AFC North Rumors: Pickett, Ravens, Boykin

It appears that the Steelers‘ quarterback job is Mitchell Trubisky‘s to lose and, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett is not quite ready to push Trubisky for the role.

Pittsburgh has been riding with Trubisky as the first-team quarterback for much of the offseason with incumbent backup Mason Rudolph as the primary second stringer. While it’s become quite trendy for rookie quarterbacks to start from Day 1, Pittsburgh has stayed patient with Pickett with no plans of rushing him into the starting role.

Rudolph has proven to be better competition for Trubisky early in the preseason and has truly made things interesting. In order for him to overtake Trubisky on the depth chart, though, he’d likely have to be near perfect this preseason and will need Trubisky to fall off.

Pickett in the meantime will have this time to grow and mature at the NFL level. He still may be the quarterback of the future in Pittsburgh, but he’ll have to take the old-fashioned route of sitting and learning before he gets his opportunity on the field.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC North, starting with a rumor from the rival Ravens:

  • When considering Baltimore’s weakest position groups, wide receiver and pass rusher are the two most often mentioned. But the Ravenslack of depth at inside linebacker could cause them to reach out for some help, according to Jeff Zrebiec at The Athletic. With Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes sitting out the team’s first preseason game last night, Malik Harrison and Kristian Welch saw initial snaps with the defense. Several undrafted rookies came in after that. Without even considering that the combination of Queen and Bynes is not the scariest inside linebacker duo, that depth is concerning. Zrebiec suggests the easy answer is a reunion with free agent L.J. Fort who has spent most of the last three seasons with Baltimore. If things look desperate, though, a call could always be made for a price-check on Bears’ disgruntled linebacker Roquan Smith.
  • In a question and answer this week, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly addressed the potential roster outlook at receiver for the Steelers this year. With the depth chart topped by Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, and Calvin Austin III, the question was brought up who slots in as the team’s fifth-receiver. Kaboly threw out an idea suggesting that if Austin can serve double-duty as a return-man, that could affect the roster status of Anthony Miller, Cody White, or Gunner Olszewski. But he was adamant that offseason waiver claim Miles Boykin would not be making the final roster. While Kaboly states there in an array of reasons for this certainty, he points to salary as the main one. The Steelers picked up Boykin with his rookie contract from the Ravens. The final year of that deal is set to pay Boykin $2.54MM with a $2.75MM cap hit.
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