A year ago, the Steelers had no idea who would be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger. They signed Mitch Trubisky as a bridge quarterback with a plan to develop whomever they drafted.
But Kenny Pickett, the 20th overall selection, ended up starting 12 games.
After eight months of practices and 13 game appearances, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is convinced the team has its franchise signal caller.
“I’m excited about Kenny individually in terms of the growth that he’s capable of making and, and what he’s willing to do to realize that,” Tomlin said Sunday, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “I think I’m probably more excited about that because I’ve just been around him intimately now for 12 months. There was some anticipation things because of the close proximity that we’ve all talked about quite a bit, but the reality of having worked with him for 12 months, it’s just more evidence of what we should be excited about — his willingness to work, his professional approach, his maturity in processing. It’s exciting.”
In his final eight starts, Pickett passed for 1,442 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. The Steelers went 6-2 with Pickett engineering four fourth-quarter winning drives.
Tomlin didn’t elaborate on his decision to keep offensive coordinator Matt Canada but did allow that the continuity will help with Pickett’s development.
“I think it’s reasonable to expect that to be significant,” Tomlin said. “But we’ll have an opportunity to make it so.”