Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft proved even more peculiar than the first. For the first time since 2000, only one quarterback was drafted through the first two rounds. Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick in that class. Will there be a surprise from what’s billed as an underwhelming 2022 class? How does each QB fit into their drafted team through the first two days?
NFL QB Draft fits
Only Kenny Pickett went in Round 1 of the NFL Draft. While there will be pressure to play immediately, he doesn’t have to. We must also heed the study PFN’s own Kent Lee Platte did involving QBs drafted outside the top half of Round 1. The fate surrounding Round 3 QBs is even bleaker. However, the third-round QBs in the 2022 class have a lot of upside and fell into good situations.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
The New Jersey native packed his bags and went to the Univerity of Pittsburgh to play college ball. He’ll do the same as a professional after Pittsburgh pulled the trigger on him with the 20th pick in the NFL Draft.
While Pickett was complimented during the process as the most “NFL-ready” of the QB class, he doesn’t fit into the usual parameters for that title. However, the bar is set a bit lower in a class like this. His process still needs to be fleshed out, so letting him take things slow behind Mitchell Trubisky could be prudent for Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada.
Pickett will end up starting at some point during the 2022 campaign, if not from the very start. He should have no issues picking up Canada’s offense. Consistently working through the on-field trash to deliver passes quickly within the said scheme is what he’ll need to improve upon.
Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder is almost the antithesis of Pickett. His process is outstanding. He’s consistently on schedule and mechanically solid. But Ridder’s also consistently inconsistent in terms of accuracy. What makes his inaccuracy more concerning than others is that it doesn’t seem to be caused by mechanical issues, which is probably why he fell to Round 3.
But this QB fit is a bit unfortunate. The Falcons’ roster is horrific. They will be one of the worst teams in the NFL. There is no doubt.
That means they’ll be able to draft one of the top QBs in next year’s class, which looks far stronger than the 2022 crop. Unless Ridder starts over Marcus Mariota and lights the world on fire, he’s probably relegated to a backup role as soon as next season.
Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans
The Titans are a perfect fit for the Liberty QB, at least from a developmental perspective. Ryan Tannehill is the Titans’ starter for the 2022 NFL season. And if it’s absolutely critical that Tennessee gives Malik Willis more time to develop, they could keep Tannehill around for 2023. Remember, Willis is a third-round pick, so sitting for an extended period is not the end of the world.
Willis is an athletic QB with a powerful arm and good accuracy outside the numbers. The current Titans offense is a decent fit for Willis, but only in their play-action implementation. Willis must become more comfortable attacking the middle of the field. It’s easier in play-action reps from under center, but he struggles on straight dropbacks. Willis won’t have to start in Year 1, which is perfect for his development.
Matt Corral, Carolina Panthers
Another QB who shouldn’t start in Year 1 won’t have to, making the selection a good fit by default. Or, at least, it’s a better fit than Matt Corral somehow going in Round 1 and having to play immediately.
Corral hails from an offense that made his evaluation incredibly difficult. “RPO-heavy” doesn’t even begin to describe the Rebels’ offense in 2021. There were so few traditional dropbacks that NFL evaluators had to be pulling their hair out.
Corral has the competitiveness and ability to be a starter at the NFL level. Still, he needs mechanical seasoning in his lower body, and he’s a blank slate above the shoulders.
Corral will sit behind Sam Darnold for a season and could have an opportunity to fight for the starting role in 2023. The team is talented enough that they could win themselves out of the running for one of the top QBs in the 2023 class.