The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted very little time making their first round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft when they took Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick. In fact, Mike Tomlin said they took “about 15 seconds” to send the card to commissioner Roger Goodell stating their pick of the Pitt quarterback.
Now with Pickett officially wearing black and gold, and rookie minicamp in the books, the team’s top pick has new goals for himself. And they’re simple goals.
Step 1: Learn teammates’ names.
“It was great,” Pickett said of rookie minicamp. “‘I’m just trying to learn the guy’s names. I really haven’t got a chance to meet anybody. We’ve been in meetings. I want to call guys out to help and stuff and talk and I have no clue who I am talking to.”
Step 2: Learn the playbook.
“I would say we’re kind of doing a good job of taking this a step at a time, really taking it slow,” said Pickett or working on the team’s playbook. “It’s a walkthrough, but guys really want to run fast. I know everyone’s excited to practice, so we’ll see how it goes in a couple hours.”
Walkthrough or practice, Pickett knows he has zero chance of seeing the field his rookie season if he doesn’t learn the playbook and show a level of mastery in Matt Canada’s system.
“This is what I have to do. I have no shot if I don’t know what I’m doing,” said Pickett. “I’m really dedicating myself to the playbook and learning every detail I possibly can. I want to have a smooth practice with these guys and hopefully everyone looks good.”
This isn’t new for Pickett, and he isn’t completely lost in Canada’s system. He ran a system similar while at Pitt, and Canada actually recruited him to Pitt when he was the offensive coordinator there. Some of the system Canada had in place never left the Panthers’ offense.
Nonetheless, Pickett understands how the mental aspect of the game is what he needs to focus on at this stage in the offseason.
“I think it’s all mental,” said Pickett. “I know what I have to do. Know the responsibilities of everybody else on the offense. Learn new defenses that are in the NFL. There’s a lot that goes into it. I’m excited to dedicate myself to it and obsess over trying to be the best I can be and learning as much as I can.”
Fortunately for the Steelers they have options at quarterback. If Pickett proves worthy of the starting role, he will be the guy from Day 1. However, if Pickett shows some growing pains, which wouldn’t shock anyone, the team has Mitchell Trubisky and/or Mason Rudolph to guide the offense until Pickett is ready.
There is no rush on Pickett to be the next Ben Roethlisberger, at least not with the coaching staff, and the fact they have those aforementioned options at quarterback should help the offense in 2022, and Pickett’s overall development.
But first, gotta learn those teammates’ names...
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on through Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.