The Pittsburgh Steelers selected quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and with him now secured we are getting a chance to dive even deeper into his tape of his college career. I have started doing several different contextualizations on Pickett from his time at the University of Pittsburgh to release between now and the start of training camp, and the first one I have completed centers around his “Big Time” throws. My first in this series focused on Pickett’s 2021 “Big Time” throws and now this post will focus on his 2020 “Big Time” throws.
Just as a reminder, below is the definition that Pro Football Focus gives for a “Big Time” throw:
“In its simplest terms, a big-time throw is on the highest end of both difficulty and value. While the value is easy to see statistically, the difficulty has more to do with passes that have a lower completion percentage the further the ball is thrown down the field. Therefore, the big-time throw is best described as a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window.”
With the definition of a “Big Time” throw now revisited, let it be known that Pickett registered 10 such throws during the 2020 season, according to PFF. This small number is obviously somewhat related to the pandemic. Even so, those 10 “Big Time” throws ranked him way down the list in the FBS in 2020. Even in the ACC, Pickett’s total number of “Big Time” throws was outside the top 10. His 2.8% “Big Time” throw percentage ranked 24th overall in the ACC, according to PFF.
Below is a tabled breakdown of those 10 throws made by Pickett in 2020, and each one includes a link to the television tape of the play. The contextualized data below also includes Pickett’s alignment for each play (under center, shotgun or pistol) and if play action was used. Additionally, the area of the field is also indicated for each throw, with three being between the hashes. One and five are outside the numbers, while two and four designates throws between the numbers and the outside hashmark.
The thing that sticks out again about the data is that 9 of 10 of Pickett’s “Big Time” throws came with him either in the shotgun (eight) or in pistol (one). Only one came from him being under center. That’s not overly surprising, however, based on the current culture in college football.
The next thing that sticks out is that nine of Pickett’s “Big Time” throws in 2020 came on a 1st and 10 situation. Three of his throws resulted in touchdowns.
Pickett did use all areas of the field as part of his 10 “Big Time” throws in 2020. Five went between the numbers on the field, with two of those being between the hashmarks. The other five went outside the numbers, so a healthy mix indeed.
Finally, the average depth of target of these 10 “Big Time” throws in 2020 by Pickett was 30 yards from the line of scrimmage. His longest “Big Time” throw in 2020 was 41 air yards against Austin Peay, and his shortest was 20 air yards against Syracuse.
Make sure you click the video links for each of the 10 plays below to get an even better context of the “Big Time” throws Pickett had in 2020.