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Kenny Pickett—Rookie Report Card

A Rookie Draft Value or Bust?

Kenny Pickett, Pitt

6’3/220 pounds (good size)

College Stats: 

2017: 39/ 66/ 59.1%/ 509 Yards/ 1 TD/ 1 INT/ 125.8 Rating

2018: 180/ 310/ 58.1%/ 1,969 Yards/ 12 TDs/ 6 INTs/ 120.3 Rating

2019: 289/ 469 / 61.6%/ 3,098 Yards/ 13 TDs/ 9 INTs/ 122.4 Rating

2020: 203/ 332/ 61.1%/ 2,408 Yards/ 13 TDs/ 9 INTs/ 129.6 Rating. (Only 9 games played)

2021: 334/ 497/ 67.2%/ 4,319 Yards/ 42 TDs/ 7 INTs/ 165.3 Rating

Summary: 

Kenny Pickett had a remarkable last year in Pittsburgh in 2021, so much so that he finished 3rd overall in Heisman voting. He threw for 4,319 yards in 13 games, good for 332 yards a game. He threw for 42 TDs and just 7 INTs, boasting an absurd 165.3 rating! Ready for the crazy part? He did all this with a poor offensive line. He was under a good amount of pressure.

When you turn the tape on, he just looks the part. He looks like an NFL-caliber QB to my eyes. He also looks plenty capable of dissecting NFL defenses. He’s got a nice processing speed and can clearly handle pressure yet deliver good passes consistently. His arm isn’t anywhere close to elite, but he has enough power to get the job done and his ball placement is superb. 

I kind of get a Kirk Cousins vibe from him in the passing game, but he also has some wheels on him. He just ran a 4.73 40 time at the combine and is also in the 84th percentile in burst score according to Player Profiler. . He had over 800 yards rushing in college and I think he will have a solid rushing floor in his first couple years, at least. 

 Kenny Pickett seems like a smart, heady QB, but his arm strength scares me a little. It’s ok, but nothing I’d consider great. He’s going to have to be on top of his pre-snap and first two reads because he won’t be able to throw late. He’s got ok speed, but nothing special. You’d be lucky to get over 30 rushing yards per game. He also likes to throw immediately after the snap, sometimes sacrificing bigger plays.

If Pickett is available after the 1.05 in this year’s rookie drafts, I’d be comfortable taking him there. I would go with Matt Corral first, but Pickett is a close #2 for me. He’s not a guy I’m reaching on, but after the first half of the first round, I like the value. 

Overall: 83

Good Landing Spots: CAR, MIN, NOLA, WAS

Arm Talent: 6.5/10

  • Can deliver accurate passes with heavy pressure in his face.
  • Throws with good velocity and ball placement up to 25 yards downfield
  • Not going to blow you away with arm power, but makes up for it in other areas, in my opinion. 
  • Delivers a good ball on the run.
  • Can put the ball on a rope on post routes—can drop them in between defenders 45 yards plus downfield.
  • Can throw accurately off balance.
  • Good ball placement at all levels.
  • Hitting back-shoulder throws to WRs who have fallen down—-the pass is so perfect even if they’re on the ground it’s hitting them in the hands. 
  • Can fit the ball into tight windows, on the run, and outside the numbers. 
  • Love his touch downfield. 

Mobility: 6/10

  • Good ability to escape pressure and roll out. 
  • Pulls away from DEs and beats them outside.
  • Can really throw an accurate ball running almost full speed.
  • Has pretty good speed overall.

Pocket Presence: 9/10

  • Stands pretty tall in the pocket but uses his mobility to roll out if needed. 
  • Handles pressure to his right well and finds gaps well in which he can throw.
  • Sometimes needs to let it rip sooner—-he won’t have as much time in the NFL, obviously. 
  • Steps up in the pocket and resets to throw.
  • Very fluid feet movement in pocket—not a lot of wasted motion. 
  • Quick movement in pocket—he can get from one side of the pocket to the other quickly.

Mechanics: 8/10

  • Can rush some throws and throw off-balance when he can take the time to throw with correct mechanics—this can take velocity off throws and make some screen passes dangerous.
  • Can throw off balance unnecessarily. 
  • Left elbow is tight to his body in wind-up and follow-through. 
  • Creates good whip-like motion with his throwing arm.
  • Good shift of power when creating torque with his hips.

Awareness/ Decision Making:  8/10

  • Seems to diagnose coverages fairly quickly and well. 
  • Can lock onto a target and miss some big plays because of it. 
  • Reads zones well—pretty good anticipation.
  • Doesn’t always see the field well—misses some blown coverages and TDs sometimes.
  • Sometimes comes off a WR too quickly. 
  • Reads DB leverage well and it aids in his anticipation and decisions where to put the ball. 
  • Struggled to see the field in the 2021 Georgia Tech game when they rushed 3 and dropped everyone else. 
  • Good instinct with his internal clock.
  • Handles pressure really well.
  • Holds DBs with his eyes well. 
  • Showed nice timing with his WRs. 
  • He can trust his WRs a little too much at times.

Fantasy upside: 7.0/10

  • I think that Kenny Pickett can be a solid QB2 or a backup in Superflex leagues
  • Will have nice rushing TD numbers most likely, with upside to score 30 TDs between the pass and rush
  • Kirk Cousin with some rushing ability?

Written by Scott Acquard

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