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2022 NFL Draft: Who are the top 3 QBs right now?
It’s been over a month since my last Top-10 QB rankings and plenty has changed.
Grayson McCall, my favorite player in college football, has missed the last two games. Coastal Carolina is coming off of a 42-40 loss to Georgia State and it is clear that the offense and the team are in much worse condition with Bryce Carpenter at quarterback instead of McCall. It’s a boost to McCall’s overall draft stock, but I think the last month makes it clear that he will return to the Chants and will hold off his NFL journey until 2023.
Grayson McCall, my former number one, will now no longer be a part of the 2022 QB rankings.
Also, when we last spoke of QBs, Malik Willis was my number two. At the time, his season stats were 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. In the five games since, Willis has thrown 10 touchdowns—but also nine interceptions. Willis is a dual threat quarterback who will certainly be in the 2022 NFL Draft, but virtually all of his college passing successes have come against inferior competition. Against Ole Miss recently, Willis was a lot more damaging to his own team than to the Rebels’ defense.
Malik Willis, maybe the best NFL prospect in the 2022 class a month ago, is getting further away from being a first round pick.
Change is a part of the process. Adjustments in rankings, an expectation we should have all had from the beginning. This break from doing a Top-10 rankings should be beneficial in seeing how much things can change in only a few weeks time; way more so than the changes you’ll read about during the Senior Bowl, combine, and pro day process.
Here are my Top-3 QBs for the 2022 NFL Draft after 11 weeks of college football.
1. Kenny Pickett, Pitt vs UNC (25/43, 346y, 3 TD, 1 INT)
Like every eight years, Pitt produces the best player in the draft. Aaron Donald, Darrelle Revis, Dan Marino, Chris Doleman, Larry Fitzgerald…
Here we may be going again.
Right now, they’re saying that the Heisman may come down to Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Ole Miss’s Matt Corral, or Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III. It remains fairly wide open though because similar to the QB prospects in next year’s draft, nobody has “stood out” to the country as an obvious winner; “Is Alabama really successful because of just the quarterback?”; “Is Michigan State good enough to have a Heisman winner?”; “Can Stroud or Young win the Heisman as a redshirt freshman?”
Hello….. Kenny Pickett over here.
All Pickett does every week is eat, eat, eat. He was one of the short list of candidates to be this year’s Joe Burrow or Zach Wilson, and here he is: 32 TD, 4 INT, and he’s had seven games over 300 yards passing.
Three games over 400 yards passing. And a season-high of 519 yards passing against Miami.
Last Thursday, Pickett faced North Carolina and got a close look at Sam Howell, the guy who used to be in the “1 position” for many draft prognosticators going into 2021’s season. Pitt took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and held on for a 30-23 OT win that was sealed by a touchdown pass from Pickett to Lucas Krull.
There might be people who feel underwhelmed by Pickett, saying he’s not mobile enough or that he just doesn’t have the “ceiling” of quarterbacks like Willis or Corral. That’s bunk. If the San Francisco 49ers had ignored prospect criticisms like those, Mac Jones might be leading them to the NFC’s number one seed…. right now.
Like I said that they should have.
If the draft is held tomorrow and the Texans or Lions are on the clock with the number one pick, then…Kayvon Thibodeaux should probably be the guy. But if either of those teams find themselves in a position to draft a quarterback and all of them are available, then Kenny Pickett is the answer.
Season stats: 260-385, 67.5%, 3,517 yards, 9.1 Y/A, 10.3 AY/A, 32 TD, 4 INT
2. Matt Corral, Ole Miss vs Texas A&M (24/37, 247y, 1 TD, 0 INT, 10 rush, -5y)
As high of a ranking as this is, I am underwhelmed by Matt Corral as compared to most of my colleagues and the people who are way better at scouting than I am. This is perhaps the reality of the 2022 NFL Draft:
What happens when a QB class as bad as 2013’s meets a league full of GMs who are dangerously desperate to find the next “rookie contract hero”?
The 2013 NFL Draft featured just one QB in the first round, with E.J. Manuel being selected way too high (this was even the sentiment at the time) by the Bills: 16th overall. Next, the Jets reached on Geno Smith with the 39th overall pick. Then the Bucs took Mike Glennon with the 73rd overall pick. There were just three QBs in the top-90 selections (Matt Barkley went 98th) and to this day we know that there were no hidden gems.
You could argue that there isn’t a QB in the 2022 NFL Draft with a legitimate first round grade, but given what we’ve seen in the last five years, I would be surprised if we don’t hear at least four QBs have their names called in the first round.
At least half of them probably won’t belong. (For what it’s worth, the 2023 NFL Draft class of QBs looks amazing and for that reason, I would not be as shocked to see Houston and Detroit pass up the QBs in 2022.)
The fact that Matt Corral looks so good by comparison to his peers is more damning to the class than it is in praise of the Ole Miss junior. To me, Pickett is a good prospect. Corral is a “fine” prospect. Normally I would not expect the Lions or Texans to choose Corral with a top-three pick, but given that Trey Lance and Justin Fields went as high as they did, I can’t discount the possibility that teams are not afraid to reach; they’re afraid to miss.
Don’t play FOMO with your top-three picks.
Season stats: 205-308, 66.6%, 2,773 yards, 9 Y/A, 9.8 AY/A, 17 TD, 2 INT, 126 rush, 523 yards, 10 TD
3. Malik Willis, Liberty (BYE)
I mean, at this point, Malik Willis is just straight up a “calculated reach”.
A team will see Willis as a player who they hope to mold into the next Lamar Jackson. He could be an exceptional running back. He’s got a strong arm. Can he be a quarterback though? Can he make all the right decisions? Or most of the right ones? Is he accurate downfield?
With players like Willis, who will be tasked to improvise on a regular basis, decision-making ability is paramount. This is what a team will hope to “coach into him” but at what draft cost? A first round pick? A top-10 pick? Right now, I think Willis might have the same draft value as Jackson, putting him on the cusp of the first and second round.
Season stats: 156-235, 66.4%, 2,159 yards, 9.2 Y/A, 9.3 AY/A, 21 TD, 9 INT, 153 rush, 755 yards, 10 TD
I wanted to keep going with this as usual, but am headed on a road trip to San Antonio. Must hit publish early unfortunately.
New guy honorable mention
Hendon Hooker vs Georgia (24/37, 244y, 1 TD, 1 INT)
Season stats: 153-223, 68.6%, 2,138 yards, 9.6 Y/A, 11 AY/A, 22 TD, 3 INT, 129 rush, 464 yards, 4 TD