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NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft QB Class: Stock Up, Stock Down

  • The Draft Network
  • September 7, 2021
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Week 1 of the college football season is officially in the books. Coming into the week, many were interested to see what type of start the 2022 QB class would get off to. After back-to-back draft classes with highly touted signal-callers coming into the year, this year's crop had a bit of a different feel to it. Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler were the talk of the summer, possibly jockeying back and forth for the early QB1 spot, but after the first week of games, the spot atop this year's QB class is wide open and likely to stay that way for quite some time.

Stock Up

CARSON STRONG

Stat Line vs. California: 22-of-39, 312 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception

Being on the east coast, I’ve always found enjoyment in staying up late to watch QBs from the Pac-12 and Mountain West during the conclusion of a full slate of Saturday games. Last year, it was Zach Wilson in that spot, and the season prior it was Justin Herbert. This year, it’s Strong. With his stock building plenty of momentum over the summer, Strong showed many high-level throws on Saturday.

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While his deep ball is his greatest asset, the most impressive part of Strong’s game is the freedom given to him at the line of scrimmage. Throughout the game against Cal, he’s seen changing protections, giving hand signals to wide receivers and running backs, and hitting hot routes in anticipation of blitzes. Strong is well-coached and demonstrates a high football I.Q. Strong was able to successfully layer the ball to all three levels of the field, but his best throws on Saturday came on a deep ball down the sideline as well as multiple comeback routes that were just out of reach of the defender. 

MATT CORRAL

Stat Line vs. Louisville: 22-of-32, 381 yards, and two total touchdowns (one passing, one rushing)

In the final game of Week 1, Corral made his debut against Louisville without head coach Lane Kiffin at the helm as he tested positive for COVID-19. Despite the head coach not being at the game, that didn’t slow Corral down from having an impressive performance from start to finish. Coming out, the Rebels had a heavy run-pass option attack as he fired multiple slant routes behind the heads of second-level defenders. 

Corral has a quick and fiery throwing motion where the ball comes out of his hand in an instant with lots of juice behind it. One of the more unique aspects of Corral’s mechanics is his ability to completely freeze his body while scanning concepts and then quickly revive it with lots of body torque to put velocity behind his throws. 

The part that impressed me the most about Corral is his base and lower half. Playing in Kiffin’s system, which requires a quick reactionary thrower, he showed little hesitancy with where he wanted to go with the ball. Consistency was the biggest question mark for him coming into the season, as he had 11 interceptions in two games (LSU and Arkansas).

Stock Down 

SAM HOWELL

Stat Line vs. Virginia Tech: 17-of-32, 208 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions

In the primetime slot Friday evening, all eyes were on Howell as he entered a hostile environment at Virginia Tech. Losing four of his top weapons in Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome, Javonte Williams, and Michael Carter, the void that those options left were too much for the Tar Heels to overcome as they fell on the road. 

Kudos to Virginia Tech and their defensive staff. Coming into the game, they fully understood that offensive coordinator Phil Longo and the UNC offense were among the nation’s leaders in run-pass option attempts from a season ago. Last season, Howell led the country in attempted RPO throws (103). The next closest was Mac Jones (76). In order to combat the team’s heavy RPO attack, they opted to play man-to-man coverage, which eliminates many of his primary reads. 

Once his primaries were taken away, Howell seemed to never settle in and opted to escape the pocket, which hasn’t been his forte. There are a lot of games left in the season, but early on, it seems as if there will be some growing pains with the new set of weapons on the perimeter for North Carolina. Luckily for evaluators, we will get a full assessment of the third-year starter and see if he can somehow become the catalyst alongside a group with plenty of unproven weapons.

SPENCER RATTLER

Stat Line vs. Tulane: 30-of-39, 304 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions

With plenty of hype surrounding the Sooners this season, the player expected to be at the center of the offensive attack was Rattler. On Saturday, the team narrowly escaped Tulane, who provided a scare in Norman from start to finish. 

The very first throw of Rattler’s 2021 campaign was an interception. The phrase that best sums up his performance was “more of the same” in reference to many of the same mistakes that we saw him make as a redshirt freshman reappeared during Week 1.

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Right now, two of Rattler’s biggest issues are forcing the deep throw when shorter options for positive gains are available and drifting multiple yards backward even in a clean pocket. The constant drifting resulted in multiple passes sailing high over his intended targets. Last season, Rattler was benched during the second quarter against Texas but returned in the third quarter. Looking like a completely different player afterward, he’s been known as a player that gets off to slow starts before kicking things into gear and flashing the potential of who evaluators think he can be.

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