The NFL Draft of 2022 class for quarterbacks has changed a lot during the 2021 college football season. Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma) and Kedon Slovis (USC), once prized potential first-round players, have had trouble getting their shares down, to the point where they both go back to school and go through the transfer portal. That opened the door for two quarterbacks to emerge as the new 1-2 for the 22nd.
Malik Willis of Liberty and Matt Corral of Ole Miss have had impressive seasons in the face of varying levels of competition. Fortunately for NFL watchers and fans hoping their teams will land a strong franchise quarterback next year, both Willis and Corral will get their latest varsity bowling shows.
There’s a long way to go in the pre-draft process with all-star games, scouting mix and pro days ahead before teams enter the clock on April 28 in Las Vegas. But getting an early opportunity to compare the top two rising QB prospects is fun.
Among the skill sets that Willis and Corral have demonstrated so far, who should be the first off the board? Here are the updated 2022 QB draft rankings from Sporting News as the best quarterbacks in college football look to distinguish themselves in the final stages of the season.
2022 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings
There really isn’t much that separates Willis and Corral when you look at their playstyles as dual threats. Corral is a bit shorter and slimmer. He’s also a great athlete and he’s willing to be aggressive with his arm, perfect for the NFL pitching trend. The strong offensive mind of coach Lane Kiffin has helped him a lot. Corral has a chance to displace Willims with a stellar contrast performance. Both are the top 10.
Pickett (6-3, 220 pounds) has received a lot of attention for the Panthers’ excellent offensive season in the ACC. He is the best traditional hand passing prospect in the class with his great precision, intelligence and maturity. He made the right decision not to rush into the NFL in 2021, because he has continued to grow overall and show more impactful leadership.
Willis has made natural comparisons to Trey Lance (6-4, 224 pounds), who ranked third overall against the 49ers as a rapidly rising prospect from North Dakota state in April. It’s not the same prototypical size, but Willis combines barrel arm with incredible athleticism. He’s tough and has a knack for making plays. He’s also not your typical small school quarterback, given his ties to the SEC, having transferred from Auburn and playing for former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze. You have a great chance to be more in the spotlight against Freeze’s previous show.
Howell was the best favorite quarterback of all in college football with a stir in the NFL until he came out struggling with mental and physical errors for the Tar Heels. Some of this has to do with having a small supporting cast, but Howell has battled adversity both in and out of pocket to showcase his assets of intelligence, precision and ruthlessness.
Ridder is also noted for his loose arm and natural running ability. Although he is not as dynamic in those areas as Willis and Corral, his great attraction is his mental and physical toughness. He also has the intangibles of gaining leadership and a lot of experience.
Strong is the same size as Ridder and has done many things similar to the leader of the wolf pack. HI’s last name is apt for how he can do all the throws with his arm, and he’s still learning to use his athleticism better. It’s kind of a hybrid of what Josh Allen and Justin Herbert do well.
McKee has an outstanding big and strong build and has put together some nice passing skills from the NFL with pops for the Cardinals. McKee has the arm to throw the ball anywhere and knows pressure well to be precise and efficient. He doesn’t have the biggest arm relative to some of the previous prospects, but he tends to put the right touch on his pitches.
Zappe has had a prolific first season coming up on FBS with great precision, intelligence and toughness in a high-volume “Air Raid” passing game. He’s there on the record books with Joe Burrow, another transfer quarterback who was No. 1 overall in the 2020 draft. That’s getting him initial interest as a third- or fourth-round pick with advantages.