Steelers fans, it’s possible your next franchise signal-caller has arrived.
Kenny Pickett on Thursday played the first half of Pittsburgh‘s preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons. He completed all four of his pass attempts for 86 yards and guided the Steelers to a 24-0 halftime advantage. In doing so, he achieved a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating over five preseason drives — all of which ended in a touchdown.
Highlight-reel pass to Pickens
One of the undoubted highlights of the first half in Atlanta was a long completion Pickett uncorked to second-year wideout George Pickens. On 2nd and 10 from the Falcons‘ 36 yard-line, Pickett spiraled a pass down the sideline for the athletic Pickens, and the former Georgia Bulldogs star hauled it in spectacularly.
This is the combination exciting Steelers fans around the country, and a connection that will need to stay online during the regular season if Pittsburgh is to challenge in the competitive AFC North division.
Kenny’s maximum efficiency
Of course, having a top-tier quarterback in a division that includes Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson is also a must, and Pickett‘s development between year one and year two has to be encouraging to Steelers followers.
For the most part, Pittsburgh has a rich quarterback tradition, which includes franchise legends Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger — both of whom led the Steelers to at least one Super Bowl win. Pickett has a long way to go to match the achievements of those two gunslingers, and he only threw seven touchdowns to nine interceptions last season — yet the Steelers nearly made the playoffs anyway. It will be fascinating to see whether the 25-year-old can take a bigger step to stardom with the regular season now just a couple weeks away.