While many celebrated the Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of Kenny Pickett in the first round of the NFL Draft, one national outlet is not convinced the pick was the right move. Pro Football Focus unveiled their analysis of each first round selection, and have the Steelers a “below average” grade for their Pickett pick.
“Landing a quarterback without having to trade up is a big win for Pittsburgh, but taking Pickett — in the eyes of PFF — is not,” the PFF staff writes. “He was the No. 4 ranked quarterback in the 2022 class on PFF’s Big Board. There’s some serious concern with how his game is going to translate in the NFL.”
Primarily, PFF has concerns that Pickett held the ball too long at Pitt, and will not be afforded nearly the same time to survey the field in the NFL.
“The Pitt quarterback averaged 3.19 seconds per throw in 2021, tying for the third-slowest mark in the FBS,” PFF writes. “In fact, it would have been the slowest among NFL quarterbacks this past season.”
Even though Pickett burst onto the national scene with the infamous fake slide, they do not believe he has the athleticism to escape that inevitable pressure either.
“While Pickett is a quality athlete, he’s nowhere near dynamic enough to make his hay on the ground in the professional ranks,” they add. “Holding onto the ball often welcomes pressure, and Pickett was charged with 34 pressures this past season, tying for the second-most in the FBS.”
Ultimately, PFF believes success for Pickett will solely be predicated on his ability to speed up his processing, which is no small order.
“He has to be quicker and more decisive with his decision-making instead of panicking and holding onto the ball. And speeding up a quarterback’s processing is easier said than done — it’s a significant issue.”