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 will be doing several different contextualizations on Pickett from his time at the University of Pittsburgh between now and the start of training camp and the first one I have completed centers around his “Big Time” throws from the 2021 season.
So, what is a “Big Time” throw? Well, below is the definition that Pro Football Focus gives that term:
“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 out of the way, let it be known that Pickett registered 27 such throws during the 2021 season, according to PFF. His 27 “Big Time” throws ranked tied for 9th overall in the FBS in 2021. His “Big Time” throw rate of 5.2% was outside of the top 40 for 2021, however, according to PFF rankings.
Below is a tabled breakdown of those 27 throws 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 3 being between the hashes. 1 and 5 is outside the numbers while 2 and 4 designates throws between the numbers and the outside hashmark.
The thing that sticks out about the data is that all 27 of Pickett’s “Big Time” throws came with him either in the shotgun (24) or in pistol (3). That’s not overly surprising, however, based on the current culture in college football.
The next thing that sticks out is that 16 of Pickett’s “Big Time” throws in 2021 went to star wide receiver Jordan Addison. Once again, not a huge surprise and especially with Addison being a top FBS wide receiver.
Next, four of the 27 “Big Time” throws that Pickett made in 2021 were dropped by the target with Addison having two of those. Additionally, 12 of them resulted in touchdowns with Addison being in the receiving end of seven of them.
Pickett did use all area of the field as part of his 27 “Big Time” throws. 17 went between the numbers on the field with six of those being between the hashmarks. The other 10 went outside the numbers so a healthy mix indeed.
Finally, the average depth of target of these 27 “Big Time” throws in 2021 by Pickett was 32.8 yards from launce point. His longest “Big Time” throw in 2021 was 45 air yards from launch point against New Hampshire and his shortest was 17 air yards against Miami.
Make sure you click the video links for each of the 27 plays below to get an even better context of the “Big Time” throws Pickett had in 2021.