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Report: Former Pitt QB Kenny Pickett Outperforming Eagles Starter in OTAs

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Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett.

The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t trade for Kenny Pickett with the expectation that he’d start any time soon. Incumbent starter Jalen Hurts is firmly entrenched as the starter, but it sounds as though Pickett is impressing early.

The Pittsburgh Steelers traded Pickett to the Eagles in March, sending Pickett and a 2024 fourth round selection (No. 120) to the Eagles for a 2024 fourth round selection (No. 98) and a pair of 2025 seventh round selections. And while Pickett was acquired to provide legitimate depth behind Hurts, he’s making a name for himself during OTAs.

Pickett has actually outperformed Hurts through the early days of OTAs, according to Ed Kracz of Eagles Today, which covers the Eagles for Sports Illustrated.

“The backup quarterback looked sharp, sharper than Jalen Hurts, to be honest,” Kracz wrote. “Hurts was on the money on his first two seven-on-seven throws, hitting A.J. Brown on a quick inside slant then following up with a nice sideline throw about 15 yards downfield. Pickett, though, was consistently on target. The Eagles can win games with him if something happens to Hurts.”

Hurts is in no danger of losing his job, not after his last two seasons leading the Eagles, but Pickett is working to find his way back onto the football field sooner rather than later. He actually wanted to come to Philadelphia.

“I just thought it was time,” Pickett told the Philadelphia media after arriving in Philly. “It just felt like it was time from the things that transpired — wanted to get the chance to go somewhere and continue to grow my career. The fact that it’s in Philly, the place that I grew up, fell in love with the game here, with a great coaching staff, great players, I’m looking forward meeting all these guys in a couple of weeks.”

Pickett spent two seasons (24 starts, 25 games) as the starting quarterback for the Steelers, and it was certainly a tumultuous tenure.

Pickett threw for 4,474 yards (62.6% completion) with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his 25 games as a Steeler, and while he wasn’t put in the best situation to succeed in the NFL, his lack of production was problematic. The Steelers couldn’t just run it back in 2024 with Pickett as the unquestioned starter. According to Pickett, it wasn’t as it seemed.

Regardless, Pickett never quite found his rhythm as a starter in the NFL — be it offensive scheme, injuries or coaching decisions. In 11 games last season, he completed 201-of-324 pass attempts (62%) for 2,070 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions — adding a rushing touchdown.

He completed 245-of-389 pass attempts (63%) for 2,404 yards with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions (adding 237 rushing yards and three more touchdowns on the ground) as a rookie. And while he did show flashes as a rookie, his progression — or lack thereof — last season was a problem. It felt like a decline.

But even through a disappointing tenure with the Steelers, Pickett reflected positively on his time in Pittsburgh.

“(I) gave everything I had there and loved all of my teammates and coaches that I came across — some absolutely great memories that I’ll take forever and lifelong friendships,” Pickett said. “And just talking to guys after it all went down, grateful that we had the time we had together.”

Pickett is happy to be in Philadelphia now, after having grown up in the area (albeit New York Giants territory in Ocean Township, N.J.), and it just so happens that he’s been watching the Eagles since he was a kid. Pickett’s dad Kenneth grew up in the area, and that fandom rubbed off. It’s, he said, a good reset.

Pickett is only a couple of seasons removed from a standout senior season at Pitt, and he should continue to hold down a spot in the NFL — either competing for a starting spot or as a backup.

With 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns, to just seven interceptions, on 334-of-497 passing attempts (67 percent) as a senior, Pickett was one of the highest-rated passers in the nation, and he added 241 yards and five more touchdowns on the ground. He finished his Pitt career as the all-time leader in passing yards, completions, total offense, touchdowns responsible for and passing touchdowns. He’s thrown the most 300-yard passing games (16) and 400-yard passing games (five) and his 32 wins are the most as a Pitt starter.

Pickett completed 1,045-of-1,674 career passing attempts (just over 62 percent) for 12,303 yards and 81 touchdowns, to just 32 interceptions. He also added 809 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in the run game in 52 career appearances (49 starts).

