Browns Legend Heaps Praise on Steelers’ Kenny Pickett: ‘I’m Impressed’

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Justin Casterline/Getty Images Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass to Cody White against the Indianapolis Colts on November 28, 2022.

On Monday Nov. 28, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett had the best game of his young NFL career. Specifically, he completed 20 of 28 passes for 174 yards en route to a 24-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, which raised his record as a starter to 3-4 and upped his passer rating to 73.5, as per Pro Football Reference.

Pickett’s nationally televised performance against the Colts was enough to get the attention of former Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, a perennial Pro Bowler who earned All-Pro honors six times during an 11-year NFL career that started in 2007, when the Browns made him the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.


Joe Thomas: ‘Kenny Pickett Looks Like the Real Deal’

On Tuesday morning, Thomas took to Twitter to state the following: “If I’m a Steelers fan, I’m waking up with an ear to ear grin this morning. Not because you won the game last night, that was meaningless. No it’s because Kenny Pickett looks like the real deal.”

Thomas hasn’t been known to send positive thoughts the way of the Steelers or Steelers Nation. Consider how Thomas attempted to troll the Steelers after last January’s 42-21 playoff loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, congratulating Pittsburgh on its “playoff participation trophy.” That snide remark attracted the attention of former Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, who clapped back by reminding Thomas that he never got the opportunity to play in a postseason game.

“Did you ever get one of those? No,” quipped Keisel.

That said, Thomas went on to reply to his own tweet about Pickett.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t be cheering against him,” he added. “Looks like he has the qualities u want in a franchise quarterback; leadership, mental toughness, professionalism, big accurate arm, shows up in big moments… Lots of chapters still to be written, but for a rookie I’m impressed,” concluded Thomas, now 37, who made the Pro Bowl in each and every one of his first 10 NFL seasons.

The only season in which he failed to make the Pro Bowl was his last, which was cut short by a torn triceps injury suffered on Oct. 22, 2017. The injury not only ended Thomas’ career, it ended his ironman streak of playing 10,363 consecutive snaps, which remains an NFL record.


Pro Football Focus Lauded Pickett’s Performance, Too

For what it’s worth, Joe Thomas wasn’t the only interested observer who liked what he saw from Pittsburgh’s 1st-round draft pick, as Kenny Pickett earned an exceptionally high grade from Pro Football Focus (PFF) this week.

“Week 12 was quite easily the highest-graded performance we’ve seen from Pickett all season,” wrote PFF’s Michael Renner, referring to Picket’s 89.9 overall grade. “He had only his third start without a turnover-worthy play and finished with a 78.6 adjusted completion percentage. Pickett also did some work with his legs, rushing for 32 yards on six carries for two first downs.”

In fact, Pickett was PFF’s 3rd-highest graded rookie of the week, coming in behind Detroit Lions linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (90.5) and tight end Jake Ferguson of the Cowboys (94.1), the latter of whom caught three passes for 57 yards during Dallas’ Thanksgiving Day win over the New York Giants.

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