As the owners of the sixth overall pick and a relatively mild class of passers ahead, the Carolina Panthers may be the gatekeepers at the quarterback position in this year’s draft. So who appears to have early access?
According to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, it could be University of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.
“Word is, the Carolina Panthers are taking a strong shine to Pickett, which makes sense on multiple levels,” writes La Canfora, who spoke with three “top evaluators” from teams who are all quarterback-needy.
“‘I don’t think he makes it past the Panthers,’ said one evaluator who has done extensive work on Pickett. ‘Their owner (David Tepper) is a huge Pitt booster. He hasn’t invested draft capital in a quarterback yet. He has to know the Steelers like him (Tepper is a former minority investor in the Steelers). I think that’s a fit,’” he added.
La Canfora also notes that all three sources from the Senior Bowl believe Pickett is the “most consistent and more ready QB in this draft,” with an NFC scout claiming he was the “best of the bunch” and it wasn’t close. An AFC scout, additionally, said he’d “mock” the 2021 Heisman Trophy finalist to the Panthers.
That sentiment seems, well, a bit off from the general consensus out of Mobile, Ala. from this past week. Many accounts, rather, had Liberty University’s Malik Willis as the clear-cut winner of all the quarterbacks at the all-star event.
So is this just the usual pre-draft smoke, or is there actually some fire to this report?