2022 NFL Draft: Quarterback Rankings
Malik Willis - Liberty
Sam Howell - UNC
Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh
To be honest it’s really hard to rank these quarterbacks and it’s just because it’s a bad class. Each has their very own distinctly strong and bad traits that would have me be hesitant on all three top options. Willis to me just from a tools standpoint alone is probably the best quarterback. However, much like Trey Lance I am not sure you can throw him out Day 1 as a starter. Which is unfortunate since not many of the quarterback needy teams have an option to have him sit for a year let alone a few games. I do think he’s had more playing time and experience overall than Lance, but just not against as good competition nor is he as tall which I do think should still matter. I also worry Willis will rely too heavily on his running ability much like Jalen Hurts has thus far into his career. Overall, it depends on where he is taken. If he goes to Carolina, Denver, or Washington where he might need to start right away I think he will probably fail. If he goes to Atlanta where he can sit behind Matt Ryan may be the most ideal spot for him.
Howell to me had he been able to come out of UNC in 2021 would have probably pushed to be in the top 5 quarterbacks who all went in the first round. He had a down year due to losing guys like Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dazz Newsome, and Dyami Brown. However, I would have still liked to see him be more assertive and more consistent despite losing all that talent. Since in the NFL he will more than likely be in a similar situation more times rather than not. What I do give him a leg up over Pickett in my book is his better athleticism, youth, and stronger arm. I also thought his arm looked a tad more natural and strong during the Combine workouts. He might not be as safe of a pick than Pickett, but he offers more upside. I still wouldn’t take him in the top 20 picks, but I doubt quarterback needy teams will have a choice on where they take him.
Now I feel like I should be more of a champion for Kenny Pickett with him coming out of my high school. However, I do worry about the hand size issue that people are either for or against the statistic. I think there should be some merit behind it since he does fumble a lot already with a smaller ball than the pro one and for the lack of precedent of any other quarterback succeeding with smaller hands. What he does bring to the table though is maturity, experience, and a good grasp of an offense. I doubt he will ever lose you a game with how accurate he is. On the flip side I don’t think his talent is strong enough to win you a game either. In fact, I think he is a lesser version of even Kirk Cousins with a little bit more mobility.
Desmond Ridder - Cincinnati
Matt Corral - Ole Miss
Carson Strong - Nevada
Now the next group to me all could very easily go ahead of the other three quarterbacks if you ask me. I think Ridder should be getting more attention than he has at the moment. There really is no massive hole to his game outside of a dynamic strong arm. He reminds me a lot of a Ryan Tannehill type quarterback who can run an RPO heavy offense really well with his athleticism and mobility. I also think he is mature enough and experienced enough to run an offense very quickly. If say the Lions take him at 32 I can see him taking Jared Goff’s job rather quickly.
Corral to me is my favorite “dark horse” among the three with his natural whip-like arm and grittiness. He reminds me a lot of Baker Mayfield with a better arm and maybe better athleticism. Not that Mayfield is a top quarterback or anything, but he straddles that good to great line enough that he probably will have a starting job for awhile even if it’s not in Cleveland. Corral to me can maybe even do more than Mayfield with his willingness and ability to throw deep. I do think if he lands in a good spot like New Orleans, Pittsburgh, or Denver he could actually put together a pretty strong carry. It’s just a wonder on who will take a chance on him due to his slight frame and size that could be a worry.
Carson Strong to me is a quarterback who missed his timing. Had he been coming out even 5-6 seasons ago he would have been a lock first rounder. With his size and strong arm that was in vogue throughout the league. He doesn’t offer anything in terms of mobility or a threat outside of the pocket. If you ask me he will at the very least be a nice back up quarterback, but after that I’m not sure. Maybe a team can build an old school offense around him, but I don’t see it.
Off the board Dark Horse: Cole Kelley - SE Louisiana
This is just a total off the board prospect who I watched during the Combine and liked what I saw a lot. I doubt he will even be drafted, but he could be a key undrafted option when the draft is over. He had a natural throwing motion, good mechanics, and was able to throw with nice touch on the ball. I think it also helped his case that he was the thrower during the running back drills the next day where he continued to just put the ball on the money on each drill. I need to go back and watch his film, but I liked enough where I thought I can see this guy being a strong developmental type to stash away for a year or two.