Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: January 18, 2022.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss Projected Round 1st Round
2021 Season Recap The 6-2 205 lb Matt Corral had 3,349 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, a 68.4 completion percentage, 614 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 3.963 total yards, 31 total touchdowns, and 5 interceptions with 3 of those 5 picks coming in Ole Miss's final three games against Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Baylor before Matt Corral left the Sugar Bowl injured rather than opting out of the Bowl game going 2/6 with an no touchdowns and 1 interception against this years Big 12 Champions.
Cristian F posted three games of Matt Corral's film against Texas A&M, Alabama, and Auburn on his Youtube Channel. I've posted a link to his channel in the previous sentence as well as embedded the Matt Corral game versus Texas A&M that Cristian posted. Please subscribe to Cristian's channel he works hard on these film cuts just like every other content creator that posts content for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Matt Corral SWOT Report
Strengths: Matt Corral had a good arm, but not a great arm. He's got the quickest release of any quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. His decision making is outstanding as Corral went the first five games without an interception before throwing his first pick in 2021 in Neyland Stadium against the Tennessee Volunteers. Matt Corral had a passer rating of 131 or higher in every season at Ole Miss.
One of Corral's best qualities is that he can use his eyes to manipulate a defense. He's also got lethal legs and can be a very effective duel threat quarterback at the next level. Corral has remarkable field vision and can throw the ball into tight windows firing darts at will. Has good short, medium, and deep accuracy in the passing game. Corral reminds me of Drew Brees in terms of accuracy at times, but he needs to refine this area of his game to become even half the player Brees was in the NFL. Can make 1-step throws and 3-step throws. Can play in a shotgun spread offense or a balanced run first offense effectively. Corral played at a high level against the best defenses in the country in the SEC despite his supporting cast struggling at times.
One more positive with Corral is he didn't have a single game where he threw multiple interceptions in 2021. He got sacked once in every game except one. The only game where he didn't get sacked, Ole Miss defeated Arkansas in a shootout 52-51.
Weaknesses: One scout posted on Reddit that Matt Corral can make up to 4 or 5 reads based on what he did in 2020 during his sophomore season. His 2021 tape doesn't align with that notion though as he has a tendency to throw to the first guy he sees open. He may have trouble transitioning to a west coast offense since most of his snaps at Ole Miss were out of the shotugun formation. I'm also wondering if Corral has the arm to play in a vertical offense at the next level.
He's overthrown some deep passes on tape despite making big plays on film. Remember when I said Corral reminds me of Drew Brees in terms of accuracy, well his decision making isn't as consistent as Brees was coming out of Purdue which is why Corral feels like a boom or bust prospect.
You have to ask yourself if the good outweighs the bad with Corral since he throws the ball into coverage quite a bit. One can honestly argue that Corral would have 9 interceptions if more defenders caught throws where Corral threw it into coverage against Texas A&M and Alabama when breaking down his film. Corral is prone to fumbling from time to time.
My biggest issue with Matt Corral is footwork. One person on Youtube described Corral is robotic. Don't get me wrong, Corral is an awesome duel threat. The thing is he cannot complete a pass when making a 5-step throw or 7-step throw. I don't recall Corral completing a single pass throwing on the run either. Quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlsiberger before his injury in 2019 is that those guys can throw on the run and make every type of throw with the proper footwork at the next level. Corral just doesn't do that.
Opportunities: 6. Carolina Panthers, 11. Washington Football Team, 12. Minnesota Vikings, 19. New Orleans Saints, and 20. Pittsburgh Steelers. Matt Corral should go in the top 20, but if he doesn't check out medically at the 2022 NFL Combine following his injury in the 2022 Sugar Bowl against Baylor, there's a chance Corral falls to day 2.
Threats: Matt Corral got into a fight when he was younger in High School with Wayne Gretzky's son. He's been clean since arriving at Ole Miss.
Matt Corral has the highest ceiling due to his production in 2021, accuracy on throws, ability as a duel threat, and his decision making in his junior year where Corral only threw 4 interceptions in 12 regular season games in 2021. Two of my friends compared Corral to former Washington quarterback Jake Locker. The co-host of my podcast Joseph Potter compared Corral to Case Keenum and Joey is a huge Browns fan. Considering that every quarterback needy team in the 2022 NFL Draft has a few positions they need to improve on the offensive line, Corral's bust rate in the NFL is higher than you'd think despite his stellar play this past Fall. Corral has the highest potential of any quarterback in this draft, but Carson Strong or Kenny Pickett could easily end up having a better NFL career if one of those two ends up in a better scheme.
Potential Grade: 87/99
Matt Corral redshirted in 2018 after questions about his maturity coming out of High School. Corral only started 4 games in 2019 as a freshman redshirt, but managed to lead Ole Miss with 1,362 passing yards 6 passisng touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in those 4 starts.
