2022 NFL Draft QB rankings: Top-10 prospects heading into Week 6
Why Kenny Pickett moved into the top-5 and Spencer Rattler is flirting with irrelevancy
The QB Rankings are back and as is the case with everything else I’m attempting with this site right now, I’m working to improve and update these articles so that they are efficiently packed with useful bits of information. Below you will find the updated top-10, and at least 20 more QB names after them, who will be eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Grayson McCall gets a Thursday night start this week, so it is important I get these out before then.
2022 NFL Draft QB Rankings
1. Grayson McCall, Coastal vs ULM (13/13, 212y, 2 TD, 0 INT)
Previous ranking: 1
For the second week in a row, McCall didn’t see action in the second half. Coastal Carolina has scored at least 49 points in four of five games. They should tear up the rest of the Sun Belt conference. I would have to say that at this point it is looking impossible for McCall to get a top-eight Heisman finish, but assuming he returns to school in 2022, the junior QB will have to be considered one of the preseason favorites.
This week, I’ll also be including which Top-32 college defenses (using ESPN’S FPI rankings) these quarterbacks have faced or will face this season. McCall does not see any top-32 defenses this year (at least, not based on what we’ve seen so far) but he does have a challenge that comes close to that.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: None. But Appalachian State (38) is close.
Season stats: 69/86, 80.2%*, 1,113 yards, 12.9 Y/A*, 14.7 AY/A*, 10 TD, 1 INT, 2 rush TD
*1st in the nation
2. Malik Willis, Liberty vs UAB (13/19, 287y, 1 TD, 0 INT, 15 rush, 144y, 2 TD)
Previous ranking: 2
He’s a phenomenal runner. The arm is strong. In a year without a clear cut first round quarterback, I’m noticing that prognosticators are starting to allow themselves to become comfortable with Willis. Maybe that will be a fair prediction. As I said, I think plenty of people will convince themselves that Willis is “the next Kyler” and that’s why his draft stock could soar.
Also because he’s good.
The best defense Willis has faced so far is Syracuse (43rd) and Willis went 14/19 for 3 TD with 49 rushing yards in a 24-21 loss.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Ole Miss (25), Army (32)
Season stats: 76/107, 71%, 1,105 yards, 10.3 Y/A, 12.4 AY/A, 11 TD, 0 INT, 66 rush, 418y, 6 TD
3. Kenny Pickett, Pitt vs Georgia Tech (23/36, 64%, 389y, 4 TD, 0 INT)
Previous ranking: 7
I wrote that Saturday was Pickett’s strongest case yet for the 2022 NFL Draft and now he has some of the best all-around stats in the country with 19 touchdowns and one interception. I thought Georgia Tech’s defense gave Pickett a decent challenge, though it is not exceptional. Sophomore WR Jordan Addison is clearly the better NFL prospect — but maybe he’s just an amazing receiver and Pickett is also going to be in the pros?
The best defense Pickett has faced so far is Western Michigan (19) and he went 23/31 for 382 yards with 6 TD in that game, plus 49 rushing yards.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Clemson (5), Western Michigan (19), Tennessee (29)
7:30 - completes a long pass, but better throw = touchdown
10:00 - hits WR in stride for TD
12:30 - slightly underthrows WR Jordan Addison, catches it while on ground
14:50 - extends play for first down throw
Season stats: 121/168, 72%, 1,731 yards, 10.3 Y/A, 12.3 AY/A, 19 TD, 1 INT, 2 rush TD
4. Matt Corral, Ole Miss vs Alabama (21/29, 213y, 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 rush TD)
Previous ranking: 5
Corral entered the game knowing that if he puts a few good plays on tape and doesn’t post awful stats against Alabama, that scouts and draft experts will feel even more comfortable projecting him as an early NFL draft pick. Well, did Corral put a couple of nice plays on film? Yes. Are his stats nice? Yes. Was it the game that Matt Corral fans were hoping for?
I am going to say no.
Ole Miss was down 35-0 at halftime. Corral completed easy throws, he didn’t complete most of the tough throws, and his team was never in a position to compete. Alabama was going to give him those underneath completions all day long. There wasn’t a lot to take away negative, but also nothing to take away positive. Many QBs you’ve never heard of had a few nice plays and good stats against college defenses that were stacked with future pros.
