MOBILE, Ala. — Jim Nagy has been around the NFL for a long time, serving as a scout for a couple of NFL teams for nearly 20 years, and he’s seen his fair share of talented prospects pass through Mobile, Alabama on the way to the NFL Draft.
Nagy told Kenny Pickett last year around this time that if he were to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, he’d likely be a Day Three selection. So, Pickett went back to Pitt. And it may have been the best decision of Pickett’s life — although, his new fiancée may say otherwise.
With an incredible Heisman-worthy super senior season at Pitt, Pickett solidified himself as a legit first round prospect, and Nagy sees some similarities with another fast-rising first round draft pick.
“I know that just the way he’s wired, spending time around him and the kind of guy he is, talking with the guys at Manning Camp that have been around him and the guys at Pitt, he’s going to crush this process,” Nagy said. “I think he’s already starting to in the interviews right now. He’s got a really cool way about him. Kind of reminds me a little bit of Burrow, when I got to know Joe through this process. Guys just gravitate to him. He’s a leader. It comes easy to him. So this is the start of a big week for him.”
Burrow’s meteoric rise from Ohio State backup to Heisman-winner at LSU is well-documented, and he put together one of the best seasons by a quarterback in college football history. The first overall pick in 2020 has already led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance, so perhaps it’s an unfair comparison, but Pickett certainly isn’t complaining.
“That’s a hell of a comparison,” Pickett said. “I’m going to have to have Jim intro me like that everywhere I go. That was a heck of an intro. He’s a heck of a player, obviously at the college level and now what he’s doing in the NFL. I had a chance to be roommates with him at the Manning camp. I talked to him toward the end of our season at Pitt. A great guy, obviously a great role model to have going into the NFL.”
Pickett compared his style of play to Burrow’s, highlighting solid mobility with the ability to extend plays and still hit guys open from inside the pocket. The mental aspect of the game, which both Nagy and Pickett touched upon, is another similar area of strength.
“He’s a mobile guy,” Pickett said. “He’s really accurate from the pocket. We’re both not Lamar Jackson, but we can move around and extend some plays and find guys down field. That’s a huge piece and then really the mental aspect, the game is definitely slowing down for him. You can just tell by the way he’s playing. That’s where I got to the point this season at Pitt at the college level. I want to streamline the process as much I can to get to that level at the NFL as fast as I can.”
Editor’s note: Alan Saunders contributed to this report from Mobile, Ala.