While many consider this to be a down year for quarterbacks in the NFL draft, don't tell that to NFL Network's Maurice Jones-Drew.
The former running back projected four QBs (Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, Liberty's Malik Willis, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and Ole Miss' Matt Corral) to land in the top 10 in his April mock draft.
In the case of Corral, Jones-Drew predicted the New Orleans Saints would deal their two first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 19) to the New York Jets to move up to the 10th overall selection.
Ridder and Willis are the only quarterbacks among the top 50 overall players on Bleacher Report's most recent big board. Pickett and Corral come in at 60th and 73rd, respectively. Ridder and Willis were the only two with an overall grade higher than 7.5, the threshold for a "potential impact player" or second-round talent.
By contrast, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones were all graded at 7.9 or better on B/R's final big board for 2021.
Still, the importance of the quarterback position means there's a good chance one or more QBs are off the board in the top 10. In B/R's April 1 mock, Willis was projected to go second overall to the Detroit Lions, and Ridder landed with the Seahawks to align with Jones-Drew's forecast.
In January, ESPN's Jordan Reid wrote this year's draft could be like 2000 or 2013 in terms of how the quarterback position shakes out. Chad Pennington was the only QB off the board in the first two rounds in 2000, and only three (EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Mike Glennon) were taken within the first three rounds in 2013.
The 2022 draft will be another barometer for how much NFL general managers are willing to balance value against need.