Kenny Pickett: The Next Joe Burrow

November 2, 2021

If you don’t follow college football, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of the quarterback taking the nation by storm. Kenny Pickett. The Pittsburgh QB has been lighting up defenses this year and steadily rising up draft boards. Fast.

Breakout Year

At the beginning of the season, many projected Pickett to be a late-round pick. Now, he might be selected in the first round. Therefore, let me introduce you.

Before this season, Kenny Pickett was an uneventful quarterback. Barely breaking a 61% completion rate in any of his seasons, Pickett struggled with turnovers and averaged a meager yards per attempt.

This year, he’s shattered all of those stats. Currently, he has passed for 2755 yards in nine games while adding 26 touchdowns, a 69.2% completion percentage, and only three interceptions.

Kenny Pickett reads the field with ease. He shows a high IQ when he is scanning the field. In addition, the offense that Pittsburgh runs forces Pickett to make many pro-level reads. He runs with speed and confidence.

As a result, Pickett has led Pittsburgh to a 6-2 start. This season is shaping up to be their best in years.

Last game, Pickett passed for an unbelievable 519 yards with a 70.9% completion rate! The fact that he passed for that many yards with a completion rate still above 70% speaks to his potential.

Burrow Comparisons

Along with Pickett’s success this year, many comparisons have been made with him and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. They were veterans with starting experience.

Also, both were average at best before their breakout senior years. Similarly, they both possess similar traits of a strong arm and pocket awareness.

Finally, both were projected to be late-round picks at best, and both made a rapid rise up the draft board. Now the question remains, how far will Pickett rise?

Draft Outlook

The Pittsburgh quarterback has a chance to be the first quarterback selected in April. There isn’t a definitive elite QB in this year’s draft class like there has been in years past with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert.

There is a chance that a quarterback isn’t even selected in the top ten picks. If Pickett continues to impress, he could be the first quarterback taken. He has the intangibles to do it as well as the stats. With a relatively easy remaining schedule, the stats will continue to increase.

Several teams could be looking for a new quarterback in the draft. For instance, Washington, New York, Detroit, Houston, Carolina, Atlanta, and New Orleans will be looking for an upgrade. With Pickett playing in a stronger Power 5 conference, he is shaping up to be a great prospect.

Recently, PFF mocked Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late first round. That selection makes a lot of sense. Pickett would be staying in-state, and the Steelers desperately need a quarterback with Big Ben’s recent decline this year.

Several other teams interested in Pickett are Washington, New York, Detroit, Houston, Carolina, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

Pickett’s next test will come against 3-5 Duke on Saturday. Be sure to tune in.