Kenny Pickett (Quarterback #8)
6’3 220 lbs
23 y/o Senior University of Pittsburgh
(Bob Donnan-USA Today Sports)
Games watched: CLEM(’20), FSU(’20), UMASS(’21), TEN(’21), CLEM(’21), WAKE(’21)
Kenny Pickett is from Oakhurst, New Jersey, and attended Ocean Township High School. He was a three-star recruit in the 2017 class and heavily recruited.
He received 11 scholarship offers from the University of North Carolina, The University of Connecticut, Coastal Carolina University, Boston College, and Temple University. Pickett enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh on January 11th, 2017.
Pickett’s first game action would come as a freshman, playing in 4 games and starting in one. He would play well enough to be handed the reigns as a true sophomore.
In his first season as the full-time starter, Pickett would amass 1,969 passing yards, with 12 TDs and 6 interceptions. He would add 220 yards and three scores as a rusher.
Pickett started all but two contests the following season and contributed 3,098 passing yards, 13 TDs, and 9 interceptions. He gained 110 yards and scored three additional times, one being a receiving touchdown.
In the 2020 season, Pickett would play in only nine games. He threw for 2,408 yards, 13 TDs, and 9 interceptions. He also rushed for 8 touchdowns.
Players received an extra season of eligibility following the COVID-19 outbreak, and Pickett used this opportunity to have the best season of his collegiate career by far.
In 2021, Pickett played in 13 games and improved his production in every category as he threw for 4,319 yards, 42 TDs, and 7 interceptions. On the ground, he gained 233 yards and 5 scores.
His performance in 2021 obviously would lend him the national spotlight, as he took home the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the ACC Offensive player and Overall Player of the Year award. He would also finish 3rd in Heisman voting.
Pickett would participate in the ACC championship game, where his 253 passing yards, two touchdown passes, and 58 yard TD rush would lift the Pitt Panthers over Wake Forrest. He declared for the draft after their ACC victory.
- Athlete who moves very well
- Flashes some juice in the open field
- Above-average arm strength
- Drove throws much better in 2021 (mechanical improvement)
- Shines in the middle of the field and intermediate throws
- Pocket awareness might be best in the class
- Talented thrower on the run
- Velocity throws mostly intermediate
- Deep ball can float on him at times
- Can stare down the first read sometimes
There is a valid argument for Pickett to be the first QB off the board, and he could easily have the fastest start to his career of all the rookies.
Pickett is an athlete who is pocket savvy and has some talent and burst as a runner, which will translate into the league. It’s an area of his game where he could lean on even more if he goes to a team that will have him start right away.
The jump Pickett made from 2020 to 2021 as a passer shows his willingness and attention to detail. That development has put him ahead of the curve as far as polish goes.
He improved his feet. When he has a solid base, velocity throws are better. His athleticism helps him set and move his base as needed. He also has off-script talent, so he can still get a good pass when he can’t set his feet perfectly.
Even with these improvements, he will need a coaching staff to help him stay on the right track. The off-platform throws are good, but he tends to fall away while throwing a pass.
The media made a big deal of his hand size. It’s a non-factor to me.
The fit for Pickett is likely going to be a west coast styled offense. In this playstyle, he is given plenty of route patterns in the middle intermediate section of the field, which is his strength. This scheme also allows him to work outside of the pocket with designed rollouts.