If Pro Football Focus’s Mike Renner is correct, Pitt redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett won’t have to move much — if at all — to play football next year.
Renner projected a couple of quarterbacks to be selected in the first round of his latest 2022 mock draft, and he slotted Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 21st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — the third quarterback selected behind Ole Miss’s Matt Corral and Liberty’s Malik Willis.
— PFF (@PFF) November 1, 2021
Pickett was a Day 3 selection, according to most outlets, in the 2021 NFL Draft, and it’s clear his decision to return for his fifth season has paid dividends.
Despite a loss to Miami over the weekend, effectively ending any hope of a Pitt appearance in the College Football Playoff, it’s been a banner season for Pickett. He’s passed for 2,755 yards and 26 touchdowns on 207-of-299 passing attempts. He’s completed just over 69 percent of passing attempts at 9.2 yards per attempt with just three interceptions.
He’s also rushed for 185 yards and three more touchdowns on 64 attempts to increase his touchdown totals to 29.
According to PFF, Pickett is the third-rated quarterback in the nation this season. His 92.7 rating is just behind Oklahoma’s Caleb Williams and Liberty’s Malik Willis. His 92.9 passing rating is just behind Williams — and Williams has only started three games this season after entering in relief of Spencer Rattler against Texas earlier in October.
Pickett has made impressive strides this season, improving across the board. He’s flashed a precise accuracy across all three levels of the field, an impressive deep ball ranked among the best in the nation and the ability to make any throw required of an NFL quarterback. And while he’s not a true dual-threat quarterback, but he’s more than mobile enough to extend plays with his legs.
With the Steelers the victors of three in a row, and two favorable matchups on the slate next, the question might be whether or not the Steelers are in a position to land Pickett. With current — and aging — quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a lightning rod among the fan base, the ability to land a potential starting quarterback in the 20s should be exciting for Steelers’ fans.
However, it likely comes down to Big Ben’s plans after this season — which still aren’t known yet.
This story initially appeared on Pittsburgh Sports Now.