Kenny Pickett had some big shoes to fill when he took over for Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. Although the latter came with his fair share of issues, he spent 18 years with the Steelers organization and won two Super Bowls.
Pickett was drafted with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft with the expectation that he could be next. He is supposed to be the future of the franchise.
Despite that hope for their first round pick, the team chose not to start Pickett at the beginning of his rookie season. He did not see his first NFL action until October and did not fare well once he did.
Pickett lost five of his first seven games. Since then, he and Pittsburgh have won four of their last five.
Over the course of that time, where there was a lot of initial doubt, Pickett has shown flashes of the player he was drafted to be. Early frustration amongst the fanbase has since turned to positivity.
Ben Roethlisberger is among those who have changed their tune on Kenny Pickett.
He addressed the young quarterback's recent stretch of success and put his hand up to admit that he was wrong about his predecessor. Here is what he had to say:
I severely, in my opinion, underestimated Kenny. I think he throws the ball better than I thought. He runs way better than I thought. His decision-making is really, really good. His leadership, his toughness, just enough of an edge to him it looks like. I apologize — not that I made this vocal to anybody else — but Kenny, keep doing what you're doing. Because you are leading this team and becoming the guy everyone was hoping you would be.
Roethlisberger continued went to say that the "sky is the limit" for Pickett. He believes that his second year will be
Here are Roethlisberger's full comments:
Pickett will be back on the field against Cleveland on Sunday. There is a realistic scenario in which he leads his team to victory, and in turn, the playoffs as a rookie.
It is not a done deal, and Pittsburgh needs a lot to happen, but a win would go a long way.