Todd McShay 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Howell to Eagles, Rattler to Broncos, Willis to WFT

Adam WellsMay 6, 2021

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 02: North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (7) during the  Capital One Orange Bowl college football game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the North Carolina Tar Heels on January 2, 2021 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the dust settles on the 2021 NFL draft, ESPN's Todd McShay is already looking ahead at what could be in store for next year's class.

In his way-too-early 2022 mock draft, McShay projects five quarterbacks to go in the first round, including Sam Howell landing with the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 7 overall.

Other notable quarterback selections include the Denver Broncos taking Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler at No. 11 and the Washington Football Team getting Liberty's Malik Willis four picks later.

Certainly, the Eagles, Broncos and Football Team are among the teams that could be looking for a quarterback next year.

Denver is the most interesting team in that group because it's been heavily linked to Aaron Rodgers amid the three-time NFL MVP's apparent unhappiness with the Green Bay Packers.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Tuesday on Get Up that the Broncos are "going to put the most in front" of the Packers in a trade proposal for Rodgers.

The Eagles may not need a quarterback depending on how Jalen Hurts develops in his first season as the starter. He did flash potential as a rookie in 2020 with 1,061 passing yards and 354 rushing yards in 15 appearances.

Hurts will be reunited with DeVonta Smith, who was selected No. 10 overall by Philadelphia in the 2021 draft. They spent two seasons together as teammates at Alabama.

Washington could end up being the team from this trio most in need of a quarterback after this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a stopgap player who will have a handful of good games every season, but he's only signed for one year and will turn 39 on Nov. 24.

Willis threw for 2,260 yards, ran for 944 yards and accounted for 34 touchdowns in 10 games at Liberty in 2020. He began his college career at Auburn but transferred in 2019 after spending two years as Jarrett Stidham's backup.

It speaks to how much teams will likely continue to value quarterbacks in the draft that McShay is projecting five to go in the first 16 picks next year.

The 2021 draft saw five quarterbacks go in the top 15, including with each of the top three picks.

It's no secret that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Recent history indicates the position will only become more valuable through the draft because of how much value and flexibility a rookie contract gives a team if it hits on a young signal-caller.