Matt Corral threw for 3,387 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and led the SEC with 8 completions of 40 passing yards or more despite throwing all those picks while completing over 70% of his passes in 2020. Matt Corral thrived and showed some potential to be an NFL quarterback in Lane Kiffin's first year. Matt Corral could be the top quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft if he cuts back on his interceptions during his draft year.
2021 Season Recap The 6-4 215 lb Carson Strong is arguably the best pocket quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Nevada's starting quarterback had two years of experience as the team captain for the Nevada Wolfpack. Carson Strong had 4,186 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a completion percentage of 70% heading into his Bowl game. Carson Strong opted out of his bowl game, but will play in the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl. Strong weighed 6-3 226 lbs in Mobile adding 11 lbs of muscle since the end of the regular season.
Carson Strong is the third quarterback in College Football to have back-to-back seasons with a completion percentage of 70% or better joining Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield as the lone two quarterbacks to fill this category in from 2010 up until now. Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield both had really good offensive lines when those quarterbacks had two consecutive seasons with a completion percentage of over 70%.
Carson Strong's offensive line is much weaker than Luck or Mayfield's was in College. Andrew Luck had Jonathan Martin plus David DeCastro on his offensive line at Stanford. Mayfield had Orlando Brown as his blindside in College along with Cody Ford, Ben Powers, and Dru Sarnia while Creed Humphrey was redshirting at Oklahoma, even at Texas Tech Mayfield had Le'Raven Clark as his blindside there before Mahomes took his job at Texas Tech. Carson Strong had to carry this offense without a good offensive line that gave up 36 sacks in 2021 after taking 20 sacks in his first two seasons at Nevada. This separates him from Luck or Mayfield to a degree in my opinion because those quarterbacks had much better players on their offensive line without a good offensive line really stands out if you watch Strong sling it on film.
I posted three film cuts of Carson Strong in 2020 heading into this season. At this point a year ago, I had Carson Strong as my QB5 ahead of Mac Jones.
Carson Strong SWOT Report
Strengths: Has the arm strength, throwing power, and velocity to throw it deep. Displays the short, medium, and deep ball accuracy on tape. Can make 1-step, 3-step, and 5-step drops. Strong can make up to 3 to 4 progressions and will give you 2 progressions at the very worst. I saw him make up to 5 progressions on one throw against California this year, but he's not someone who will go through all 6 progressions. However, he makes up for this as he can fire the ball into very tight windows. He threw a 34 yard completion to a receiver that was triple covered against Fresno State. He's very alert and one of the best decision makers in College Football when you give him time in the pocket. He's got the football IQ to be an above average starter at the next level, and there's an outside chance he becomes elite with the right coaching staff.
Can play in any type of offensive scheme. There are four offensive schemes West Coast Offense, a balanced run first offense, a shotgun spread offense, and a vertical offense. Carson Strong is gonna get stereotyped for being mainly an air raid quarterback like Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield. While a majority of his plays are in an air raid with some pistol sets, he's lined up under center on a few running plays. He's capable of transitioning to a West Coast offense.
Carson Strong has great field vision when he has a clean pocket. He's got two reliable weapons to make his job easier with wide receiver Romeo Doubs and tight end Cole Turner. Strong practiced in 45 degree weather during his senior season of High School Football in California after recovering from a season ending injury that kept him out for the entire Fall of his senior season of High School prior to enrolling into Nevada where he redshirted his first season before taking over as the starting quarterback for Nevada in 2019. He's capable of playing in cold weather if you need him to.
Carson Strong's production the last two years really speaks for itself. He had 409 passing yards against Utah State in 2020 before they won the Mountain West. He also dominated against UNLV, New Mexico, and San Diego State before becoming the first quarterback to win the Mountain West Player Of The Year Award as a sophomore redshirt prior to leading Nevada to a Potato Bowl win over a Tulane team that featured Patrick Johnson and Cameron Sample at 4-3 defensive end. Winning the Mountain West Player Of The Year award as a sophomore redshirt is something that Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, a former Wyoming quarterback didn't even manage to accomplish. Strong may not have Josh Allen's ceiling, yet accomplishing something that Allen and Jordan Love failed to do makes Carson Strong stand out in a big way.
Carson Strong had 312 passing yards against California to begin his junior redshirt season. Strong struggled against Kansas State, but rebounded with a road win over Boise State by helping Nevada infiltrate the school with blue turf. Strong threw for 314 passing yards in 7 consecutive games following the road win over Boise State. Nevada went 4-3 in those games, but lost three very close games against Fresno State, San Diego State who got to the Mountain West Championship Game, and a very underrated Air Force team in triple overtime where Nevada scored 21 points in each contest losing those three contests by 2 points each.
