ESPN made a prediction for a Pittsburgh Steelers rookie this week that could best be described as “discouraging”.

Brooke Pryor, who covers the Steelers for ESPN, predicted this week that quarterback Kenny Pickett will finish training camp as Pittsburgh’s No. 3 quarterback.

Pickett was the Steelers’ first-round draft selection (No. 24 overall) earlier this spring.

From ESPN:

Kenny Pickett will finish camp as the Steelers’ No. 3 quarterback. Pickett, the Steelers’ first-round pick, took third-string reps throughout minicamp and OTAs, and with Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph in front of him, there’s a good chance he finishes training camp in the same place. With two other veteran quarterbacks on the roster, the Steelers aren’t rushing Pickett’s development. They can afford to be patient with the rookie and put him in a position to take over in the future by moving him along slowly and deliberately in his first year in the NFL. Trubisky has plenty of starting quarterback experience and is already emerging as a leader — plus his skill set matches offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s preference for pre-snap motion and quick throws. Rudolph looked steady in offseason training and was more consistent than Pickett.

May 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) participates in organized team activities at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I fully expect Mitch Trubisky to emerge from training camp as the starting quarterback.

Trubisky has the most experience on the roster. And he has a winning record as a starting quarterback. Trubisky makes the most sense for Pittsburgh for now.

Pickett, however, is supposed to be the long-term answer at quarterback for the Steelers.

And if he’s truly going to be a franchise quarterback for Pittsburgh, then he needs to make some noise early. That doesn’t mean I think he needs to win the starting job this fall. But it does mean that he needs to at least beat out Mason Rudolph, a player who is trending toward a career as a career backup quarterback. If Pickett can’t beat out Rudolph for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, it could be a sign that Pickett isn’t going to be the answer for the Steelers.

That’s the last thing Pittsburgh needs. The Steelers spent an extremely important draft selection on Pickett. If he can’t beat out Rudolph in training camp, it could mean that Pittsburgh wasted its 2022 first-round draft pick.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports