Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers insider Gerry Dulac has never been enthusiastic about the organization’s decision to select quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 draft.
“It remains to be seen if it was the right decision,” wrote Dulac in early May, before arguing that the Steelers should have moved forward with Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph while focusing on other needs.
Seven months later, Dulac is singing much the same tune.
“The Steelers didn’t need to draft a QB in the first round. They had other issues, and those still exist. They are right back where they started,” he wrote during an online chat with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette readers on the day before Thanksgiving.
An ’A’ for Effort and an ’F’ For Execution?
“I give an A for the attempt, I give an F for the execution,” he added, before arguing that Tomlin should bench Pickett and turn to one of his veteran quarterbacks, because either Trubisky or Rudolph would give the team a better chance to win.
“You’re compromising what you believe in — winning a game no matter what — at the expense of developing your No. 1 pick. Wrong method, wrong message to veterans. The whole season changed with (Tomlin’s) decision at halftime of the Jets game,” added Dulac, referring to the moment when Trubisky was benched in favor of Pickett, who has since won just two of six starts while producing a passer rating of 71.8, as per Pro Football Reference.
That’s just a shade above the 71.4 passer rating that Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges produced in six starts in 2019, and well below the career ratings of Trubisky and Rudolph — 86.5 and 80.9, respectively.
Asked if the Steelers would have “2 of 3” more wins this year with Rudolph or Trubisky at QB, Dulac said:
“I agree 100 percent, and so do a few players in that locker room,” which suggests that at least a portion of the team would like to see a quarterback change.
That’s why he thinks it’s time for Tomlin to go back to Trubisky — or to try Rudolph.
Gerry Dulac: ‘I’m Not Picking on Pickett’
This isn’t to say that Dulac has given up on Kenny Pickett as a potential long-term solution at the quarterback position.
“I’m not picking on Pickett. I believe he will be a good quarterback, but not now because he’s a rookie who’s still learning. There is nothing wrong with sitting him down and letting him learn by watching,” he concluded.
On the other hand, a lot of Steelers fans can probably abide by losing a few extra games this season, if it helps accelerate Pickett’s development.
The problem is that there’s no assurance that Pickett is a long-term answer at the position, with one Post-Gazette reader expressing concern that Pickett “doesn’t make special plays that make you think he can become a very good starting quarterback.”
Asked if he thinks the Steelers view Pickett as a franchise QB, Dulac said:
“As of right now, I believe they believe he is,” but he urged Steelers fans to temper their expectations.
“Please don’t expect Ben Roethlisberger or Terry Bradshaw,” he concluded.