Skip to main content

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett Dazzles With Sharp Preseason Debut

It may have only been the first game of the preseason, but the Kenny Pickett era of Steelers football is already off to a thrilling start.

The first-round rookie impressed Saturday night with a sharp showing in his preseason debut, capping the night with some last-minute heroics to lead the Steelers to a 32–25 victory over the Seahawks. Pickett, the 20th pick in the 2022 NFL draft, finished the contest 13-of-15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns, the last of which came on a game-winning 24-yard score in the game’s closing moments.

Presumed starter Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph helped put the Steelers up 17–10 after going a combined 13-of-22 for 188 yards and two TDs in the first half. After spending the first 30 minutes as a spectator, Pickett earn QB1 honors in the second half, leading fans inside the recently renamed Acrisure Stadium to erupt into chants of “Kenny, Kenny” as the former Pittsburgh Panther star jogged off the sidelines.

Pickett, who was the only QB selected in the first round in April, didn’t take long to give the hometown crowd something to cheer about as he went 5-for-5 for 33 yards and took the offense 75 yards en route to tossing a three-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Warren. He would cap the drive with a two-point conversion on a pass to rookie tight end/fullback Connor Heyward to give Pittsburgh a 25–17 lead.

Seattle re-took the lead early in the fourth following a five-play, 55-yard series as Pittsburgh’s next two drives ended with punts. Facing a fourth-and-1 with 1:20 remaining in regulation, Pickett was sacked by rookie defensive end Boye Mafe while attempting to evade pressure. 

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Luckily for the Steelers—and Pickett—rookie linebacker Mark Robinson forced a Drew Lock fumble on a blind-side sack on the very next play, setting the Steelers offense up for a chance to win the game as time expired. The rookie QB helped position the club for a possible score with a four-yard scramble as well an eight-yard carry that placed the Steelers on the Seattle 24.

With three seconds remaining on the clock, Pickett, with the fans still chanting his name, lined up in the shotgun and fired a quick pass to receiver Tyler Vaughns, who broke a tackle and turned in the winning catch-and-run TD.

While Pickett is expected to remain third on the depth chart behind Trubisky and Rudolph, his impressive debut already bodes well for his prospects as the Steelers’ future at the position.

Pickett’s next opportunity to showcase his skills will come next Saturday against the Jaguars on the road.

More NFL Coverage:

For more Pittsburgh Steelers coverage, go to All Steelers.