March 24 is shaping up to be a big day for NFL teams that are planning on drafting a quarterback this April. That day, three of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft class will have their on-campus pro days simultaneously.
Liberty, Ole Miss and Cincinnati are all expected to put their players through the paces that day, with scouting needing to choose whether they want to see Flames quarterback Malik Willis, Rebels passer Matt Corral or Bearcats signal caller Desmond Ridder.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett will have his pro day on March 21. North Carolina, home to fellow top quarterback prospect Sam Howell, has not announced a date for its pro day.
The Steelers have already evaluated Howell, Ridder, Pickett and Willis, along with Nevada’s Carson Strong and Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe in person at the Senior Bowl.
Those players, along with Corral, Western Michigan’s Kaleb Eleby and a number of others have been invited to participate in measurements and drills at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis in early March, and most are expected to participate.
So teams will get an opportunity to see each passer in person at least once. But for the Steelers, the attendance of head coach Mike Tomlin and/or general manager Kevin Colbert at a player’s pro day has long been a near-must in order for them to be considered as the team’s first-round pick.
Pro days have usually fallen in between the combine and draft in the NFL calendar, and traditionally have been before or in the early part of spring practices in the college calendar. But things have been pushed back a week in 2022, with the NFL moving the combine to the first full week of March after usually starting in February.
That means there’s less time between the combine and team’s spring games. Georgia Tech is the first Power Five school to have a spring game, on March 17. Most of the rest start in earnest the first week of April. The 2022 NFL Draft starts April 28.
So it will be very interesting to see how the Steelers approach the triple-threat scouting conundrum posed by three of the top passers in this draft class performing on the same day.
UPDATE: The date of Pitt’s pro day has been changed to March 21.