3 NFL rookies that caused a quarterback controversy in the preseason

NFL rookies, Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons - Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
NFL rookies, Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons - Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 2022 NFL Draft class was not the most hyped in terms of its talent at the quarterback position. The Pittsburgh Steelers waited until the second half of the first round to finally make Kenny Pickett the QB1 of the class, and the next quarterback didn’t go until the third round (Desmond Ridder to the Falcons). It was simultaneously embarrassing for the young QBs as well as a pretty significant step forward for the league not reaching on players just because of the position they play. As a result, a few NFL rookies have been making some pretty substantial noise without too much fanfare throughout the preseason.

Although expectations are vastly different for these young NFL rookies coming in, there is always the opportunity for a good old-fashioned quarterback controversy. Some of these players have caused quite a stir with their play and the tremendous upside they’ve shown thus far.

NFL rookies
NFL rookies, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett – Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

NFL rookies causing a QB controversy in the preseason: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick Analysis. Steelers. 55. Scouting Report. QB. Kenny Pickett. 1. player

It wasn’t just that Kenny Pickett — the top quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft — had a good preseason. It wasn’t just that he looked solid “for a rookie” or made some decent plays. Pickett was absolutely outstanding in preseason play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He made his presence felt, rising from the “third” quarterback on the depth chart to making a case to be the team’s starting QB in Week 1 action.

Unfortunately for Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky was just as impressive in preseason play, and he’s got the nod it seems as the Week 1 starter for the time being. With that being said, ESPN’s Adam Schefter feels like Trubisky is one slip-up away from getting yanked. Fortunately for Trubisky, he’s never thrown a pick-six as an NFL quarterback, believe it or not.

Trubisky is a recent high draft pick in his own right. He was the second overall pick coming out of North Carolina and he’s had some stretches of really strong play in the past. But the Chicago Bears were dysfunctional, Trubisky’s supporting cast seemingly just got worse and worse, and he was able to learn from some of the best in the NFL last year as the backup to Josh Allen in Buffalo.

The Steelers are in a pickle here. Do they actually have two good quarterbacks, or is this one of those, if you have two quarterbacks you have none, sort of situations? My thought is, it’s the former. It’s not like everyone has been fishing for reasons to like the Steelers’ QB situation from the outside looking in. Pittsburgh went a relatively low-risk, high-reward route after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, and it could pay off in the form of helping Mitch Trubisky revive his career as well as filling the position long-term with Pickett.