Tim Benz: Let’s not fool ourselves with what the draft of Kenny Pickett means for Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph

Congratulations to Mitch Trubisky. His career as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback has ended without any loss, kick or interception.

Or any real start.

Let’s be honest. Kenny Pickett becomes the new starting quarterback for the Steelers. He will be the successor to Ben Roethlisberger.

That’s what he’s supposed to be, right? If he is not, then why was he selected by the Steelers with the 20th pick in the NFL Draft Thursday night?

At this point, some of you might be thinking, “Nah! They’ll give Trubisky a few token starts at the beginning of the season until it becomes clear that Pickett is the better player. Just to make it look good. , after they signed a contract with the guy in the offseason.

Of course. I suppose the Steelers could play that game. They could only make Trubisky the starter in the name.

But what would be the point? Why worry? Pickett turns 24 in June. He played 52 games over five years in Pitt. Some of his greatest strengths are his intangible assets.

Experience. Maturity. Ability to read and diagnose defenses.

Consider some of those quotes from coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert when they announced the decision to draft Pickett Thursday night.

Colbert: “Kenny is just a mature, straight cool guy. When we study quarterbacks, we not only see them on the field, but we see them off the field when they come out, how do they feel about their teammates, how do they interact with their coaches, how do they conduct media interviews… we feel, that the maturity he showed on and off the field will help him in that endeavor. ”

Tomlin: “We talked about his high floor, and the high floor was because of the intangible things, but also the expectation and the pro-precision was very clear and consistent when he studied his ties.”

Tomlin: “It was a good thing for him to come back and go back to school and get another year of university experience. He is 24 years old. He is a mature young man. You see maturity in his game and I think all those things will put him in a position to compete. ”

Sounds like a guy they plan to nurture slowly? It does not for me. Not behind Trubisky, who was Josh Allen’s backup last year. Or Mason Rudolph, who at times was Devlin Hodges’ backup in 2019.

Let us not deceive ourselves. All the stories that were spun about the Trubisky signing are ringing holes now.

• The Steelers can repair him after the Chicago Bears coaching staff destroyed him.

• He got so much learning behind Allen in Buffalo last year.

• He is young and has an upside, so if things succeed on his two-year contract, he might become the long-term starter.

It all reads funny after what happened Thursday night.

“I’m pretty familiar with competing,” Pickett said after being drafted. “I’ve been doing it all my life. So I know how to be a good teammate and compete at the same time. I’m excited to join the quarterback space, get to know those guys, and honestly just get better each day.”

If the Steelers had chosen Liberty quarterback Malik Willis instead of Pickett, the dynamics would have made more sense. The book about Willis is that he is wildly talented but needs lots of spice. He’s raw. He did not play at a Power 5 school. The thought of him having to sit behind Trubisky for a year or two would have made sense.

At the moment, it feels as if – at least at the beginning of the year – Trubisky, Pickett and Rudolph are three of the same. Pickett had better get much better than that really soon.

But for now, Tomlin and Colbert may waive “it’s an open competition.”

“We have three young quarterbacks,” Colbert said. “I think it will be a great competition. They will all be there to see who will be the starter, but now I think we have three really good opportunities.”

Maybe the Steelers can still repair Trubisky – as the whole of Pittsburgh talked themselves into believing in mid-March. But to prove it in the long run, he will probably have to do it in a fourth city in four years.

For this will be Pickett’s team. The boy from his hometown school who almost won the Heisman. He was not taken in the first round with so many defensive backs, linemen and talented receivers still on the board to be backup until he is 26.

Unless Pickett stinks. And his hands are really too small. And the ceiling is much lower than the floor is high.

If we get there? Hmm. Well, how good is the Kedon Slovis kid who replaces Pickett in Pitt? When does he get into the draft?

And Phil Jurkovec from Boston College, you know he went to Pine-Richland, right?

Hi, take a break. I’ve been in quarterback speculation since Roethlisberger left the field in Kansas City. Some habits are hard to break.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reset. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise stated.

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