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2022 NFL Draft: Ranking 9 of the quarterbacks
Just these 9!
2022 NFL Draft Updates
Article posts a few matchups names we’ve heard on this blog before but actually quite a few that we haven’t: Malik Willis vs Matt Corral (we’ve talked about both of these and Liberty’s Willis could be a top-10 pick), Spencer Rattler vs Tyler Shough (have done a lot on Rattler, nothing on Shough), Sam Howell vs Kenny Pickett (first mention of Pickett, any relation to Cody?), Kedon Slovis vs Jayden Daniels; Spencer Sanders vs Brock Purdy (I’ve heard of Purdy, but have I mentioned him here?), Dustin Crum vs Taulia Tagovailoa (will I end up liking him more than I liked his brother in the 2020 draft?), and Grayson McCall vs Layne Hatcher (I never miss a chance to talk about McCall).
How about I go through some of these new names with quotes about them pulled from Yahoo:
McCall was terrific last season, whipping Kansas with five TDs (three throwing, two running) and beating Zach Wilson and BYU at home in a showcase game. McCall’s dual-threat ability can’t go overlooked, but we’ll be curious to see if Jamey Chadwell and the offensive coaches ask him to run a bit less and throw more after a 26-3 TD-INT ratio and a 68.8 completion percentage.
I had J.T. O’Sullivan on the Rams podcast a couple weeks ago and I told him about my affinity for McCall. O’Sullivan said he watched one game so far and wasn’t that impressed, but shortly after our pod, he did another one on McCall and the reports were glowing. Did my endorsement help paint O’Sullivan’s POV a little bit? Hell, I hope so. I do expect him to throw a bit more in 2021 and to refine his game by adding more under-center looks so that he has a better chance of doing what I believe he can do: become the next Zach Wilson.
Layne Hatcher, Arkansas State, 6’, 210 lbs:
Hatcher was an Alabama transfer who had a solid 2020 season despite having to split time with starter Logan Bonner. But Bonner followed former head coach Blake Anderson to Utah State, and the new coach is Butch Jones. Hatcher is a fairly deep sleeper right now, but he has the chops to break out even more with the full-time job, despite losing some pieces from last year’s club.
Hmm, Hatcher’s numbers through two seasons are outstanding. He was the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year in 2019: 27 TD, 10 INT, 9.5 Y/A. He followed up with 19 TD, 2 INT, 10.6 Y/A in 10 games in 2020. Just looking at numbers, accuracy would be a concern, he was a hair under 60% last season. ESPN called him one of the most “explosive” players in the country. He also split time with QB Logan Bonner because that’s just the way that they doing things under OC Keith Heckendorf. (It might become more common to see this in the future, even in the NFL.) On the bright side, I guess, is that Bonner’s numbers aren’t near as good as Hatcher’s.
Okay, this is my first experience watching Hatcher and accuracy is definitely an issue. He also doesn’t look or throw much like an NFL passer:
Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland, 5’11, 205 lbs:
Tagovailoa almost certainly will get an NFL chance, likely by virtue of his surname. We saw some real flashes last season — turn on the Minnesota or Penn State games to see what we’re talking about — but also some real duds. He’s small and needs a lot of work, but Tua’s little bro has something worth keeping en eye on.
He threw 12 passes at Alabama in 2019, then played at Maryland in 2020 as Mac Jones was breaking all the school records for the Tide. Tagovailoa completed 61.5% of 122 passes, gaining 8.3 Y/A with 7 TD and 7 INT. His last name is Tagovailoa … that’s the story. Even though the older Tagovailoa hasn’t really proven much outside of being a productive QB at Alabama. Younger Tagovailoa couldn’t do that much. What are we doing here, people? Why Taulia Tagovailoa transferred.
Dustin Crum, Kent State, 6’3, 207 lbs:
He’s the MAC’s best chance at an NFL QB prospect. He also happens to be studying aerospace engineering, and supposedly plans to be a rocket scientist after his football days are over. (We can’t imagine that storyline taking off this season if he balls out or anything.) His toughness, accuracy and playmaking on the move give him a real NFL chance.
Crum is going into his fifth year at Kent State but at this point his entire career is about the equal to one outstanding year for a college QB: 332-of-483, 4,214 yards, 35 TD, 6 INT, 8.7 Y/A. Okay, but can he do all of that in 2021 alone? College highlight tapes like the ones you see from JUSTBOMBSPRODUCTIONS and whatnot intentionally over-hype prospects and write titles that mislead by emphasizing the one skill or exceptional gift of said player. In Crum’s case, it’s his arm strength: “The STRONGEST Armed QB You’ve NEVER Heard Of” (by this phrasing, the title implies that some QBs are not even “armed”)
Without having seen anything more than the video above — so take this with a grain of salt — Crum’s going to need a much better highlight reel than a handful of deep bombs to wide open receivers. His arm strength doesn’t look so much natural as it does need him to give 120%, which as a smart kid, Crum knows does not exist.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State, 6’1, 212 lbs:
Purdy laid an egg in the opener in the stunning home loss to Louisiana before cranking up his performance around midseason. He ended up having a solid year. He’s more NFL backup material and not the next Joe Burrow, despite Purdy’s moxie (translation: he often gets the job done, even if it’s seldom pretty.)
For what it’s worth, prior to his final season, Burrow had mostly only “laid eggs”. That may not be what the writer is going for here, but just a note that predicting anybody to be the “next Joe Burrow” or the “next Zach Wilson” is nothing more than hopeful magic on the part of the analyst.
In my uneducated opinion, I think you could say this is similar to how Elon Musk takes more credit for crypto’s rollercoaster than I think he deserves, simply by not denying that the market is at the whims of his tweets. I think that’s the same as some of the public-manipulating “magic tricks” previously played by his predecessors and heroes like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. I don’t believe Musk’s tweets rule the market as much as I believe that Musk knows when to tweet.
Football fans and even writers/analysts have in the past made predictions of many kinds, then simply deleted the ones that were wrong or looked plain stupid with hindsight. Or without needing hindsight. If Grayson McCall is a top pick next year, I’ll be happy to see that come to fruition and maybe I’ll even boast a little. But I know the odds are against me. I hope Grayson doesn’t!
Purdy is going into his fourth season as the starter for the Cyclones. He’s yet to take a big leap forward and in fact his numbers have gotten a little bit worse each year. I didn’t see much in this game against Oregon to be excited about. He might look like a sixth or seventh round pick to some team, if the interviews are great.
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, 6’1 205 lbs. Here’s an odd fact to consider, Sanders has completed 155-of-247 passes in EACH of his first two seasons. Exactly that many. The rest of his numbers might as well be identical too.
Sanders showed some development last season but needs to cut down on his turnover-worthy throws and will be working with a slew of new offensive weapons and a rebuilt offensive line this season, including new grad-transfer center Danny Godlevske.
It’s a much different offense than Iowa State maybe, but this is what real arm strength looks like to me:
Tyler Shough, Texas Tech, 6’5, 221 lbs:
Shough is a fascinating study. He transferred to Tech after beating out Anthony Brown for Oregon’s starting job last year because it became painfully obvious to many observers that the Ducks staff didn't trust him to operate the breadth of the offense. Once Shough’s confidence was shaken, followed by Brown replacing him in the bowl game, Shough was as good as gone.
Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells told Yahoo Sports he’s thrilled to have him.
“I love that dude,” Wells said. “Mature beyond his years. I mean, big arm. I am not oblivious to what some people have written about him. But I love the guy so far.”
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Shough did enough in seven starts (64.8% completions, 9.4 yards per attempt, 16-6 TD-INT ratio; 271 rush yards, two TDs) to land in Lubbock. Paired with a strong supporting cast, Shough should be allowed to have a longer leash this season.
