While the Pittsburgh Steelers missed out on the playoffs in 2022, they’ve established some clear key building blocks for the future. Rookie QB Kenny Pickett and WR George Pickens both enjoyed solid debut seasons, which they will look to build upon in Year 2. During a sitdown with Pat McAfee on Thursday, Pickett reacted to the thought that he and Pickens will be cornerstones in Pittsburgh for years to come.

“It’s awesome to know that I’ll have those guys with me in Pittsburgh for a long time,” said Pickett of Pickens and his other Steelers teammates. “If George didn’t make a play on a 50-50 ball it was almost like a surprise to me… I think we’re just going to grow in that area… it’s just going to continue to get better and I’m excited to build off it in the offseason.”

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While Pickett’s rookie season wasn’t sensational by any means, he showed flashes of what made him a first-round pick in the 202 NFL Draft. Across 13 games and 12 starts, Pickett completed 63 percent of his pass attempts for seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. He threw for 2,404 yards, while rushing for 237 and three TDs, too.

Despite the pedestrian numbers, Pickett improved with his accuracy during the latter part of the season. After throwing two separate three-interception games, Pickett threw just two picks from Week 8-18, a nine-game stretch. As he continues to develop rapport with teammates like George Pickens, his numbers should improve.

The future is bright in Pittsburgh. Despite a lack of experience on offense, the team narrowly missed out on a playoff berth in 2022, so hopefully, the Pickett-Pickens tandem can lead them to greater heights in 2023.