Kenny Pickett’s quarterback trainer, Tony Racioppi, refers to the former Pittsburgh signal-caller as “Johnny Consistent” and that’s a solid way to sum up how Senior Bowl week went for him—he didn’t do anything to hurt himself or raise his draft stock.
Maybe at first glance, a performance like that doesn’t exactly carry a positive connotation for a quarterback who was expected by many to come into Mobile and stake his claim to an open QB1 spot in a way that couldn’t be debated. But while he may not have exactly had a ton of standout moments, what he did show is that he’s going to be the same guy day in and day out—outside of some struggles he went through on day two of practices with heavy wind and rain, which were shared by several other quarterbacks.
And that quality of consistency is not only underrated but is the epitome of what a quarterback with a high floor should be—the same quarterback on every play even if he’s not wowing you on the ground or completing 60-yard passes down the field left and right. Those are the types of players who typically make it in the NFL and are usually, at worst, high-end backups and at best quarterbacks who manage the game well, expand upon their traits, and become some of the best in the league.
Pickett’s consistency travels far beyond a one-week showcase, though. It’s been evident ever since the beginning of a meteoric rise that’s similar to the one current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had in his final season at LSU after sitting on the bench in his early career at Ohio State and having a largely average season with the Tigers before the magic that was 2019. So if Pickett, who was far more than a beneficiary of the talent around him or any other outside factors in 2021, can stay on the same trajectory, it’s safe to say he’s on a promising path—Burrow is getting ready to compete in the Super Bowl this weekend in just the second season of his NFL career.
After a season in which he finished with a 67.2% completion percentage, 4,319 passing yards, 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions with eight games with 300-plus passing yards, Pickett is ready to contribute for a team no matter what that looks like.
Even though there are several analysts out there who deem him as the top dog and while he’s found a place in the spotlight for the past several months, he’s been on both sides as far as levels of attention go and will be ready to go out there and lead a team to victory or take the role of a sponge and better himself in ways that don’t include throwing the football in his first year.
“There are benefits to both (sitting and starting in your rookie season),” Pickett told reporters. “There’s learning by experience and then learning by watching and taking the mental reps. I’m prepared to do both, whatever the team needs me to do. If that’s to play, I’ll be as prepared as I can be. If that’s to sit and learn, I’ll learn as best as I can and be ready when my time comes. I’ve been in both situations previously so I’m experienced in both areas and know how to go about my business in that way.”