Birthday: June 30, 1980
Strengths: If Cody Pickett’s life were a movie, it’d be a western. And he’d star as the rifle-armed trigger man from the Wild West, looking to ride his Dawgs to glory. Makes sense. Pickett prefers the shotgun approach when leading his cavalry on gamedays.
Pickett takes advantage of playing in a pro-style offense, chomping up passing yards like John Madden at a tailgate. Pickett’s 4,458 passing yards in 2002 marked the first time anyone had ever eclipsed the 4000-yard passing plateau in PAC-10 history. The career passing yardage leader at Washington still has another season with which to pad his stats.
Pickett shows good touch on the short and medium passes, and he is able to get some air under his deep balls. Pickett reportedly showed up Jake Plummer at the Bronco’s own football camp in Idaho, out-throwing him by five yards on a 75-yard bomb. Pickett’s pocket presence has improved considerably since taking over for the Huskies. His underestimated footspeed allows him to move around with the football, which is a good thing since Pickett is deft at changing his arm angles to throw on the run.
He’s a smart player, though if you had Reggie Williams, possibly the best wide receiver in the country, you’d look his way a few times a game, too. Regardless, Pickett does know that putting the ball in Williams’ capable hands leads his team to successful outcomes.
Areas for Concern: Having a player like Williams adjusting to less-than-perfect passes helps cover up some deficiencies in Pickett’s game. There are times when Pickett forces the action and his errors in reading defenses catch up to him. He threw for an impressive 429 yards against UCLA last year, but he was often off-target, completing less than fifty percent of his throws to Husky receivers. Pickett’s fourth interception in that game was returned for a touchdown, sealing the team’s 34-24 loss.
While the inconsistent running game can be partially blamed for Pickett taking matters into his own hands more than he probably should, his stats are inflated relative to his peers because of that fact and that his team sometimes plays a Swiss cheese defense, leading to several shootouts. With the dismissal of head coach Rick Neuheisel, Pickett will need to stay the course for one more season and prove his play is not just a result of these factors.
Pickett may not possess the premier arm strength and mobility of other top quarterback prospects, but he has proven to be one tough hombre. After redshirting in 1999 because of a back problem, Pickett played through a dislocated throwing shoulder in the last half of the 2001 season. Ouch! Despite that toughness, Pickett needs a healthy 2003 season to confirm his draft status.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? The Texans don’t figure to need the services of this cowboy. The son of a rodeo hall of fame and world champion cowboy might one day himself grow up to be a Cowboy of the Dallas variety. If that happens, don’t look for Houston to take to Pickett too kindly.
Depending on which underclassmen quarterbacks declare, Pickett may not be among the first five selected in the 2004 draft. Regardless, he looks to be worthy of a first day selection heading into his senior season, someone with the physical skills, experience, and brains that an NFL team can groom for the future.
(profile written by Keith Weiland
Cody Pickett’s 2002 Stats G ATT CMP % YDS TD INT 13 612 365 59.6 4,458 28 14
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