Wells believes Shough could have a big 2021 season — and is preparing for the idea he could declare early after it.
“He might play two years here, he might play one,” Wells said. "If he plays one, Texas Tech had a really, really good year. I am good if he plays one and he’s done.
“He’s better in the building than I thought. He came fairly highly advertised, but he’s better in the building than I realized. Comes early, stays late. Football junkie. Three months he’s been here? He’s shown tremendous leadership. The dudes love him.”
Spencer Rattler is the one compared to Patrick Mahomes maybe, but Shough is the quarterback who plays for Texas Tech. But keep in mind that the Red Raiders haven’t developed any NFL quarterbacks since Mahomes, Kliff Kingsbury is now in Arizona, and Tech was 57th in the nation in scoring last season. Shough needs to be the reason that changes and if Shough is that good, then yeah, he won’t be there for two years. I haven’t been following what happened at Oregon but could it really be as simple as “The coaching staff is in the wrong, the kid is in the right”? I highly doubt that. It’s not as though Justin Herbert’s gonna bad mouth the Ducks and he’s doing quite well.
Here is Shough (pronounced ‘Shug’) against Iowa State. He can whip it but it immediately becomes clear to me why Oregon wouldn’t be that destroyed by losing Shough to transfer. Nothing stands out as far as decision making (“Throw? No, can’t, will run”) and his final throw - a pick - was ugly. Shough threw picks in five of his seven starts last season.
Kenny Pickett, Pitt, 6’2, 220 lbs:
Facing off with him in this matchup is the plucky Pickett, who seemed to improve his arm strength and his consistency last season. We assumed he’d come out this past draft cycle, but a midseason ankle injury derailed Pickett. Can he stay healthy and deliver one complete season? Pickett will turn 24 next June, so he’s on the older side.
I wouldn’t say that 24 is “on the older side”. It’s the NFL draft so 24 is simply OLD. That’s it. It’s old. It’s fine sometimes. Off the top of my head, Michael Thomas was a 24-year-old draftee. A lot of quarterbacks are 23 at the time of the draft. But 24 is old, plain and simple. His career numbers are bad (39 TD, 25 INT in 39 games) and the accuracy doesn’t seem to be there. Nothing much that I see here.
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State, 6’3, 185 lbs. Wait, really? 185?
Daniels is a player you should not sleep on. Last year's COVID-addled Sun Devils season made them a tricky evaluation, and Daniels was able to attempt only 84 passes in 2020. What we saw of him as a freshman gives us hope. Daniels has a live arm and great scrambling ability and could take a jump this year, despite losing WR Frank Darby to the NFL.
Daniels and the Sun Devils nearly pulled the upset in the opener last year against the Trojans but gave up touchdowns to London and McCoy in the final three minutes to see a 13-point lead evaporate. Both quarterbacks had their ups and downs in that one, but we are expecting a better showcase for each this time around.
At 247, he’s been compared to Deshaun Watson. But Watson was 215 lbs. Some places list Daniels at 175. This can’t really be an NFL quarterback prospect, can it? At 180 lbs? A recent breakdown at Behind the Steel Curtain says that rumors have it that Daniels has gone all the way up to 200. Okay, that would be something. Is he losing any athleticism on the way up? BtSC also notes that Daniels has elite arm strength and good accuracy but needs a lot of refinement and coaching before being ready for the next level. Daniels threw 17 TD and 2 INT as a freshman, but didn’t get much playing time during the shortened 2020 season.
How would I rank just these quarterback prospects, based on little information but gut feeling? For what it is worth, none of these quarterbacks would seem to be first round picks, but a) I love McCall, b) I guess Daniels could be bigger, c) my opinions should not be considered to be important so if you happen to be related to any of these people, please don’t take offense.
1. Grayson McCall
2. Jayden Daniels
3. Layne Hatcher
4. Spencer Sanders
5. Dustin Crum
6. Brock Purdy
7. Taulia Tagovailoa
8. Kenny Pickett
9. Tyler Shough