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Kenny Pickett 'Doesn't Have any Goddamn Upside,' AFC Exec Says Ahead of 2022 Draft

Erin WalshApril 22, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett is one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2022 NFL draft, but this year's quarterback class has been considered weaker than in years past. 

In fact, at least one AFC executive criticized Pickett's arm and claimed he "doesn't have any goddamn upside."

The executive said, per NFL.com's Tom Pelissero:

"Just his demeanor, coming away from center, how he handled everything, Pickett was the most impressive. He was the biggest guy, strongest stature -- he just felt like a quarterback. But then your concern is the arm. There's nothing special about it. What's he going to look like when he's getting his ass f---ing blitzed and having to throw off-platform, and he has to win with his arm only? He's mobile enough. He can move, he's not lot like a statue. If you had to have a m-----f----- play right now, it's Pickett, but he doesn't have any goddamn upside."

While the AFC executive was concerned about Pickett's arm, an AFC quarterbacks coach said the 23-year-old has "got plenty of arm" and "all the tools that you need."

In addition, Bleacher Report's NFL Scouting Department notes that Pickett has "above-average overall arm strength," good accuracy and can easily create throws out of the pocket. 

One of the biggest concerns about Pickett entering the draft was the size of his hands. His hands measured at 8.5 inches at the NFL Combine and 8 5/8 inches at Pittsburgh's pro day three weeks later. According to Pelissero, the baseline for hand size of NFL quarterbacks is nine inches. 

Regardless, Pickett had an impressive senior season for the Panthers in 2021, completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 13 games. He also rushed for 241 yards and five scores. 

While it's unclear which teams might be interested in Pickett leading up to the draft, several teams could use a quarterback for the future, including the Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

If Pickett is still on the board when one of those teams is on the clock, he could end up being selected in the first round. However, Malik Willis is believed to be the better quarterback in this year's class, and he's not even considered better than any of the first rounders from the 2021 class.