Alabama (4) is the best defense Ole Miss has faced this season.
Braylon Sanders made maybe the catch of the year in this game, helping Corral at least a tiny bit:
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Alabama (4), Arkansas (6), Mississippi State (13), Tennessee (29)
3:20 - Fumble
4:45 - Escapes pressures, launches a bomb that is dropped, should’ve scored
Season stats: 87/125, 70%, 1,210 yards, 9.7 Y/A, 11.3 AY/A, 10 TD, 0 INT, 161 rush yards, 6 TD
5. Carson Strong, Nevada vs Boise State (25/37, 263y, 1 TD, 0 INT)
Previous ranking: 3
Strong’s presence in the pocket is probably where the word “lumbering” comes from. It just doesn’t seem like the ball is often going to the spot that Strong intended. Overthrows, underthrows, missed opportunities. Maybe he’s thrown off (off thrown?) by the blue field.
Can’t say I’m that moved by this performance after getting last week off.
Boise State (37) is the best defense Strong has faced.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: None. San Diego State (36) is the closest.
:40 - overthrows intended TD target
1:45 - TD throw
2:10 - In stride
2:55 - Series of overthrows
Season stats: 108/159, 68%, 1,218 yards, 7.7 Y/A, 8 TD, 2 INT
6. Sam Howell, UNC vs Duke (18/32, 321y, 3 TD, 0 INT)
Previous ranking: 4
The offensive player in this game with the brightest NFL future is probably Duke RB Mataeo Durant. Or UNC WR Josh Downs.
Sam Howell is good at the college level, but I would say doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that he will continue that play in the NFL. Which has to be a concern for him because he’s playing OK, and yet, his stats are barely better than what he did as a true freshman in 2019, so is there a lack of progress?
The best defense Howell faced so far was Georgia Tech in Week 4, a 45-22 loss.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Notre Dame (23), NC State (26)
4:55 - 75-yard TD pass is almost all YAC, but it is a nice pump-and-throw by Howell
12:25 - Good throw to end zone, but dropped
Season stats: 95/153, 62%, 1,494 yards, 9.8 Y/A, 10.4 AY/A, 14 TD, 4 INT, 288 rush yards, 3 TD
7. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati vs Notre Dame (19/32, 297y, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 rush TD)
Previous ranking: 6
This was it: Desmond Ridder’s biggest test of the year and Cincinnati won 24-13. The rest of Cincinnati’s schedule should be setting up for an undefeated season and Ridder won’t get challenged again like he was last Saturday.
And he was fine against Notre Dame.
There were some passes that could have been picked. Some off-target throws. Some nice throws. And Ridder can run it, can take a hit, and can move outside of the pocket. Good decision-making. He just seems solid — not sure if he’s an NFL starter though.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Notre Dame (23)
Indiana’s 48th-ranked defense is the next-closest. No team left on the schedule has a top-60 defense.
5:30 - Not sure TD pass was thrown in the best area - lucky
6:15 - Very nice
Season stats: 73/115, 63.5%, 1,045 yards, 9.1 Y/A, 10 AY/A, 9 TD, 2 INT, 3 rush TD
8. Tanner McKee, Stanford vs Oregon (20/36, 230y, 3 TD, 0 INT)
Previous ranking: NR
I’m sliding McKee into my top-10 in part because the rest of the class is so weak and frail. Players hanging around this area of the top-10 in the past include Dillon Gabriel, Phil Jurkovec, and Taulia Tagovailoa, and now McKee gets his chance to have his film on display.
A former top-5 QB recruit with size who is just getting comfortable with football again after a long break goes out, steals the job in Week 1, then upends third-ranked Oregon in Week 5.
Oregon’s 35th-ranked defense is the best McKee has seen so far.
McKee didn’t play football in 2018 or 2019 and he barely played in 2020, so I expect him to return to Stanford in 2022.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Washington (11), Utah (18), Notre Dame (23)
4:30 - Down 24-17 with under 2:00 minutes, McKee leads TD drive (but oh my god pac-12 refs continue to exemplify why they are the worst)
Season stats: 89/138, 64.5%, 1,093y, 7.9 Y/A, 9.5 AY/A, 11 TD, 0 INT, 2 rush TD
9. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma vs K State (22/25, 243y, 2 TD, 1 INT)
Previous ranking: 8
Spencer Rattler could be used as evidence in a case that sometimes what can matter in “QB Evaluation” is how famous you are and even if he plays poorly, national media pundits at least know the name “Spencer Rattler.” So then they’ll defend the name.
