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Steelers' Rookie QB Kenny Pickett Reflects on Debut: 'It Was Very Special'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 14, 2022

Justin Berl/Getty Images

Even though it was just preseason, Kenny Pickett's first taste of NFL action was nothing short of stellar.

The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie completed 13 of his 15 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns, helping lead his team to a 32-25 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

“It was very special,” Pickett told reporters after the game. “The whole night was special. I’ve been here for so long, but I’ve never been able to go to a Steelers game, and the first one I have as an NFL player, to finish that way in that stadium with a lot of family and friends there was awesome.”

Pickett appears to be third in command in the Steelers' preseason quarterback battle, entering the game after veterans Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph exited. Playing almost entirely against backups, Pickett was accurate and calm in the pocket playing the entire second half.

“He moved his group. He played situational football. He displayed a competitive spirit,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “A lot of good things to build on from a first-performance standpoint.”

It's unlikely one preseason game does much to move Pickett up the depth chart. Trubisky and Rudolph both acquitted themselves well, with the Steelers quarterback room finishing the game with 224 passing yards and four touchdowns without an interception.

It's a near-lock that Trubisky, who started Saturday's game, will get the first crack at being Tomlin's starter. The 2017 first-round pick signed a two-year, $14.3 million contract this offseason after spending the 2021 campaign with the Buffalo Bills.

Regardless, Trubisky—or Rudolph—will need to get off to a quick start or the calls for Pickett will be loud in Pittsburgh.

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