The 2022 NFL Draft is still months away, with NFL teams still battling for a Super Bowl berth in Los Angeles at the beginning of next month, but that hasn’t stopped mock draft season from kicking off in full force.
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett has been mocked all over the first round, with many analysts either ranking him as the top-ranked quarterback in the draft or among the very best and with a draft class lacking a slam-dunk top quarterback, Pickett is a contender to be drafted quite high.
CBS Sports’ Kyle Stackpole mocked Pickett to the New York Giants with the fifth selection of the first round, making him the first quarterback selection and Pitt’s would-be highest selection since Larry Fitzgerald went third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft.
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 16, 2022
Stackpole brought out the New York’s front office and coaching instability in allowing the Giants to potentially move on from incumbent Daniel Jones, writing:
“Had Joe Judge stayed, I think the Giants would have given Daniel Jones a final chance to prove he’s capable of leading the franchise. Judge was fired Tuesday night, however, and with the move went Jones’ perceived job security. Pickett has experienced a monumental one-year rise up draft boards thanks to his Heisman finalist campaign, but he is simply not a top-five quarterback prospect in most years. That said, the new Giants brass will have the fifth and seventh picks and will likely be hard pressed to move back. Plus, with the Panthers choosing in between them, there’s a chance they could lose Pickett to Carolina. If Pickett is New York’s top-rated quarterback, there’s a chance the franchise goes all-in on him here.”
In a quarterback class without a consensus top-ranked prospect and lack of top-tier depth like previous classes, Pickett could either be a quarterback that teams gamble on if their scouts project him highly or a quarterback who falls down into the back end of first round or further.
With two Top 10 picks, the Giants could use their draft capital to secure a quarterback and offensive lineman to shore up the offense as was projected by Stackpole — if a new general manager and head coach decide to move on from Jones.
If Pickett were to land in New York, he’d likely be thrust into a starting spot early in his career, as the Giants’ backup situation is bleak. While the New York market is much, much bigger than Pittsburgh’s, Pickett would be closer to his hometown of Oakhurst, New Jersey.
Of course, a mock draft in the middle of January holds no real value, and with the Senior Bowl, Pro Days and the NFL Combine to come, along with the conclusion of the 2021-22 season, a lot is going to change. Pickett being mocked in the first round of NFL Mock Drafts won’t though.