5. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (48th overall)
Kenny Pickett will finish as the second-best quarterback on the consensus NFL Draft board, and I don’t have an issue with anyone who has him as their QB1 this year (again, the prospects are so close that it comes down to preference).
Pickett has a plethora of starting experience under his belt and broke out with a phenomenal campaign in 2021 — the best in the nation, for my money. Pickett moves well within the pocket and can be deadly when rolling to his right.
Still, I’m betting on traits at the next level, and I’m not in love with the total package. I think Pickett has quality short to intermediate velocity on the football, but his arm strength isn’t great and he may struggle to throw the ball deep consistently as well as drive it outside the hashes in the NFL — especially during extreme weather conditions.
Pickett also has a few ‘outlier’ traits that have me concerned. He’s a one-year wonder with historically small hands at the QB position and he turns 24 years old shortly after the NFL Draft. I think the floor is very high for Pickett, but I’m not sure if he has the traits and upside I would gamble on as my franchise quarterback.
It was remarkably difficult to separate this group of quarterbacks this year, and I essentially preferred the players with more arm talent and upside (in my eyes). This isn’t a strong QB class overall and I would be surprised if more than two of these passers were around for the long haul. It will be interesting to watch their NFL careers unfold.