Simms' Top 40 QBs: No. 25, Kenny Pickett

Chris Simms and Ahmed Fareed explain why Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller Kenny Pickett belongs in the "Backup Supremes" tier of NFL quarterbacks, ahead of the likes of Brock Purdy.

Video Transcript

- You had this next quarterback at 39 on your list last year.


- He has moved up into the top 25. Your number 25 quarterback is.

CHRIS SIMMS: Is Kenny Pickett from the Pittsburgh Steelers, right? Kenny Pickett, man, you know, it's a perfect example of him and Brock Purdy, right? Like, you know, this is where I want to be like, hey, people, do you really think, like, Kenny Pickett couldn't gone to San Francisco and done some of that stuff there? Come on now, come on.

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You know, the situation and all that, and that's why I'm here to decipher this for you. Kenny Pickett's arm is better than Brock Purdy's. Kenny Pickett's release is better than Brock Purdy's. Kenny Pickett the athlete is better than Brock Purdy. He's also bigger than Brock Purdy, right? And I would say, from pure drop back passing offense, you know, I think it's disputable. I might edge Kenny Pickett, as far as reading the field, and going through progressions quickly, and going in that way. You know, yeah, Pickett's pretty damn good. Pickett's ability to throw the ball into tight little short windows is phenomenal, you know?

Hey, all you got to do is what do they think of him? I mean, they-- let him throw it 35 and 40 times a game, you know, during the season. They trusted him. They couldn't run the ball. So they were, like, hey, hey, we'll let him make quick decisions, get the ball out of his hands, and we'll kind of play that way. It's usually entrusted into a veteran type of quarterback.

So those are signals that are telling me that they think this of him. And that's where I don't think Kenny Pickett quite gets the, you know, maybe the credit he deserves there. His arm, it's not superstar arm, but it's damn good. It's better than, like, what I said with Brock Purdy. He could make all the throws. He definitely can.

Now, does he need to improve on some of those power throws? Definitely. Does he need to be a little bit more aggressive with his mentality on some of the aggressive down-the-field power throws type of plays? Yes. You know, there was a ton made of, like, when Mitch Trubisky is in there, that there was plays being left down the field. I don't-- and Kenny Pickett got in and they threw the ball shorter. But nobody called Kenny Pickett out. That kind of bothered me last year.


- Yeah.

CHRIS SIMMS: You know, it did. It's like, wait, wait, wait, Trubisky doesn't throw it enough. Bench him, and we bring somebody else in, he throws it shorter, nobody says anything. And that, to me, is, like, you know, BS. But either way, he did a very good job for the situation he was throwing into.

- I think it is interesting comparing the numbers for Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky last year. Of course, Kenny Pickett had more games and more opportunities. But, yeah, the pass yards per attempt was lower for Kenny Pickett then Mitch Trubisky. And I do think it was a little bit of a-- of a letdown for Steelers fans. Cause they were hoping for this big jump in the offense. And then I think the blame started to go to the offensive play caller. And who was it, Canada there.



- So it's, like, I do think that Steeler fans did feel a little underwhelmed by what they saw first year from Kenny Pickett.

CHRIS SIMMS: I'm still, you know, up in the air, as you could tell. And that's why I got him here at, you know, number 25. There are some things I like, certainly. But I'm not blown away by-- you know, it's shitty how, like, you know, the perception or whatever the world we're in kind of dictates this conversation. Something like, Brock Purdy, we never expect him to be here. So I say all these glowing things about him, right, you know?

Kenny Pickett's a first-round pick. And he's here and we're kind of like, eh, it could've been better, right?

- Yeah.


CHRIS SIMMS: That's kind of messed up that way. All right? But, yeah.

- Yeah, life is all about expectations.

CHRIS SIMMS: Expectations are--

- I've learned that.

CHRIS SIMMS: --a big-- right? It's a big part of that.

- It's all about what are you expecting, and then is it better or worse than that?

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah. And those are things that I need to see more. I do. I do, and in all of those categories I talked about. Let alone, hey, being able to take some punishment and all that, that's something that I worry about as well. He's got to get a little thicker and a little more muscle on his frame altogether. He did have the concussion issues this year. So that's an issue.


