With the NFL Draft just over 2 months away, the countdown has officially begun for teams to start mending their weaknesses before the start of the 2022 NFL season. If your team needs a quarterback this offseason, odds are your answer lies in the draft. Here’s a look at the top 10 prospects entering this year’s NFL Draft.
Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft
1) Kenny Pickett
Height: 6-3 Weight: 217lbs 40 Time: 4.89s
Kenny Pickett is a little like Joe Burrow in the sense that he approaches the quarterback position with the same “attack-mode” mentality as a linebacker. He’s mobile to the point where he’s able to buy time with his legs and even make some plays in the open field, but not necessarily a guy you’d draw up consistent run plays for. This elusiveness combined with his size translates well to the NFL and his ability to have an impact on the game even if his offensive line is less than desirable. He’s able to make throws all over the field and can make multiple reads if/when the play breaks down. He’s incredibly accurate within 25 yards but can sail his deep balls a bit. His biggest drawback right now may actually be his hand size, which he has refused to get measured on multiple occasions. If you’re the Commanders, Steelers, or Panthers, certainly you consider trading up to get a guy like Pickett or Willis. The only question is how far.
2) Malik Willis
Height: 6-1 Weight: 220lbs 40 Time: 4.42s
Malik Willis has a lot of the same escapability traits Pickett does, albeit with a much more expansive designed QB run repertoire. The Auburn transfer turned Liberty QB is the definition of a dual threat player with a big arm and efficient deep ball. He’s able to make people miss in the open field, and hit receivers on the move. His tape is almost reminiscent of an unpolished Patrick Mahomes, who was known for extending plays with his feet and delivering on late sideline throws. Perhaps his biggest drawback is his tendency to move back in the pocket even when it’s unnecessary. This is a habit that will likely get him into trouble in the pros if not mended quickly. He also seems to throw almost exclusively to open receivers, and makes little attempt at fitting the ball into tight windows.
3) Carson Strong
Height: 6-4 Weight: 226lbs 40 Time: 4.81s
At 6’ 4” 226 pounds, Carson Strong has the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback. He makes 40 yard bombs look easy with a flick of the wrist and is one of the few guys in football who’s capable of throwing an efficient red zone fade. His comp is Justin Herbert though much of this can be attributed to nothing more than similarities in size and arm strength. Like Herbert, Strong has a fluent throwing motion that allows him to get the ball out quickly and can occasionally scramble though no one would call him an athlete. Because of this, his success in the NFL will likely come down to the strength of the offensive line he gets drafted into.
4) Matt Corral
Height: 6-0 Weight: 220lbs 40 Time: 4.65s
There is no Trevor Lawrence or Andrew Luck in this draft class. Each QB has their flaws and redeeming qualities and Matt Corral is the essence of this reality. Corral’s redeeming qualities are his pinpoint accuracy and healthy mobility. On tape, he almost looks like a smaller Carson Wentz without the reckless abandonment under pressure. Corral only turned the ball over 5 times his Junior season. Corral’s flaws, meanwhile, are his tendency to underthrow guys on deep balls and his lack of anticipation. The accuracy may be there, but he’s often hitting guys who are open seconds after coverage has broken down. On deep balls, he underthrows more than he overthrows, which could translate to some easy turnovers at the next level. Like Pickett, Corral is not afraid of contact and has an active approach to the game in the open field.
5) Desmond Ridder
Height: 6-4 Weight: 207lbs 40 Time: 4.55s
By this point we’re getting to the likely cutoff of first round prospects. Unlike last year, it’s doubtful we see more than 4 guys go in the first 32, though certainly not impossible given the critical nature of this position. One guy who could squeak in towards the end of the first round is Desmond Ridder. Ridder checks the boxes on a lot of the physical qualifications such as height, size, hands etc… He’s relatively elusive as a runner, though against NFL defenses this ability will likely manifest itself in sack avoidance more than picking up chunk yardage. He’s got a strong, not powerful arm that’s capable of making downfield throws and rarely turns the ball over. Maybe one of Ridder’s biggest upsides is the amount of college starts he has under his belt, having thrown 179 passes or more in each of his 4 years as a starter at UC.
6) Sam Howell
Height: 6-1 Weight: 221lbs 40 Time: 4.87s
Sam Howell has a little bit of a Baker Mayfield vibe to him at 6’0” 221. While he lacks some of the physical traits of a Carson Strong or Desmond Ridder, he makes up for some of it with his timely pre-snap adjustments. He’s got an incredibly quick release and can put some serious zip on the ball. He does have a tendency to lock onto one receiver, though, and has gone through stretches of being downright inaccurate. Howell’s a solid runner who isn’t afraid to get hit and can be elusive in the pocket. Whoever drafts him is going to need to do some fine tuning on his mechanics, but may just get a steal on a guy who was largely touted as a top 3 prospect heading into the season.
7) Bailey Zappe
Height: 6-1 Weight: 213lbs 40 Time: 4.68s
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Bailey Zappe is hardly 6’0” and hails from Western Kentucky — the guy can sling it. He’s incredibly efficient on downfield sideline routes and has a great pocket presence. He’s not afraid to throw the ball into coverage, and can escape the pocket when things break down. One of his bigger advantages comes from the mental side of things, where he’s proven he’s capable of making more than one read. His areas of concern remain arm strength and accuracy on the move. His deep balls tend to hang in the air for a while, something that is likely to be exploited by NFL secondaries.
8) Dustin Crum
Height: 6-3 Weight: 219lbs 40 Time: 4.76s
By QB8, we’ve officially launched into reach territory. Dustin Crum sticks out as a solid option for a fourth or fifth round pick given his high level of collegiate production and sheer number of starts at the position. Only Josh Cribbs racked up more yards at Kent State than Crum and Julian Edelman is an alum of the university. Crum provides an athletic presence in both the rushing and passing game, amassing 3,238 yards in his senior season. At 6’3” 207, he also has the requisite size of an NFL QB you’d want to take a risk on.
9) Brock Purdy
Height: 6-1 Weight: 212lbs 40 Time: 4.83s
As far as collegiate production goes, Purdy is near the top of this list. Having spent 4 years as Iowa State’s starting quarterback and racking up over 2,250 yards in each season, there is a lot of film out there on the QB and certainly some memorable highlights. Despite putting up monster yards and not turning the ball over too much, Purdy is routinely placed near the bottom of most draft boards because of his inability to throw consistent deep balls. His offense at ISU revolved around a lot of quick, short passes designed to get guys open in space. The deeper the pass became, however, the more erratic Purdy’s production became and that leaves a big question mark for NFL scouts. There’s also plenty of evidence to suggest that Purdy is easily rattled by pocket pressure, often opting to make plays on his feet rather than find someone downfield.
10) Kaleb Eleby
Height: 6-1 Weight: 210lbs 40 Time: 4.74s
Kaleb Eleby’s selling point as a QB in the 2022 NFL draft is accuracy and execution. He’s great at hitting guys in stride on crossing routes and is capable of going up the sideline when necessary. He’s got good footwork that allows him to reset and fire if bumped, and escape mild pocket pressure. Similarly, he avoids sacks by getting the ball out of his hands quickly and finding his first read in rhythm. His mechanics, however, do get raw at times and his performance is largely inconsistent. He tries to force throws sometimes and can struggle mightily against consistent pressure. Like Purdy, he’s also wildly inconsistent on the deep pass.