The Pittsburgh Steelers released their first official depth chart 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 both current starter Mitchell Trubisky and backup Mason Rudolph.
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That probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Trubisky, who the team signed to a two-year deal in the offseason, was expected to open the season as the team’s starter. Though the team drafted Pickett in the first round, he’s received third-string reps during training camp.
The bigger shock is that Rudolph remains the 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 not impressed in limited time in the NFL. In 10 starts, he’s thrown 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The Steelers could have turned 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 might come as a disappointment for some, but early depth charts don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. It’s still extremely early during training camp, and players are subject to rise and fall quite a bit once games get going.
Pickett being placed third on the depth chart is not an indication the Steelers think he’s a bust. It probably speaks more to his inexperience in the NFL compared to Trubisky and Rudolph.
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It’s unlikely Pickett remains third on the depth chart for long. Rudolph’s roster spot may not be safe considering the Steelers looked to bring in competition during the offseason. If he struggles during the preseason, Rudolph could be cut, or at least demoted to third on the depth chart.
Trubisky seems likely to open the season as the starter, but he may not keep that job. Trubisky has put up solid numbers over his NFL career, throwing for 64 touchdowns against 38 interceptions, but his performance has left a lot to be desired. Despite those numbers, Trubisky didn’t get a starting opportunity last season, instead opting to back up Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
There’s a scenario where Trubisky lives up to his No. 2 overall draft status and turns in an excellent year with the Steelers. It’s more likely, however, that Trubisky puts up average to middling numbers, and the team eventually turns to Pickett.
Pickett’s placement on the team’s first official depth chart probably doesn’t change that timeline. He’ll get his opportunity eventually. That won’t change because he’s listed as the team’s third quarterback on the depth chart in early August.