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Pittsburgh Steelers’ top pick Kenny Pickett will have a ‘chance’ to start at QB on week 1

Jason Burgos
pittsburgh steelers
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has confirmed that first-round pick Kenny Pickett will have a chance to be the teams starting quarterback in week one of the new season.

With the twentieth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers looked to try and fill the massive hole left by retired franchise legend Ben Roethlisberger when they selected local product, Kenny Pickett. The 23-year-old was the first QB taken in a draft class for signal-callers that was one of the weakest in years.

Due to the fact that not much is expected from this class of quarterbacks right away, the assumption was that Pittsburgh would look to slowly develop the Pitt Panthers alum and not rush him like QB’s taken with higher picks often are. Especially, since the organization made a notable offseason splash by signing a solid veteran in Mitchell Trubisky. A former first-round pick for the Chicago Bears who is expected to start in 2022.

Related: Grading the 2022 NFL Draft winners & losers

Pittsburgh Steelers are big believers in Kenny Pickett’s NFL-readiness

pittsburgh steelers
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, not so fast. It seems that Pickett will get the opportunity to win the starting job in training camp. During a press conference on Saturday to talk about the team’s draft picks, Tomlin was asked about the perception that Pickett was the most NFL-ready in his class and could be starting in Week 1. And it seems that the head ball coach concurred with that assessment of Pickett’s pro-level readiness and potential to be under center to start the season.

“He certainly has a chance [to start in Week 1],” Tomlin said. “I agree with that sentiment of his readiness from a professional perspective. It was two things that really attracted us to him from a floor standpoint. We thought he had pro-level anticipation, we thought he had pro-level accuracy. Oftentimes, those are two variables that really require a lot of adjustment from a quarterbacking standpoint. We felt he 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 it.”

Tomlin is not a coach to show his hand and set high expectations for young players, so for him to offer up such an opinion already is very interesting. It also shows how high the franchise is on Pickett, and why they made him the first QB drafted in 2022. The team legitimately believes he can beat out a couple of veterans to be their starter next season.