Ex-Steelers Star, 2x Super Bowl Winner Urges Mike Tomlin to ‘Roll With Kenny Pickett’

Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett

Getty Steelers QB Kenny Pickett directs offense.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field against the Detroit Lions at Acrisure Stadium on Sunday, free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky will once again be the team’s starting quarterback. But if rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett continues to play like he did in Pittsburgh’s first two preseason games, it may not be long before Pickett overtakes Trubisky (not to mention Mason Rudolph) to become Pittsburgh’s QB1.

And, if you ask former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, Pickett should be the Week 1 starter.

“He(’s) making it hard on Coach T not to play him,” said Taylor on the August 25 edition of The Pat McAfee Show. “Play the man. I think he need(s) to start for the season,” he added.

“Every time Kenny Pickett gets on the field he’s successful, and he’s cool and collected about it,” intoned Taylor, without noting that Pickett has completed 86.4% of his passes and has posted an otherworldly 138.6 passer rating in the first two preseason games.

Never mind the very small sample size (19 of 22, 171 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions across 42 snaps).

“I’d roll with Kenny Pickett. I think Kenny Pickett is ready right now,” said Taylor, before conjuring up a compelling way to communicate how nothing bothers Pickett once he gets on the field.

“I just feel like Kenny Pickett’s been chillin’ with the monks,” he said, prompting laughter from Pat McAfee and colleagues. Of course, Taylor is making reference to the fact that the Steelers hold training camp at Saint Vincent College, a landmark Benedictine institution that is home to the oldest Benedictine monastery in the United States.

Taylor did go on to hedge just a little bit.

“That’s just my personal opinion,” he added, having already revealed to Pat McAfee that he is going to be working for the Steelers as a scout.

Taylor went on to describe Trubisky, 28, as “a grade above Kenny Pickett,” but only because of his NFL experience, which includes 50 starts (29-21) over the course of five NFL seasons.

Ike Taylor: ‘I Will Be Working for the Burgh — for SixBurgh’

As for getting a job as a Steelers scout, Taylor said he “was one of the first active players to be in the draft room on draft day (and) in scouting meetings when I was playing,” even if former Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert & Co. did kick him out of the room whenever they were about to draft a cornerback.

“Scouting has always been a dream of mine,” he added, but did not elaborate on his specific responsibilities.

Like Father, Like Son?

Ike Taylor, 42, was selected by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft (No. 203 overall). He won two Super Bowls over the course of the 12 seasons he played for the Steelers (2003-14), during which time he appeared in 174 games (with 140 starts). According to Pro Football Reference, he was credited with 636 tackles over the course of his career, with 14 interceptions, 134 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and three sacks.

Earlier this month, Ike Taylor revealed that his son Ivan — who plays cornerback and free safety for his Florida high school — received a scholarship offer from the Pitt Panthers. Ivan Taylor has also received offers from the South Carolina Gamecocks, Ole Miss and the University of Michigan.