When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost longterm starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to retirement, they needed to figure out what would come next, or rather who would come next to fill his shoes. They added Mitchell Trubisky, but many didn't believe that would be a long term solution. To complicate things even further, Mike Tomlin and the rest of Steeltown appeared to have high hopes for their first-round draft pick, Kenny Pickett.
A Bright New Era Begins for the Steelers
Head Coach Mike Tomlin is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice, after 15 years with Big Ben. And so, the Steelers used their first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to grab a rookie QB. Kenny Pickett got the change to stay home, after spending his college days at Pitt. They also made a second round pick for the future, taking wide receiver George Pickens out of Georgia.
So, needless to say, the future could be bright for Pittsburgh. Because, let's be real, Mitch Trubisky ain't it. After picking up running back Najee Harris in the first round and tight end Pat Freiermuth in the second round of the 2021 draft, they're setting the ground work to get right back in the conversation as a heavyweight of the AFC North.
Now we fast forward to today, and the steelers rookie quarterback finally found his way into his NFL debut. In the second half of their game against the New York Jets, Pickett trotted onto the field to take over what is soon to be his offense.
QB Kenny Pickett is hoping to join the likes of Joe Burrow of Cincinnati Bengals, Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers as young guys becoming field generals for their teams early in their careers.
The Kid Makes His First NFL Pass
Kenny Pickett picked on his first career pass attempt ?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2022
As he got under snap, Pickett surveyed the defense for a moment, before launching a pass downfield toward Chase Claypool, who was splitting two defenders. Every quarterback dreams of throwing a touchdown pass in their first attempt in the league. Unfortunately, for Pickett, it wasn't meant to be.
Lamarcus Joyner played some stellar defense, getting a hand on the ball ahead of Claypool. As Chase tried to grab at it, he completely missed, the ball popped up, and Jordan Whitehead hauled the ball in for an interception. Not exactly what one would hope for. That's good enough for ESPN's Not Top 10.
But, on a later drive, Kenny found his way into the end zone for the first touchdown of his young career. It wasn't through the air, but he won't care. At home in front of a familiar crowd in a familiar city where he's known for some college football greatness. Not a bad place for his first NFL TD.
Will Others Regret Passing On Pickett?
Looking across the rest of the league, it begs the asking what other teams are actually doing. The Seattle Seahawks traded away their franchise quarterback, and are now relying on Geno Smith. The Saints seem to be all in on Jameis Winston. And the Panthers are going with Baker Mayfield?
Kenny Pickett is hoping to spend next summer going through training camp, hitting the NFL preseason as the number one, and going into his second season high in the rankings of best quarterbacks. There's a lot of time between now and then for him to make a number of teams regret not taking a chance on him.
But for now, despite his first NFL pass being a pick and his first NFL regular season game ending with a Hail Mary interception, the kid looks to have the chance to lead his team to victory in the future. Things are just beginning for Pickett's second football career in Pittsburgh.
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