It’s time to take a look at the 2022 quarterback prospects. The 2021 draft saw five quarterbacks drafted in the first fifteen picks. While the 2022 draft might not see the top-tier talent like 2021, the depth is there. There’s no clear-cut top guy at this moment, but plenty of guys can be first-round picks. This is a list of my favorite prospects, not necessarily the order in which they’ll be drafted.
1. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Howell opens up as my top quarterback prospect in large part due to him looking the most NFL-ready of the bunch. He has a strong arm, good enough mobility, and has success against big-time programs. You’ll see him compared a lot to Baker Mayfield. Both aren’t run-first quarterbacks, but thrive in chaos by extending plays outside the pocket. He’s got a big arm and can make any throw on the field. This year will be important for him because he won’t have his top two receivers and top two running backs from 2019 and 2020. With a new supporting cast, he will have to elevate the talent around him rather than playing with pro-ready players.
2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
Here’s your odds-on favorite for the number one overall pick. Rattler showed significant improvement from the beginning of the season to the end. Early on, it looked like he relied solely on his talent. Later in the season, he finally started trusting his offense and his play reflected that. After having six interceptions in the first seven games, he threw just one in the final four. The most gifted quarterback of this bunch, Rattler can throw the ball on a line and makes some magical plays with his scrambling ability. He’s not a true runner, but has great feet and keeps his eyes down the field when he rolls outside. However, he’s another guy who’s slightly undersized. We need to continue to see the Rattler we saw down the stretch before he becomes the bonafide #1 overall pick. He was also featured in the Netflix show QB1, you were probably turned off by his cocky attitude. Plenty of high school kids act that way, but has he matured in college? I don’t have an answer for that right now.
3. Carson Strong, Nevada
I’m here to announce my intention of running for President of the Carson Strong fan club. Since the Mountain West Conference started their season in late October, most people probably never got the chance to see Strong play. If you did, you saw an old-school quarterback throw the ball all over the field. A well-built pocket passer, Strong doesn’t play like the new school quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet. He has no problem sitting in the pocket and doesn’t get fazed by pressure. Simply put, I think he’s the best pure passer in the 2022 draft. He didn’t play the best teams and isn’t a great athlete, but if he shows continued signs of development, then he should be a top ten pick.
4. Kedon Slovis, USC
If you’re looking for a surgical passer, then Slovis is your guy. From the moment he’s taken over the starting role, he’s turned the USC offense around and has continually made big plays despite not having an elite skillset. Kurt Warner (yes, that Kurt Warner) was his high school coach and speaks highly about his work ethic and IQ. However, Slovis has average arm strength and athleticism which could make him a tough sell as a top-ten pick.
5. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Most people were surprised that Ridder decided to come back for his senior year, but it was absolutely the right call. After inconsistent play in his first two seasons, Ridder looked much calmer and poised in 2020. He went from being an athlete who can throw the ball to a quarterback who is a true dual threat. It helps that his offensive line and defense were much improved, but Ridder just felt like a different player. He does have some accuracy issues and needs to build off of the success in 2020, but if Ridder can continue this rise he just might be in consideration for the number one overall pick.
6. JT Daniels, Georgia
What a difference a change of scenery can make. At USC, Daniels looked hesitant and scared as a freshman before getting hurt as a sophomore. While he spent most of his junior year rehabbing from a torn ACL, Daniels looked fantastic down the stretch and led the Bulldogs to four straight wins. He was a highly touted high school prospect, so we always knew the talent was there. The mental game had to develop. In some ways, he reminds me of Mac Jones, but with a stronger arm. He’s not overly athletic, but he can move in the pocket and throws a very good deep ball. The main reason why he’s not higher on this list is that we’ve seen more bad than good from him in his career. If he can keep developing, we could see him sneak into the top half of the first round.
7. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Here’s the wild card! Corral is a fun player to watch because you don’t know what version of him will show up. On some plays, he’s running around and making perfect throws down the field. On other plays, he’s throwing right to the other team and looks like he should be benched. The offense Lane Kiffin runs in Ole Miss is up-tempo and is perfect for an athlete like Corral. It’s great having some backyard football in your game like Corral does, but he’s too unpolished. He needs to be more conscious of where he throws the ball and needs to improve his in-game IQ. He’s raw, but the talent is there.
8. Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
There are some people who love Shough and think he’s the best quarterback in this class. He just transferred to Texas Tech from Oregon, where he showed talent but never put it all together. From a physical standpoint, he has elite tools. Blessed with a strong arm and good speed, I get why some people might think he’s a potential franchise quarterback. Despite the talent, I think Shough has a LONG way to go. His accuracy is shaky and he was a streaky thrower.
9. Malik Willis, Liberty
Willis, just like the Liberty football team, broke out in 2020. As a transfer from Auburn, Willis dazzles with his arm and with his legs. While he is a much better runner than passer at this point in his career, Willis had moments where he showed the ability to push the ball down the field with great touch. This kind of arm strength and boldness is something to build on. He does struggle with accuracy and needs to work on a few mechanical issues, but he looked good in his first season as a starter. In order to avoid the dreaded pre-draft evaluation of a quarterback who should move positions, Willis needs to improve on his footwork in the pocket and has to do a better job of going through his progressions.
10. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
If there’s one guy towards the end of this list that can make a massive push up the board, it’ll be Daniels. Surprisingly, Daniels isn’t getting much hype right now despite having flashes of elite play. He didn’t inspire in a shortened Pac-12 season in 2020, but he impressed me a lot as a freshman in 2019. He, like many other quarterbacks in this group, has trouble with accuracy. Too many times he rushed throws and overthrew open receivers. However, he is a natural athlete and looks like a gazelle in the open field. As a passer, he has a strong arm and keeps his eyes down the field when he starts to scramble. I’m expecting to see a much improved Arizona State team in 2021 and Daniels will be the catalyst of their offensive attack.
Brock Purdy (Iowa State), Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Michael Pennix Jr (Indiana), Emory Jones (Florida), D’Eriq King (MiamI)