Stats with Context: Adjusted Completion Percentages for Kenny Pickett’s Career Beyond 9 Yards

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and since then general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin have both spoken highly of the new player. Specifically, Colbert and Tomlin praised Pickett’s college accuracy as one of many traits that made the former University of Pittsburgh quarterback attractive to them. With Pickett’s accuracy on display by Colbert and Tomlin since Pickett was selected in the first round, I thought this week would be a great time to dive into some of his career achievement stats.

For today’s statistical deep dive, I decided to look at Pickett’s career college accuracy on passing 10-19 and passing 20 yards or more. Additionally, and because Pittsburgh had a high number of drops while Pickett was the starter there, looking at quarterbacks’ adjusted completion percentage seems very necessary.

What is an adjusted percentage of completion? According to Pro Football Focus, an adjusted completion percentage metric is a better way to look at a quarterback’s overall accuracy at his baseline. Adjusted completion percentage takes into account factors beyond the quarterback’s control in terms of pass completion. It takes into account dropped passes, rejected passes, spiked balls, passes hit at the line of scrimmage, and passes in which a quarterback was tagged while throwing. Ultimately, this gives a true indication of the completion percentage on passes that can actually be caught, as opposed to a quarterback’s completion percentage for any given game tarnished by a load of receiver drops or other factors.

With that definition out of the way and with our passing depths defined, below are career-adjusted completion percentages for several college quarterbacks. This list of quarterbacks includes former first- and second-round draft picks in addition to the top five quarterbacks in the 2022 draft class. The other two Steelers quarterbacks currently under contract, Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph , are also included in this list.

The purpose of adding so many different quarterbacks is obviously meant to provide some general context for these stats.

As you can see below, Pickett recorded an adjusted completion percentage of 64.2% on throws from 10 to 19 yards beyond the line of scrimmage during his college career. Coincidentally, he’s ranked just between Trubisky and Rudolph in this stat. Three-quarters of the Steelers rank just ahead of Trevor Lawrence and Josh Allen. This should provide more than enough context.

When it comes to throws of 20 yards or more, Pickett’s adjusted completion percentage of 45.5% is more than respectable and especially considering that it puts him ahead of first-round quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Allen. While Pickett’s aDOT (average depth of target) of 29.3 is the third-lowest on this list, he’s only 1.3 yards away from being in the middle of the pack. His 17 drops also stand out, as does his 34 drops in the 10-19 yard board.

Now, these are just raw stats of two sets of passing distances, with the primary focus being adjusted completion percentage. While the attempt is to provide some context with these stats, they still lack more context, such as down and distance, court area, opponent’s difficulty, and match score. These stats are just a glimpse of 30,000 feet, if you will, so read them what you will. I see it as a starting point.

All stats courtesy of PFF:

College Career throws 10 to 19 yards
PLAYER UNIVERSITY ATT COMP YARDS TD INT DROPS YPL COMP % AJCOMP % EVALUATION A POINT
Justin Fields USO 149 108 1659 23 4 8 11.1 72.5% 77.9% 137.3 13.7
McJones TO THE 134 95 1898 17 2 8 14.2 70.9% 76.9% 146.6 13.7
Mayfield Baker OK SO 299 197 3291 38 9 28 11.0 65.9% 75.3% 129.9 13.2
Kyler Murray OK SO 135 87 1558 19 1 11 11.5 64.4% 72.6% 140.4 13.3
Matt Coral OLE 215 130 2452 16 6 19 11.4 60.5% 69.3% 113.2 13.5
Jalen hurts OK SO 232 145 2627 24 8 15 11.3 62.5% 69.0% 121.5 13.9
Zach Wilson BYU 236 145 2421 14 5 17 10.3 61.4% 68.6% 107.0 13.7
Sam Howell A C 272 163 2957 23 4 22 10.9 59.9% 68.0% 119.4 13.1
Josh Rosen UCLA 263 159 2914 20 7 17 11.1 60.5% 66.9% 112.9 14.0
Joe Terrier USL 210 126 2330 20 5 14 11.1 60.0% 66.7% 120.1 13.6
lamar jackson LOU 233 135 2315 20 6 19 9.9 57.9% 66.1% 109.6 13.6
Kyle Trask FLORIDA 217 130 2215 15 9 13 10.2 59.9% 65.9% 100.3 13.7
Justin Herbert ORE 286 156 2750 27 12 32 9.6 54.6% 65.7% 101.6 13.9
Dwayne Haskins USO 112 68 1185 15 4 5 10.6 60.7% 65.2% 121.5 13.8
Tua Tagovailoa TO THE 175 107 2129 29 5 7 12.2 61.1% 65.1% 131.4 14.1
Mitchell Trubisky A C 147 91 1587 13 5 4 10.8 61.9% 64.6% 114.0 13.3
Kenny Pickett PITT 352 192 3218 18 7 34 9.1 54.6% 64.2% 94.4 13.8
Mason Rudolf OKST 431 252 4318 24 ten 24 10.0 58.5% 64.0% 101.4 13.3
Trevor Lawrence CLEM 286 164 3016 31 5 18 10.6 57.3% 63.6% 122.7 14.0
Josh Allen wyom 158 90 1506 13 ten 8 9.5 57.0% 62.0% 90.3 13.9
Sam Darnold USC 187 108 1798 17 ten 7 9.6 57.8% 61.5% 98.3 13.7
Jordan love UTST 229 125 2011 18 8 15 8.8 54.6% 61.1% 95.8 13.4
Desmond Cavalier RIC 245 134 2244 22 12 14 9.2 54.7% 60.4% 95.3 14.0
Drew Lock MIZZ 328 164 2989 38 ten 32 9.1 50.0% 59.8% 107.6 13.8
Daniel Jones duke 236 124 2257 13 8 16 9.6 52.5% 59.3% 90.0 13.4
Trey Lance NDSU 86 49 865 ten 0 2 10.1 57.0% 59.3% 130.2 13.7
Malik Willis BIB 135 71 1184 11 8 6 8.8 52.6% 57.0% 84.9 13.4
College Career Throws Over 20 Yards
PLAYER UNIVERSITY ATT COMP YARDS TD INT DROPS YPL COMP % AJCOMP % EVALUATION A POINT
McJones TO THE 77 43 1732 22 2 5 22.5 55.8% 62.3% 129.5 32.4
Mayfield Baker OK SO 200 102 4103 43 4 14 20.5 51.0% 58.0% 127.9 31.3
Tua Tagovailoa TO THE 109 57 2125 29 4 6 19.5 52.3% 57.8% 122.0 29.8
Zach Wilson BYU 129 65 2273 19 6 5 17.6 50.4% 54.3% 116.4 30.0
Kyle Trask FLORIDA 115 57 1813 23 3 5 15.8 49.6% 53.9% 124.2 28.6
Mason Rudolf OKST 288 138 5249 48 8 16 18.2 47.9% 53.5% 122.1 31.0
Joe Terrier USL 149 73 2592 37 4 6 17.4 49.0% 53.0% 123.4 29.8
Justin Fields USO 117 57 1856 30 4 4 15.9 48.7% 52.1% 120.1 31.9
Dwayne Haskins USO 78 36 1209 19 2 4 15.5 46.2% 51.3% 121.5 29.8
Matt Coral OLE 146 66 2448 16 11 6 16.8 45.2% 49.3% 97.0 32.8
Malik Willis BIB 123 49 1757 22 6 11 14.3 39.8% 48.8% 106.6 30.8
Trevor Lawrence CLEM 183 77 2875 33 8 11 15.7 42.1% 48.1% 110.6 30.6
Jalen hurts OK SO 175 74 2802 20 6 9 16.0 42.3% 47.4% 113.2 30.4
Sam Howell A C 221 89 3302 42 9 15 14.9 40.3% 47.1% 110.3 32.7
Kyler Murray OK SO 103 44 1703 19 ten 3 16.5 42.7% 45.6% 89.8 31.6
Kenny Pickett PITT 253 98 3537 34 15 17 14.0 38.7% 45.5% 101.3 29.3
Justin Herbert ORE 239 88 2934 40 6 20 12.3 36.8% 45.2% 113.0 30.0
Josh Allen wyom 147 58 1802 27 8 7 12.3 39.5% 44.2% 102.9 30.2
Sam Darnold USC 151 61 1871 18 7 4 12.4 40.4% 43.1% 107.6 28.8
Desmond Cavalier RIC 250 90 3120 39 8 15 12.5 36.0% 42.0% 110.3 29.6
Drew Lock MIZZ 299 102 4055 42 18 20 13.6 34.1% 40.8% 97.1 31.7
Jordan love UTST 204 71 2462 31 8 12 12.1 34.8% 40.7% 104.6 29.4
Josh Rosen UCLA 158 54 1989 21 9 ten 12.6 34.2% 40.5% 98.5 30.5
lamar jackson LOU 219 72 2597 30 15 15 11.9 32.9% 39.7% 89.9 31.7
Mitchell Trubisky A C 95 34 1258 14 2 3 13.2 35.8% 39.0% 114.8 32.0
Trey Lance NDSU 59 20 807 12 1 3 13.7 33.9% 39.0% 114.9 34.2
Daniel Jones duke 157 44 1513 15 11 13 9.6 28.0% 36.3% 69.9 30.5

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