Kenny Pickett was born in Ocean Township, New Jersey, where he played high school football for the Ocean Township Spartans. He passed for 4,670 and 43 touchdowns during his high school career, as well rushing for 873 yards and 17 scores on the ground. Pickett committed to play college football at the University of Pittsburgh. He began his college career as a backup, but started the final game in his true freshman season (2017) and led the team to an upset victory over the Miami Hurricanes. He was the Panthers' starter in 2018 and 2019 and then returned for his final season in 2021 after the Covid-shortened 2020 season.
In 5 seasons at Pittsburgh, Pickett totaled just 801 rushing yards, 72 shy of his high school total. He was not looked at as a dominant rusher, but still finished with 20 scores on the ground in 5 seasons and raced to a 3rd place finish in the 2021 Heisman Voting. Pickett was also invited to the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Entering the 2021 season, Pickett was not a highly regarded prospect. In scouting circles, he was considered a Day 3 flier at quarterback. He flipped the script, however, increasing his completion percentage by 6.1-percent and finishing with 42 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and an 11-3 record. He also led the Panthers to an ACC Championship.
Kenny Pickett was selected in the 1st round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the first quarterback off the board in the draft, entering the NFL at the age of 24. As a rookie in 2022, Pickett played in 13 games and attempted 389 passes. It was a rocky start, as he threw four interceptions in his first two games. He took risks, finishing with 40 (No. 2) Danger Plays, but a 75.6-percent (No. 1) Deep Ball Catchable Pass Rate. As a runner, he averaged 4.2 carries per game and finished with three rushing touchdowns. With running ability and room to grow as a passer, Pickett is Pittsburgh’s quarterback for the near future.