The Pittsburgh Steelers released its first official depth chart on Friday and fans hoping to see rookie Kenny Pickett take over immediately might be disappointed. Pickett is listed as the team’s third quarterback, behind current starter Mitchell Trubisky and backup Mason Rudolph.
That probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Trubisky, who the team signed with a two-year contract in the offseason, was to open the season as the starting team. Although the team drafted Pickett in the first round, he received third-string reps during training camp.
The biggest shock is that Rudolph remains No. 2 on the team’s depth chart. Rudolph, who was selected by the team in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, has failed to impress in limited time in the NFL. In 10 starts, he threw for 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The Steelers could have handed things over to Rudolph after Ben Roethlisberger retired, but the team opted to bring in Trubisky and spend a first-round pick on another quarterback.
Pickett’s placement on the depth chart may be a bummer for some, but early depth charts don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. It’s still very early in training camp, and players are prone to moving up and down a bit once games start.
Pickett being ranked third on the depth chart isn’t an indication the Steelers think he’s a bust. That probably speaks more to his inexperience in the NFL compared to Trubisky and Rudolph.
Kenny Pickett likely to start Steelers games in 2022
Pickett is unlikely to stay third on the depth chart for long. Rudolph’s place on the roster may not be secure given that the Steelers were looking to bring competition in the offseason. If he struggles in preseason, Rudolph could be cut, or at least demoted to third in the depth chart.
Trubisky looks likely to open the season as a starter, but he may not keep that job. Trubisky has put up solid numbers during his NFL career, throwing for 64 touchdowns against 38 interceptions, but his performance leaves a lot to be desired. Despite those numbers, Trubisky didn’t have a starting opportunity last season, opting instead to back Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
There’s a scenario where Trubisky lives up to his No. 2 overall draft status and has a great year with the Steelers. It’s more likely, however, that Trubisky is putting up mid-to-mid numbers, and the team ultimately turns to Pickett.
Pickett’s placement on the team’s first official depth chart likely doesn’t change that timeline. He will eventually get his chance. That won’t change as he is listed as the team’s third quarterback on the depth chart at the start of August.