NFL Draft: Top 5 Quarterback Prospects
When the draft rolls around every year, the one position that tends to draw more attention than the rest are the quarterbacks.
While this class is weaker than others in recent years, the top five all have good chances of becoming starters in the NFL.
1. Kenny Pickett, Pitt
Pickett had an outstanding breakout year in 2021, totaling 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and just seven interceptions for the Pittsburgh Panthers en route to a third place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Pickett lacks elite traits and when you couple that with a late breakout age, there are concerns about just how high his ceiling could be at the next level.
However, while he may not possess special arm talent or athleticism, both are sufficient and his accuracy and ability to process the game quickly give him the lowest floor of the top quarterback prospects and make him the most pro-ready of the bunch.
2. Malik Willis, Liberty
After losing the competition for the starting quarterback job at Auburn two years ago, Malik Willis made the decision to transfer to Liberty, where he showed unbelievable playmaking ability.
Willis is the best athlete at the quarterback position that the draft has seen since Lamar Jackson was coming out of Louisville.
He also happens to have a cannon of an arm that would immediately become one of the best in the league once he finds his team.
Unlike Pickett however, Willis has a long way to go in terms of processing and decision-making, so he may have to sit for a year, but his upside is through the roof.
3. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
While Pickett and Willis are seemingly polar opposites in terms of skill sets, Ridder is somewhere in the middle.
He was a four-year starter at Cincinnati, totaling just seven losses in that span and even getting into the playoffs this past season.
Ridder is also a good athlete with a very good arm and possesses the necessary mental attributes to succeed quickly at the next level.
The drawbacks of Ridder are his generally poor accuracy and, like Pickett, a lack of elite traits, but don’t be surprised if his name is called on day one.
4. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Heading into the 2021 season, Howell was considered the top quarterback in this class and garnered predictions that he would be the first pick overall.
Unfortunately for Howell, he had a down year after losing most of his offensive star power to the 2021 draft.
His touchdown production dipped and he totaled a career-high nine interceptions in what was a disappointing season for the Tar Heels.
Howell’s other flaws, such as his inconsistent mechanics, shorter stature and average arm strength, were on full display, but he is surprisingly dangerous with his legs and is arguably the best deep ball passer in this class.
5. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Corral is a polarizing prospect, as he has been placed at just about every spot in the top five in most rankings.
While his great arm strength and mobility are definitely intriguing, he’s placed fifth here due to his wildly inconsistent accuracy at all three levels and lack of complexity in his college scheme that only required him to make one read most of the time.
He is also recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the Sugar Bowl in January.
Jakob Schnur is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.