Less than two weeks separate us from the 2022 NFL Draft. The debate for the first pick continues to sway our predictions but gets everyone excited nonetheless. What makes it more interesting is that there’s no guaranteed No. 1 pick for the position. Arguments spark between Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis getting the top spot, while Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, and Carson Strong remain worthy contenders for the position.
With a solid selection of players, Nitrobetting checks out some of the hottest quarterback prospects in the 2022 class. Get a comprehensive look at our top five picks below.
Top 5 Quarterbacks In 2022 NFL Draft
READ MORE: Top 2022 NFL Wide Receivers Picks
5. Desmond Ridder
Desmond Ridder might have a tough time competing against the top two picks on this list for now. But, the 22-year-old player from Cincinnati has plenty of promise. He finished his college career as the third-winningest quarterback in history as a four-year starter for the Bearcats. Ridder managed to set impressive school records during the run.
What makes Ridder stand out in the class is his athleticism. His 40-yard dash at the Combine showcased his speed as well. Ridder does well with the ball in his hands and could throw well 50 yards downfield.
Desmon still has several areas for improvement. He needs to do better on short and intermediate levels of the field. This is arguably his biggest weakness and could hold him back in the league if not addressed. Nevertheless, this can be improved under the right system. His strengths still play to his advantage in the upcoming draft.
4. Carson Strong
Carson Strong has the potential to make the top five quarterback picks in this year’s draft. His arm strength is undeniable and can drive the football with quick wrist action. Strong, living up to his name, can produce throws 60 yards downfield–think Josh Allen here.
Strong was the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year in 2020. This comes with impressive stats that put him up as one of the conference’s top offensive players in 2021. He’s been consistent since 2020 and plays a commanding role on the field. His arm, combined with speed and good touch, can bring good value to any team. Furthermore, his precision throws can slit between coverage levels and direct receivers away from trouble.
Some of Strong’s weaknesses point to his recurring knee injury. He needs to become a better field reader and find options other than his primary receivers, but spending some time around professionals can get him up to speed. Carson’s risk-taking can also backfire on him if he overplays it at times.
3. Matt Corral
Matt Corral is one of those players that gets better as they mature. He played in a quarterback-centered scheme with specific reads, which calls for more skill through full-field progressions and better decisions with the ball. He also has a very decisive characteristic that compliments a swift trigger release to contest tight windows and has the touch to make accurate throws.
Confidence is one of Corral’s traits that could bring him up there with the best. He has immediate ball-handling and impressive release. Maturity made him a better decision-maker and a patient quarterback that allows more routes to unfold. Weaving his way out of pressure also makes him a good prospect for teams seeking a more reliable quarterback or a solid second option.
Being a college football player, Corral does have his fragile areas. His lighter frame makes him an easy target and questionable to sustain durability. There’s plenty of headroom for him, including a better deep ball for faster targets. Taking unnecessary chances might play against his strengths as well. But overall, his working points can be improved once he plays with a sensible and progressive coaching staff.
2. Kenny Pickett
Pickett has an impressive portfolio behind him. He has five years of game experience and four-straight years of starting experience for Pittsburgh. Mobility and stable passing are two obvious traits he brings to the table. He worked on a passing template highlighting vertical concepts that sparked big-play opportunities. Although this left a gaping hole against the back-end of the coverage, Pickett still has plenty going for him. Anticipation is at a steady rate, but he drives the ball better than anyone else in the class.
Pickett’s touch and placement need some polishing, but his accuracy stats were pulled back by a good amount of drops in his college career. If he gets drafted by a team that can develop his trust, composure, and discipline, he is a definite force to be reckoned with.
His strengths magnify good athletic abilities and passing records. He requires full-field reads to work at an elite level but excels in those scenarios. Once Pickett resolves his placement issues and better timing, he turns into a more well-rounded quarterback that adds plenty of value to any franchise.
1. Malik Willis
Topping the list is Malik Willis from Liberty. The quarterback features a good blend of elite rushing and a cannon for a right arm to produce explosive plays in several ways. He has a powerful arm to get ahead of safeties to deep areas of the field and make good throws inside and outside the pocket. From a physical standpoint, Willis sports a compact frame and remains broad and powerful.
Timing is among the long list of Willis’ strengths. His ability to pace his release, recognize blitz and keep the ball safe, and make drive throws on different positions all play to his advantage in this draft.
Willis does have his inconsistencies. On the flip side, his operational deficit can mess up his timing and accuracy. Protection and receiver separation were both topics for discussion, but the 22-year-old looked comfortable towards the end of his college career. Additional fil work and a reworked passing attack could open up more reads and help him scan the field faster from the pocket. If he works over his issues in his rookie year, he could be one of the young talents the league yearns for.
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*All stated odds are subject to change without prior notice.