Where does Kenny Pickett rank among AFC quarterbacks?
On this week’s episode of The Steelers Fix podcast here at SCN, Jeremy Betz and I ranked the AFC quarterbacks from best to worst, discussing where Kenny Pickett truly belongs on the list. If you have not yet listened to the show, you can do so by clicking on the player below.
Before I get into these rankings, let me make clear that this is not a slight against Kenny. I still believe he could be the starter at the position in Pittsburgh for years to come if he can get a competent offensive coordinator, but going by the way he is currently playing, all things need to be considered. These rankings are coming from the perspective of current performance as well as projection for the remainder of 2023.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Can we really go anywhere else? The numbers may not be what people have come to expect, but he is still on a tier of his own. Nobody is more clutch in the big moments than Mahomes.
2. Joe Burrow
I considered Tua here, but Burrow has been nearly flawless when 100%. After an offseason filled with injuries, he is back and in great position to lead the Bengals deep into January.
3. Tua Tagovailoa
If Josh Allen had Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, he would probably be putting up better numbers than Tua. However, I still give Tua the edge here, as his decision making inside the pocket as well as decisiveness have greatly improved this season. He is layering the ball to all parts of the field in accurate fashion.
4. Josh Allen
Allen definitely has been more careless with the football since the departure of Brian Daboll, but ultimately, he is still one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the league. Outside of Stefon Diggs, he has not been given a ton to work with in terms of weapons on the perimeter, yet he continues to find ways to keep his team in the thick of games.
5. CJ Stroud
I was wrong about CJ Stroud. He is playing with more freedom than he played with at Ohio State, and he is spreading the ball around to his various different targets. For a guy who I expected to get run over his rookie year, CJ Stroud has done nothing but impress me.
6. Russell Wilson
Who would have expected this? After an atrocious start, Russell Wilson and the Broncos have righted the ship and are in the playoff hunt. Wilson is not putting up huge numbers, but he is being smart with the football and doing enough to win games.
7. Justin Herbert
Is Herbert the next guy to fizzle out right after getting paid? I do not believe he will fizzle out, per se, but he definitely has regressed this year. It is time for the Chargers to invest in a wide receiver that can create separation underneath.
8. Lamar Jackson
This past week’s game against Cleveland is exactly why he is not higher. He cannot be relied upon as a passer in clutch moments.
9. Trevor Lawrence
Lawrence needs to do a better job of getting Calvin Ridley the football, but apart from that, he has been rock solid this season.
10. Deshaun Watson (out for season)
These rankings were created before the news of Watson’s injury.
11. Will Levis
It is a small sample size, but Will Levis is already proving that he can win games and make game-changing plays.
12. Aidan O’Connell
O’Connell’s sample size is even smaller than Levis’, but I was big on O’Connell this Spring, and what he has shown in limited playing time is enough to sell me. If he finishes the season strong, I believe he is their starter in 2024.
13. Kenny Pickett
Do not let this ranking fool you. I am a supporter of Kenny Pickett going into 2024, but we have to be honest with ourselves. He is missing targets down the field, and his decision making inside the pocket has not been good. Moving forward for the remainder of this season, I would prefer all the above mentioned guys. That is not necessarily the case in years ahead, though.
14. Gardner Minshew
Minshew is a good spot starter but nothing more. He was a wise investment for the Colts, but the Colts can only go so far with him as their quarterback.
15. Zach Wilson
Wilson has definitely matured this season, but he’s still not good, especially under pressure. I was wrong about Wilson coming out of college, and he is definitely not going to be looked at as a starter for the remainder of his career.
16. Mac Jones
New England’s offense is bad in just about every sense of the word. Jones’ play has continued to get worse, and it is past time to get him out of the starting lineup and give either Bailey Zappe or Malik Cunningham a shot.
Where would you rank Kenny Pickett among AFC quarterbacks? Let us know your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers in the comment section below!
More from Steel Curtain Networkread more
You may also be interested inread more
Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast
Steelers’ new-look offense shows promise in 16-10 win over Bengals
Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcastWhat Kwon Alexander means for the 2023 Steelers