Top QBs Available for Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons After Day 1 of NFL Draft

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 29, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 02: Malik Willis #QB16 of the Liberty Flames speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 2, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The first round of the 2022 NFL draft was a quiet one for the quarterback position with Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett the only one to hear his name called Thursday.

That's not the most welcome news for the signal-caller prospects hoping to see their NFL dreams become a reality, but it is good news for teams that need quarterback depth and will be eyeing the position in the second and third rounds Friday.

Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral and Sam Howell are all still available for squads such as the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.

Frankly, this many notable quarterbacks still being available after the first round is quite unusual when compared to recent history.

A quarterback went No. 1 overall in each of the last four drafts, and there were five signal-callers taken in the first 15 picks alone last year. Much of the speculation leading into Thursday's first round was that this year's group of quarterbacks was a step below what has been the norm, and Pickett being the only one chosen did nothing to change that.

As of the end of the first round, Carolina is in line to start Sam Darnold, Atlanta is set to start Marcus Mariota and Seattle seems to be leaning toward Drew Lock.

That's not exactly a list of Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, so Willis, Ridder, Corral or Howell could come into any of those situations and learn for a year or so and then take over the offense.

Willis and Ridder not going in the first round is the biggest surprise from that group.

B/R's NFL Scouting Department listed Willis as the quarterback with the best arm strength and best mobility, which suggests he has a high ceiling with the ability to hurt opposing defenses in multiple ways.

Yet he was only the No. 2 quarterback on that big board with Ridder listed at No. 1. All Ridder did was help Cincinnati become the first Group of Five school to reach the College Football Playoff, and falling into the second or third round could motivate him even more.

There will likely be a run of quarterbacks at some point in this draft, but it hasn't happened yet. That leaves some quality candidates for Friday.