Pittsburgh Steelers fans knew that they’d be seeing a different passer behind center for the first time in nearly two decades.
When the team was dispatched from the postseason against Kansas City, its offense sputtering against a Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs attack, the book closed on franchise icon Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
Recently, in this spring’s NFL Draft, the Steelers spent their first-round selection on a quarterback they’d grown quite familiar with, the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.
It looks like they’ve made the bet of their lives at the best online casino. But there are a few reasons why this was the wrong plan of action for the Steelers. Here they are.
Kenny Pickett Was the Wrong Choice for Pittsburgh
Pickett only had one good year
Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett throws during rookie minicamp Friday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. pic.twitter.com/PBjqIxNryE
— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) May 13, 2022
The biggest area of concern for Steeler fans who can get over the fact that a local product is soon to take the reins is that Pickett really only proved himself in one college season.
Of course, it was an impressive campaign, as he passed for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns. But, in no season prior to that had he gone for more than 3,100 yards and 13 scores.
He guided the Panthers to their first Atlantic Coast Conference crown by beating Wake Forest and ended up third in Heisman voting, behind winner Bryce Young of Alabama and runner-up Aidan Hutchinson, an edge rusher from Michigan.
Pittsburgh fans hope that the fantastic season from their new darling wasn’t just a one-off.
Steelers signed Trubisky already
Let’s just put it this way — Mitchell Trubisky didn’t really get a fair crack in Chicago.
From the time that Trubisky was drafted second overall by Chicago in 2017, it seemed like he didn’t have the right pieces around him. Namely, it was now-former Bears head coach Matt Nagy that held him back from letting loose.
The Steelers signed Trubisky — who spent last season as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo — to a team-friendly deal in the hours after free agency started. It looked as if Pittsburgh would roll with him as the starter this fall.
In 2018, his second and best statistical go-round with the Bears, Trubisky posted an 11-3 record as a starter. He threw for a career-high 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns. He had a 95.4 rating and made the Pro Bowl.
As athletic as he is, combined with the fact that he was once a top-two talent coming out, some Steelers fans would have welcomed the idea of Trubisky taking over for a season at least. His mobility would be a welcome sight after watching Roethlisberger struggle to move around for the better part of two years.
Instead, Trubisky will have to worry about the fact that poor play could very quickly lead the Steel City faithful to call for Pickett to get his shot.
Pittsburgh could have filled needs
An interesting concept was that the Steelers could have traded down in the first round — and even then still gotten Pickett.
This past draft wasn’t particularly a quarterback-friendly one, which makes it look like Pittsburgh reached by taking Pickett in the initial round. Other teams didn’t appear to be too eager to take triggermen, as Malik Willis, Sam Howell, and Desmond Ridder all fell to later rounds.
While the team did fill some holes in free agency — namely by signing linebacker Miles Jack and a few offensive linemen — there are positions of need that the Steelers could have addressed.
Or, Pittsburgh could have followed the lead of a bitter but very competent rival.
The year that AFC North foe Baltimore grabbed future MVP Lamar Jackson — which also happened to be Ozzie Newsome’s last draft, much like this one was Kevin Colbert’s — the Ravens moved back and built capital.
In a grouping with Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson, and Jackson, will Pickett really be anything better than the third-best signal-caller, if that?