NFL Draft Profile: Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett

by Pat Pryor
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Kenny Pickett burst onto the scene in 2021 and emerged from atop the ACC as a contender for the top quarterback spot.  However, three mediocre years still have his name attached, so it’s tough to say if he warrants a first round spot in the NFL Draft. He’s coming off a year where he was a First-team All-American and All-ACC, and won ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

NFL Draft Measurables

Height 6′ 3 2/8″ Wingspan 73-6/8” Vertical 33.5″
Weight 217 40-time 4.67 Bench
Hand 08-4/8″ Shuttle 4.29 3-Cone
Arm 30-7/8” Broad Jump 10’1″ RAS 9.54

How We Grade Players for the NFL Draft

Grade Player Meaning Grade Player Meaning
9.5-10 Generational Player 6.25-6.75 Average Starter
9-9.49 Top of Position 5.5-6.25 Below-Average Starter
8.5-8.99 All-Pro Caliber 5-5.4 Developmental Player
8-8.49 High End Starter 4.5-4.9 Special Teams Player
7.5-7.99 Pro-Bowl Caliber Player 4-4.4 Practice Squad
7-7.49 Above Average Starter 3-4 Journeyman PS
6.75-6.99 Slightly Above-Average 0-2.9 Free Agent

How We Grade Traits

Grade Trait Meaning Grade Trait Meaning
9.5-10 Nearly Perfect 6-6.4 Average
9-9.4 Top of Position 5.5-5.9 Below-Average
8.5-9 Great 5-5.4 Below-Average
8-8.4 Very Good 4.5-4.9 Poor
7.5-7.9 Good 4-4.4 Bad
7-7.4 Above Average 3-4 Very Bad
6.5-6.9 Slightly Above Average 0-2.9 Non-Existent

NFL Draft Evaluation

 

Trait Grade Trait Grade
Arm Strength 5 Athleticism 7.5
Arm Talent 5 Decision Making 6.5
Short Accuracy 6.75 Processing 6
Medium-Deep Accuracy 5.5 Productivity 6.5
Mechanics 6.5 Football IQ 6
Footwork 7.5 Size 5.75
Pocket Presence 5
Scrambling 7 Final Grade 6.11

Strengths

Good footwork. Drops back smoothly and stays light on his feet. Quick acceleration when leaving the pocket. Overall a quality rusher who can get the first and knows when to slide. Gets the ball out very quickly. Brings smooth and consistent mechanics on every throw. Throws well on the run and will usually try to find someone to dump off too when bailing from the pocket. Quite accurate on sideline and crossing routes. Good frame, tested great as a quarterback. Accurate on short throws and can display flashes on deeper throws. Four year starter who saw a major jump in production in 2021. Rarely threw an interceptable ball.

Weaknesses

Gets very jittery and takes off from clean pockets. Even when pressure is coming he will leave too early and miss chances to make a throw. Hand size will be a concern from teams. Improved on fumbling every year but still finished with 38 career fumbles. Can slow down after his first read isn’t open. Doesn’t bring much in arm strength or velocity, receivers often have to come back to the ball. Doesn’t look off defenders, can be caught staring down receivers. Saw only one year of real improvement. Can get inconsistent and make throws harder for his receivers.

Summary

Kenny Pickett saw a meteoric rise in 2021, from a middle of the pack quarterback to one of the expected top selections at the position. However, he benefits from a weak quarterback class. There are major questions about what caused this rise after three years of mediocrity. If a team takes him, and wants to build him up, they’ll be given a quarterback with good mechanics, footwork, and quick throws. If he goes to a team without a viable quarterback option, like the Panthers, he could start day one, but wouldn’t cause much change in the offense. However, there’s not much hope for a high ceiling. His arm is not going to be that of an NFL Starter’s, so he’ll be held down from development.

Round Grade: 5th
Round Projection: 1st
Team Fits: CAR, ATL
Floor: Above Average Backup
Ceiling: Below Average Starter

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