Kenny Pickett vs. Sam Howell: Pitt, North Carolina QBs battle for 2022 NFL Draft positioning

Kenny Pickett vs. Sam Howell: Pitt, North Carolina QBs battle for 2022 NFL Draft positioning

Thursday’s ACC meeting between North Carolina and No. 21 Pitt features one of the more intriguing quarterback battles, not only in college football but also 2022 NFL positioning.

Tar Heels signal-caller Sam Howell entered the season as a runaway favorite for the league’s top quarterback. He came off a 2020 campaign in which he completed 237 of 348 passes for 3,586 and 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. While he hasn’t had a bad 2021 campaign, he has clearly missed having the likes of Javonte Williams, Michael Carter and Dyami Brown, among others, on North Carolina’s team.

MORE: What happened to Sam Howell? How North Carolina QB’s stats, draft stock have taken big hits in 2021

Pickett, meanwhile, has come out of nowhere in 2021. Sporting News’ midseason All-America selection has already obliterated his previous career-highs in completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, touchdowns and quarterback rating. And he still has three regular-season games, a bowl game and, potentially, a berth in the ACC championship game to pad his stats. If he continues on this pace he could very well challenge for the Heisman Trophy.

Their Thursday meeting will be worth watching, not only for fans of good quarterback play, but also for NFL scouts who are on the fence on who should rank higher on their respective draft boards.

With that, Sporting News previews Thursday’s quarterback duel between Howell and Picket:;

Kenny Pickett vs. Sam Howell stats

Kenny Pickett

Completions Attempts Pct. Yards Yards per attempt Adjusted YPA Touchdowns Interceptions Quarterback rating
235 342 68.7 3,171 9.3 10.6 29 3 172.8

Sam Howell

Completions Attempts Pct. Yards Yards per attempt Adjusted YPA Touchdowns Interceptions Quarterback rating
169 268 63.1 2,408 9.0 9.3 20 7 157.9

Pickett has outperformed Howell in every major passing category nine games through the 2021 college football season. One area in which Howell trumps his Pitt counterpart, however, is rushing ability. The Tar Heels quarterback has rushed 135 times for 699 yards (a 5.2 yard-per-carry average) and eight scores this season. Conversely, Pickett has rushed roughly half as many times as Howell (73 attempts) for 234 yards and a score.

MORE: Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett off to fast start, leads Panthers past Tennessee

Kenny Pickett vs. Sam Howell records

Pickett has led the Panthers to a 7-2 record heading into Week 11. Pitt (4-1 ACC play) is squarely atop the Coastal, needing only to beat North Carolina and Virginia in consecutive weeks to clinch the division. That said, two egregious losses to Western Michigan and Miami have removed any chance the Panthers compete to play in the College Football Playoff

Howell’s Tar Heels are a little worse for wear, going 5-4 and 3-3 in ACC play. That said, there is still an outside chance North Carolina wins the division, though Mack Brown and Co. need significant help to do so. That starts first and foremost with winning out, which would give the Tar Heels a 5-3 conference record. They would also need Pitt to drop one of its two remaining games againsts Virginia or Syracuse. That would give both teams the same conference record, pushing North Carolina ahead in the divisional standings by way of its head-to-head victory over the Panthers.

But that’s not all; North Carolina would need both Virginia and Miami — teams the Tar Heels have head-to-head victories over — to lose at least one more game apiece. Virginia Tech can’t win out, either. If all those criteria are met, then the Tar Heels would head to Charlotte for the ACC championship game.

MORE: NFL Mock Draft 2022: Eagles, Jets land defensive stars with slew of top picks; Steelers, Broncos find QBs

Kenny Pickett 2022 NFL mock draft

Pickett is considered one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2022 NFL Draft, per Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer. He projectes the fifth-year quarterback to be the fourth and final pick of the first round, landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers to replace the aging Ben Roethlisberger. Here is what Iyer has to say about Pickett ahead of the draft:

“Pickett has surged into first-round consideration with other big-name QBs fading thanks to outstanding play to make the Panthers a formidable ranked offensive-minded foe in the ACC. He has natural deep-ball accuracy and football intelligence, both which profile well in the current Steelers offense under Matt Canada. The ideal successor is lining up for Ben Roethlisberger.”

Sam Howell 2022 NFL mock draft

Howell’s draft stock has taken a hit in 2021, with many — including SN — not including him in their latest mock draft. That said, he is still considered a first-round draft pick by several publications. Below are each of the mock drafts that consider him a first-round selection:

Publication Selection Drafting team
CBS 28th Detroit Lions
NBC 13th Carolina Panthers
SI 16th Denver Broncos





Original source here

#Kenny #Pickett #Sam #Howell #Pitt #North #Carolina #QBs #battle #NFL #Draft #positioning

About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.