ESPN’s Mike Tannebaum, a front office insider, and Seth Walder, an analytics writer, both predicted recently that quarterback Kenny Pickett will win the NFL offensive rookie of the year award this season.
Tannenbaum: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers. Pickett should be a Day 1 starter and has a great head coach, offensive line and running back. He is set up for instant success and is experienced enough to minimize the challenges that come with being a rookie QB.
Walder: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers. Realistically, quarterbacks are held to a lower standard to win this award than other positions. Think about 2020: Jefferson was clearly a better receiver than Justin Herbert was at quarterback, but Herbert won the award. If Pickett can win the starting job and be decent, he has a great shot.
If Pickett, the No. 20 overall selection in the draft, wins the offensive rookie of the year award, it’s great news for the Steelers.
It would mean that Pickett showed enough in training camp to unseat veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky, one of Pittsburgh’s big offseason free-agent signings.
And it would also mean that Pickett is delivering on the hype of being the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
However, I think this is a stretch. While Pickett was the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft, he’s still a rookie. And Trubisky is going to naturally be ahead of where Pickett is right now. I could see Pickett taking the job from Trubisky at some point this season, but I don’t think it will be early enough in the season to win the offensive rookie of the year award.
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