The 2022 NFL Draft wasn’t necessarily prolific in terms of big quarterback moves, with only one signal-caller coming off the board in the first round and at least three other projected Day 1 possibilities falling to the third. That doesn’t mean QBs were ignored, however. By the end of the draft, eight different teams had combined to draft nine passers, and at least a third of those rookies could end up opening the 2022 season under center.
Here’s how we’d rank all nine QB picks in the 2022 draft, according to value:
Pick: Third round, 86th overall | College: Liberty
Plenty had Willis pegged as a top-10 pick going into the draft, which tells you exactly the kind of upside Tennessee is getting. Yes, he hails from a small school and simple offense, and yes, he’s unlikely to see meaningful snaps (at least as a traditional QB) right away. But you can’t teach electric arm and leg talent. Willis has shades of Michael Vick, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts in terms of dual-threat athleticism. If he succeeds Ryan Tannehill, either in 2022 or right afterward, that’s a steal in the third round.
Pick: First round, 20th overall | College: Pittsburgh
He gets dinged for being the “safest” option of a comparatively weak QB class, but the fit is tremendous. A reliable, if unspectacular, pocket passer who already called Heinz Field home, he should be a plug-and-play (and more athletic) successor to Ben Roethlisberger for a team built to compete now. Who knows what his ceiling is, but the floor seems relatively high.
Pick: Fifth round, 144th overall | College: North Carolina
Good on Washington for grabbing some Carson Wentz insurance, and even better on them for halting Howell’s slide. The stocky Tar Heels product has inconsistencies in his game, and he may well end up being a feisty “relief pitcher” a la Ryan Fitzpatrick, but you can do a lot worse in the fifth. Howell’s bruising running ability and deep-ball touch could promise big-play potential.
Pick: Third round, 74th overall | College: Cincinnati
They needed someone to push Marcus Mariota, their proclaimed post-Matt Ryan placeholder. Ask some scouts, and Ridder is the smartest, savviest, most selfless QB of the class. Ask others, and they point to middling accuracy and passing touch. It’s a fine gamble for Atlanta, but you might’ve liked to get a bit more upside through the air. He could prove us all wrong very early.
Pick: Third round, 94th overall | College: Ole Miss
Like the Ridder/Falcons pick, Carolina needed to add to its QB room, which was “headlined” by Sam Darnold. And Corral, by all accounts, has starting-caliber confidence, arm strength and athleticism. He also has a smaller frame and haphazard tendencies, which don’t necessarily bode well for a Panthers team transitioning the O-line. Might Baker Mayfield have been a better bet?
Pick: Seventh round, 241st overall | College: South Dakota State
He’s not guaranteed a spot on their final roster, with Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky set to compete behind Pickett, but this is the kind of late-round flyer you wanna be taking: despite average size and inexperience, Oladokun boasts NFL arm talent and a knack for off-script plays — two requisites in today’s league.
Pick: Fourth round, 137th overall | College: Western Kentucky
Hey, maybe New England will make us all look foolish down the road (they did select a certain future Hall of Fame QB in the sixth round once), and Zappe certainly brings the on-schedule production they crave. But scouting reports suggest he lacks starting-caliber throwing power, and they just spent the 10th overall pick on Mac Jones a year ago. A fourth-rounder for, in the best-case scenario, a long-term backup is perhaps a bit pricey.
Pick: Seventh round, 262nd overall | College: Iowa State
Mr. Irrelevant won’t be threatening Trey Lance anytime soon, entering with questions about his build and athletic profile. But he’s drawn high reviews for his smarts, experience and timing-based success — all key traits for a Kyle Shanahan offense.
Pick: Seventh round, 247th overall | College: Kansas State
No foul in bringing in some added depth for the new regime, and Thompson reportedly brings functional arm talent and athleticism. But he’s known to bail from the pocket (a potential no-no for new coach Mike McDaniel) and, more importantly, will already be 25 as a rookie.