Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is due for an uptick in his stats from his 2022 debut season.
After starting only 12 games last season, Pickett now enters his second NFL season as the clear-cut starter with the potential of becoming the Steelers’ next franchise quarterback.
If he can improve this season by scoring 20 touchdowns, like Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox predicts, he will move closer to that denomination.
Reaching 20 touchdown passes doesn’t seem like a notable accomplishment in today’s pass-driven NFL. However, only 20 signal-callers threw for 20 or more touchdowns in 2022, and one of them (Tom Brady) is now retired.
Pickett was far from that number as a rookie, finishing his 13-game campaign with only seven touchdowns to go with nine interceptions. The second-year man has a long way to go before he can even be considered an average starter, but we expect to see serious strides in 2023.
Pickett is benefitting from a full offseason knowing he’s the starter. He’s more familiar with the offense after a year of studying Matt Canada’s playbook, and that should help him moving forward.
On top of that, the Steelers made several upgrades on offense, which should make Pickett’s job a little bit easier going into the season.
The Steelers also addressed a very questionable offensive line by signing guard Isaac Seumalo and drafting tackle Broderick Jones in the first round. Jones may not be a Week 1 starter, but Seumalo should make an immediate impact.
So will receivers Allen Robinson II and Calvin Austin III—who is finally healthy after missing his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury. More playmakers, better protection and a stronger handle on what it means to be a pro will have Pickett entering the realm of young up-and-comers.
If Pickett throws 20 touchdowns, it will be a strong statistical season for him. However, the Steelers are at a point where their success will be measured by the amount of wins they achieve.