NFL Draft scouting report: Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett could be the top quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s a look at his scouting report, player comparison, and potential draft range. 

Almost completely out of the blue, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett had a remarkable 2021 season that really put him on the map for NFL teams. Once thought of as a late day-three draft choice, Pickett exploded in 2021 and improved his NFL Draft stock by leaps and bounds.

Kenny Pickett NFL Draft overview

Pickett was a fifth-year senior for Pittsburgh in 2021 with tons of starting experience in the ACC. According to Sports Reference, Pickett has appeared in 39 college football games and has amassed 12,303 passing yards and 81 passing touchdowns during his lengthy career at Pitt. We rarely see players break out in year five as we saw with Pickett in 2021. There are several traits that make him an intriguing prospect in the NFL Draft this year.


  • Good size to hold up at the QB position in the NFL (6’3”, 220 lbs)
  • Excellent ability to extend the play and keep his eyes down the field. A Nightmare for defenses when rolling to his right
  • Innate ability to make the first defender miss in the pocket. This could get him out of a lot of jams in the NFL
  • Outstanding production as a fifth-year senior in 2021
  • Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021
  • Stepped up to the plate against good competition
  • Impressive 11-2 record as a starter this year. Led Pittsburgh to the ACC Championship over Wake Forest in 2021
  • High-floor prospect thanks to his frame, skill set, and overall feel for the game
  • Loads of starting experience in a Power Five conference
  • Fiery competitor who is willing to take a hit or dive in order to move the chains when necessary


  • Not an elite prospect when it comes to tools
  • Notably small hands. Could be forced to wear gloves in the NFL — especially in poor weather games
  • Average arm talent. Has a good velocity, but not great for NFL standards.
  • Laterally quick to make defenders miss in the pocket, but not a real threat to run with the football at the next level
  • Just one year of great production. Concerning that it took until year five to truly break out
  • Doesn’t always hit open receivers in timing and often resorts to scrambling to make a play

2021 statistics

13 games, 334 completions, 497 attempts, 67.2 completion percentage, 4,319 passing yards, 8.7 yards per attempt, 42 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 165.3 passer rating

NFL player comparison: Teddy Bridgewater

Kenny Pickett and Teddy Bridgewater share numerous similarities from their comparable skill sets to their adequate arm talent. Both quarterbacks had ample college experience with their best year coming prior to their entry into the NFL Draft. Bridgewater and Pickett are pocket-passers who can use their lateral mobility to extend plays. Though neither are necessarily runners, this gives them an edge. They have the ability to keep their eyes down the field and go through their progressions. Like Bridgewater, Pickett could be a quality starter in the NFL, but might never get over the hump to be considered a top-flight QB at the next level.

Projected NFL Draft range: Top-20 pick

In a less-than-spectacular quarterback class, Pickett could prove to be the first passer selected in April when it’s all said and done. While he doesn’t have the same physical gifts as some of the other quarterbacks this year, he makes up for it with loads of starting experience in college, good size, and the ability to carry his team. Still, there might not be an organization that views Pickett as a slam-dunk pick. I think he certainly goes in the first round, but he’s not guaranteed to be a top-10 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Final thoughts

The fact that Kenny Pickett will turn 24 years old before his rookie training camp will be concerning to some teams, and you have to wonder why it took so long for him to explode for a monster season in 2021. The team that selects Pickett in the 2022 NFL Draft will be hoping for more of what they saw from him last season as opposed to what he did in his first four years at Pittsburgh.

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