40 time: 4.85
Snapshot: Considered a mid-round possibility heading into his senior season, Pickett rolled the dice on an extra season and used available COVID eligibility to return to school. The decision paid off handsomely, as he transformed from a middling producer into a Heisman finalist and high first-round prospect. After topping out at 13 passing touchdowns in 2019 and 2020, he went on to throw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns in 2021 while securing a Senior Bowl invite and earning second team All-American honors. Has played a lot of football, with 49 career starts (32-17 record), with 12,303 passing yards and 81 touchdowns.
Pickett opted not to have his hand measured in Mobile - delaying the requirement for the Scouting Combine - but his substandard hand size is a serious ball-security variable. However, there are examples - Joe Burrow is one of them - of quarterbacks thriving even in cooler weather environs with smaller-than-ideal hands for the position.
The hand chatter overshadows Pickett's ability and competitive fire. He could be a match for the QB needy Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons, the two teams who sent full management-to-assistant contingents to Pickett's pro day.
Strengths: Keeps his eyes downfield when pressured but won't shy away from using his legs to pick up yardage. Very natural thrower on the run and it doesn't hinder his accuracy. Ball placement took a tremendous leap from 2020 to 2021. Feel for pressure is polished, and his internal clock is good. Smart decision-maker who won't force throws when he doesn't have leverage. Incredible toughness in the pocket and as a runner (20 career rushing touchdowns). Confident and raises the level of those around him. Believes he's never out of a game.
Weaknesses: His setup-to-release quickness needs to speed up as a pro. Small hand size is abnormally rare for an NFL quarterback. Only has one year of high-level tape and was a late bloomer relative to others in the class. Can attack tight windows with accuracy, but arm is sufficient by NFL standards - not a standout trait, which is a concern when overconfidence enters the equation.
Pro comparison: Joe Burrow, Bengals -- Pickett's quick climb to stardom will draw parallels to Burrow's ascent, and the traits are eerily similar as well. While his athleticism and arm talent are only modest, Pickett shares a uncanny feel for navigating pressure and making accurate throws from tough spots. He is never rattled and plays with a level of control that is rare in young quarterbacks.