ESPN’s Mel Kiper may have been slightly quicker to the draw on proclaiming Pitt’s Kenny Pickett as the top-ranked quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft, his colleague Todd McShay has come to the same conclusion a few weeks later.
McShay released his first Top 32 prospect ranking in late October, slotting Pickett as his third-ranked quarterback, but he’s moved him all the way up to No. 1 after another month of evaluation — although Pickett — or any quarterback now — doesn’t crack the Top 10.
Massive changes in this updated version of 2022 Top-32, including a new QB1. Here’s a look… https://t.co/rhACWLdXkY
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) November 16, 2021
After ranking as McShay’s 27th-ranked recruit in his first Top 32 list of the season, Pickett’s jump spanned quite a great distance across his NFL Draft big board. In facilitating Pickett’s jump, McShay wrote about why he feels Pickett is the top-ranked quarterback in the class:
“A new No. 1 quarterback in the class! Pickett has really come on this season, currently sitting sixth in the country in Total QBR (84.0). His 3,517 passing yards are fifth, and his 32 passing TDs are fourth. He has four interceptions over 10 games, and he has completed 67.5% of his passes. His arm strength and pocket mobility are average areas in his game, but his toughness in the pocket, fast eyes on progressions and awareness in holding the safety stand out. His decision-making is improving after back-to-back seasons with 13-to-9 TD-INT ratios. And Pickett flashes some second-reaction ability, too, scrambling when he needs to create.”
Pickett’s stats (ranking fifth nationally in passing yards at 3,517 yards, fourth nationally in passing touchdowns at 32, and seventh in passing efficiency at 169.6 is even misleading — ranking third in the nation among quarterbacks with at least 300 passing attempts) highlight his sensational redshirt senior season, but it’s the intangibles that have made him stand out this season.
Pickett’s toolset of arm strength, overall passing ability, mobility and leadership in guiding Pitt to an 8-2 season with a chance to clinch an ACC Coastal title has drawn eyes from across the nation this season.
To many draft analysts, his excellent redshirt senior season and intangible leadership has led to first-round hype — including both ESPN’s Kiper and McShay now.