Head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin recently said that the staff’s inability to identify a starting quarterback was due to the signing of free agent Mitchell Trubisky, the veteran backup Mason Rudolph, and the first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett.
However, it has been widely reported that Trubisky is the clear favorite to hold onto the top spot on the depth chart through the start of the regular season. Pickett “simply isn’t close to being ready” and “may not be ready to play exhibitions yet,” according to other reports. Given that the Steelers selected Pickett at No. 20 overall in this spring’s draft, such statements understandably worry ardent supporters.
Ryan Leaf, a former NFL signal-caller, is well-versed in the strategy teams use while attempting to fill the most crucial position in the game. The then-San Diego Chargers selected Leaf with the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, following the selection of Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning by the Indianapolis Colts. Despite his infamously disastrous start to the league and numerous off-the-field problems, Leaf has subsequently developed into a reputable pundit who, among other things, fills in as a guest host on the “Rich Eisen Show.”
According to Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora, Leaf took Eisen’s seat for the Wednesday show and provided his opinion on Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback.
“You would imagine a little bit that they may have reached for Pickett after seeing how Pickett has done so far in camp and is currently sitting in the third spot in the initial depth chart,” Leaf said.
No quarterback was selected after Pickett until Desmond Ridder, a product of the Cincinnati Bearcats, was taken by the Atlanta Falcons at pick 74 overall in the third round.
In reference to Pickett and the Steelers, Leaf remarked, “They definitely could have grabbed him in round two.”
Even though Leaf’s assessment at this stage of the process is reasonable, Steelers supporters shouldn’t start to freak out about Pickett until they see the 24-year-old in action against real defenses this month.
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