UPDATE: The Eagles had dinner with Kenny Pickett ahead of Monday’s pro day, per NFL Network.
Kenny Pickett’s effort today was for all intents flawless. He ran through a 56-throw script, one that ran from anticipation throws to those that showed off his arm strength. He had meetings w/ eight teams from 9am-9:30pm yesterday (dinner was on the #Eagles!) and has more today.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 21, 2022
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
Striking out on Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson hardly means the Philadelphia Eagles won’t be adding a new face to their quarterback room this offseason.
Look no further than Jalen Hurts’ mere presence on their roster as evidence. The Birds were willing to draft a passer with a second-round pick while they thought they already had a franchise QB under contract for multiple years. Hurts currently finds himself on less solid ground than Carson Wentz did at that time. Especially when one considers the Eagles’ serious interest in Watson and Wilson.
The QB Factory never sleeps, baby.
On that note, one must expect the Eagles will be doing their research — as they should be — on quarterback prospects from the 2022 NFL Draft. Though the group is hardly heralded, it’s not up to the Eagles to fall in line with such group-think. They must reach that determination (or not) on their own.
Sure enough, we have evidence of the Eagles doing their homework on this year’s passing prospects. The latest development involves Philly sending quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson to attend Pittsburgh’s pro day. Johnson will be getting a first-hand look at Kenny Pickett.
BGN draft writer Ben Natan recently wrote about the redshirt senior (and lifelong Eagles fan):
What he does well: Kenny Pickett exploded in 2021. After years of being a solid starter for Pitt, Pickett took off and threw for 42 touchdowns, playing his way into the Heisman conversation. Pickett’s production came from Pitt letting him loose and giving him the green light to challenge all parts of the field. Pickett never shied away from tight windows or contested situations, always trusting his talented receivers. Pickett’s aggressive passing style combined with a great hold on the offense to deliver such a great season.
Where he can improve: Pickett’s physical tools are solid, but not in the top tier that is typically needed to be an upper level passer. His late blooming at Pitt necessitates questions about what held him back early in his career and if his advanced age as a prospect contributed to his dominance. On the field, Pickett can improve dealing with pressure in the pocket. Takes too many sacks.
NFL Comparison: Kevin Kolb
Here’s an additional scouting report on Pickett from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
Pickett has five years of game experience and four years of starting experience for Pitt. He’s a fairly toolsy pocket passer with good mobility. He operated in a passing scheme featuring vertical concepts that created big-play opportunities but left food on the plate when he failed to play chess against the back-end of the coverage. Pickett works with average anticipation but drives the ball with good velocity, which should help him shine in pre-draft passing drills. Pickett’s touch and placement need work, but his accuracy stats were damaged by an inordinate amount of drops throughout his career. The top indicator for future success or failure will likely rest in a team’s ability to build Pickett’s trust, poise and discipline from the pocket. He can make all the throws, but he’ll only be able to execute against disguised fronts and NFL pressure if he’s willing to hang in and win with his eyes first. He carries a boom/bust label, but the 2021 tape and productivity showed off his potential to become a good starter in time.
NFL comparison: Andy Dalton (in prime years)
It should be noted that this is hardly the first time the Eagles have notably showed interest in Pickett. Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni were among the team’s contingent that watched him during Senior Bowl practices. Roseman also traveled to Pittsburgh to watch Pickett face off against Sam Howell during the Eagles’ 2021 season.
The description of Pickett as a low-ceiling, high-floor prospect doesn’t make him especially appetizing for the Eagles. With Hurts already in the fold, they don’t need another “safe” option at quarterback. They’d be better off taking a chance on someone’s upside.
But perhaps the Eagles feel Pickett has more potential than he’s being given credit for.
At the very least, we know they’re putting effort into evaluating him. And Pickett might not be the only passer the Eagles are seen paying attention to this week:
A busy week ahead for the NFL draft process, as 4 of the top QBs have their Pro Day:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 21, 2022
Monday: Kenny Pickett, Pitt
Tuesday: Malik Willis, Liberty
Wednesday: Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Thursday: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
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