Eagles show more than passing interest in Kenny Pickett

On Monday, Kenny Pickett had his pro day at the University of Pittsburgh. the The eagles were there, as do the Panthers, who hold the No. 6 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Falcons (No. 8) and the Seahawks (No. 9). The day before, Sunday, Pickett had met the Steelers (No. 20), the Seahawks, the Titans (No. 26), a whole series of people from the Washington Commanders (No. 11), the Saints (No. 18) and the Eagles (#15, #16 and #19) were last.

One thing that needs to be crushed: No NFL team has asked the 6-foot-3, 217-pound Pitt the size of his hand, nor has Pitt’s head coach Pat Narduzzi.

“Nobody asks Kenny, and nobody asks me his hand size, there’s not a trainer, or GM, or a scout who said a word about Kenny’s hand size,” Narduzzi said. . “It’s a media thing, that’s what we thought. The Eagles are obviously interested. Many teams are interested. He may not come out of the top six.

Instead of going into the draft last year, Pickett opted to go back to school. It has become a profitable choice. Pickett won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, was named to the Associated Press All-American Second Team, ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year and was a Heisman finalist, in addition to win a Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien Award.

Pickett brought Pitt football back to national prominence with a record year passing for 47 touchdowns in leading the Panthers to their first ACC championship. He ranked sixth in the FBS with a school-best 4,319 passing yards and fourth with 334 completions (497 attempts, 67.2%); among with an ACC record 42 passing touchdowns, to seven interceptions. He also broke Pitt’s career records for passing yards (12,303) and NFL Hall of Fame Dan Marino’s record for career touchdown passes (81).

“Kenny showed it all, he’s got the talent, the guts, the feet, the arm, he’s the complete package,” Narduzzi said. “There are other quarterbacks who are good players, but no one is more complete than Kenny Pickett. I’ve had a bunch of scouts tell me there’s no one more competitive than Kenny Pickett. I would be shocked if there was another quarterback taken (in the NFL Draft) before him.

“All these NFL teams are throwing smokescreens, how they like certain guys, and it’s kind of like poker, right? No one has their straight face when it comes to Kenny. I’ve had several scouts tell me there’s no one (in this project) more prepared than Kenny. I had a general manager tell me that they see Kenny going to number 6 in Carolina. Kenny is a leader, he’s someone the guys rally around, and he’ll make everyone around him better.

Pickett is a vocal leader, Narduzzi said, who when he speaks, people listen.

“When you think of leadership, you think of Kenny,” Narduzzi said. “Kenny Pickett is going to make somebody a really good quarterback and he’s going to be there for the next 10 years. The Eagles are interested. But like I said, a lot of teams are interested.

Pickett, who is expected to reach No. 6 at Carolina in the early 20s, where the Steelers pick, might not be there when the Eagles pick at No. 15. Or will Eagles general manager Howie Roseman succeed? there another deal to go up and have it?

It’s really anyone’s guess as the NFL Draft approaches on Thursday, April 28.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature articles for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep”. He is best known for his award-winning article on ESPN.com about high school wrestler AJ Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.