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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D200
D200
28 days ago

The Steelers did Pickett wrong.

Skip White
Skip White
28 days ago
Reply to  D200

Yes they did. The fans mistreated him, too. The hard core Steeler fan is the lowest common denominator of human being that you will find.

Adam
Adam
28 days ago

If nothing else, the Pickett situation has shown how much of a fraud this organization has become in recent years. I’m sick of their self righteous, pompous charade they put on for this town. Enjoy mediocrity.

Randino
Randino
27 days ago
Reply to  Adam

You hit the nail on the head with your comment. Down votes are coming from the slobbering brainwashed sheep.

Sam
Sam
28 days ago

Yep. Pickett is much better than either guy the Steelers have now. They are going to waste Watts last few good years bc they don’t have a competent qb. Wilson is washed and a diva while Fields has proven in 3 seasons of trying to start he can’t make good decisions and is a turnover machine. Pickett will eventually be a good starting qb in the league.

Grazie
Grazie
28 days ago
Reply to  Sam

Where is Matt Canada today….in 2024? I know he isn’t in the NFL and I don’t think he’s on a college squad. Maybe he could be a gym teacher? How is it possible Tomlin hired the guy and stuck with the guy for all those years! Despite being running extremely fast in the combine, Steelers told KP to be a pocket passer behind a line that got bulldozed (particularly at center). For years they struggle to run the ball – and their wide receivers are average at best. Their number 1 receiver was….Dionte Johnson!? The reality is KP fired the… Read more »

Tim
Tim
23 days ago
Reply to  Sam

I’m ready for your analysis on Russ Wilson being washed. I’ll wait.
In the meantime I’ll say he was 26 and 8 with an anchor named Sean Peyton around his neck.
The season will eventually start. A lot of people parroting talk out of Denver.
I say he’s not washed and correct me if I’m wrong but I think Russ beat the Chiefs and the 49ers last season. I believe I heard that somewhere.
Let the games begin.

Eli
Eli
28 days ago

Good luck to him.

kevin
kevin
28 days ago

Good luck Kenny!!!
The biggest problem was the Steelers OL. NO QB could’ve had success with such a terrible OL the last 5 years (including Ben). So glad we are finally drafting OL early in the draft.

Chuck
Chuck
28 days ago

I felt from the time he declared for the draft that the Steelers were the worst landing spot for him. Off the bat a good chunk of fans and media were already trashing him before he ever took a practice snap, they had a bad O Line, outside of Pickens no decent receivers, horrible OC, and worst they were looking to replace a potential hall of Fame QB. No QB was going to succeed here. And for all the negatives you heard from the local media, you’re hearing the opposite from the national media. And it isn’t just they failed… Read more »

Pittband
Pittband
27 days ago

Rooney learned all the bad business decisions from the old man and being a privileged brat is self-centered. As long as the fools fill his seats, he’ll continue to abuse them. Learned sports management from the Pirates ownership.

Eric
Eric
27 days ago

It’s OTAs so what. All these Pickett apologists forgot he looked great last preseason too. Then we we saw his accuracy issues once the season started

Dixon
Dixon
26 days ago
Reply to  Eric

Well, the Heisman finalist didn’t seem to have those issues at Pitt…tough to be accurate with 300 lb linemen constantly in your face.

katuracassells@gmail.com
katuracassells@gmail.com
26 days ago

One first round pick is traded and another first rounder doesn’t get his extension offer? Just in the last few seasons?

Toledo Window Box
Toledo Window Box
26 days ago

Hahahahaha. It’s one frigging practice 7 on 7 red shirt on QBs. MEANS LITTLE. Good luck though to KP. H2P!

George W
George W
26 days ago

Pickett looks great in preseason it is just when the regular season starts. He is a good QB but I don’t see him getting. Any better than what you have seen in him during his time with Steelers.

Mason was the best QB at the time but never really got to prove it until the end of season

Tim
Tim
23 days ago

Kenny is the King of preseason and OTAs…..
Remember last preseason?
I’m a PITT guy but I don’t think Kenny is a consistent NFL starter.
I hope I’m wrong. H2P

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