Weaknesses: Carson Strong is a pocket quarterback. He's not someone who does well throwing on the run. Strong will also struggle with 7-step drops despite having the skill set to make 1-step, 3-step, and 5-step drops. Strong does have a tendency to overthrow passes at times. He places the ball too low on some of his passes when he's in the pocket facing pressure. This makes Strong prone to fumbles at the next level. A lot of Strong's mistakes on film stem from him needing to make minor tweaks to his mechanics on film.
Opportunities: 6. Carolina Panthers, 11. Washington Football Team, 12. Minnesota Vikings, 19. New Orleans Saints, and 20. Pittsburgh Steelers. Carson Strong should go in the top 20, but he's got the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl and the 2022 NFL Combine. Right now he's a first round prospect who could move into the top 10 with a good week at the Senior Bowl along with an NFL Combine that checks out. On the flip side, a poor showing in Mobile along with a bad 2022 NFL Combine could drop Carson Strong to day 3 in the fourth round. One team in the top 20 is considering Carson Strong with their first round pick, but is also waiting for concerns with his knee to be answered at the 2022 NFL Combine. This team is also looking at the medical evaluations with Matt Corral.
Threats: Recent trends with Virgo quarterbacks would indicate Carson Strong is a safe bet. The last three Virgo quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft were Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Mac Jones. Watson may be on thin ice as of right now, but he was competent before his sexual assault allegations. You can only take this trend with a grain of salt right now since Carson Strong may have a brittle right knee.
Carson Strong injured his right knee prior to his senior year of High School which caused him to miss his entire senior season of High School. Strong has had three total procedures on that knee, two surgeries coming in the last few months prior to his junior redshirt season at Nevada. According to his head coach Jay Norvell, it was not serious, saying: "His knee is fine, he had surgery, and structurally it's all fine. He had a little procedure done before camp just to take a look at it, a scope".
The concern with Carson Strong's right knee is the only thing keeping me from giving him a 89 potential grade, which would have made Strong QB1 over Matt Corral since Strong's production is pretty good when he plays. He never missed a start at Nevada despite having three procedures done on his right knee. At the same time, Strong got sacked 76 times in those three seasons at Nevada with his offensive line giving up 20 sacks in each of his first two seasons before allowing Strong to get sacked 36 times in 2021.
I may move Strong up to QB1 if he checks out medically at the 2022 NFL Combine, but for now I wonder if all of those sacks could take a toll on Strong at the next level. Carson Strong seems like someone who would thrive in New Orleans, Denver, or Pittsburgh. On the flip side, he's also someone who could end up being a bust on a team like the Carolina Panthers or the Houston Texans if he ends up on a team that doesn't have their offensive line situation figured out.
Potential Grade: 86/99
Carson Strong redshirted in 2018 after graduating from High School. Carson Strong began his NCAA career as a starter at Nevada on a high note leading the Nevada Wolfpack to an upset win over the Purdue Boilermakers which featured Purdue 4-3 defensive end George Karlafits who is projected to be a top 10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Carson Strong went 30/51 with 295 passing yards, 34 rushing yards, 329 total yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions in his NCAA debut despite Karlafits having 1.5 tackles for a loss and 0.5 a sack. Strong struggled with no touchdowns and 6 interceptions in his next four games following Nevada's upset win over Purdue with his worst game of those four being a 77-6 loss to Oregon where Justin Herbert just schooled Nevada and Carson Strong. Strong finished his freshman redshirt year on a high note with 402 passing yards and 1 passing touchdown in a 30-21 loss to an Ohio Bobcats team that had Javon Hagan at safety on it.
Carson Strong threw for 2,858 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and 4 interceptions as a sophomore with a 70.1% completion percentage. I posted three games of film of Carson Strong against UNLV, New Mexico, and San Diego State and was extremely impressed with Strong's 2020 film to the point where I had him graded ahead of Mac Jones as a sophomore redshirt a year ago, but Strong chose to return to school for his junior redshirt season. He entered my first 2022 NFL Mock Draft as a top 5 pick. If he can improve on his play this season while staying healthy, you can make an argument for taking him at the top of the draft if you need a quarterback.
2021 Season Recap The 6-3 220 lb Kenny Pickett absolutely dominated in 2021 with 4,319 passing yards, 42 passing touchdowns, 241 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 4,560 total yards, 47 total touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 67.2 completion percentage in 2021. Pickett had 23 passing touchdowns, 3 rushing touchdowns, and 1 interception after his signature game in 2021 against the former five time ACC Champion Clemson Tigers. Kenny Pickett has the highest quarterback rating among the 2022 NFL Draft prospects and he's one of four finalists for the 2021 Heisman Trophy. Pickett also won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner before opting out of the Peach Bowl against Michigan State on December 30, 2021. Kenny Pickett weighed 6-3 217 lbs in Mobile.
