All in one play, Kenny Pickett illustrated the sort of impact he could make as a professional.
The Pitt quarterback, who’s among the top prospects in the NFL Draft, caught a shotgun snap and rolled right against Clemson, showcasing his speed. He scanned the field while on the move, showing his poise. He threw from the 32-yard line, proving he has the arm strength and a knack for accurate, off-balance passing.
The ball, just inches out of the reach of a defender, hit Pitt receiver Jordan Addison in the hands for a touchdown.
Plays like these have helped Pickett garner first-round consideration.
Kenny Pickett Draft Odds
Pickett has the eighth-best NFL Draft odds to be selected first overall at +8000. He has the second-best odds to be the first quarterback drafted at +210.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has the leading NFL Draft betting odds to be picked No. 1 at -350 as of March 15.
|Name||Position||Team||1st Pick Odds (4/28)|
|Ikem Ekwonu||OL||NC State||+400|
|Charles Cross||OL||Mississippi State||+10000|
|Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner||CB||Cincinnati||+10000|
|Derek Stingley Jr.||CB||LSU||+15000|
|Kyle Hamilton||S||Notre Dame||+15000|
|Matt Corral||QB||Ole Miss||+15000|
|Sam Howell||QB||North Carolina||+20000|
|Garrett Wilson||WR||Ohio State||+20000|
|DeMarvin Leal||DT||Texas A&M||+30000|
|Chris Olave||WR||Ohio State||+50000|
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the No. 1 overall pick but don’t need a quarterback after selecting Trevor Lawrence last year.
Kenny Pickett Draft Pick Projection
Pickett would fit well with the New Orleans Saints at No. 18 overall unless another team trades up for him before that.
The selection of rookie passers will be difficult to predict until the future of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is clear.
Watson has reportedly met with the Saints, and the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns have expressed interest in trading for him as well.
If the Saints don’t acquire Watson, Pickett would make sense. They’re a year removed from superstar Drew Brees’ retirement, and they don’t appear set on re-signing last season’s starter, Jameis Winston, who tore his ACL midseason.
With the plethora of offensive talent around him, New Orleans would be a place Pickett could thrive. And with the 18th pick, the Saints wouldn’t be spending many resources in hopes of finding their next franchise quarterback if they don’t have to trade away assets.
Kenny Pickett’s Stats
Pickett ended his collegiate career as one of the most prolific passers in Pitt history.
He owns the program’s all-time records for passing yards (12,303) and touchdowns (81), total offense (13,112), touchdowns responsible for (102), QB rushing touchdowns (20), and completions (1,045).
He was the team’s winningest starter with a 31-17 record. He also amassed the most 300-yard (16) and 400-yard (five) passing games.
Pickett was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and Walter Camp Award, which all go to the nation’s most outstanding player. He was also a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and Manning Award, which go to the best collegiate QB.
He was also named a First-Team All-American, the first Pitt QB to accomplish that since Dan Marino in 1981.
The conference player of the year, Pickett powered Pitt to its first ACC Championship in 2021. He recorded 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and five rushing touchdowns while completing 67% of his throws.
Among FBS quarterbacks, Pickett was fourth in touchdown passes and points responsible for (282), fifth in total offense (350.8 yards per game), sixth in passing yards, and ninth in passing efficiency (165.3 rating).
Kenny Pickett’s Draft Profile
Pickett became known for more than his arm talent.
He notably faked a slide during the ACC Championship game while running for a touchdown. Then his hands were measured at 8.5 inches, which raised concerns.
But his value goes beyond that.
Pickett consistently showed phenomenal evasiveness in and outside of the pocket. He perhaps looked the most poised while on the move, often keeping his eyes downfield while doing so. He could also succeed on QB sneaks or designed runs near the goal line.
When Pitt was 12 yards away from the end zone against Tennessee, Pickett first looked left then escaped to the right. He stayed behind the line of scrimmage and kept his focus on the end zone. He threaded a dart toward the middle to Melquise Stovall for Pitt’s first touchdown of the game.
The ____ will draft Kenny Pickett 💨pic.twitter.com/4Q43ECE9m9
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 10, 2022
Pickett can throw while moving to either side and showed accuracy and touch on short, intermediate, and deep passes. He has a fairly quick and fluid release and can hit receivers in stride with ease.
Against UMass this season, Pickett dropped back 10 yards to Pitt’s 16-yard line. He heaved a deep, high-arching pass. It fell beyond two defensive backs and into receiver Jaylon Barden’s hands at the opposite 31.
The Panthers clearly trusted Pickett’s arm.
They designed complex, downfield route schemes for him. They also relied on him to make anticipatory throws, even though he’s capable of surveying the field and checking down to his second or third receiver.
That said, he took risks when he didn’t need to. He was willing to throw to receivers when they were well covered, though it worked out sometimes anyway.
He also didn’t always deal with pressure well. He didn’t recognize when a blitz was being sent at him and had trouble reacting when it did.
However, with the proper situation, Pickett could be an effective passer at the pro level.
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