Sunday, August 7, 2022

Steelers Beat Reporter offers perspective on Kenny Pickett’s ‘rough’ start

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You only get one chance to make a first impression, and when it comes to NFL quarterbacks, that first impression is often lacking. Consider the case of Patrick Mahomes, who was picked 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. In December 2020, former Super Bowl winner Phil Simms asked wide receiver Tyreek Hill to remember what Mahomes looked like in his first week of rookie training camp.

“I thought he was trash” said hill. “When he got there, I was like, ‘This is who you drafted here? That’s who you all drafted?’”

Coincidentally, Mahomes only appeared in one regular-season game in 2017, but the next season he was the league MVP and earned first-team All-Pro honors on the back of 50 touchdown passes and a 113.8 pro-football passer rating -Reference.

So believe The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly when he says Kenny Pickett’s ‘rough’ start to training camp is ‘not a problem at the moment’.

Kaboly says it was “pretty obvious” through two training camp drills that Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph are well ahead of Pickett, the latter of whom was selected as No. 20 overall in the 2022 draft.

“It seems like everything is going a little too fast for Pickett, and he’s throwing at a spot rather than an open receiver,” says Kaboly, before noting that “Rudolph’s first week as a rookie was a lot worse. Some wondered how he could be so good in college.”

Eventually, Pickett will catch up with Trubisky and Rudolph, and he’s already proven to be better than his house rivals in at least one aspect of the game.

“Pickett is by far the quickest in the bag. He’s a lot quicker than Rudolph and Trubisky and he showed it this Thursday,” Kaboly concluded after already noting that in Practice #2 Trubisky was 11 of 17 while Rudolph was 12 of 18 and Pickett was 10 of 14, “with the caveat that many throws were relatively easy.”

In other news Thursday, two undrafted free agents who originally signed with the Steelers had tryouts with the Tennessee Titans, according to the NFL’s daily transaction line.

One was Shakur Brown, a Michigan State cornerback who was once viewed as a potential replacement for Mike Hilton and received a $25,000 signing bonus to sign with the Steelers in May 2021. Pro Football Focus (PFF) named Brown one of the UDFA’s top five rookie signings of 2021, while NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein complimented Brown by saying he “plays like an angry hornet.” But Brown didn’t make it into the latest round of roster cuts last year, and Pittsburgh made no effort to sign him into their practice squad.

The other defenseman who coached for the Titans was Bryce Watts (Massachusetts), who announced himself in February 2022 as “theBEST CORNER‘ in this year’s draft. NFL teams disagreed with that assessment, which explains why the Steelers were able to add him as an undrafted free agent in May. But he was left injured after Pittsburgh’s rookie minicamp, and on May 23, 2022, he was left out with an injury rule.

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