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Kenny Pickett Named NFL’s Least-Clutch Quarterback

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback has not played that many games in the NFL so far. In fact, he has only played in seven games, starting six. However, that has not stopped him from ending on many different lists and seeing a lot of criticism. 

Pickett today made his debut on CBS Sports “NFL Clutch QB Index” written and ranked by Douglas Clawson. Pickett finished dead last in the ranking which is based on QB conversion rate on game-tying or go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter or overtime and passer rating in the fourth quarter or overtime of a one score game. 

Writing on Pickett, Clawson referenced the rookie’s poor passer rating and low conversion rate to justify his 32nd ranking. 

Pickett debuts in last place in our rankings after building up enough sample size to qualify” Claswson wrote. “He’s only converted on 1-of-8 chances to tie or take the lead late this year and has a 42.2 passer rating in late, close games — worst in the league.” 

Those numbers are certainly poor, and the Miami Dolphins game is the game that sticks out most when looking at Pickett’s lack of clutchness. However, the Bengals game certainly did not help him and was the game that ended up landing him on this list. Yet, the Steelers inability to take the lead in the fourth quarter was not on Pickett. 

Looking at his two opportunities when it was a one score game the fourth quarter last Sunday, one drive started off great with a 33-yard bomb to George Pickens quickly got derailed due to a poorly executed flea flicker, a run on second and long, and then a sack. 

The Steelers then got a stop and had the ball in good field position but ended up shooting themselves in the foot and a first and ten from the Cincinnati 34 turned into a 3rd and 25 from the Cincinnati 49 in the blink of an eye. 

I am certainly not saying Pickett should be a top ten or even top 20 clutch quarterback. In fact, I still think it is way too early to tell. The Bengals game was a wash to me due to bad play calling and penalties, and the only other games we can really look at for Pickett are his first game against the New York Jets, the Dolphins game, and the victory over the New Orleans Saints. The Jets and Dolphins game he absolutely played poorly in the clutch, but in the Saints game he was fine, albeit the Steelers always had the lead. I just think it is too early to be able to say Pickett is less clutch than Sam Darnold and Davis Mills. Maybe Pickett will end up being worse in clutch moments than them, but as of now I just don’t think there is a big enough sample size when looking at the situations he has been in. 

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