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2022 NFL DRAFT RANKINGS - QUARTERBACKS

Greg DePalma
02/02/2022 5:10PM ET

Here is my initial list of the top ranked quarterbacks for the 2022 NFL Draft.

The number in parentheses represents the ranking for the top overall players in the draft.

Click here to check out that list…ORDER 66

This list will be updated following all-star week performances from the East/West Shrine Bowl (1/28 – 2/3) and the Senior Bowl (2/1 – 2/5) as well as individual player pro days and the NFL Combine (3/1 – 3/7).


RANKINGS

1 (10) Kenny Pickett, Pitt (RS Sr.) Good size at 6-3, 220; 2021 1st-team ACC; made a huge jump during his final season while tossing for 4,319 yards on a 67% clip and a school record 42 TDs with just 7 INTs; he moves well in the pocket and can use his legs when necessary; also a better athlete than given credit for; Pickett has a strong arm and can make accurate strong-armed throws at every level as well as on the move; unlike many of today’s fellow QB prospects, Pickett has five years of playing experience and has grown before our eyes ever since his first career start as a true freshman in 2017 when he led the Panthers to an upset victory over second-ranked and undefeated Miami; poise like that at an early age should go a long way in his continued development; with his experience, strong arm and the tutelage he received over the past three seasons under OC Mark Whipple - a former NFL assistant who was Ben Roethlisberger’s first position coach with the Steelers –Pickett is in good shape to become a solid if not upper-class NFL starter.

2 (12) Sam Howell, UNC (Jr.) 6-1, 220; a very good athlete who started using his legs more in 2021 (829 rush yards and 11 TDs) after his prolific supporting cast left him following the 2020 season; thanks to those playmakers, Howell engineered a huge 2020 with 3,586 yards passing on a 30/7 ratio and a 10.3 average per attempt which ranked 6th nationally and demonstrated his elite deep passing abilities; his numbers took a predictable dip this past season including his completion percentage which fell from 68.1% to 62.5%; but even though his yards per attempt average also took a hit, his abilities were able to compensate enough for only a minor drop of 8.8, which still ranked in the top-20 (16th nationally) for the season; what really stuck out to me regarding Howell’s college career was his uncanny capacity to deliver in the clutch better than any other quarterback in this class; even though Howell ran OC Phil Longo’s ‘Air Raid’ offense - which has yet to produce many top-tier NFL signal-callers besides Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray – I believe Howell will be one of those exceptions thanks to his strong arm, excellent athleticism and prowess to make up plays as he goes along.

3 (22) Matt Corral, Ole Miss (Jr.) 6-1, 205; 2021 2nd-team SEC; California kid from Long Beach Poly High who ran an up-tempo RPO offense the past two seasons in college under Lane Kiffin; the offense is a perfect fit for Corral’s skill level which emphasizes his accuracy and athleticism; he gained over 1,100 yards with 15 TDs rushing these past two seasons while keeping his completion percentage between 67.9% and 70%; Corral made a concerted effort this past season to improve his ball security and was successful by throwing just five interceptions compared to the 14 he threw away in 2020; Corral’s combination of excellent accuracy and effectiveness on the ground is why teams will gravitate towards him in April; he is also a true leader, with good football smarts and toughness; to me, he has similar traits to Trey Lance, but not nearly as physically big. 

4 (30) Carson Strong, Nevada (Jr.) Good size at 6-4, 215; 2X MWC OPOY; very good TD/INT ratio (63-12) combined with excellent accuracy (70%) in 21 games over the past two seasons while running the ‘Air Raid’ system; his 347.9 average yards per game (4,175 total passing yards) in 2021 ranked 5th nationally; good arm; tough kid.

5 (41) Malik Willis, Liberty (RS Jr.) 6-1, 215; attempted just 14 passes in two seasons with Auburn as a 3-Star recruit, then transferred to Liberty after losing the starting job to Bo Nix in the spring of 2019; only a two-year starter; very smart; has a strong arm, but downfield accuracy needs more work; very athletic while leading the team in rushing both seasons with 1,822 yards and 27 TDs; almost like he’s a running back playing quarterback; playing mostly ‘Group of 5’ competition, Willis received limited opportunities against ‘Power 5’ programs and unfortunately failed to impress; in 2020 he went 13 for 32 with 172 yards passing, 2 TDs and 3 INTs in a 15-14 loss at NC State; in 2021 he lost the last three regular season games against the top three teams on the schedule (Ole Miss, ULL and Army) completing just 51% of his passes, averaging just 213 yards per game with a 3/6 ratio; I do not believe Willis is a first-round talent, but I do believe he will get over-drafted due to his athletic ability and arm strength while everyone searches for the next Lamar Jackson.

By Greg DePalma
The Draft Apprentice and Executive Producer of the Ourlads’ Football Network at Ourlads.com.