Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is expected to take a second-year jump this season. After a rookie season that saw him throw for 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions, many believe he is poised for a breakout year after showing consistent improvement last season. One of those who believes in Pickett is his running back Najee Harris.
Harris, in a video posted to Steelers.com. said that Pickett is already looking more comfortable and like a veteran early in the offseason process of Year Two.
“Kenny’s a lot more comfortable,” Harris said Tuesday after minicamp practice. “He’s a quick learner too. Him being vocal, him understanding coverages him, him being more in a comfortable place, I think that’s what’s going to separate him a lot. When he comes out here you see that he wants to have control. He wants to win, he’s very competitive, and you want that in a quarterback and you see that. I think that’s some things that I see that’s different for him from last year. He looks like a vet now in a way.”
While Pittsburgh is a run-first football team right now, it is very important to have quality quarterback play. No one is asking or expecting Pickett to be Patrick Mahomes next year but an increase in production would be very valuable for this young offense.
Many people have praised Pickett’s leadership skills from last year to now, and Harris is clearly one of them. Pickett went through a learning curve last year, one most rookies go through, and towards the end of the season he really looked like the future of the Steelers. Pickett led four game-winning drives after the bye week, including two huge ones to keep their season alive in Weeks 16 and 17.
As Harris said, Pickett looks more comfortable, and that will be a big part in him taking a second-year leap. Understanding defenses and concepts, along with getting more reps will make things second nature to him. If he can toss 2o-plus touchdown passes this season the Steelers will be a dangerous team.