An Early Look at the 2022 Quarterback Classby Mason Thompson May 25, 2021 0 comments
Over the last two seasons, nine quarterbacks have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Of the ones drafted in 2020, two are budding superstars as Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert seem to have a firm grasp as the centerpieces of their respective franchises. Tua Tagovailoa had an up-and-down rookie season but now has all eyes on him as the main man in Miami. Jordan Love, well, he is still waiting for the Packers to make a decision on his and that other guy in Green Bay’s respective futures in green and gold.
While it is too early to tell about the 2021 class, there is still plenty to be excited about. Five quarterbacks went within the first 15 picks, including three in the first three selections. Along with those five in the first round, another three went within the next 35 picks. While those three aren’t as great as the top five, they provide developmental options, specifically Kellen Mond and Davis Mills, to succeed their respective team’s current starters.
The 2022 class has a lot of different options. It’s time to get an early jump on the quarterback class.
What Teams Will Be Looking For New Signal Callers?
The obvious name here is Washington. Other teams that could select a quarterback either as a result of an aging veteran or a young player not doing well are the Giants, Eagles, Lions, Panthers, Saints, Steelers, Texans, Titans, Broncos, and Raiders. Opinions vary on if some of these teams need a new quarterback or not.
Sam Howell, North Carolina
There seems to be a consensus, as of right now, that Howell is the number one player at quarterback as of now. In his two seasons with the Tarheels, Howell has completed about 65 percent of his passes while throwing for over 7,200 yards, 68 touchdowns, and only 14 interceptions. He will have to lead the North Carolina offense with a surplus of new starters after Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown, and Dazz Newsome were all drafted in April’s draft. Howell has a big arm that can put passes right on the money downfield. He will likely be one of the first two quarterbacks off the board in April unless something drastic happens.
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
Lincoln Riley continues to groom quarterbacks that will likely succeed in the NFL. First, it was Baker Mayfield, who has become a fan favorite of the potential AFC favorite Cleveland Browns. Then, he transformed Kyler Murray into one of college football’s best players, who is now a player poised to have Arizona make a run into the playoffs this year. Riley also helped Jalen Hurts transfer a bit less seamless, and now Hurts is the lead dog for the Eagles following the Carson Wentz trade. Rattler completed about 68 percent of his passes for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. Unfortunately, rumors have already started to swirl about Rattler’s character concerns, but he has been listed as the Heisman favorite on multiple platforms.
Kedon Slovis, USC
The long run of USC quarterbacks continues. After an impressive 2019 season according to the stats, Slovis had a massive dip in production during the 2020 season. It will be interesting to see how he performs without his top three receivers from that 2019 campaign all in the NFL with Michael Pittman, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Tyler Vaughns all finding their way to the NFL. Slovis is a highly debated prospect already on draft twitter, and many seem to think he isn’t a first-round prospect.
Malik Willis, Liberty
Every year there seems to be one small-school prospect that jumps out to everyone who watches them. As a former Auburn transfer, it is easy to see why Willis is getting a ton of attention right now. After only attempting 14 passes during his two years at Auburn, Willis transferred to Liberty, where he completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,250 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. Along with the passing stats, Willis also rushed for 944 yards and 14 touchdowns. He will look to improve upon those stats this year and continue to improve his draft stock.
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Ridder is one of the most electrifying players in all of college football. He opted to come back to Cincinnati to try fighting for a College Football Playoff birth instead of going into the draft. His arm paired with his legs makes him a threat in all phases of the game. His experience will be coveted as he has gone 30-5 in 35 starts. Ridder would have been my QB5 ahead of Mac Jones had he entered the draft last season. Watch for Ridder to improve his draft stock and be one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 class.
Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Like Ridder, Corral is another electrifying quarterback. The Ole Miss offense scored almost 40 points per game last year, and he was a big reason why. Corral passed for 3,337 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions while also adding over 500 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He is a playmaker that is still learning the game, and Corral could vastly improve his stock with another great season.
Carson Strong, Nevada
There have been a few standouts from the Mountain West, most notably Josh Allen and Love. Strong redshirted his first year in 2018, then completed 63 percent of his passes for over 2,300 yards, 11 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 2019. In 2020, however, Strong was a menace in the Wolf Pack passing attack. He completed over 70 percent of his passes for over 2,800 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. Strong appears to have a clear command of the offense, but his lack of accuracy could be his downfall.
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
Daniels had a bit of a down year after an impressive 2019 season where he completed 60 percent of his passes for over 2,800 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. In only four games last year, he had over 700 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception. Along with his passing stats, he is an avid runner, who had over 300 yards in 2019 with three additional touchdowns.
JT Daniels, Georgia
In recent years, there have been plenty of quarterbacks that have transferred from one school and vastly improved at the school they transferred to. After committing to USC and playing two years for the Trojans, they were content with sticking with Slovis, enabling Daniels to transfer to Georgia, where he had a good first season for the Bulldogs. The former five-star recruit has dealt with a plethora of injuries but the collegiate world finally caught a glimpse of what made him a highly touted recruit in the final weeks of 2020. In four starts, Daniels had over 1,200 yards, ten touchdowns, and only two interceptions.
Phil Jurkovec, Boston College
After transferring from Notre Dame, Jurkovec impressed in his first season for Boston College. He completed over 61 percent of his passes for 2,500 yards, 17 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Jurkovec was a big reason why Boston College put up a big fight against Clemson last year, and with another strong showing this season, he could continue to soar up draft boards.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Purdy is returning for his senior season. Throughout his three seasons at Iowa State, he has a 66 percent completion rate while throwing for almost 9,000 yards, 62 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions. Purdy has also added almost 1,000 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. With Matt Campbell continuing to gain steam as a potential team-altering head coach, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Purdy reunite with his college coach if Campbell makes the jump as a late-round backup.
These are just some of the bigger names in the 2022 quarterback class. Of course, there are other notable names like D’Eriq King, Malik Cunningham, and many others set to make the jump to the NFL next season. There doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut number one consensus player like in recent years, but there are plenty of options to choose from in this class.