Kenny Pickett thinks he’ll be first QB taken in draft

College Football, Kenny Pickett, NFL, Pittsburgh Panthers

Regardless of opinions about talent and questions about varying hand-size measurements, logic suggests some team will either spend a top-10 pick on a to-be rookie quarterback or acquire such a selection to take a signal-caller on the opening night of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28. 

Numerous experts expect that either former Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis of the Liberty Flames will be the first player at the sport’s most important position to go off the board. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Pickett explained during a recent appearance on “Breneman Shows Up” with Adam Breneman why he believes he’ll be the top quarterback taken in this year’s draft class. 

“I think there’s a lot of reasons for it,” Pickett said of that opinion. “You look at the game now and how it’s changing. . . . I’m a mobile guy that [played] in a West Coast pro-style system. I started at a program that was 5-7 the first year I was in. We left as ACC champions, 11-2. So I know how to win. I know the process it takes to get there. It’s never an easy thing and I’ll make that transition, I feel like, faster in the NFL now because [of] that experience . . . that I know how to go about my business as a pro, kind of being an older guy. At the end of the day, that’s what . . . coming around to the position, it’s like, ‘Can you win? Do you know how to handle all the things it takes to be a quarterback?’ I definitely do. So I think I am QB1.” 

In their latest mock drafts, Chris Trapasso, Josh Edwards and Kyle Stackpole of CBS Sports all predicted the Carolina Panthers will draft Pickett sixth overall, while CBS’s Pete Prisco and Ryan Wilson had the Panthers taking Willis. Carolina general manager Scott Fitterer has admitted the Panthers “do need a quarterback” to at least sit behind current starter Sam Darnold. It’s also possible the New Orleans Saints just completed a trade to acquire additional draft capital so they can move up to select a quarterback on April 28. 

“Saints was a good one,” Pickett told Breneman when asked about interviews he had during the NFL Scouting Combine. “Saints was really good. I mean, they would try and give you a long play call. You got to stand up, call it like you’re at a huddle, and then you got to watch film. Then it’d be like, ‘What was that play call again?’ They try to bounce you all over the place. That was a good one. And it was the same with the Senior Bowl. They do a good job.”

For a piece published on March 22, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. had Pickett falling to the Saints in the late teens of the draft, but that was before Monday’s trade involving New Orleans and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

New Orleans currently has Jameis Winston atop the depth chart, with veteran Andy Dalton serving as QB2.  

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