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2022 NFL Draft

Saunders: Post-Combine 2022 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings



Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh

The NFL Draft class of 2022 is through two of its three big offseason checkpoints, with the 2022 NFL Combine wrapping up over the weekend. After the Senior Bowl in February and the combine in early March, the last big chance for players to make an impact on their draft statuses will be their on-campus pro days later this month. So with the second of the big offseason events complete, how does the quarterback Class of 2022 shake out?

Two things became clear at the combine: Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and Liberty’s Malik Willis are in their own class. No other quarterback was as crisp in the on-field workouts as Pickett, and despite his small hand size, he showed more than enough to maintain his status as the safest bet among the quarterbacks.

Willis, on the other hands, took some strides to raise his perceived floor in interviews with teams, when he showed an advanced knowledge of offenses that doesn’t always come through in his tape. He also showed to teams and the public a personality that many have yet to get to know thanks to his small-school roots. Willis’ press availability was funny, mature and the kind of performance teams are looking for from a face-of-the franchise quarterback.

Willis’ on-field workout was more hit and miss, and consistent accuracy remains his biggest question mark at this point. It’s the thing that’s holding him back from being talked about as a top-of-the-draf



Kenny Pickett, Pitt
Malik Wills, Liberty
Projection: Picks 5-20


Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Sam Howell, North Carolina
Projection: Picks 20-60


Carson Strong, Nevada
Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan
Projection: Picks 60-120

But there are appears to be a large gulf between the top two and the rest of the quarterback class. North Carolina’s Sam Howell did little to separate himself from the second pack, and Ole Miss passer Matt Corral, who was not at the Senior Bowl, seems to have parked himself in the second tier, not the first.

Corral’s tape showed a more advanced runner than a passer, but in Indianapolis, he did not test at a level that would make teams think he can be a run-first option in the NFL.

The quarterback that did help himself by testing at a high level was Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, who ran and jumped well, coming off an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. Ridder feels like a strong contender to be the third quarterback off the board at this point.

But it’s unclear where that will be. The quarterback-needy teams have been pretty clearly established at this point. Detroit could take one, but probably won’t at No. 2 overall.

The Carolina Panthers (No. 6), Atlanta Falcons (No. 8), Seattle Seahawks (No. 9), Minnesota Vikings (No. 12), New Orleans Saints (No. 18) and Steelers (No. 20) all seem in the mix, with the Lions coming back around at No. 32.

Some of those spots will get filled through free agency and trades with players like Jimmy Garoppolo, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky filling some of those slots.

What’s left will probably be looking hard at Pickett and Willis, and its hard at this point to imagine either of them being there when the Steelers take to the podium in Las Vegas.

The Steelers could dip into the second tier at that point. They were recently tied to Corral in a mock draft, and that could fit. But with a team with so many needs, and a lot of options for players to fall at cornerback, defensive line, offensive line and wide receiver, it would probably be a reach to do so.

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