Ryan Leaf: Steelers ‘may have reached for’ QB Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin recently remarked that free-agent pickup Mitchell Trubisky, career backup Mason Rudolph and first-round draft selection Kenny Pickett were “making it difficult for” the staff to choose a starting quarterback.

It, has, however, been widely reported that Trubisky is the overwhelming favorite to stay atop the depth chart until the beginning of the regular season. It’s also been said that Pickett “just isn’t close to being ready” and “may not be ready to play exhibitions yet.” Such takes understandably concern passionate fans considering the Steelers drafted Pickett at No. 20 overall this spring. 

Former NFL signal-caller Ryan Leaf knows a thing or two about teams reaching to grab somebody at the sport’s most important position. After the Indianapolis Colts landed Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning first overall in the 1998 draft, the then-San Diego Chargers acquired Leaf with pick No. 2. Leaf famously crashed and burned in the league and also dealt with a myriad of off-the-field issues, but he has since become a respected analyst who, among other things, fills in as a guest host on the “Rich Eisen Show.”

Per Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot, Leaf sat in Eisen’s chair for Wednesday’s program and offered his take on Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback. 

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“After seeing how Pickett has progressed so far in camp and is sitting in the third position right now in the initial depth chart, you may think a little bit that they may have reached for Pickett,” Leaf explained. 

After Pickett, no quarterback was drafted until the Atlanta Falcons selected Cincinnati Bearcats product Desmond Ridder in the third round at No. 74 overall. 

“They probably could have got him in round two,” Leaf continued about Pickett and the Steelers. 

While Leaf’s opinion is reasonable at this point of the process, Steelers fans shouldn’t flirt with panicking about Pickett until they see the 24-year-old in action against live defenses this month. 

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