Nate's Draft Profiles: Kenny Pickett
The biggest quarterback riser of the 2022 draft is hands down Kenny Pickett. The four year starter at Pittsburgh used a massive 2021 season to propel himself into first round value.
Some argue that he is the best quarterback prospect in the draft. If you’ve read my previous breakdown of Matt Carrol, you know where I stand with the best signal caller of this draft.
That’s not without saying that I believe Pickett could be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It would take an ideal situation and landing spot to get the most out of Pickett and being in the wrong place could derail his career and development.
Pickett has some of the best ball placement in this draft and has shown improvements every year passing wise during his record-breaking career in the ACC.
From his redshirt freshman season in 2018 to his sophomore campaign of 2019, he went from 58.1-percent completion to 61.6-percent. He didn’t improve during his junior season which was unconventional due to the pandemic and he played just nine games.
The big jump came to the tune of 67.2-percent completion this past season.
The placement is there. He doesn’t miss often but if he does it’s oftentimes high, which leaves a bit less to be desired. He throws a nice deep ball as well with great placement where only his receivers can get to the ball.
On top of the ball placement, his decision making is elite. He’s only thrown 32 interceptions to his 81 career touchdowns. This past season, in 497 attempts, he threw just seven interceptions to his staggering 42 touchdowns.
I love a quarterback who is confident in their abilities because in the NFL, you simply can not be gun shy. But, when it comes to Pickett, he can find himself overconfident.
As the statistics show, he got away with a bit more than he should have in the college that would have been disasters at the NFL level.
On top of that, he’s also matured with the use of extending the play with his legs.
He ran the ball much more efficiently this past season, showing improvements in his decision making.
NFL Comparison: Derek Carr
The most common NFL comparison for Pickett, as presented by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., is Derek Carr. They have near identical measurables at 6-foot-3 and nearly 220 pounds.
Carr is the better quarterback in my opinion, which comes with his better arm.
Pickett won’t be a pure running threat at the next level but is athletic enough to escape the pocket and make some plays with his legs, like Carr.
If you’re getting a Derek Carr-esk quarterback out of Pickett, that would be ideal.
Potential Landing Spots: Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers or Washington Commanders
The Denver Broncos selecting at nine are in desperate need of a quarterback. I believe them to be a perfect landing spot for a free agent arm with their developed roster. However, if they do go quarterback in the draft, they're in play for Pickett.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking for life post Ben Roethlisberger and what better than the home-town kid (college wise) such as Pickett.
Washington Commanders are looking for their quarterback of the future to go with their re-branding and new mascot. They pick at 11.