The 2022 NFL Draft has some interesting quarterback prospects. Here’s why Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett is putting his name in the discussion next April.
Five years… That’s how long it finally took Kenny Pickett to catch the attention of the national media. Pickett was a 3-star prospect who first saw the field as a freshman all the way back in 2017. The young quarterback flashed at times but was quite up and down.
Over the next three seasons, Pickett would fail to live up to expectations. While he’s always had an intriguing skill set, it equated to just 39 touchdowns and 25 touchdowns over a four-year span from 2017-2020. During these years, Pitt earned a record of just 26-24.
What’s perhaps most concerning is that Pickett never averaged more than 7.3 yards per attempt and never earned a passer rating above 129.6 over that span, according to Sports Reference.
However, something finally clicked with the talented quarterback in 2021. You can chalk this up to a chance in his coordinator if you wish, but Kenny Pickett just looks like a completely different player this year.
While he’s only five games into the season, Pickett has earned 19 touchdowns and just 1 interception while chipping in an additional 2 scores on the ground for an eye-popping 194.7 passer rating. What’s most impressive is that he boosted his yards per attempt all the way up to 10.3 (12.3 adjusted). Pickett has also led his team to a 4-1 record to begin the year.
Kenny Pickett seems to have finally developed into the player that fans were hoping he would be, but how do we evaluate the prospect for next year’s NFL Draft?
Where does Kenny Pickett fit in the 2022 NFL Draft?
With the incredible year he is having, many football fans are wondering where Kenny Pickett will land in the 2022 NFL Draft. While this is incredibly difficult to predict, it’s reasonable to assume that he will continue to shoot up draft boards if he continues this dominant run.
Right now, it’s fairly safe to assume that there are at least four quarterbacks ahead of Picket on consensus big boards: Matt Corral, Malik Willis, Sam Howell, and Spencer Rattler. Likewise, you could argue that Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder and Nevada’s Carson Strong are also higher on the list. However, Pickett is on the pace for the best statistical season of all of them, and doing so in a Power 5 conference is impressive.
At 6’3” and 220 pounds, Kenny Pickett has an ideal frame for the position, and while his arm might not be considered elite, it’s certainly big enough to make all the NFL throws. In addition, Pickett isn’t a burner on the move, but he’s got impressive pocket awareness and the ability to extend the play by rolling out and keeping his eyes down the field.
At this trajectory, I wouldn’t even rule out Pickett getting some first-round consideration by NFL Draft analysts (though I would still be surprised if he’s drafted that high). Still, he has done himself a huge favor this year with his play and should shoot up draft boards as a result.