He ended the year 7th among 130 FBS quarterbacks in terms of quarterback rating, but Pickett ranked 3rd in this category among quarterbacks after the Clemson game. Only three teams held Pickett to under 300 total yards all season with Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and Wake Forest in the ACC Championship being those teams. Syracuse was the only one of those three teams to record an interception on Pickett.
Kenny Pickett had a controversial fake slide in the ACC Championship. It was a legal play this season, but won't be legal moving forward next season. Pickett also accepted an invite to the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl.
I posted a Kenny Pickett playlist below. I found an old Kenny Pickett film cut I did from 2018. Kenny Pickett also made some good throws in the Andre Cisco film cut I posted against Pittsburgh leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft. Also, I added the Pickett game against Clemson that Cristian F posted to the third game of the Pickett playlist since Mark Schofield did an awesome job breaking down some plays in that game. You have to go to Cristian's channel to watch more Pickett film from 2021 outside of the Clemson game.
Kenny Pickett SWOT Report
Strengths: Kenny Pickett has good arm and will fire the football with a lot of velocity if he sees a medium or deep threat wide open. He's very ambitious this season and you have to admire his moxy. Pickett said that Football is a game for men not for nice guys. He has that masculine edge you want an alpha to have. Can make throws with short, medium, or deep accuracy. He generates velocity and keeps his shoulders square. He also knows how to use his hips for a quarterback. He navigates the pocket and reads defenders with his eyes to process information.
Can play in any type of offensive scheme. There are four offensive schemes West Coast Offense, a balanced run first offense, a shotgun spread offense, and a vertical offense. Pickett has experience playing in all of these offenses, plus he sounds super confident. I'm under the impression that Pickett will really stand out in the interview process as the two time captain for the Pittsburgh Panthers sounds like a seasoned pro off the field.
One thing Kenny Pickett really improved in this season is his footwork. Against Clemson, I saw a franchise quarterback that could complete 1-step, 3-step, 5-step, and 7-step throws. Granted a majority of his passes were either 3-step drops in the pocket for first downs with a few 5-step throws. Pickett only threw 1-step pass and 1 7-step pass against Clemson, but the most incredible thing about Pickett is that he completed both of those passes. Pickett deserves a ton of credit for cleaning up his footwork and putting everything together this season.
Kenny Pickett is probably the best quarterback in this draft at throwing on the run. He's also improved his ability to read and diagnose plays. He can manipulate defenders with his eyes. Pickett went from being only able to read 1 progression as a sophomore in 2018 to being able to read 2-5 progressions with ample time in the pocket. Pickett can take off by running as a duel threat or by throwing on the run.
Kenny Pickett broke Dan Marino's record for passing yards. He also led the NCAA with 23 deep touchdown passes over the past two seasons. My favorite thing about Pickett is how fearless he looks on game day when he scrambles. Pickett will fight for every yard with ounces of determination when he scrambles on running plays. He does have a tell though, and I'm going to reveal that tell in my weakness section.
Weaknesses: He's not someone who can read all six progressions, but he defeated the only quarterback in this draft who specializes in this category in Sam Howell, so while you'd like to see Pickett correct this, it's not a deal breaker. Pickett struggled up until 2021. It's a good thing Pickett got an extra year to play due to Covid-19.
When Western Michigan handed Pittsburgh their first loss of the year, Pittsburgh had 3 fumbles, 2 fumbles which resulted in turnovers, and 1 interception in the first half. Kenny Pickett was responsible for 2 of Pittsburgh's 3 fumbles in the first half along with the interception. Pickett recovered one fumble and coughed up the ball for a turnover on the other fumble due to his extremely small hands.
Are you ready for what possibly may be Kenny Pickett's tell on film? The announcers in the Clemson VS Pitt game revealed that Pickett throws more than he runs when scrambling to the right. Conversely, the same announcers in that game on ABC said that Pickett runs more than he throws when scrambling to the left. Rick Mirer had the same problem and once NFL defenses figured this out, the former second overall pick behind Drew Bledsoe got exposed at the next level. Kenny Pickett may have Joe Burrow's ceiling, but it's entirely possible that he's got Rick Mirer's floor too.
Opportunities: 6. Carolina Panthers, 11. Washington Football Team, 12. Minnesota Vikings, 19. New Orleans Saints, and 20. Pittsburgh Steelers. Kenny Pickett should go in the top 20. There's definitely a window of opportunity for Kenny Pickett to jump Matt Corral and Carson Strong if neither quarterback checks out medically. Most people that follow the 2022 NFL Draft expect Kenny Pickett to be the quarterback that breaks out in Mobile.
I had a second round grade on Mac Jones last year, and Mac Jones made my evaluation of him look really bad despite only throwing 3 pass attempts against the Bills. Mac was the last person to leave the Senior Bowl practice on Wednesday, but there were questions with his two Pro Days at Alabama and it felt like there was a lot left to be desired despite a 15-0 season. As a New England Patriots fan, I'm glad to see Mac Jones having success making my evaluation look foolish before New England ended the year 1-5. Pickett may not have the football IQ that Mac Jones has, but I'd argue he's better at throwing on the run than the rookie quarterback for the New England Patriots.
