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NFL Draft

Kenny Pickett Isn’t Flying Under The Radar Anymore

  • The Draft Network
  • October 20, 2021
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Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett is not so under the radar anymore.

After four seasons at Pitt in which he had some big-time moments but never really rose up the charts in a huge way, Pickett has made a statement this year, commanding the attention of analysts and becoming a bigger part of the Heisman Trophy conversation by the week.

Pickett was at his hottest this season in a three-game stretch in which he passed for more than 300 yards per game in each contest—382 yards against Western Michigan, 403 yards against New Hampshire, and 389 yards against Georgia Tech. His last showing against Virginia Tech was actually a season-low in passing yardage for him as he completed 22-of-37 attempts for 203 passing yards with two touchdowns, zero interceptions, and one rushing score within Pitt’s pro-style offense.

For that to be a “season-low” performance... that’s nothing to scoff at because those numbers are some that a lot of quarterbacks would be happy with on a regular day—and Pickett and the Panthers got the job done on that particular day, taking down Virginia Tech 28-7 on the road as they prepare to face Clemson next week. That game could be a statement performance for Pickett, and we have no reason to believe it will be anything less given the consistency that he’s shown all season.

Pickett has made several NFL-level throws throughout this season alone and looking at his five-year college career as a whole. That’s something that’s more important than numbers and that was on full display Saturday.

Pickett showed a lot of things this past weekend as he looked like a quarterback with good awareness who goes through his progressions and sees the field well—sneaky mobility, the ability to evade pressure, throw on the run, and good accuracy and ball placement down the sideline.

As Pickett has moved more into the spotlight, a plethora of NFL comparisons have emerged. One of those is current Cincinnati Bengals and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow—which appears to be pretty spot-on to this point. You see a lot of the same type of playmaking ability, accuracy, and willingness to run it for himself in Pickett that Burrow showed at LSU—though at least in most cases, Pickett makes the decision to slide at the proper times (Burrow carried a “never slide” philosophy for a while in college). Looking at the tape above from the game against Virginia Tech and some of these highlights from Burrow’s days in Baton Rouge, you can see some things that look similar.

Will Pickett prove to have the same meteoric rise as Burrow? Unless the vastly unexpected happens, that’s not even a question anymore—and we’re already halfway through the show.

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