May 2, 2022

Kenny Pickett passes Malik Willis on social media after Round 1 selection

SBJ Atlas

Kenny Pickett passes Malik Willis on social media after Round 1 selection

Pitt’s Kenny Pickett was the lone QB selected in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, and his selection by the Steelers vaulted him over Liberty’s Malik Willis (taken by the Titans in Round 3) in terms of the most social media followers among QBs taken this year. Pickett now leads Willis by more than 30,000 followers. Ole Miss’ Desmond Ridder, taken by the Falcons in Round 3, saw second-biggest gain among QB draftees in terms of percent increase, and was third best by total followers added.

No top prospect entered the draft with more endorsements posted to his social accounts than new Giants DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, with Snickers, Beats, Nike, Starface, Old Spice, Chesscom, eBay and Pandora featured in his channels heading into the draft. Thibodeaux sported a “SnickerChief” during draft night, noted SBJ’s Austin Karp. He also took advantage of NIL during his final season at Oregon, with sponsorships from Starface, United Airlines and PlantFuel.

The six WRs selected in the first round came into the draft with more than 780,000 followers among them. Over draft weekend, the players combined to add over 203,000 followers, increasing 26%. Of the six, Ohio State’s Chris Olave (Saints) and Garrett Wilson (Jets), along with Alabama’s Jameson Williams (Lions) entered the first round with follower accounts among the top six for all top prospects drafted on Day 1.

Washington DB Trent McDuffie, the No. 21 overall pick by the Chiefs, began the draft with one of the lowest follower counts among top prospects. His accounts ballooned by 312% after his selection, making him the highest riser by percent of all first-round draftees.

See more on endorsement deals and social media data on SBJ Atlas.