ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: Kenny Pickett to Commanders Makes 'An Awful Lot of Sense'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 28, 2022

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) plays against Virginia during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. tipped his hand for where he'll have Pittsburgh star Kenny Pickett landing in his next mock.

Kiper said at the 22:09 mark of the First Draft podcast Monday that Pickett "would make an awful lot of sense" for the Washington Commanders with the 11th overall pick.

Kiper also said Pickett could become a "Derek Carr-type" quarterback at the next level, with ESPN colleague Todd McShay labeling the ACC Player of the Year the "safest bet" at the position.

Pickett had a prolific final year at Pitt, throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns.

But he'll turn 24 in June and may not have the physical upside of Matt Corral, Malik Willis or Desmond Ridder. The 6'3" signal-caller ran for 801 yards over five college seasons compared to 1,338 for Corral, 2,180 for Ridder and 1,822 for Willis in two seasons at Liberty.

Listing Carr as the ceiling for an incoming rookie may not be exactly what a fanbase wants to hear, but Carr is a three-time Pro Bowler who's averaging 249.6 yards per game through the air.

That would be a massive upgrade over what the Commanders have had.

Quarterback is perhaps the most glaring need on Washington's roster. Taylor Heinicke is fine (3,419 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions) but clearly not a high-end starter.

Considering the organization's longstanding inability to develop young passers, going for the surest thing in the draft with Pickett might be the best play.