Kenny Pickett and George Pickens are part of NFL.Com’s Projected Offensive Rookie Squad
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter released his draft 2022 NFL Offensive All-Rookie Team and the list included two Pittsburgh Steelers in QB Kenny Pickett and WR George Pickens.
Reuter predicts that Pickett will eventually take over this season. “Pickett was the third string quarterback in OTAs and minicampsplaying behind veterans Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph . This could, however, be a very temporary placement for the rookie. I suspect Pickett — the only quarterback selected in the first two rounds of this year’s draft — will take over before too long in 2022, relying on his experience and athleticism to earn rookie honors.
As for Pickens, Reuter thinks his hands and speed will make him a contributor. “In his final draft before retiring as Steelers general manager, Kevin Colbert once again landed a second-round receiver. Pickens is already impressive, showing off his skills during OTAs. Expect whoever lines up at quarterback for Pittsburgh to regularly rely on his speed and strong hands to make big plays on the field.
The two selections of Reuters do not surprise as much. Given where Pickett was drafted, he’s expected to be the best quarterback in the class. If he wins the job at some point in the season, chances are he’ll outperform someone like Desmond Ridder in Atlanta or Matt Corral in Carolina, the other two most likely rookie quarterbacks. play this year.
The question really is whether Pickett will see any playing time this year as the Steelers have an opportunity to use him as a backup and groom him to be their starter in 2023. It would surprise me if Pickett was the starting quarterback. of Week 1 in Cincinnati, but it would be less of a surprise if he saw the field at some point later in the season for some reason.
Pickens is already the Steelers WR3 and should have an instant impact no matter who is under center. He offers the Steelers a real threat on the field, and his physicality and blocking will make him an asset in the running game as well. Obviously, Reuter isn’t putting him on their All-Rookie team for his blocking ability, but it’s a part of his game that deserves recognition.
I don’t think Pickens will have a rookie season JaMarr Chase or Justin Jefferson, but 50+ receptions for 500+ yards is a realistic expectation that I think Pickens could very easily hit. If the Steelers get the production of Pickens they got from Chase Claypool his rookie season, they’ll be very happy with his pick and he’ll likely find himself on Reuter’s All-Rookie team at the end of the year as well.
The Steelers offensive rookies not on the roster were QB Chris Oladokun (a lot would have to go wrong for him to see the field in the regular season this year), TE Connor Heyward (who will likely serve as a TE backup) and WR Calvin Austin III. The other receiver on Reuters list was Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson, who, like Pickens, was a second-round pick. It’s reasonable to expect Pickens and Watson to outperform Austin III this year, but I think he’ll make some big plays and show some big-play potential the Steelers have been missing out on in recent seasons. I’m not expecting a ton from him, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he had some impressive moments in 2022.
What do you think of the selections from Reuters? Do you think Pickett will play enough to justify being the selected quarterback? Let us know in the comments.