Like Mac Jones a year ago, Pickett is a Heisman Finalist. Kenny Pickett wisely accepted his invite to Mobile. The reason I say that is because if Pickett goes to Mobile and improves his ability to throw completions while scrambling to the left, he's going to put any questions about not going in the first round to bed for good despite his hand size which is Pickett's biggest threat at the moment.
Threats: Kenny Pickett has 8 1/4 inch hands. Jared Goff had 9 1/4 inch hands and the co host of my podcast compared Goff's hand size to former President Donald Trump. It's crazy to think Goff might win a thumb war against Pickett if we're grading a quarterback just on hand size alone. Pickett wears a glove on his hand to disguise this. Kenny Pickett came back from an ankle injury in 2021. Kenny Pickett could have Joe Burrow's ceiling, yet he could also have Rick Mirer's floor making Pickett a boom or bust prospect. I gave Pickett the same potential grade I gave Mac Jones a year ago. After winning the ACC Championship, it's hard to convince me that Pickett won't go in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Potential Grade: 85/99
Kenny Pickett only started 1 game in 2017 as a true freshman. Pickett went 18/29 with 193 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 rushing touchdowns, 3 total touchdowns, and no interceptions in an upset win over the Miami Hurricanes who were ranked number two in the Nation at the time in relief for an injured Ben DiNucci. After that win, Pickett claimed the starting job from DiNucci moving forward.
Kenny Pickett only threw 12 passing touchdowns, ran for 3 rushing touchddowns, scored 15 total touchdowns, and threw 6 interceptions as a true sophomore. Pickett showed lots of promise guiding the Pittsburgh Panthers to their first ACC Coastal Division Title under Pat Narduzzi before Pittsburgh got crushed by Clemson in the 2018 ACC Championship game.
Kenny Pickett did well in his first two seasons. His worst season came as a junior in 2019. He rebounded with a nice 2020 season. Pickett could have been a day 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft had he accepted an invite to the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl. Thanks to Covid-19, Pickett has one more season of NCAA Eligibility to convince teams to draft him early after entering this season as a day 3 pick following a decision to turn down an invite to the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl.
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina Projected Round 2nd Round
2021 Season Recap The 6-1 220 lb Sam Howell entered the preseason as the top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Howell had back-to-back seasons of 3,500 passing yards his first two years. Howell lost Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome at wide receiver along with the running back tandem of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. Howell looked lost this year without his supporting cast only throwing 3,056 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, 828 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 3,884 total yards, 35 total touchdowns, and 9 interceptions, but in Howell's defense the reason his completion percentage dropped nearly 7% is due to his receivers dropping passes along with suspect offensive line play. Sam Howell took 40 sacks this year. Sam Howell weighed 6-0 221 lbs in Mobile.
Sam Howell SWOT Report
Strengths: Sam Howell is the only quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft that can make all six progressions. The issue is he's only as good as his supporting cast. Howell grew as a duel threat quarterback having 5 games where he exceeded 100 rushing yards.
Can play in any type of offensive scheme. There are four offensive schemes West Coast Offense, a balanced run first offense, a shotgun spread offense, and a vertical offense. Sam Howell can play in all of these offenses. He has the short, medium, and deep ball accuracy that you want as well.
Weaknesses: Sam Howell's arm strength looked average without his supporting cast on offense this year. His footwork and mechanics need to improve. Sam Howell holds onto the football for too long.
Opportunities: 34. Detroit Lions, 36. New York Giants, 37. Houston Texans, 38. Carolina Panthers, and 40. Denver Broncos. Sam Howell should be a top 40 pick, but I see Howell as more of a second round prospect than a first round talent.
Back in the preseason Howell was my QB1 before his awful 2021 campaign. Howell is my top ranked second round quarterback prospect, but he's got a chance to improve his draft stock with a good showing at the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl.
Threats: Sam Howell entered 2021 as the safest quarterback prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. I see a quarterback with Christian Ponder's floor and Baker Mayfield's ceiling. Odds are you get a very good backup, but not a starter with Sam Howell. Think Colt McCoy or Andy Dalton with Howell.
Potential Grade: 84/99
Sam Howell passed for over 3,500 passing yards in his first two seasons with 3,641 passing yards in 2019 and 3,586 passing yards in 2020. If Howell can do it again without his two best receivers and his two starting running backs, he should be the first quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty Projected Round 2nd Round
2021 Season Recap The 6-1 215 lb Malik Willis is the most compelling quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. He entered the season with a first round grade and only dropped one round after having three different games where he threw 3 interceptions. In addition to those three games against Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana Monroe, and Ole Miss. Willis also took 50 sacks while throwing 9 of his 12 interceptions on the season in three different contests.
