Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett shows so much promise as a professional quarterback, but almost no NFL media has mentioned him. Is he being overlooked?
Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett enters his fourth full season as a starter, taking advantage of the additional season of eligibility from the NCAA. He’s been effective but inconsistent most of his career. As their starting quarterback, Pickett has led the team to a 21-17 record. He flashes an immense number of tools that would make him a suitable professional quarterback.
A couple of weeks after my tweet, Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy mentioned Pickett on his Twitter account. “Dude sees and feels the game differently,” Nagy said. “More love for him inside NFL circles than media.”
It’s not the first time Nagy has mentioned Pickett on his Twitter account. Pickett had accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl last year before opting to return to school. Nagy himself had praised him for his play during the 2020 season. With the extra year of eligibility, Pickett made a smart choice as someone who has much to gain in this wide-open draft class.
Kenny Pickett has not garnered much national attention
Let’s talk about the lack of respect that Pickett has received thus far nationally.
- Athlon Sports listed Kenny Pickett as a “quarterback to watch,” but in the “other” category. Two dozen quarterback prospects were mentioned before him.
- A Yahoo Sports article by Thor Nystrom didn’t even evaluate Pickett as a potential prospect.
- PFF failed to list him as even a prospect to watch in 2021.
- The USA Today on The Eagles Wire, in an article penned by Glenn Erby, failed to mention Pickett in their top 15 list, placing Bo Nix, Layne Hatcher, and Dustin Crum on the list instead.
It’s still early in the process, obviously. With an entire season to play and information leaked from inside NFL scouting departments, the rankings will change drastically.
Regardless, people involved in football are talking up Pickett as a guy to watch this season. Let’s discuss what Pickett does well and why he should be regarded more.
Why people should be talking about Pickett
Tony Racioppi is a noted quarterbacks coach who has worked with some phenomenal quarterbacks in the NFL currently. He coaches at the prestigious Manning Passing Academy and is noted for his work at coaching the position. This year, he is working with Pickett.
He posted several videos of Pickett making throws while training to show some of his raw ability and claimed that NFL teams would have anywhere from first to third round grades currently.
As you can see in the videos, Pickett has a good, NFL-level arm. His velocity is good, the release is quick, and above, he shows good footwork in the video. In the play below from against Syracuse, he throws it through a tight window and on a rope, showing that arm’s talent and ability.
What does Kenny Pickett need to show in 2021 to boost himself to the next level?
I don’t think that Pickett is currently a perfect prospect. There is a reason why some people aren’t talking about him yet in a crowded but unestablished class. For starters, Pickett needs to be more consistent with his footwork and clean up the mistakes. He still needs to refine his footwork, sometimes putting himself into positions where his steps become wild and don’t allow him to get the throw-off.
Earlier in the piece, I showed that his footwork was good. You still want to see him put that into the game, especially since he has issues with it on tape. Showing good footwork at practice or while training is good. Now he needs to apply it with defenders rushing him and show it’s a habit.
His ability to throw with touch certainly flashed at times, but it’s not consistent. Sometimes, he tries to throw bullets into windows when he can lay the football over the top for his receiver. That’s something you would like to see him clean up in 2021 as well.
Lastly, consistency. Pittsburgh is a competitive team, yet they lose a lot of close games. Pickett needs to show the consistency that will elevate his team to a championship level, even if they compete for the conference title and nothing more.
Many knowledgeable people believe he can take this leap. I agree. Watch Kenny Pickett this year and see what he can do.