Kenny Pickett: Scouting Report. Everything You Need To Know

Kenny Pickett: Scouting Report. Everything You Need To Know
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

NEXT ON OUR SCOUTING REPORTS IS KENNY PICKETT. CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR OTHER SCOUTING REPORTS BELOW

CARSON STRONGMALIK WILLISMATT CORRAL
BAILEY ZAPPEDESMOND RIDDERTYLER LINDERBAUM
  • Height: 6’ 3”
  • Weight: 220lb
  • College: Pittsburgh
  • Year: Senior
  • Position: Quarterback

BACKGROUND

Pitt’s QB Kenny Pickett has rocketed up draft boards this year after an amazing final year as a Panther.

The definition of a late bloomer; Pickett had been somewhat mediocre in his first four seasons at Pitt. But a phenomenal final season where Pickett threw for 4319 yards (6th in CFB) and 42 touchdowns (4th in CFB) in 13 games. An impressive feat on it’s own. Extra special considering he’d previously totalled 7984 yards and 39 touchdowns in his previous 39 starts.

Pickett comes from good, athletic, stock. His dad, Kenneth, was an All-American linebacker at Shippensburg University (Pennsylvania) and his mum, Kasey, played soccer at Kutztown University (Pennsylvania). Kenny also played basketball and baseball at high school, excelling at point guard and outfielder, respectively.

Not just a danger with his passing ability; Pickett has the ability to move in and around the pocket to extend plays and he’s not afraid to take off up the field either. He finished his college career with 21 rushing touchdowns, 5 of which came in his final year.

A meteoric rise up draft boards is a shock. Prior to his historic final season Picket hadn’t made much of a name for himself. Making 4 appearances as a freshman Pickett started every game his sophomore, all but one as a Junior but missed two games with an ankle injury as a senior. As the stats below show, it’s his second senior year where he really took off. He had 8 games with 3 or more passing touchdowns. If you include rushing touchdowns he only had 2 games where he didn’t total 3 or more scores.

Stats

YearGamesCompletedAttemptedComp. %YardsTDInt
20174396659.150911
20181418031058.11969126
20191228946961.63098139
2020920333261.12408139
20211333449767.24319427
Career1045167462.4123038132
Pickett’s career passing stats.

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Pickett is 24, with a massive 51 appearances under his belt. He leaves Pitt as their all time leader in passing yards (12303) and touchdowns (81), surpassing football legend Dan Marino for the latter in his last game as a Panther. 

It’s clear to see from his stats and his tape that Pickett is an accurate quarterback. In his final season he led the ACC in completion % and was 6th in completion % in the CFB for passers with over 4000 yards. When he has time he shows the ability to make his reads and release the ball on time to an open receiver. Even when on the move he rarely throws into trouble and is able to make unscripted moves should the play break down.

Watch the video below which shows Pickett’s highlight reel

Watch a selection of Pickett’s highlights from his final college season.

STRENGTHS

  • Accuracy
  • Athleticism
  • Experience

At 6-3 210 pounds Kenny Pickett has the bulk needed to take occasional hits in the NFL. Fortunately for him he won’t be taking too many as his quick feet and pocket awareness often helps him avoid pressure, be it from up the middle or out wide.

His quickness means defences have to ensure they set the edge and be aware that Pickett can take off at any moment. Not only can he gain yards and score with  his feet, his aforementioned throw accuracy means he’s dangerous to launch one when on the move. A defensive coordinators nightmare.

51 games is a lot. Granted it’s partially due to an injury and lackluster 2020 season which kept him out of last year’s draft, but regardless, it’s a lot. For context it’s more than two of this year’s other top quarterback prospects Matt Coral (27) and Malik Willis (23) combined.  And over 3 times the number of games Mac Jones played before being drafted last year (16).

That’s a lot of experience, a lot of learning, a lot of practice. And that’s in the ACC too, a division that had 6 players go in the 1st round of last year’s draft, 51 players in total. You’ve never “seen it all” in football, but  Pickett has seen a lot.

WEAKNESSES

  • One Good Year
  • Hand Size
  • Improvising?

The main reason Kenny Pickett got to 51 games is that before this season, he wasn’t very good. He had the option to declare for the draft last year, he’d have gone undrafted.

No doubt, he was outstanding this year, his 42 touchdowns 4th in all of college football and over 3 times his previous best. Yes, triple his previous best. In the three years previous he’d finished with only 12 (87th in CFB 2018), 13 (83rd in 2019) and 13 (48th in 2020). It’s fair to say college ball fans outside of the ACC probably hadn’t heard of him.

Is the “one year wonder” tag such a bad thing? Maybe not, considering that year was wonderful. But it may be a red flag to teams who think it may have been a fluke or be concerned how long it took him to develop his game.

As often is the case when a quarterback has the ability to go rogue, it’s a double edged sword. Yes Pickett has succeeded moving in, around and from the pocket, making some great plays as he does. The NFL is a different level.

Tackles won’t be so easy to dodge, players will close him down quicker and when they do get to him… hit harder. Defensive backs won’t allow as much separation and can guarantee they have better ball skills than in CFB. Pickets ability to improvise is one of his positive markers, very much so. But he’ll have to be careful in the NFL and pick his moments precisely or his key strength could quickly become a huge weakness.

Hand Size

To some, Picketts small hand size is a big deal. Reports put his hand span at 8 inches, or just over. The theory being the smaller the hands, the harder it is to grip the ball, therefore the easier it is to knock or fall out. The theory makes sense but does it line up in real life?

This article by USA Today certainly thinks not. Quarterbacks have had success with “small” hands, Michael Vick had 8 ½ Inch hands and 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow’s hands are 9 Inches. For me this isn’t a huge deal but some may be put off by this.

SUMMARY

Without a doubt Kenny Pickett has the size, speed and arm talent to be a good NFL quarterback. Teams will rightfully be attracted to his playmaking ability and if they can look past his hands (shouldn’t be difficult… sorry) and focus on his last year of tape I believe he’ll be the first quarterback off the board.

Pickett isn’t at a Trevor Lawrence or Joe Burrow’s level, so don’t expect him going first overall. Bu,t a quarterback needy team in the first half of round one will certainly be taking a long look at him.

How good of a prospect is Kenny Pickett? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards and @I_Am_Beej

Feature Image Credit: USA Today

Video Credit: ACC Digital Network & Breakshot Media

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