It’s the Atlanta Falcons’ bye week, which means it’s a good time to turn our attention to the lasted mock drafts out there.
And thankfully, Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling released a shiny new three-round mock draft just in time. Easterling doesn’t have Atlanta taking Matt Ryan’s future replacement right away in the first round––instead, they turn to Texas A&M defensive lineman––DeMarvin Leal at No.8 overall.
From there, Easterling has the Falcons continuing to bolster their defense in the second round with Ohio State edge Zach Harrison and then, Pittsburgh quarterback from Kenny Pickett with their second pick in round two–––the most intriguing and underrated pick here that we will dive deeper into. And lastly, Easterling tops off his mock draft with Atlanta selecting Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams in the third round.
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Pickett’s Impressive 2021 Season
Since signing with the University of Pittsburgh’s 2017 class, Pickett has made a name for himself. But this season has him turning heads.
The Panthers star has accounted for 19 touchdowns to just one interception so far this season and is currently holds the highest PFF grade in the nation, which has some very important people talking and calling him a dark horse Heisman candidate.
As a 2020 senior, Pickett was on track to enter the 2021 draft, but he failed to produce the numbers that scouts wanted to see due to an ankle injury. As a result, he took full advantage of eligibility granted by the NCAA, “thanks” to the pandemic.
Before entering a bye week, the Panthers smacked Georgia Tech 52-21 on Saturday, Oct. 2, and in that game alone, Pickett threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns.
Following the win, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi gave him the Heisman nod.
“He should be a Heisman candidate,” Narduzzi said, via ESPN. “It’s what he is right now. The guy is so smooth, he’s so calm. … He’s a smart football player, and it takes time to get that where you want it to be. He’s put the work in and he deserves what he’s getting right now.”
Pickett is also setting new benchmarks as a super senior and has thrown 15 touchdown passes over the last three games, breaking Dan Marino’s school record for most TD passes in a three-game stretch (13 in 1981).
Also through that three-game stretch, Pickett has thrown at least four TD passes––the longest streak by any ACC quarterback since Seattle’s Russell Wilson did it for NC State back in 2009.
Heading into Week 6 of CFB, Pickett currently ranks top five in the nation through seven different categories, including passing yards per game (346.2), pass efficiency, passing yards (1,731), passing TDs (19), total offense (374.6 YPG), Total QBR and TDs responsible for (21).
If you want to catch a glimpse of the dark horse QB yourself, Pickett and Co. take on Virginia Tech on the road Saturday, Oct. 12.