After a draft that received rave reviews, optimism abounds for the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into the 2023 season. What can turn the Steelers into real contenders, according to mainstream thought, is if Kenny Pickett elevates his game in his second season.
An opinion from a national source, however, is not so convinced that it could happen.
CBSsports.com released their NFL QB power rankings — and that wasn’t too kind to Pickett. Writer Cody Benjamin ranked Pickett 28th among 32 starters projected.
“How far does the ‘grit’ take you?” Benjamin wrote in his explanation of Pickett’s classification. “Granted, few young QBs are better positioned to grow thanks to the Steelers’ improved forward and pass-catching group, but Pickett has thrived more as a late-game fighter than a full-time effective. as a rookie.”
Statistically among the overall analyses, Pickett ranked 20th out of 31 qualifiers last season in ESPN’s QBR. Footballoutsiders.com’s full stat puts Pickett 23rd out of 34 quarterbacks.
Pro Football Focus ranked Pickett exactly in the middle (16th) among the 31 quarterbacks who had the most setbacks in 2022 – but it should be noted that as of week 12 Pickett was ranked by PFF as the second best quarterback in the NFL and as the best passer.
On the negative side of Pickett’s numbers, he was 31st of 32 in traditional passer rankings, dead last in adjusted yards per attempt, and 31st of 33 in adjusted net yards per attempt. Thirty-two QBs threw more touchdown passes than Pickett’s seven, but only 14 threw more interceptions (nine).
Among the quarterbacks ranked above Pickett by CBS were the three rookies drafted in the first round – Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers (No. 21), Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts (26) and CJ Stroud of the Houston Texans (27 ), as well as a first starter in Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers (24), a veteran who looks set to be replaced (Ryan Tannehill of the Tennessee Titans at 25), a player who has struggled tremendously with his new team last season in Russell Wilson (19) of the Denver Broncos and a third-year QB whose passing metrics last year were nearly unanimous bottom of the league or near bottom of the league in Justin Fields of the Bears Chicago (16).
The only quarterbacks ranked by CBS below Pickett were, in order: Mac Jones of the New England Patriots, Baker Mayfield of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Desmond Ridder of the Atlanta Falcons, and Sam Howell of the Washington Commanders.
Pickett, who turns 25 next month, took over at halftime in Week 4 last season after being the Steelers’ first-round pick. He’s started 12 of the Steelers’ last 13 games, winning five of his last six starts.
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Chris Adamski is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .