NFL Draft expert compares Kenny Pickett to a familiar NFL quarterback

Heisman candidate quarterback Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Heisman candidate quarterback Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Kenny Pickett is an interesting prospect in 2022. Here’s why one prominent NFL Draft expert compares him to a very familiar NFL quarterback. 

After four years as a member of the Pittsburgh Panthers, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the superb jump in play we saw from quarterback Kenny Pickett in year five. The fifth-year senior had the type of breakout season that we only see on the rarest of occasions.

The last player to do something similar was former LSU star and first overall draft pick, Joe Burrow. However, we typically don’t see these monumental leaps in production this late into a player’s collegiate career.

After throwing for just 13 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in both 2019 and 2020, Pickett did more than turn heads in 2021; he rose to become one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates this year. Though 13 games, Pickett threw for 4,319 yards to go with 42 touchdown passes and just 7 interceptions — all the while averaging an impressive 9.7 adjusted yards per attempt, via Sports Reference.

Over the past few months, Pickett has often been compared to Joe Burrow because of his similar skill set and outstanding final college season. However, NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has a different comparison for the Pitt quarterback: Derek Carr.

On an episode of First Draft, Kiper recently shared why he believes that Pickett could be a carbon copy of the Las Vegas Raiders starting quarterback.

When you really sit down and examine the similarities, it’s not at all surprising to make these connections. While Carr was the more productive player overall in college at Fresno State, these two quarterbacks share remarkably similar traits.

Carr is a great comparison for Kenny Pickett

For starters, both quarterbacks share an almost identical size profile at 6’3” and roughly 220 pounds. In today’s NFL, this is almost the standard teams are going with. While neither player is necessary a big threat running the football, they are both solid athletes who can escape the pocket while keeping their eyes down the field.

Though Carr might have a slightly bigger arm than Pickett in terms of his velocity and overall strength to push the ball down the field, they both win in similar ways and dan dice defenses apart over the middle of the field.

One trait that sets both of these quarterbacks apart from the pack is their ability to roll to their right and find open receivers down the field in addition to delivering accurate passes in timing from the pocket. If you were to put on the film of these two guys side-by-side, it would be hard to spot the differences in this department.

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I know that Derek Carr isn’t exactly the standard that some look for in a franchise quarterback, but he’s good enough to get the job done with a quality supporting cast. I think Joe Burrow is a better prospect than Kenny Pickett, but the Pitt superstar could have a career very similar to Derek Carr in the NFL if all goes well. It will be interesting to see where Pickett lands in the 2022 NFL Draft.