Tomlin: Pickett ‘certainly has a chance’ to be Steelers’ Week 1 starter

Posted: 30/04/2022 in NFL
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The Kenny Pickett era in Pittsburgh could start as early as this September.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told NFL Network on Saturday that the first-round passer “certainly has a chance” to be the team’s Week 1 starting quarterback.

Pickett, who was taken with the 20th overall pick Thursday, will have to beat out Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph to claim the starting job.

A former first-rounder, Trubisky signed a two-year, $14.285-million deal this offseason, though the pact contains just $5.25 million guaranteed, per Spotrac. Meanwhile, Rudolph has spent the majority of his tenure in Pittsburgh as the backup to now-retired quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Tomlin pointed to Pickett’s pro-ready skill set as a reason why the organization felt confident taking him in the first round. Pickett was the lone quarterback selected on Day 1 as other top passing prospects such as Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and Matt Corral fell to Round 3.

“Two things that really attracted us to him from a floor standpoint,” Tomlin said. “We thought he had pro-level anticipation. We thought he had pro-level accuracy. Often times those are two variables that really require a lot of adjustment from a quarterbacking standpoint.”

He added: “We felt (Pickett) came ready made in those ways and hopefully that’s an asset to him in terms of being able to compete and being ready if performance dictates.”

The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout 2021 season at Pitt, throwing for 4,319 passing yards and 42 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Pickett also passed Dan Marino as the school’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 81.

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