The quality that stands out to me right off the bat was the abundance of both strong-armed quarterbacks and dual-threat passers. Unfortunately, many have already cast aside the 2022 QB class. They state that it doesn’t stack up to the talent presented in 2021’s stacked class.
As I dove deeper into the class itself, I don’t believe this to be true. This is because there isn’t a clear-cut golden prospect yet. Most everybody bought the narrative that Trevor Lawrence would be the first overall selection around this time last year. There’s uncertainty with that right now, and it could go several different ways at this point.
For every prospect listed, I have watched at least three games of film. I didn’t analyze every play, rather I skimmed through it and tried to see what I could catch on the fly.
Best Player: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
As long as Rattler lives up to the hype he’s currently receiving, he’ll most likely be the top quarterback prospect out of this class. He has incredible arm strength and playmaking abilities and can make magic happen out of absolutely nothing. Limiting turnovers and making smart decisions should be something scouts are looking for. Rattler has been great through his first couple of seasons as Oklahoma’s starter, but he needs to take his game to the next level.
Most Overrated: Sam Howell, North Carolina
I believe that Howell is a great talent at the quarterback position, but his athletic ability does not come close to standing toe-to-toe with other quarterbacks in this class. I recognized a lot of traits in Howell that I saw in Baker Mayfield.
Although Baker is a formidable passer in the league right now, he wasn’t worth a top-three selection. I’m seeing Howell fall into this range in several recent mock drafts. Howell also lost the two top receivers he thrived with during his first two seasons, being Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, so there’s some uncertainty with that too.
Most Underrated: Carson Strong, Nevada
Strong had a great season with the Wolfpack in 2020, where he completed 70% of his passes for 27 touchdowns and only four turnovers. The 6’4”, 220-pound, pocket passer has a very strong arm, a smooth, fluid release, and is deadly accurate on the run. With this being said, he isn’t the most athletically gifted player in this group.
All things considered, however, he has elite mechanics as a passer. He really shows off his arm strength and makes his deep balls look absolutely effortless.
Watch Out For: Max Duggan, TCU
Duggan is a middling quarterback that many see as being average at best. After skimming through his 2020 film, I realized that Duggan was very athletically gifted, possessing a formidable arm with great touch on his passes. He knows how to lead his receivers and is smart when it comes to using his weapons. He knows who he can trust when it comes to putting up a 50/50 ball.
Not only that, but he is a very underrated runner, rushing for 16 touchdowns in two years as TCU’s starter, and actually has surprisingly good speed and agility. He has all the tools necessary to be a top talent, he just needs to limit his questionable decision-making and quit putting the football into impossibly tight spots regularly.
Preseason Top 5:
1. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma – A strong-armed titan with tremendous playmaking potential. Should be “the guy” in this class if he can pull it all together this season.
2. Malik Willis, Liberty – Willis combines the agility seen in Lamar Jackson with the arm talent and touch seen in Deshaun Watson. Could very well give Rattler a run for his money if he levels up even further in 2021.
3. Carson Strong, Nevada – Has the best deep ball in all of college football. Killer touch and has an ultra-smooth release. Look for him to start making bigger splashes as the season progresses.
4. Sam Howell, North Carolina – Everything about Howell screams Baker Mayfield. He’s a dynamic playmaker with great eyes and feels for creating opportunities downfield.
5. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati – Dual-Threat quarterback that improved greatly last season. Can score both ways, as a passer and a runner, and showed his arm talent shouldn’t be slept on.
Kaleb Eleby (Western Michigan), Emory Jones (Florida), Kedon Slovis (USC), Tyler Shough (Texas Tech), Jayden Daniels (Arizona State), J.T. Daniels (Georgia), Max Duggan (TCU), Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
This quarterback class has a ton of question marks, yet also has a ton of potential to be the most diverse group of talent we’ve seen in years. From strong-armed phenoms to shifty improvisers, this class will have it all. It was hard for me to even construct a preseason top five, and if you look at the “just missed” category, there’s easily a ton of prospects that could make a case to be in the top five.