Malik Willis had 2,857 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 878 rushing yards 13 rushing touchdowns, 3,735 total yards, and 40 total touchdowns to make up for his turnovers mainly the 12 interceptions. The arm, legs, athleticism, and touchdown to interception ratio that Willis displayed at Liberty despite taking 50 sacks on Liberty is why some still believe he may end up being the best quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft despite a down year. Willis weighed 6-0 220 lbs gaining 5 lbs of muscle since the end of the regular season.
Malik Willis SWOT Report
Strengths: If there is one quarterback in this draft who has the best chance to become a quarterback that has a future 99 throwing power and 99 speed rating on a future Madden game that man is Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. Simply put, at times, Malik Willis just makes plays that wow you with his arm and legs. You'd like to see him refine some areas while continuing to remain a consistent force in those two part of his game whih are arguably his two biggest strengths.
Even though Willis came in at 5 on my rankings, he has his advocates. The co-host of my podcast has Willis as QB1 in this draft simply based off of the fact that Willis has deadly arm talent on film. Jim Nagy who runs the Reese's Senior Bowl called Willis the toughest quarterback to bring down since Ben Roethlisberger. Most people who scouted Willis compared him to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. He dominates on the ground with 25 rushing touchdowns in his last two seasons at Liberty with 14 rushing touchdowns in 2020 and 11 rushing touchdowns in 2021. Willis can be the steal of this draft if you can turn his weaknesses into strengths because he's a huge project that has god given arm talent along with the best duel threat ability from a College quarterback since Lamar despite being raw.
Weaknesses: Malik Willis seems like a one read quarterback unlike Lamar Jackson who had the ability to make up to six progressions on some throws at Louisville. I feel like Willis has a lot of areas he needs to improve in as a pocket passer in terms of mechanics, footwork, decision making.
Malik Willis had three different games where he threw 3 interceptions as stated earlier. He also got sacked 9 times against Ole Miss. He may hold onto the ball too long, but you could also argue that Willis is the most durable quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft just based on that game alone. That game film of Willis against Ole Miss made Josh Allen's film against Iowa look like quality stuff. I feel like the only offense Willis could play in is a shotgun spread offense. Most of his signature games in 2021 came against mediocre opponents.
Opportunities: 34. Detroit Lions, 36. New York Giants, 37. Houston Texans, 38. Carolina Panthers, and 40. Denver Broncos. Malik Willis should be a top 40 pick, but I see Willis as more of a second round prospect than a first round talent. He's got a really good quarterback coach, so he's a guy who could enter the first round conversation with a good week in Mobile.
Malik Willis one of three quarterbacks that's already been confirmed for the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Willis probably has the best chance to break out among the current accepted Senior Bowl invites which includes Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder and Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe.
Threats: Malik Willis may have the upside of a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger, or Donovan McNabb if we just look at his arm talent and his athleticism. His decision making has regressed quite a bit this year. He's so raw that I was crazy enough to compare him to Akili Smith. Good backup or game manager, but there are better options if you want a starting quarterback.
Potential Grade: 84/99
Malik Willis was once the backup at Auburn. He couldn't beat out Bo Nix for the starting quarterback job so he transferred to Liberty. Malik Willis had 2,260 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 14 rushing touchdowns, 34 total touchdowns, and 9 interceptions in his first season as a starting quarterback at Liberty.
2021 Season Recap The 6-4 215 lb Desmond Ridder has the arm strength, throwing power, velocity, and competitive toughness that NFL teams are looking for. Desmond Ridder led Cincinnati to a second consecutive 12-0 regular season with 3,334 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 361 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 3,544 total yards, and 36 total touchdowns in 2021.
Desmond Ridder was the quarterback of the only unbeaten FBS team in the regular season prior to this years College Football Playoff. Desmond Ridder got exposed against Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinal. Ridder also accepted an invite to the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl. Ridder is only 6-3 207 lbs, but he was the only quarterback in Mobile with 10 inch hands.
Desmond Ridder SWOT Report
Strengths: Desmond Ridder has the arm strength, throwing power, velocity, athleticism as a duel threat quarterback, and competitive toughness that NFL teams are looking for. Desmond Ridder can make 1-step, 3-step, and 5-step drops. He can make 3-4 progessions before taking off and running. Ridder can play in any type of offense whether it be a balanced run first offense, a west coast offense, a shotgun spread offense, or a vertical offense.
Desmond Ridder had a statement game against Notre Dame. He went into South Bend and picked apart the top defensive back in the country. Kyle Hamilton gave up his only touchdown in coverage to Desmond Ridder and Cincinnati. Ridder is a winner going 24-0 in the regular season the last two seasons.
