NFL Coach: Kenny Pickett Gets 3rd-Round Grade, Would've Been 6th or 7th-Round in 2020

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

Quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) goes through passing drills during Pittsburgh's football pro day , Monday, March 21, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Kenny Pickett may be considered the safest quarterback in the 2022 NFL draft class, but not all evaluators are sold on the Pittsburgh product.

One quarterback coach told Bruce Feldman of The Athletic that their team has a Round 3 grade on Pickett.

"We’ve got a third-round grade on Kenny Pickett, and if you looked at his 2020 film, it’d be a sixth- or seventh-round grade," the coach said.

Pickett was unspectacular in his first three years as a starter before breaking out in 2021. He threw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns against seven interceptions, earning Heisman finalist status in the process.

Over his first three full seasons as a starter, Pickett threw just 38 touchdowns. Improvements in the supporting cast at Pitt, along with Pickett's natural growth and comfort within the offense, helped spearhead his breakout.

That said, he turns 24 in June and already has concerns about his ceiling. Pickett is only three months younger than Justin Herbert and is older than all three of the quarterbacks taken atop the 2021 NFL draft.

Pickett also possesses no one elite physical trait; he's an amalgam of very good characteristics. It's unlikely he's ever a perennial Pro Bowler who emerges as a franchise face, which is what you'd want out of a first-round quarterback. 

Malik Willis and Matt Corral have much lower floors but far higher ceilings, which could lead teams into taking a risk on their high-end talent.