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NFL Draft

CFB’s Top 25 NFL Draft-Eligible QBs: Week 8

  • The Draft Network
  • October 18, 2021
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We’ve officially passed the midway point of the college football season with Week 7 in the books after a thrilling Week 6. We’ve seen several changes made across teams, the most notable of which being the likely end of Spencer Rattler’s career as the starting quarterback for Oklahoma after a standout starting debut by Caleb Williams on Saturday. Things continue to shake up as emergers like Bailey Zappe of Western Kentucky move up from unknown territory to prospects to consider as potential risers.

As we move through this college football season, and release these rankings weekly, a quick note: Players enter the season with a preseason ranking that they have earned over the course of their college career up to this point. Players have good weeks and bad weeks. Some pick themselves up while others enter a downward spiral. Some start near the top, have one bad game, and consistently get worse and fall off the radar for good reason. But do not expect to see a player dropped 15 spots in the rankings because of one or two bad performances. Players will be moved down at a proper rate—there will be no jumping the gun and bouncing around here. Quarterbacks are evaluated on criteria that include accuracy, ball placement, level of mental processing, and natural/raw athletic ability.

Here’s a look at who makes the Top 25 rankings at the quarterback position in the 2022 NFL Draft after Week 7:

1. CARSON STRONG, NEVADA

Last Week: No. 1

Strong only keeps getting better, with really only one game this season that could be considered anything less than a standout showing. Strong has particularly had a lot of momentum in this recent stretch, though he’s played very well all season. Just one week after he passed for a career-high six touchdowns against New Mexico State, he came just shy of passing for some 400 yards in one game. In the victory over Hawaii, Strong completed 34-of-54 passes for 395 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions on a day in which the Nevada ground game was also humming as the Wolf Pack put up over 100 yards rushing combined.

And as far as those deep passes down the sideline we’ve been talking about and so impressed with? He’s still checking the box week in and week out.

https://twitter.com/MountainWest/status/1449597872018657292?s=20

2. MATT CORRAL, OLE MISS

Last Week: No. 2

Corral’s broad skill set and versatility were on full display the previous week as he got things done both as a passer and runner in a close, high-scoring victory over Arkansas. Corral continued to do more of the same this week. Corral was effective in the passing game, completing 21-of-38 passes for 231 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, also finishing the game as the leading rusher by a large margin. He carried the ball 30 times for 195 yards on the way to a 31-26 win in a hostile environment.

https://twitter.com/TJOxley1/status/1449565779293351941?s=20

3. KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH

Last Week: No. 4

Kenny Pickett is for real—he’s been playing at an incredibly high level all season long and just when you think the video-game performances are over, he delivers another one. Pickett was stellar again on Saturday as he completed 22-of-37 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions—so not quite the huge numbers we’ve gotten used to seeing from him, but still numbers any quarterback in the pro-style offense would be pleased to come out with—and the Panthers did get the outcome they wanted, downing Virginia Tech 28-7. Pickett also took one in himself, with one rushing score and 38 yards on the ground.

There were some big-time throws in this performance and the Joe Burrow comparison here isn’t far off by any means.

https://twitter.com/MikedUpSports1/status/1449494589778415621?s=20

4. MALIK WILLIS, LIBERTY

Last Week: No. 3

One week after Willis threw three interceptions in the Middle Tennessee game after having zero on the season beforehand, Willis had another performance in which he did a lot of good things both in the ground game and the passing game but did have some noticeable errors in an upset by ULM—a team that never should have taken down Willis’ squad. Willis completed 16-of-28 passes for 135 yards with one touchdown and, yet again, three interceptions. But also, one again, Willis showed to be the dynamic runner he is, carrying the ball 23 times for 157 yards with two touchdowns. While he’s got to get rid of this interception bug, Willis continues to do some things that are hard to teach.

https://twitter.com/PFF_College/status/1449517420645953543?s=20

5. SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA

Last Week: No. 5

Howell has had his good and bad moments this year, some of which have absolutely been his own fault and some of which have been a product of a team that’s had its issues at times within the supporting cast and the offensive line. But that begs the question of how much Howell can be a difference-maker in his own right and if he’s simply a quarterback who will only do well when the “weather” around him is nice. Howell was the primary reason the Tar Heels came out with the 45-42 win over the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, doing a decent job in the air and using his legs to make things happen—Howell was 17-of-26 passing for 154 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, also carrying the ball 18 times for 98 yards with two touchdowns.

https://twitter.com/UNCBarstool/status/1449496456281329666?s=20

6. JT DANIELS, GEORGIA

Last Week: No. 6

Daniels was out for a third consecutive week with a lat strain and he’s still considered questionable. He seems to be making progress based on Kirby Smart’s recent comments, but there’s no real timetable on when he’ll be back in action. So far this season, he has completed 76.1% of his passes for 567 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. If Daniels is not back by next week, he will be moved to the IR section of the list.

7. GRAYSON MCCALL, COASTAL CAROLINA

Last Week: No. 7

McCall and the Chanticleers were on a bye week after the previous week’s dominant 52-20 win over Arkansas State. So far this season, McCall has completed 79.8% of his passes for 1,478 yards with 14 touchdowns and just one interception.

8. DESMOND RIDDER, CINCINNATI

Last Week: No. 8

Ridder has had some Heisman-worthy moments this season, and could hardly have delivered a more accurate touchdown pass with this throw in Saturday's big win over UCF.

https://twitter.com/ESPNCFB/status/1449430171887489029?s=20

Ridder’s numbers were quite low as the Bearcats made use of their rushing attack with four touchdown runs by running back Jerome Ford, but they definitely got the job done. Ridder completed 13-of-23 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, but wasn’t quite as much of a runner as we usually see, carrying the ball just four times for 14 yards.

9. JAYDEN DANIELS, ARIZONA STATE

Last Week: No. 9

Things didn’t play out the way the Sun Devils drew it up as Arizona State fell 35-21 to the Utah Utes on the road, but Daniels himself had a pretty good day. We’ve talked about wanting to see more touchdown passes from Daniels and his team for a little while now and he’s delivered on a couple of occasions since then. Daniels, who is known across the nation for his abilities as a runner, put points up in both categories this weekend. Daniels completed 20-of-31 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, also carrying the ball 14 times for 32 yards with one touchdown.

10. Sean Clifford, Penn State

Last Week: No. 11

Clifford has looked heavily improved this year with offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich calling the plays on the sideline. The Nittany Lions’ signal-caller has looked much more comfortable and in command of the offense and is going through his progressions better than before. Clifford suffered an injury in the loss to the Hawkeyes but has a chance to recover coming off a bye week. So far this season, Clifford has completed 66.3% of his passes for 1,482 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.

11. Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia

12. Will Levis, Kentucky

13. Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky

14. Devin Leary, NC State

15. Emory Jones, Florida

16. Jake Haener, Fresno State

17. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

18. Brock Purdy, Iowa State

19. Brennan Armstrong, UVA

20. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

21. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

22. Kedon Slovis, USC

23. Spencer Petras, Iowa

24. Hank Bachmeier, Boise State

25. Dustin Crum, Kent State

Honorable mentions/Injured Reserve: Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Tyler Shough (Texas Tech), Jayden De Laura (Washington State), D’Eriq King (Miami), Tanner Mordecai (SMU)

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