Weaknesses: Desmond Ridder has a very good football IQ, but the downside is he is very inconsistent in terms of arm strength and accuracy on film. He overthrows balls and underthrew passes in multiple games on tape against Indiana and Alabama despite his strong game against Notre Dame. The accuracy and pocket awareness are the two big things Desmond Ridder needs to improve on. Ridder throws on his back foot way too frequently. His footwork on 7-step drops needs to improve as well.
Opportunities: 66. Detroit Lions, 67. New York Giants, 68. Houston Texans, 72. Seattle Seahawks, and 78. Cleveland Browns. These are some teams that could target Desmond Ridder in the third round.
I have a third round grade on Desmond Ridder. There's a chance he could move into the second round with a strong Senior Bowl week in Mobile, but right now he just needs to worry about cementing his day 2 status by beating out Bailey Zappe and Kaleb Eleby for the right to be the first quarterback selected in the third round since those three quarterbacks are competing to be the top quarterback outside of the consensus top 5 quarterbacks.
Threats: If Desmond Ridder has the kind of game Troy Smith had against Florida or the type of game Brady Quinn has against LSU he drops to day 3. Ridder didn't throw a touchdown in Cincinnati's 27-6 loss to Alabama, but in his defense he also didn't throw any interceptions either. Troy Smith went 4/14 and threw a pick against Florida, Brady Quinn went 15/35 with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions against LSU in his last bowl game, Desmond Ridder did slightly better than Quinn in terms of completions against Alabama going 17/32. His 144 passing yards were 4 yards fewer than the 148 yards Quinn had against LSU though. I view Ridder as a high end backup rather than an NFL starter.
Potential Grade: 82/99
Desmond Ridder led Cincinnati to a 12-0 regular season. Ridder completed 66.2% of his passes which was a caareer high. Ridder had 2,296 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 12 rushing touchdowns, 31 total touchdowns, and 6 interceptions.
Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky Projected Round 4th Round
2021 Season Recap The 6-1 220 lb Bailey Zappe dominated in 2021 and has 5,967 passing yards, 62 passing touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Zappe led the FBS in passing yards and passing touchdowns after dominating in the FCS at Houston Baptist. Bailey Zappe dominated his bowl game against Appalachian State with 422 passing yards, 6 passing touchdowns, and 0 interceptions breaking Joe Burrow's FBS record for passing touchdowns in a season. Western Kentucky's quarterback ended the season with a 69.2 completion percentage. Bailey Zappe also accepted an invite to the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl. Bailey Zappe weighed 6-0 238 lbs in Mobile.
Bailey Zappe SWOT Report
Strengths: Bailey Zappe has great arm strength, throwing power, and velocity. He knows how to manipulate defenders with his eyes. Great pre snap ability. Will compete to the final whistle regardless of the score. Good awareness and football IQ for a quarterback.
Weaknesses: Bailey Zappe needs to become more accurate as a passer, but he may not be as big of a project after watching him dominate his bowl game. He's a pocket quarterback rather than a duel threat. There's a lot to like with Zappe in terms of his arm talent. Needs to develop and improve his footwork with 1-step, 3-step, 5-step, and 7-step drops. I'd also like to see Zappe go through his progressions more frequently. He only knows how to play in a shotgun spread offense.
Opportunities: I had a fifth round grade on Bailey Zappe. He was so dominant in his bowl game that I've moved him up to a fourth round prospect.
Threats: I don't see any threats with Bailey Zappe. I think you could honestly argue he's one of the three safest quarterbacks to draft based on his floor.
Potential Grade: 81/99
Bailey Zappe was a three year starter at Houston Baptist Huskies getting 10,004 passing yards in the FCS which is most among any FCS quarterback of all time. Only Shane Buechele, Sam Ehlinger, Brady White, and Trevor Lawrence had more passing yards in their FBS careers than Bailey Zappe. Zappe transferred to Western Kentucky in the FBS for the 2021 season.
Kaleb Eleby, QB, Western Michigan Projected Round 5th Round
2021 Season Recap The 6-1 210 lb Kaleb Eleby had 3,277 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 64 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 3,341 total yards, 29 total touchdowns, and 6 interceptions as a sophomore redshirt in 2021. Kaleb Eleby struggled in Western Michigan's season opener against the Michigan Wolverines. He played well posting 300 passing yard games and wins against ACC Champion Pittsburgh, MAC Runner Up Kent State, and MAC Champion Northern Illinois.
Kaleb Eleby SWOT Report
Strengths: Kaleb Eleby is a good decision maker. He had the third highest passer rating as a freshman redshirt in 2020 only trailing Heisman Finalists Mac Jones and Zach Wilson. He's extremely accurate when watching him on film. In fact, you could make a case he's the most accurate passer on short and medium throws after Nevada quarterback Carson Strong. He can make 3 to 4 reads in his progressions. Can play in a shotgun spread offense or a balanced run first offense.