But as far as playing the position, and playing within the pocket, seeing the field, make the right decisions, make the appropriate throws, like, man, he's really good in that department.

- Yeah.

CHRIS SIMMS: Now it's like, we got to start making plays and making a few plays to get the team over the hump in some close football games.

- He led some game-winning drives, against the Raiders, Ravens, in back-to-back games, didn't have much of a running game.


- So, you know, if he can improve that part of the game, maybe it's better for Kenny Pickett. So-- and, yeah, you've been critical of that offensive system there with Matt Cannon in the past.


CHRIS SIMMS: Definitely. That's--

- So some things working against him last year.

CHRIS SIMMS: --big year there. right.

- But he was replacing a legend in Ben Roethlisberger. I think we have the numbers from Big Ben in his last year and the numbers for Kenny Pickett. The percentage of passes past the first down line, I mean, that was the Big Ben's big thing last year. It was, like, 34% of the time, it's just like, eh-- just dump off. I mean, Pickett was a little bit better, but not much better. And so you know who was probably happy that he didn't light the world on fire? Actually, I know he was happy that he didn't like it we're all fire. It was Ben Roethlisberger.


CHRIS SIMMS: Oh, gosh.

- Because he said, did you see this on his podcast? He goes, I probably shouldn't say this, but who cares at this point. He goes, I wouldn't say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail. But, like, when someone comes to replace you and you still feel like I had it, I hope he doesn't come and ball out. Because then it's like, Ben who? So that's what Big Ben said on the podcast. And let me just be the first to say, I honestly give him some credit for saying that.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I hear ya.

- Because I think that's a very natural thing to feel.

CHRIS SIMMS: It is. It is. It is a natural thing to feel. I want to go, you don't need to worry. You're a legend. You're going into the Hall of Fame, right? First ballot.


- But it just shows you that if-- yeah, you're right.

CHRIS SIMMS: Even them.

- If a guy like him is thinking that, like, if you're thinking that at home about anything. Like, someone comes in, you know, your job, and you're working at an office somewhere, and it's just, like, you're an accountant, and then be like, hey, did you see, you know, Phil, over there?

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah. I'm happy he got the opportunity, but I just hope he doesn't do as good as I do, right?

- Yeah, it feels amazing. He does this stuff a lot faster than you did it. You know, it's just like, oh, OK, thanks.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah. It is-- I do give him credit for saying it.


- Yeah.

CHRIS SIMMS: It is. At least he is being honest. What I would just want to say is it was like, hey, man, you're cemented in stone. You're the man. Don't worry. Like, it's-- you don't I have anybody that's doubting you. You were the man for a long time. But, yeah, it's his first year out. It's infringing on his territory.

And I get that. I mean, gosh, I just think about my dad when his career ended with the Giants and Dave Brown and Ken grant, you know, yeah, I definitely didn't want them. I'm sure my dad had the same feelings too. He didn't want them to come in and, like, hit the ground running and go to the Pro Bowl, right, something like that. Nobody wants to see that. So, eh, we'll give him-- I'm with you, I'll give him some credit for saying it out loud.

- You know why? Because I guarantee-- and I've actually heard some athletes say this-- that when you're on a team, and say you're entrenched as being the starter, right, and then you're kind of struggling. And then you're benched, right? I know the thing to say is, like, yes, I'm rooting for the team to win. And you are rooting for the team to win. But, man, oh, man, do you really want to see your backup go out there and crush it while you're on the bench? I mean, it's a tough situation.


- It's your livelihood for these guys, you know?

CHRIS SIMMS: It is, exactly right.

- And Ben's not playing anymore. But I'm just saying, even for people on the team, it's a tough situation.

CHRIS SIMMS: It is. It is a very tough situation. It's not easy to deal. And, yeah, you have to fight against the urges of being a hater, a little bit, and take the bigger picture and do like, OK, wait, no, this is my team. I still got a lot of people I care for on this team. And I want to see positive things happen. And I'll get, you know, my crack once again. But that's the-- yes, the frustrating thing about football. And it's-- can be tough on your psyche.