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Kenny Pickett Leads Rookie Class in Preseason Stats

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Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

The Pittsburgh Steelers made Kenny Pickett the first quarterback off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft this April, a preference that was not universally held by draft experts, but he has shown good reason for their preference through three preseason games.

Pickett finished the NFL preseason 11th amongst all passers with a 124.7 passer rating, far better than the other candidates to be the top quarterback off the board. 

Among the five quarterbacks considered near the top of the 2022 NFL Draft board, Pickett finished the preseason first in completion percentage, first in touchdowns, had the fewest interceptions and best passer rating.

Comp Att Yards Cmp % Y/A TD Int Rating
Kenny Pickett 29 36 261 80.6 7.3 3 0 124.7
Desmond Ridder 34 56 431 60.7 7.7 3 2 87.7
Sam Howell 43 69 547 62.3 7.9 1 1 85.5
Malik Willis 28 51 261 54.9 7.3 2 1 78.7
Matt Corral 10 24 69 41.7 2.9 0 0 49.3

Of course, it’s not particularly surprising that Pickett was the leader early in the career of those players. A four-year starter at Pitt, he was seen coming out of college as the most pro-ready of the bunch.

But his dominant statistical performance compared to his peers also came in a setting where he was battling to be the Steelers’ starter, and frequently playing with and against first-team competitors, as opposed to late-game mop-up duty.

Pickett did not show as much as his compatriots in the running game. Malik Willis rushed 14 times for 159 yards, Sam Howell carried the ball 13 times for 94 yards and Desmond Ridder scampered eight times for 58 yards. Pickett had just four rushes for 12 yards this preseason.

 

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