Buying or Selling Latest Rumors on 2022 NFL Draft's Top QBsApril 5, 2022
Buying or Selling Latest Rumors on 2022 NFL Draft's Top QBs
Several NFL teams will soon have the opportunity to solve their quarterback problems.
Although the 2022 NFL draft class isn't as loaded with potential franchise quarterbacks as last year's heralded crop, it still features several prospects who appear capable of becoming viable starters.
The need for talent under center is fueling speculation on potential trades leading up to and during the draft itself. Teams that don't want to miss out on their top quarterback prospect may end up making a move up the draft board.
Nothing is set in stone, though. There's also a chance that few (if any) quarterbacks come off the board early in the first round.
That won't stop the rumors from spreading over these next few weeks, but some have a lot more teeth than others. With that in mind, let's buy and sell the latest talk regarding the top quarterbacks in the 2022 draft.
Steelers Will Aggressively Trade Up for a Quarterback
The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking for a new quarterback in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger's retirement. They already signed Mitchell Trubisky to a two-year, $14.3 million contract in free agency, but they might not be done there.
ESPN's Jordan Reid reported last week that the Steelers might "get aggressive and trade up" from No. 20 for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class.
Trubisky spent the past year learning behind Josh Allen in Buffalo. The Steelers might not be able to pencil him in as a rock-solid starter, but none of the quarterbacks in this year's draft class fit that bill, either.
Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder (scouting report) is the only quarterback who the Bleacher Report Scouting Department has ranked in the top 45 on their latest big board. Ridder and Liberty's Malik Willis (scouting report) are the only two quarterbacks projected to be taken in Round 1 of the draft in their latest mock.
Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett (scouting report) is the local prospect who appears to be the most pro-ready and is often linked to the Steelers. However, it would be foolish for the organization to give up its limited draft capital to move up for a player whom the B/R Scouting Department has coming off the board at No. 42.
With no truly elite quarterback prospects available in this year's class, the Steelers would be best served staying put and settling for Pickett or the highest-ranked quarterback still left on the board when they're on the clock at No. 20.
Verdict: Selling that the Steelers will aggressively trade up for a QB.
Washington Commanders Interested in Sam Howell
The Washington Commanders have long been in the market for a franchise quarterback. While they at least temporarily addressed their quarterback woes by trading for Carson Wentz earlier this offseason, that shouldn't stop them from attempting to draft potential star quarterback in the 2022 draft.
One prospect being linked to the franchise is North Carolina's Sam Howell (scouting report). According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, Washington sent a "large contingent" to UNC's pro day last week, an event that seemed to go well for the 21-year-old.
Howell told NFL Network that he had a "good session" in front of scouts, putting together a workout that might have increased his chances to land with the Commanders.
If Washington does land Howell, the club would reunite him with former Tar Heels teammate Dyami Brown. The Commanders took the North Carolina wideout in the third round last year and could try to replicate the instant success that the Cincinnati Bengals had by pairing LSU teammates Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase together last year.
If Washington wouldn't want to select Howell at No. 11, it could trade back and attempt to snag him later. Some mock drafts have the Commanders selecting Howell without a move down the board, but many—including the latest by the B/R Scouting Department—don't have him being selected until the third round.
The Commanders don't have a third-round pick after trading for Wentz, but they do hold a second-rounder (No. 47) that could end up being the ideal spot to take the UNC product later this month.
Verdict: Buying the Washington Commanders' interest in Sam Howell.
Lions Will Trade for the No. 19 Pick and Take Malik Willis
The Detroit Lions hold five picks inside the top 100 in this year's draft, including a pair of first-rounders (Nos. 2 and 32) and an early second-rounder (No. 34). They're widely expected to select a quarterback with one of those picks, as Jared Goff is not their long-term answer under center.
The Lions might covet Liberty's Malik Willis, but they aren't likely to get him with a trade suggestion that recently made headlines.
During a segment on the NFL Network's Move the Sticks, NFL insider Daniel Jeremiah said Detroit should offer the No. 32 pick plus third- and fifth-rounders to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 19 selection (h/t SI.com).
