The 2021 NFL Draft proved once again that quarterback remains the most coveted position each year.
Trevor Lawrence led a strong class of quarterbacks at the top in this year’s draft, and now it’s time to look ahead to 2022. Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State – the three major powers in college football – will have underclassmen at the position. That leaves a group with much to prove, and a lot can change by next April.
With that in mind, Sporting News looks at the top-10 quarterbacks heading into the 2022:
1. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Five ACC quarterbacks have been taken in the first round since 2017, a list that includes Deshaun Watson (2017), Mitchell Trubisky (2017), Lamar Jackson (2018), Daniel Jones (2019) and Trevor Lawrence (2021). Howell, who has piled up 7,224 yards, 68 TDs and 14 INTs the last two seasons, figures to join that list. Howell (6-1, 225 pounds) averages 10.3 yards per attempt in that two-year stretch, and he should continue to improve his stock as a junior as part of North Carolina’s continued makeover with Mack Brown.
2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma QB pipeline continues to run with Lincoln Riley, and Rattler will build on an impressive finish to 2020. He shook off some early-season turnovers to lead the Sooners to eight straight victories, and FanDuel has Rattler listed as the Heisman Trophy favorite for 2021. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray used that award to become No. 1 picks in the NFL Draft. Rattler is capable of following suit.
3. Kedon Slovis, USC
Slovis — at 6-2, 200 pounds — is the next first-round USC quarterback. He’s completed 70 percent of his passes in two years as a starter, and that’s come with 47 TDs and 16 interceptions. Slovis threw nine of those picks through three losses against Oregon and BYU the last two seasons, and he can improve his stock by playing better in those big-spot games. He will inevitably be compared to USC’s last three first-round quarterbacks, a lukewarm list that includes Sam Darnold, Mark Sanchez and Matt Leinart.
4. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Ridder is 30-5 as a starter and has helped elevate Cincinnati into a College Football Playoff contender. He’s one of the most experienced quarterbacks in this class, and that comes with 57 TDs and 20 interceptions. He also averages 6.0 yards per carry. That skillset will be attractive for a struggling franchise. Ridder’s value will fluctuate, but his size (6-4, 215 pounds) makes him an intriguing prospect.
5. Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
Shough is higher on early way-too-early boards, and some of that could be because of that 6-5, 221-pound frame. Shough transferred from Oregon to Texas Tech after an uneven season in which he had 13 TDs and six interceptions for the Ducks. He will put up numbers with the Red Raiders, but it might be tough to separate from the other talented quarterbacks in the Big 12.
6. JT Daniels, Georgia
Daniels transferred from USC, and he took control of the starting job at Georgia late in the 2020 season. He averaged 10.3 yards per attempt, and scouts will like his dimensions (6-3, 210 pounds). Of the quarterbacks on this list, Daniels has the most room to go up based on how well he plays with the pressure of leading the Bulldogs – who will be among the SEC favorites again. Could he have that second-season breakout like Joe Burrow did at LSU in 2019?
7. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Corral is one of the most-entertaining QBs in college football, and he showed that with 3,337 yards, 29 TDs and 13 interceptions in Lane Kiffin’s first season with Ole Miss. He rushed for 506 yards and four TDs as part of a wide-open offense that scored 39.2 points per game. Corral averaged 10.1 yards per passing attempt, and he should continue to refine those play-making skills with Kiffin in 2021.
8. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
The Sun Devils played in four games last season, which made it difficult for Daniels to take that next step as a sophomore. The talent is there. Daniels has 22 TDs and three interceptions, and he was more effective as a runner in his season. That breakout season with Herm Edwards should materialize as a junior, and he is another candidate with high upside to move up this list.
9. Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Purdy was listed as a top-10 quarterback prospect last year, but he opted to stay at Iowa State for his senior season. Purdy has been consistent with his accuracy and production, but his yards per attempt and passer rating has dropped with each season. That could change in a season where the Cyclones should again compete for a Big 12 championship. Purdy still feels like Day 2 pick, and that is the most-likely scenario for 2022.
10. Malik Willis, Liberty
Who is next year’s Trey Lance? Keep an eye on Willis, an Auburn transfer who has found a home with Hugh Freeze at Liberty. Willis passed for 20 TDs and six interceptions for the Flames last season, but he added 944 rushing yards and 14 TDs. He flashed that talent in wins against Virginia Tech and Coastal Carolina last season. Auburn’s Bo Nix also could have fit in this spot, but we’ll take Willis for now.
Source: Read Full Article