When you are talking to anyone about the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, especially a team in the market for a quarterback like the Pittsburgh Steelers, you will be faced with a deluge of opinions about the crop of quarterbacks in the class.
“If these quarterback were in the 2021 class, they’d all be Day 2 or 3 picks!”
“There isn’t a Week 1 starting quarterback in this group!”
While these sentiments and narratives might be true, to some degree, everyone also has a differing opinion on which quarterbacks are best in this class. Whether you believe these quarterbacks stink, or if there is value to be had at the position in this crop of signal callers, everyone ranks them differently.
For almost all of the pundits out there, they view the top of the rankings the exact same. The two at the pinnacle of the draft eligible quarterbacks is either Kenny Pickett and/or Malik Willis. You can mix them up however you’d like. However, ESPN recently put out a new set of rankings for these quarterbacks, and there was a bit of a shake up near the top. But it is also worth mentioning ESPN doesn’t view this class as being elite in any sense of the word.
Here is some of what Alex Olbrecht, Jeremy Rosen and Aaron Schatz of ESPN had to say:
There is statistically no significant difference among the top-five rated quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft.
The model predicts that this year’s class is more likely to disappear into obscurity than walk into the Hall of Fame. After all, for every class of 1983, there are years that don’t yield any starters (see 2017 and 2013).
Scouts Inc. doesn’t project any of this year’s quarterbacks highly, which is perhaps why there has been so much action this offseason via trades. The Washington Commanders traded for Carson Wentz, the Denver Broncos for Russell Wilson, the Cleveland Browns for Deshaun Watson and the Indianapolis Colts for Matt Ryan. Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield may also be traded before the 2022 season kicks off.
Yet some teams could still enter the draft desperate for a quarterback; the Steelers, Falcons and Panthers come to mind. Given the extensive discussion in Brian Billick’s book “The Q-Factor,” we know that drafting a quarterback out of need can lead to red flags being ignored and, say, EJ Manuel becoming a franchise’s first-round pick. This year’s model should serve as a warning for any general manager thinking of drafting a first-round quarterback out of desperation.
With that out of the way, it is also worth noting how they decided to rank these quarterbacks They use projections based on several different factors. You can read about it below:
Interpreting each quarterback’s projection is straightforward. A value of 0 is replacement level, whereas any value over 1.5 is indicative of a Hall of Fame career. Read more about this methodology here.
Okay, not to the rankings. You’ll notice how many quarterbacks who are deemed to be Round 1 picks don’t do as well in these projections.
1. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Scouts Inc. overall ranking: 22
Mean projection: 0.00 TDYAR/A
Bust (< 0 TDYAR/A): 49.7%
Adequate starter (0-0.75 TDYAR/A): 26.2%
Upper tier (0.75-1.5 TDYAR/A): 16.0%
Elite (>1.5 TDYAR/A): 8.1%
2. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Scouts Inc. overall ranking: 34
Mean projection: minus-0.03 TDYAR/A
Adequate starter: 25.7%
Upper tier: 15.6%
3. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Scouts Inc. overall ranking: 36
Mean projection: minus-0.22 TDYAR/A
Adequate starter: 23.1%
Upper tier: 12.7%
4. Malik Willis, Liberty
Scouts Inc. overall ranking: 21
Mean projection: minus-0.26 TDYAR/A
Adequate starter: 23.0%
Upper tier: 12.2%
5. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Scouts Inc. overall ranking: 50
Mean projection: minus-0.27 TDYAR/A
Adequate starter: 23.2%
Upper tier: 12.0%
6. Carson Strong, Nevada
Scouts Inc. overall ranking: 93
Mean projection: minus-1.67 TDYAR/A
Adequate starter: 4.8%
Upper tier: 1.1%
When you look at the above projections, what do you think? Do these percentages and rankings change your opinion on the class at all? What about specific prospects? Let us know your thoughts on the quarterbacks in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft.