2022 NFL Draft: Evaluators expect at least three QBs to go to first round despite lack of consensus
While the 2022 quarterback’s draft class isn’t seen as potentially transcendent like some recent classes, and lacks the hype and fanfare at the end of the college football season, many evaluators have watched them closely. think at least three are likely to be selected. in the first round.
There hasn’t been anyone who has put together an overwhelming cumulative body of work like Trevor Lawrence, the overall top pick a year ago, or who has come out of relative anonymity to have a historic Heisman campaign like Joe Burrow. did so the year before, becoming the overall top pick as well. However, the executives I have spoken to, who have seen these quarterbacks play live and several on more than one occasion, believe that at least five or six will deserve consideration in the first round and that some might go down. find themselves in the top 10, given the degree of need for quarterbacks in the league. And none have the kind of otherworldly athleticism that led Kyler Murray, who was also a first-round pick in the MLB Draft, becoming the first pick the year before.
Kenny Pickett of Pitt, Carson Strong of Nevada and Matt Corral of Ole Miss were considered by many of the reviewers to be the top three, most likely, although the order differs depending on the source. Malik Willis of Liberty and Sam Howell of North Carolina are also generating a lot of excitement in the Scout community, but all come with inherent risks. The Boy Scouts don’t defend any of them like they did for Burrow and Lawrence, for example, but several are expected to end up as quality starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
âI think you’ll see three or four end up in the first round,â said an NFL executive who spent much of the fall scouting quarterbacks. “It’s a good class. There isn’t one guy that everyone wants, but I like the band overall.”
One reviewer said he would likely remove the Pickett tops from the group, pointing out that his height (6-3 Â½) was the determining factor. Pickett’s decision making, precision and leadership were all qualities that professional recruiters appreciate. “He has a good arm,” said a scout. “It’s not as strong as the kid from Nevada, but it’s strong enough.”
Strong, in the eyes of several reviewers, would be the most wanted of the bunch if it weren’t for medical reasons. He has had several knee surgeries and the medics on a team would need to be very comfortable with him for a club to carry him as high as his sheer potential could warrant. (He missed his entire last season of high school.)
âIf he has a good Senior Bowl and the medicals are clean enough, then he will be The Guy,â as one reviewer put it. “He’s a professional passer.”
Corral, at 6 feet and just over 200 pounds, will raise some concerns about durability. Plus, playing in what is primarily a one-read offense portends a learning curve to the next level. âHe’s very comfortable and relaxed playing this position,â said one scout. “He can play with his feet and has a great football IQ. But at this height can he hold up?”
Howell entered the season with arguably the highest expectations of anyone in the squad, but didn’t have the season some expected. “Is he going to be able to fit in the pocket and have the vision to pass under pressure?” said an executive. “This is my biggest question with him.”
Willis has had issues with some of his decision making, which could end up withholding his project stock. âHe’s the best athlete in the class,â said the executive, âand he’s got all the intangibles you want. But he’s still really a work in progress and interceptions are a concern.â
Some evaluators believe Desmond Ridder, in leading Cincinnati to a historic season, will also be in that mix and be among the top quarterback picks in this draft, with first-round consideration not out of the question. âThe kid is special enough to run outside the numbers and he can throw the ball deep,â said a scout. “I have some issues with its accuracy, but it’s an interesting prospect.”