The High Prospects to Know

March 3, 2022


Mirroring the player pecking order in the actual NFL, the highest-profile prospects annually are typically NFL Draft quarterbacks. Most draft lessons boast not less than one or two QBs who (in response to normal consensus) are worth taking as one of many first few picks within the draft. Since 2000, a quarterback has been the draft’s No. 1 general choice 16 instances.

However the 2022 NFL Draft is a wierd one. A quarterback will not be the primary choose this 12 months (except a workforce’s normal supervisor does one thing completely sudden). If the precise draft order corresponds with the NFL QB rankings of media evaluators, no QB would even come off the board within the first 10 or so picks. Some analysts are even much less bullish. Pro Football Focus doesn’t have a passer ranked greater than twentieth on its general rating. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has his highest QB choose going 18th. ESPN’s highest-ranked QB is seventeenth. On the similar time, every of these retailers sees a number of quarterbacks as worthy picks within the late first, second, or third rounds.

There’s no dominant, early-pick quarterback prospect this 12 months, however there are a number of who may become high quality NFL passers. To get you correctly briefed forward of this spring’s QB Take Wars, right here’s a primer on the 2022 class’s most touted passers. I’ve sorted them by their present rank on the NFL Mock Draft Database Consensus Big Board, which aggregates rankings from throughout the soccer media-industrial advanced.

2022 NFL Draft Quarterbacks: The High Prospects to Know

No. 11: Kenny Pickett, Pitt

The case that he’ll be nice: Pickett was Pitt’s beginning quarterback from 2017 onward and gave the Panthers middling performances. However in 2021 he skyrocketed, main Pitt to an ACC title and incomes himself a finalist nod for the Heisman Trophy. Pickett performs with a pure, free-flowing fashion and might throw a stunning deep ball, and he’s good at becoming the ball into shrinking holes in the midst of the sphere. He’s additionally fairly cellular, as he confirmed whereas dicing up Wake Forest on a controversial 58-yard scoring run (as seen above) within the ACC Championship.

The case that he received’t: It’s not completely clear what brought on Pickett’s unbelievable leap in his closing 12 months at Pitt, or how sustainable it would show to be. Pickett was certainly nice in 2021. He acquired extra correct as a passer and made some great throws look simple. However he was extra respectable than good for 3 prior seasons as Pitt’s starter, and all of that counts in evaluating him, too. Pickett additionally has a fearless fashion of play—for instance, a ceaseless willingness to carry onto the ball. It served him effectively in faculty, nevertheless it may get him into bother within the execs. Typically slightly concern is wholesome, particularly when it prevents a QB from getting sacked.

No. 17: Malik Willis, Liberty

The case that he’ll be nice: Willis is essentially the most bodily spectacular quarterback within the draft. He’s not big (round 6-foot-1 and 215 kilos), however he’s an elite athlete with each a robust arm and top-class working agility. As quickly as Willis joins the league, he’ll be one of many three or 4 greatest ball-carrying QBs in it, together with Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Allen. (As a runner, you would possibly consider him as a quicker Hurts or a extra bodily Jackson.) He has essentially the most rocket-like arm of anybody within the 2022 NFL Draft class, and he’ll give his future workforce lots of enjoyable attributes to work with.

The case that he received’t: Willis didn’t present a lot in his faculty profession towards good groups. After transferring from Auburn, the place he was a backup, he joined a Liberty program that wasn’t in a convention and routinely scheduled unhealthy Group of 5 and FCS opponents. Willis solely made 5 begins towards Energy 5 groups, and his greatest performances in these have been in his two video games towards Syracuse, which regularly doesn’t imagine in “protection.” Willis wasn’t all that spectacular in LU video games towards Virginia Tech, NC State, and Ole Miss. All instructed, he averaged 7.5 yards per throw towards the Energy 5 at Liberty, in comparison with 8.3 towards the Group of 5.

No. 27: Matt Corral, Ole Miss

The case that he’ll be nice: Corral has a fairly throwing movement, and he can rifle the ball to receivers at brief and intermediate distance. That’s principally what Ole Miss requested him to do as a passer, together with a couple of downfield throws blended in. Moreover, he’s a superb working quarterback, and Ole Miss made him a major ball-carrier together with his personal suite of designed carries. He has the talents to be a great NFL quarterback, and as a small bonus (although not a motive to draft him excessive by itself), he may very well be a gadget participant who contributes at different positions.

The case that he received’t: Corral’s complete playbook at Ole Miss was roughly run-pass choices, the place he checked out a particular defender after the snap and determined whether or not he’d throw, hand off, or maintain the ball himself. RPOs are more durable to tug off within the NFL, which has a tighter limitation on how far downfield offensive linemen can transfer earlier than the QB releases a go. Each QB’s adjustment to an NFL scheme is a course of, however Corral’s might be a demanding course of. It’s arduous to mission how his appreciable expertise will translate to a system that’s very completely different from the one he’s used to working in.

No. 36: Sam Howell, North Carolina

The case that he’ll be nice: Howell is rather a lot like Corral in that he can loft a superb deep ball and provides a ton of worth as a runner. At 6-foot-1 and 220-ish kilos, Howell is constructed like a working again and sure has the sturdiness to face up to lots of hits from NFL defenders. However he won’t must, and his capacity to attach on deep sideline routes may carry him far.

The case that he received’t: Additionally like Corral, he operated an RPO-heavy system that’s very completely different from how groups play within the NFL. His 2021 season was his worst of three at UNC. I believe lots of that got here right down to the Tar Heels’ offensive line being Swiss cheese. However you by no means actually know, and whereas I don’t suppose Howell magically acquired worse at soccer between 2020 and ‘21, issues will solely get more durable as he transitions to the game’s highest degree.

No. 42: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

The case that he’ll be nice: Ridder was a easy operator at Cincinnati, the place he catalyzed the Bearcats’ rise to turn out to be essentially the most dominant Group of 5 workforce within the nation and the primary to make the School Soccer Playoff. He makes plans rapidly with the ball in his palms and all the time appears to know precisely the place he’s going together with his throws. He can run like hell, and his management all the time drew rave critiques at Cincinnati, even by the requirements of coaches and teammates who virtually all the time reward their quarterbacks in public.

The case that he received’t: The video up above illustrates one thing. Ridder underthrew the go, however his wideout beat a cornerback so badly that he had time to cease and fall to make a catch with out the defender knocking the ball away. Ridder was an impressive chief and productive participant for Cincinnati, and the Bearcats have been capable of win with him towards nice groups. (Their 2021 win at Notre Dame is an efficient instance.) However Ridder was unhealthy towards Alabama within the Playoff semifinals, and he won’t be the sort of quarterback who lifts up an NFL offense on his personal.

No. 79: Carson Robust, Nevada

The case that he’ll be nice: By requirements that have been in vogue simply a few years in the past, Robust is essentially the most prototypical NFL passer within the draft. He has the dimensions (6-foot-4 and 215 kilos) and the robust arm to make scouts drool. He mainly was the offense the final two years at Nevada, the place his head coach, Jay Norvell, had him drop again 50-some instances per recreation. Robust was additionally one of many nation’s most turnover-averse passers, throwing interceptions on simply 1.5 p.c of his passes final 12 months. And he makes his share of wowing throws, together with the one above in a recreation at Kansas State.

The case that he received’t: QBs like Robust have been in vogue, however they aren’t anymore for a motive. Robust doesn’t provide something in the best way of a working menace, which implies a workforce that begins him will depend on a pure pocket passer who can solely succeed if he morphs into among the finest processors and throwers within the league. That’s rather a lot to ask. He additionally performed within the Mountain West, so he’ll face quality-of-competition questions like those requested of Willis.


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