NFL Shows Its Disdain for 2022 QB Class on Day 2 of Draft

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 30, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 03: Malik Willis #QB16 of Liberty throws during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 03, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The 2022 NFL draft has been a wide-receiver party thus far, potentially at the expense of the prospects tasked with throwing to those wideouts. 

For the first time since 1996, only one quarterback—Pittsburgh Steelers first-rounder Kenny Pickett—was selected in the top 70 picks. 

Considering that three of the past four drafts featured four first-round quarterbacks—equal to the number of signal-callers that came off the board in the first three rounds this year—we're looking at one hell of an indictment on this year's quarterback class. 

In the most pass-happy, quarterback-oriented era in NFL history, you've got to be a historically bad class to receive this much neglect in the early rounds. 

And indeed, these guys all have their flaws. 

Pickett, who went 20th to Pittsburgh, has small hands and can be extremely jittery in the pocket. Atlanta Falcons No. 74 selection Desmond Ridder has a slight frame and accuracy concerns. Tennessee Titans No. 86 pick Malik Willis, who many thought could be a top-10 selection, is a project who will need to become far more consistent at the pro level. And Carolina Panthers No. 94 selection Matt Corral lacks the measurables or polish you want to see in a potential starter. 

Kenny Pickett was the only QB taken in the top 70.
Kenny Pickett was the only QB taken in the top 70.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The only other passer who was frequently in Day 1 or Day 2 conversations leading up to the draft is North Carolina product Sam Howell, who requires development, lacks ideal height and may run into issues with his mechanics. 

I know, I know. Tell us how you really feel, Gagnon. 

But there's more to this. The reality is that in a lot of other years, even this class might have garnered more love on the draft board. In this case, we're looking at a rookie passer class that has been victimized by the aforementioned recent quarterback gorge. 

At least three quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the previous six drafts. Looking more recently, nine signal-callers were selected in the first two rounds of the past two drafts alone. Eight of the first-round QBs coming off their rookie or sophomore season—Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert—clearly possess some or a lot of promise. 

That's a quarter of the league's starting quarterback inventory right there. 

Another factor to consider is that the veteran quarterback carousel has been spinning more violently than ever. The Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Commanders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all looked like obvious potential early round quarterback selectors at various points this offseason, but Indy brought in Matt Ryan, Denver traded for Russell Wilson, Seattle at least got Drew Lock back for Wilson, Washington acquired Carson Wentz and Tom Brady famously balked on his retirement in Tampa. 

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Only one quarterback was taken in the first 67 picks. This is the fewest quarterbacks taken at this point in the draft since the 1988 NFL draft, when the first QB selected was No. 68 overall.

The Colts and Seahawks might have still been in on quarterbacks, but neither of those teams is known for making rash draft decisions. While the Detroit Lions shouldn't give much more leash to Jared Goff, it's easy to see why they might want to focus on other positions with Goff owed more than $30 million in 2022. 

Then there's the fact said carousel hasn't even stopped spinning. If teams entered this event under the impression Baker Mayfield and/or Jimmy Garoppolo could still be had at reasonable rates, why swing the bat on an iffy quarterback prospect even when the draft value might be there? 

The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers did not help this quarterback class by holding onto Mayfield and Garoppolo, respectively, throughout Thursday and Friday. 

Still, the Jameis Winston-quarterbacked New Orleans Saints haven't bitten at all yet, the Falcons waited until Round 3 with Marcus Mariota in their QB1 slot, and a Panthers team putting most of its eggs in Sam Darnold's basket didn't appear to be in much of a rush to bring in competition before taking Corral late on Day 2. 

Some of those teams may have been thinking about Mayfield or Jimmy G. Some might have also been considering 2023. 

Could teams be holding out for a 2023 prospect like C.J. Stroud?
Could teams be holding out for a 2023 prospect like C.J. Stroud?Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Led by Ohio State's C.J Stroud and Alabama's Bryce Young, next year's quarterback class looks like a lot of fun. The cannon-armed Stroud destroyed the Big Ten as a sophomore in 2022, while the polished Young won the Heisman Trophy in his debut season as a starter in the SEC. 

Beyond those two, there's plenty of other intriguing options. There's the physically awesome DJ Uiagalelei out of Clemson, former popular 2022 No. 1 mock pick in Spencer Rattler from South Carolina, and dual-threat bomber Anthony Richardson out of Florida is worth keeping an eye on, too. And those three are just the short list beyond the two-man top tier.

It's possible that for the first time in world history, NFL teams are exhibiting some patience this week. It helps that a lot of teams aren't set to give up on their current quarterbacks just yet. Additionally, there are still some interesting vets out there, and—maybe most critically—this quarterback class isn't much to get excited about.