. But Pickett posted similar numbers during his second season in the league: 2,070 passing yards with 6 passing touchdowns and 4 interceptions across 12 games played.
Pickett was also far less effective in the run game this year. He rushed for just 54 yards with 1 touchdown on 54 carries this season; it’s a steep decline from his 237-yard, 3-touchdown season in Year 1.
The Steelers are probably going to give Pickett another look this season. But his place as the franchise QB going forward remains to be seen.