“Well, Oklahoma has produced (these 3 NFL QBs) and we’ve known about Rattler for two years now, so he must be good.”
Just because we all know who Lincoln Riley, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, and Jalen Hurts are, we can’t say that Rattler is a good prospect. I don’t drop him out of the top-10 because thus far college football hasn’t produced 10 better 2022 prospects, but Rattler may need more schooling. He has two more top-15 tests ahead.
Best defense faced so far is Nebraska (16) and Rattler went 24/34, 214 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, but just 6.3 yards per attempt.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Iowa State (12), Oklahoma State (15), Nebraska (16), West Virginia (28)
Season stats: 122/160, 76%, 1,260 yards, 7.9 Y/A, 10 TD, 4 INT, 2 rush TD
10. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia vs Miami (25/44, 268y, 1 TD, 1 INT)
Previous ranking: 9
I don’t necessarily feel great about Armstrong, but the ball does come out of his hand looking a lot more — let’s say “dangerous” — than how it appears when most college QBs throw it.
Top-32 FPI Defenses in 2021: Pitt (10), Notre Dame (23)
Season stats: 145/224, 64.7%, 1,973 yards, 8.8 Y/A, 9.3 AY/A, 14 TD, 4 INT, 2 rush TD
Jake Haener, Fresno State vs Hawaii (28/50, 388 y, 3 TD, 4 INT)
I knew that Haener would not climb up to the top-5 and that a quick exit was probable.
The next 15 (not in any order)
Kedon Slovis, USC vs Colorado (19/29, 276y, 3 TD, 0 INT)
Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland vs Iowa (16/29, 157y, 2 TD, 5 INT)
Note: Iowa has the number two ranked defense in the nation.
Jayden Daniels, ASU vs UCLA (13/19, 286y, 2 TD, 0 INT, 45 rush y)
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA vs ASU (21/32, 235y, 1 TD, 0 INT, 96 rush y)
Brock Purdy, Iowa State vs Kansas (17/22, 245y, 4 TD, 0 INT, 37 rush y)
Note: Brock Purdy’s brother Chubba Purdy is a redshirt freshman QB at Florida State and he could enter my top-10 in 2022 or 2023, but he’s buried on the depth chart right now. Even though it’s Florida State’s depth chart.
Will Levis, Kentucky vs Florida (7/17, 87y, 1 TD, 1 INT)
Chase Garbers, Cal vs WSU (14/30, 152y, 0 TD, 1 INT)
Jack Coan, Notre Dame vs Cincinnati (14/22, 114y, 0 TD, 1 INT)
Note: Cincinnati’s defense is ranked eighth.
Tanner Mordecai, SMU vs USF (29/42, 301y, 4 TD, 1 INT)
Sean Clifford, Penn State vs Indiana (17/33, 178y, 3 TD, 1 INT, 58 rush y)
Aqeel Glass, Alabama A&M vs Grambling State (36/62, 446y, 4 TD, 4 INT)
Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky vs Michigan State (46/64, 488y, 3 TD, 0 INT)
*Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan vs Buffalo (21/33, 279y, 2 TD, 0 INT)
*Payton Thorne, Michigan State vs Western Kentucky (20/30, 327y, 1 TD, 1 rush TD)
*Sam Hartman, Wake Forest vs Louisville (23/40, 324y, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 rush TD)
*Max Duggan, TCU vs Texas (20/28, 182y, 1 TD, 0 INT)
D’Eriq King, Miami (inj)
Dustin Crum, Kent State
Jack Plummer, Purdue (benched)
J.T. Daniels, Georgia
And 5 More…
Levi Lewis, Louisiana vs South Alabama (9/20, 49y, 1 rush TD)
Logan Bonner, Utah State vs BYU (21/41, 276y, 2 TD, 1 INT)
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee vs Mizzou (15/19, 225y, 3 TD, 0 INT, 80 rush y, 1 TD)
Daniel Richardson, Central Michigan vs Miami (OH) (22/41, 326y, 2 TD, 0 INT)
Chance Nolan, Oregon State vs UW (7/15, 48y, 0 TD, 1 INT)