The 2021 NFL Draft demonstrated once again the importance of the quarterback position.
Sporting News looked at the top-10 quarterbacks heading into 2022, and here is what they found.
1. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Howell is likely to join the list of ACC quarterbacks who have been drafted. He has accounted for 7,224 yards, 68 TDs and 14 INTs the last two seasons. He started all 12 games at quarterback and was named a Manning Award Finalist, a Davey O’Brien Award Semifinalist, a Maxwell Award Semifinalist, named to the Davey O’Brien Award Class of 2020, and to the All-ACC Second Team.
2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma QB pipeline continues, and Rattler will build on an impressive finish to 2020.
Rattler was named a Davey O’Brien Award Semifinalist, he was named national freshman of the year by CBS Sports, became the second OU quarterback to earn FWAA Freshman All-America status, named a first-team AP All-Big 12 selection and the organization’s co-Big 12 newcomer of the year, named an Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree. He started all 11 games where he completed 214 of 317 pass attempts for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Rattler rushed 81 times for 160 yards and six TDs.
3. Kedon Slovis, USC
Slovis has completed 70% of his passes in two years as a starter, along with 47 TDs and 16 interceptions. He threw nine of those picks in three losses to Oregon and BYU the last two seasons, and he can improve his stock by playing better in those big-spot games, the article states.
4. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Ridder is 30-5 as a starter and has helped elevate Cincinnati into a College Football Playoff contender. He has accounted for 57 TDs and 20 interceptions, while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Sporting News says his skill set will be attractive for a struggling franchise.
5. Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
Shough transferred from Oregon to Texas Tech after an uneven season in which he had 13 TDs and six interceptions for the Ducks, the article states. 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.
He combined to complete 64.8% of his passes over his Oregon career, throwing for 1,703 yards and 16 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Shough made 68 rushing attempts for 282 yards and two touchdowns over his 15 career games as well, with a bulk of those totals coming during his sophomore season in 2020 where he made all seven starts.
6. JT Daniels, Georgia
Daniels transferred from USC and took control of the starting job at Georgia late in the 2020 season. He averaged 10.3 yards per attempt and finished passing 80-of-119 for 1,231 yards and 10 TDs.
“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,” the article states.
7. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Corral showed his worth with 3,337 yards, 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in Lane Kiffin’s first season with Ole Miss. He was also named to nearly every watch list:
- 2020 All-SEC Third Team (Pro Football Focus)
- 2020 All-SEC Fourth Team (Phil Steele)
- 2020 Manning Award Finalist
- 2020 Davey O’Brien Award Semifinalist
- 2020 Maxwell Award Watch List
- 2020 CFPA National Performer of the Year Trophy Watch List
Sporting News reports he rushed for 506 yards and four TDs as part of a wide-open offense that scored 39.2 points per game. He averaged 10.1 yards per passing attempt.
8. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
The Sun Devils played just four games last season, which made it difficult for Daniels to take that next step as a sophomore, the article states.
Daniels has 22 touchdowns and three interceptions, and he was more effective as a runner last season.
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. Sporting News reports that 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,” the article states. “Purdy still feels like a Day 2 pick, and that is the most likely scenario for 2022.”
10. Malik Willis, Liberty
Who is next year’s Trey Lance? Sporting News says to keep an eye on Willis, an Auburn transfer who has found a home with Hugh Freeze at Liberty.
Willis saw playing time in 15 games during the 2017 and 2018 seasons and finished his career at Auburn completing 11-of-14 passing attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown. He sat out at Liberty in 2019 due to NCAA transfer rules.
In 2020, Willis passed for 20 TDs and six interceptions for the Flames last season, while adding 944 rushing yards and 14 TDs.