This New Steelers’ QB Should Start In Pittsburgh

May 28, 2022
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By: Gio Annatelli, The Game Day

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be entering a new era in 2022. Ben Roethlisberger, who has been the Steelers quarterback since the team drafted him in 2004, retired after the end of last season. That left the Steelers quarterback room with plenty of question marks going into this year. 

During the offseason, the Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky to a two-year contract. After he parted ways with the Chicago Bears, Trubisky spent a year in Buffalo as the backup to Josh Allen. Pittsburgh drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft to get some added competition in the quarterback’s room. 

Pittsburgh also has Mason Rudolph on the roster, who they drafted in 2018, but it’s clear the starting quarterback battle will be between Trubisky and Pickett. Both quarterbacks come with question marks and uncertainty. Was it the system in Chicago that led to Trubisky’s struggles, or was it him? Does Pickett have the physical tools to succeed in the NFL? Either way, whomever Mike Tomlin chooses as the starting quarterback will directly impact NFL futures – so we’ll be following closely. 

Let’s look at both quarterbacks and see who fits best as the starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming season. 

Taking A Look At Each Steelers’ Quarterback

The Case For Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky did the best he could in a bad situation during his four years in Chicago. People may not realize this, but Trubisky had a winning record during his tenure with the Bears. He went 29-21, including an 11-3 record in his second year in the league. However, there wasn’t much to show for it, as Chicago went to the playoffs twice, both times getting bounced in the first round.

But don’t blame Trubisky for Chicago’s failures in the postseason. He combined for 502 yards and two touchdowns in two playoff games with a 62.5% completion percentage and a 92.5 QB rating. 

The best year Trubisky had in Chicago was in 2018, when he was named to the Pro Bowl. He threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Trubisky also ran for 421 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time the Bears had won the NFC North since 2010. 

After an inconsistent career in Chicago and not having his rookie contract picked up for a fifth year, Trubisky signed with the Buffalo Bills as a backup. Though he barely played, his one season in Buffalo was valuable, learning from Josh Allen.

The Case For Kenny Pickett

The best thing Pickett could have done was to stay in college for the fifth year, and it paid off in the end. Pickett was good in his four years at Pitt but didn’t pop off the page. It was his final year that put him over the edge. 

In 2021, Pickett threw for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions and completed 67.2% of his passes. He also racked up 241 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Pickett was named first-team All-American and was a Heisman finalist. 

Pickett’s fifth year at Pitt was like a trial rookie year in the NFL, as he ran a pro-style offense in his final year. With the familiarity of an NFL offense, he’s the most pro-ready quarterback in his class. Pickett makes the right decisions in the pocket and while on the run. He can turn a broken play into positive yards when a play breaks down. 

What might hurt Pickett at the next level is his lack of aggressiveness and holding onto the ball for too long. In the NFL, opposing defenses will sniff that out right away and make you pay. I don’t belong in this camp, but people call his small hands a weakness. Sure, it might affect how he holds onto the ball, but Pickett was a Heisman finalist. If it affected his play that much, he wouldn’t have been as successful as he was in college. 

The Final Verdict: Trubisky Or Pickett?

The case has been made on why each quarterback should be the starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both have what it takes to be a starter. But ultimately, Mitch Trubisky will win the job this summer. 

Trubisky doesn’t get all the credit he deserves. While his career in Chicago was inconsistent, he was born to fail there. He also spent a year in Buffalo, where he learned under Brian Daboll and Josh Allen. They also just signed Trubisky to a two-year contract, so it would be foolish not to have him start right away. 

Pickett’s time will come in Pittsburgh, and the city will embrace him as he’s a hometown favorite. It’s not a matter of if but when. Trubisky could have been the future of the team, but with the Steelers drafting Pickett in the first round, it meant Trubisky would be just a placeholder until Pickett was ready. 

For now, Trubisky will win the job in Pittsburgh.