Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith will be making their rounds to interview several draft prospects at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine in Indy this week – but that doesn’t mean they will actually draft them come April.
McElhaney also reported that not only did they chat, but they also watched some film together to “know how he learned so they could (hypothetically) know how to teach him a new system.
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Pickett’s Journey to Heisman Finalist
As a 2020 senior, Pickett was set to enter the 2021 NFL draft, but he failed to produce the numbers that would have boosted his draft stock, thus he decided to stay another year. He took full advantage of eligibility granted by the NCAA as a result of the pandemic and returned for one last ride with the Pitt Panthers.
And it’s safe to say that it worked out in his favor as he finished the regular season with 314 completions for 4,066 yards and 40 touchdowns and topped it off with an ACC Championship win over Wake Forest.
The “Kenny Heisman” talk entered the chat in the midst of an incredible season as Pickett posted Heisman numbers starting with Georgia Tech, where he threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns.
Following the win, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi gave his QB1 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.”
Not only did Kenny’s overall 2021 performance boost his draft stock from the third round to the first round, but he also joined Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud and Alabama QB Bryce Young as a 2021 Heisman Trophy finalist. He would go on to finish third in Heisman voting.
Will Atlanta Draft Matt Ryan’s Successor This Year?
There have been mixed signals as to whether or not the Falcons plan on drafting Matt Ryan‘s future replacement this year or waiting until next year.
Ryan’s current contract is a bit complicated, which means the Falcons don’t necessarily need to start thinking about his successor until 2023 when it’s easier to get out of that contract.
That is, unless, the Falcons decide to trade their longtime starter away this offseason––and according to head coach Arthur Smith, that option is not off of the table.
“We anticipate Matt being part of the (2022) team, but you don’t ever back yourself into a corner,” Smith said per The Athletic’s Josh Kendall. If somebody gives you an offer you can’t refuse… Matt knows how we feel about him and Matt’s got a lot of good football left in him.”
Only time will tell where Atlanta’s head is at as the draft gets closer.
Until then, get to know Pickett in 40 seconds:
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