The 2021 Heisman Trophy was handed out over the weekend in New York City, with Alabama's Bryce Young winning the highly coveted award. However, it's one other finalist that has the NFL abuzz about his skillset.
Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, who finished third in the Heisman voting this season, has earned the attention of NFL scouts with his strong 2021 campaign. The fifth-year senior will now look to turn pro after having a career year and leading the Panthers to an ACC Championship.
Pickett has apparently earned an intriguing comparison following the Heisman presentation. One NFL executive called him the "good version" of the 2012 winner of the award, Johnny Manziel.
“He’s a good version of Johnny Football—better frame, head on shoulders and arm, and he’s a better leader,” the anonymous AFC executive told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. “Athletic, gutsy. … Kind of hit the scene hard out of nowhere like [Joe] Burrow and balled out. Love the kid. He’s got the it factor. Kid has balls. … We have a ways to go, but definitely if the draft was today, he would be [the first quarterback] taken.”
Of course, Manziel didn't last long in the NFL after he was drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns. A number of off-the-field issues led to him playing just two seasons in the league. However, Manziel did have a number of strong football traits, which at least one executive thinks Pickett exhibits. The Panthers quarterback got it done in 2021 with both his arm and his legs, throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns, while also rushing for 233 yards and five scores. The upcoming 2022 draft class isn't considered to be that strong when it comes to the quarterbacks, but it sounds like Pickett may stand out above the rest. Time will tell where the Heisman finalist lands in late April. [
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) December 14, 2021
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