The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 rookie draft class is a big part of the roster this season, but also the success the team has had throughout the second half of this season. When you consider the rookies who have had a big play in a game, or games, or now have a role on the current team, the list is long.
- Kenny Pickett
- George Pickens
- DeMarvin Leal
- Connor Heyward
- Jaylen Warren
The aforementioned players have a role on the current team, and some have significant roles, especially those on the offensive side of the football. With that said, have the rookie class talked about what the future might look like with these young studs only going to develop and improve? According to Kenny Pickett, they have.
“Yeah, it’s really exciting.” Pickett said of the play of his fellow rookies. “You have those conversations, it’s almost like when you’re a freshman in college, and you get to a new place, and you talk about how good you think you can be. I think we had those conversations when we were here, we got here early, and we think we can be something.
“That all sounds good, we’ve got to put it together, but I think if we continue to work together, the future’s bright for us. I’m excited for what it holds. But I think a lot of guys are really contributing in a big way this season. We’re going to continue to do that this last week and see what happens.”
The Steelers are on the cusp of the postseason, and have turned around a once dismal season. The experience these rookies are gaining isn’t something which should be overlooked.
“I think it’s big. I think there’s nothing that can replace that in-game experience.” Pickett said during his weekly media session. “You can have a lot of practice reps, but when you’re in a stadium and you’re against another color [team] that you’re taking a preparation week for and you’re putting your all into it, you’re going out there, you’re executing, there’s just nothing that kind of replicates that.
“So, I think it’s huge for the young guys that have gotten to be able to play, and there’s some other guys I think are going to be, Calvin Austin off the top of my head, a player for us, just from what I saw early on. I think there’s a lot of young talent that we have. Like I’ve been saying, it sounds great. It’s all hypothetical. We’ve got to go put it together, but I think the pieces are there.”
Speaking of putting it all together, Pickett is the face of this rookie class. It comes with the territory of the quarterback position, but how Pickett is self-evaluating himself after double-digit starts is certainly important. How has Pickett evaluated himself throughout the 2022 season?
“I’m growing every week, that’s the positive.” said Pickett. “There’re things that I’m learning from and there’s things that are on tape now that I wasn’t doing early in the season. So, I’m continuing to grow. It’s not going to happen overnight. I like the way that I am trending. I like the way that I’m improving and seeing things on field, taking what I’m seeing on tape and bringing it to the field and playing with a little bit more anticipation than I was earlier in the season.
“But I think it’s definitely a long journey. I don’t think you’re done getting better till you hang them up. So, I’m going to continue to improve every week, and just be the best player that I can be and try to get to that final result as fast as possible.”
When fans sit and think about the Steelers young offense, no starter is over the age of 26, and the potential in the future it is more than exciting. Throw in the fact the team has battled back from 2-6 to be 8-8 with a shot at the playoffs heading into Week 18 is amazing. Dare I say, the future is bright.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns this Sunday in Week 18.