I liked the way Kenny Pickett played late last year, going 6-1 in his last seven full games. He led those late-game touchdown drives to pull out wins against the Raiders and Ravens. I just wish he had thrown a few more touchdown passes.
Pickett started 12 games as a rookie and finished with only 7 TD passes. The Steelers ended the year with a league-low 12. Pretty putrid.
Playing around with the numbers some, that works out to a touchdown pass for every 343 passing yards. Since the merger in 1970, only five quarterbacks have averaged more yards per touchdown pass in a season. (Among quarterbacks with at least 2,000 passing yards).
Trent Dilfer is the runaway ‘leader’ in this category, averaging a touchdown for every 694 yards in the 1995 season – 287 yards ahead/behind everyone else.
|WORST YARDS-PER-TOUCHDOWN QUARTERBACKS|
|1995||Trent Dilfer, T.B.||16||2,774||4||18||693.5|
|1991||Jeff Hostetler, NYG||12||2,032||5||4||406.4|
|1998||Tony Banks, St.L.||14||2,535||7||14||362.1|
|2011||Sam Bradford, St.L.||10||2,164||6||6||360.7|
|1975||John Hadl, G.B.||13||2,095||6||21||349.2|
|2022||Kenny Pickett, Pitt.||12||2,404||7||9||343.4|
|2004||Kurt Warner, NYG||9||2,054||6||4||342.3|
|1991||Tom Tupa, Phoe.||11||2,053||6||13||342.2|
|1991||Hugh Millen, N.E.||13||3,073||9||18||341.4|
|1986||Steve Pelluer, Dall.||9||2,727||8||17||340.9|
|1984||Gary Hogeboom, Dall.||10||2,366||7||14||338.0|
|2020||Cam Newton, N.E.||15||2,657||8||10||332.1|
|1991||Ken O'Brien, NYJ||16||3,300||10||11||330.0|
|1992||Browning Nagle, NYJ||13||2,280||7||17||325.7|
|2007||Joey Harrington, Atl.||10||2,215||7||8||316.4|
|1993||Jeff George, Ind.||11||2,526||8||6||315.8|
|2017||Mitchell Trubisky, Chi.||12||2,193||7||7||313.3|
|1991||Jim Everett, LAR||16||3,438||11||20||312.5|
|2006||Brad Johnson, Min.||14||2,750||9||15||305.6|
|2021||Trevor Lawrence, Jac.||17||3,641||12||17||303.4|
|2010||Derek Anderson, Ariz.||9||2,065||7||10||295.0|
|2015||Nick Foles, St.L.||11||2,052||7||10||293.1|
|1991||Jeff George, Ind.||16||2,910||10||12||291.0|
|1995||Rodney Peete, Phil.||12||2,326||8||14||290.8|
|1999||Kerry Collins, NYG||7||2,318||8||11||289.8|
|2001||Matt Hasselbeck, Sea.||12||2,023||7||8||289.0|
|2002||David Carr, Hou.||16||2,592||9||15||288.0|
|1996||Gus Frerotte, Was.||16||3,453||12||11||287.8|
|1993||Jim Harbaugh, Chi.||15||2,002||7||11||286.0|
|1986||Steve Young, T.B.||14||2,282||8||13||285.3|
|2007||Vince Young, Ten.||15||2,546||9||17||282.9|
|1989||Wade Wilson, Min.||12||2,543||9||12||282.6|
|2021||Sam Darnold, Car.||11||2,527||9||13||280.8|
While that’s a fun factoid to toss around (you know me: anytime I get the opportunity to post a chart with John Hadl, I’m all over it) the more meaningful question is whether Pickett’s play last year disqualifies him from possibly developing into a decent quarterback this year?
So let’s reframe the numbers a little bit. Instead of presenting a rundown of a bunch of struggling quarterbacks, let’s instead look at how they played in their next season. And with Pickett being a rookie, let’s focus it on first-year guys who struggled (how those guys then performed in their second season). And with the game changing, let’s look only at more modern guys.
Below, therefore, see the 20 quarterbacks who threw for at least 2,000 yards as rookies in the 32-team era and averaged over 200 passing yards per touchdown (the yard average is shown in the first column). The rest of the chart shows how they did in their second season.
Six of the players (tagged with black dots), turned things around pretty well, finishing with top-12 numbers using standard scoring. Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence in recent years.
I’m not promising Pickett will be another Lawrence (and I’m certainly not putting him up with Burrow and Allen). But I think he played well enough to merit selecting as a second quarterback in a typical league. Not a guy I’m eager to draft (I don’t think he’ll be in my top 20 at the position), but somebody should be rostering him as a second quarterback. I would take him before Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray and some others. I think it can be debated whether you’re getting taking Pickett or one of the rookies from this year (Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young).
|WORST YDS/TD QUARTERBACKS (the next year)|
|2003||David Carr, Hou.||288.0||11||2,013||9||13||163.8||27|
|2004||Byron Leftwich, Jac.||201.4||14||2,941||15||10||242.2||18|
|2007||Matt Leinart, Ariz.||231.5||5||647||2||4||44.6||52|
|2009||Joe Flacco, Balt.||212.2||16||3,613||21||12||270.3||17|
|2009||Matt Ryan, Atl.||215.0||14||2,916||22||14||244.7||19|
|2010||Mark Sanchez, NYJ||203.7||16||3,291||17||13||263.1||18|
|2013||• Ryan Tannehill, Mia.||274.5||16||3,913||24||17||321.5||12|
|2013||Brandon Weeden, Cle.||241.8||5||1,731||9||9||129.0||36|
|2014||Geno Smith, NYJ||253.8||13||2,525||13||13||208.1||26|
|2015||• Blake Bortles, Jac.||264.4||16||4,428||35||18||406.4||3|
|2015||Teddy Bridgewater, Min.||208.5||16||3,231||14||9||256.8||24|
|2017||• Carson Wentz, Phil.||236.4||13||3,296||33||7||334.7||8|
|2018||Mitchell Trubisky, Chi.||313.3||14||3,223||24||12||325.3||15|
|2018||DeShone Kizer, Cle.||263.1||0||187||0||2||13.3||54|
|2019||• Josh Allen, Buff.||207.4||16||3,089||20||9||345.5||8|
|2019||Josh Rosen, Mia.||207.1||3||567||1||5||33.7||49|
|2021||• Joe Burrow, Cin.||206.8||16||4,611||34||14||392.4||7|
|2022||• Trevor Lawrence, Jac.||303.4||17||4,113||25||8||370.8||7|
|2022||Zach Wilson, NYJ||259.3||9||1,688||6||7||131.8||33|
|2023||Kenny Pickett, Pitt.||343.4||?||?||?||?||?||?|