Weaknesses: Kaleb Eleby didn't make enough deep throws to wow me on film. Needs to become more consistent when firing into tight windows. Kaleb Eleby to do a better job with his footwork and mechanics. Eleby doesn't use his feet enough when throwing. When watching him, I feel like I'm watching a quarterback trapped in quicksand.
Opportunities: I have a fifth round grade on Kaleb Eleby. The sophomore redshirt could creep up draft boards and potentially work his way into day 2 assuming a few quarterbacks struggle in Mobile or if Matt Corral and Carson Strong don't check out medically at the 2022 NFL Combine, this could be a riser if he shows he can throw the deep ball effectively in front of NFL teams at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Threats: Kaleb Eleby has the accuracy and decision making to be a starting quarterback. The rest of his game needs a lot of refinement. Kaleb Eleby can make a few deep throws, but most of Western Michigan's 50 yard touchdowns were due to Western Michigan's receviers rather than big boy throws courtesy of Eleby. He's not a good scheme fit for a West Coast offense or a Vertical offense. His footwork also needs a lot of work. These traits may limit Eleby to a backup role in the NFL, but he's someone who could be a very good backup at the next level since he's got the accuracy and decision making you want a quarterback to possess.
Potential Grade: 80/99
Kaleb Eleby had 1,092 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in 2018 where he started 5 games as a true freshman in 2018 for an injured quarterback. Kaleb Eleby redshirted in 2019. Kaleb Eleby only had 1,715 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in 2020 as a sophomore redshirt.
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State Projected Round 6th Round
2021 Season Recap The 6-1 220 lb Brock Purdy had 3,188 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, and 8 interceptions which was better than his junior season where he struggled. At one point Brock Purdy showed first round potential following his 2019 season before an awful 2020 campaign which forced him to return to Iowa State. This is also the biggest reason I gave him a sixth round grade on Brock Purdy. Brock Purdy got benched against Iowa despite having 138 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions, but remained the starter. Purdy went from posting a 48.1 completion percentage against Iowa in a game that was Nationally Televised to having a 71.7 completion percentage to end the season.
I posted a film cut of Brock Purdy heading into his junior season against Louisiana. Brock Purdy was brutal in this game.
Brock Purdy SWOT Report
Strengths: Brock Purdy can make 1-step, 3-step, 5-step, and 7-step throws. If you watched Purdy's sophomore tape you were probably guilty of being wowed. At one point he was in the conversation with Justin Fields and Trey Lance to be a first round quarterback in 2021 heading into the 2020 regular season after a dominant 2019 campaign. The four year starter at Iowa State has a great work ethic and attitude.
Weaknesses: Brock Purdy's film in 2020 and 2021 was awful. He struggled against Louisiana in 2020 and Iowa in 2021. Those two bad games almost make him an undrafted prospect.
Opportunities: Brock Purdy went from being a first round prospect following his 2019 sophomore season to being a borderline undrafted player following his game against Iowa. He's probably a sixth round pick.
Threats: Brock Purdy is probably an NFL backup. He's someone I see starting out as a third string quarterback who could work his way into a backup role.
Potential Grade: 77/99
Brock Purdy's breakout season came in his sophomore year in 2019 with 3,982 pasing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 8 rushing touchdowns, 35 total touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Brock Purdy regressed as a junior losing Iowa State's season opener to Louisiana before an up and down season. Iowa State made the Big 12 Championship where they lost to Oklahoma despite this.
2021 Season Recap The 6-5 215 lb Aqeel Glass is the top FCS quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Aqeel Glass had 3,568 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. Glass is a good pocket quarterback and should end up participating in the HBCU Combine which will take place one week before the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl.
Aqeel Glass SWOT Report
Strengths: Aqeel Glass won SWAC Offensive PLayer in the FCS for the second year in a row. He finished his career with 12,136 passing yards at Alabama State. He's got a the throwing power, arm strength, and velocity to be an NFL quarterback.
Weaknesses: He blew an 18 point lead to Florida A&M. Threw 4 interceptions against Grambling State. Threw 2 interceptions against Division 2 school Tuskegee. Hasn't dominated the competition he's faced despite eye popping stats in the FCS.
Needs to improve his accuracy, football IQ, mechanics, footwork, and field vision. Aqeel Glass has enough talent to get drafted, but he's got to put everything together.
Opportunities: I have a seventh round grade on Aqeel Glass at the moment. He's on the brink of getting undrafted, but there's enough skill there for someone to take a flyer on him in round 7.
Threats: `There aren't any threats with Aqeel Glass. He hasn't dominated the level of competition you'd like to see from him. One has to wonder if he's a warm body or a guy who could win a third string or backup job in the NFL.
Potential Grade: 74/99
Aqeel Glass threw 1,335 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and 4 interceptions in the Spring of 2021 to make up for the missed 2020 season due to Covid-19. A big senior season could get Glass drafted.