Although the Eagles no longer own that selection after trading it to the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Detroit could offer the same package to the Saints to acquire it.
That would hypothetically allow the Lions to grab an elite prospect like Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson (scouting report) or Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux (scouting report) at No. 2 and still come away with one of the best QBs in the class.
Unfortunately, Willis isn't likely to still available at No. 19. Many draft analysts expect Willis to be the first quarterback off the board, and several teams with top-10 picks are desperate for talent at the position.
The B/R Scouting Department has Willis landing with Detroit at No. 2 in their most recent mock. If the Lions pass on him there, it's unlikely that the Carolina Panthers (No. 6), Atlanta Falcons (No. 8) or Seattle Seahawks (No. 9) would let the Liberty product slip outside of the top 10.
If Willis did somehow slide to 19, this proposed trade would be an excellent move for the Lions. But there's a slim chance of that happening.
Verdict: Selling that the Lions will trade for the No. 19 pick and take Malik Willis.
Seahawks Move Up from No. 9 to Secure a Franchise QB
After trading away Russell Wilson at the start of the new league year, the Seattle Seahawks are heading into the 2022 draft in search of a new franchise signal-caller. While they did get Drew Lock from the Denver Broncos in the package for Wilson, the 25-year-old is no more than a middling stopgap option.
The Seahawks are reportedly interested in Malik Willis, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah (h/t Cam Merino), but the Liberty product might be long gone before they're on the clock at No. 9. With the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons also linked to Willis, the Seahawks might need to trade up to get their guy.
CBS Sports' Kyle Stackpole has Seattle doing exactly that in his latest mock draft. He had them exchanging the Nos. 9 and 41 picks with the New York Giants to get Nos. 5 and No. 112 and taking Willis with the former.
The B/R Scouting Department's latest mock draft has the Detroit Lions taking Willis at No. 2, so he might not even be available for the Seahawks in a trade-up scenario. However, they could execute a deal of that nature if they expect him to slide a bit on draft day.
Even if Willis goes off the board at No. 2, the Seahawks could trade up a few spots to make a run at Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder. He doesn't seem to be rising up boards as fast as Willis has this offseason, but he's a top prospect who fits well with Seattle and might not make it to No. 9 if the Seahawks stand pat.
Verdict: Buying that the Seahawks will move up from No. 9 to secure a franchise QB.
Malik Willis Will Be the 1st Quarterback off the Board
The 2022 draft class had been lacking a clear-cut QB1, but Liberty's Malik Willis began surging up big boards after wowing scouts at the NFL combine. He followed that up with a fantastic pro day, earning the praise of onlookers even after admitting he missed a few throws during the workout.
While Willis still isn't a lock to be the first quarterback off the board, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer wrote Monday that the 22-year-old is the "leader in the clubhouse" right now.
Breer noted that teams are placing significant priority on high-ceiling signal-callers due to the success of stars like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in recent years. Willis arguably boasts more upside than any other quarterback in this year's draft class.
Willis doesn't have much experience in the systems he'll be tasked with running and against the type of competition he'll face at the NFL level. However, Breer said teams have come away from meetings believing he'll be able to "handle more volume scheme-wise than he was asked to in college."
With more visits scheduled with the Carolina Panthers (No. 6) and Atlanta Falcons (No. 8)—and a trip with the Giants (Nos. 5 and 7) already in the books—Willis appears unlikely to slide outside the top 10. NBC Sports' Peter King said Willis is likely to need a redshirt year, but the B/R Scouting Department has him going No. 2 overall to Detroit in their latest mock draft.
The latest DraftKings odds are a good indicator that Willis will be the first quarterback off the board. He's a minus-200 (bet $100 to win $50) favorite for that distinction, while Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett (+175) is the only other player with a realistic shot at usurping Willis.
Ole Miss' Matt Corral (+1500), UNC's Sam Howell (+1800) and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder (+2500) round out the top five options on that prop bet.
Verdict: Buying that Malik Willis will be the first quarterback off the board.
Gambling problem? Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369).
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visiting ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), visiting OPGR.org (OR), or calling/texting TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN) or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
Odds and lines subject to change. 21+ (18+ NH/WY). AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.