CFB's Top 25 NFL Draft-Eligible QBs: Week 7

Photo: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 may have been the most thrilling week of a college football season that’s been full of ups and downs and no unanimous QB1. It’s been interesting to watch just how many potential Heisman contenders have fallen out of the race—and which ones may not even be starters on their respective teams at all by the end of the season. To say things have been “shaken up” midway through the season is an understatement.

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 6:

1. CARSON STRONG, NEVADA

Last Week: No. 1

Just one week after helping his team to its first road victory over Boise State since 1997, Strong showed out again, this time setting a new career-high with six touchdown passes in a single game as Nevada rolled over New Mexico State, 55-28. Strong completed 25-of-32 passes for 377 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. The ball was well-distributed across the receiving corps, as is typical in the Air Raid offense, with two of his receivers (Melquan Stovall and Justin Lockhart) eclipsing 100 yards receiving. With Strong consistently playing at a high level, it’s hard to see him moving off the QB1 spot any time soon.

2. MATT CORRAL, OLE MISS

Last Week: No. 2

After a tough loss against Alabama last week, Ole Miss and Arkansas went head-to-head in a high-scoring shootout. Corral was an essential part in helping the Rebels get the win, putting on a stellar performance as he factored into both the passing game and the ground game. Corral completed 14-of-21 passing for 287 yards with two touchdowns on an interception-free day, also adding 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Corral’s odds to win the Heisman Trophy seemed to slip a little bit in the fall to the Crimson Tide, but consider the high-level defense he was up against.

Also, how’s this for “toughness” and “doing whatever necessary” to secure a victory?

3. MALIK WILLIS, LIBERTY

Last Week: No. 3

This week’s appearance wasn’t without its blemishes, as the Liberty Flames moved past Middle Tennessee in dominant fashion as Willis threw three interceptions after coming into the game with zero on the season. He finished out the contest 17-of-30 passing for 222 yards with two touchdowns and the three picks, also adding 80 rushing yards and a score on the ground. Turnovers are never great and the Flames will certainly aim to eliminate those moving forward, but they didn’t prove exceptionally costly considering the final score was 41-13. 

Willis’ elite ability in multiple aspects was still plain to see, because how many quarterbacks can extend a play in this fashion and then deliver a strike like this?

Willis is a rare prospect, and this fits the definition.

4. KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH

Last Week: No. 6

Pickett enjoyed an open date this week after a successful season up to this point. In his last performance, a 52-21 victory over Georgia Tech, Pickett completed 23-of-36 passes for 389 yards with four touchdowns.

5. SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA

Last Week: No. 4

Just how much of it is on Howell and how much of it is on his receivers and offensive line? That’s been a storyline to watch this season and will continue to be one after Howell again experienced shortcomings from his supporting cast—dropped passes were an issue as he completed 17-of-32 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Those 203 passing yards were a season-low for him.

There was a lot to digest in the Tar Heels’ loss, especially the ineffective passing attack that saw wide receiver Josh Downs targeted 16 times, far more than any other receiver on the field. Howell tried to shoot for wideout Emory Simmons seven times, but he only reeled in one of those targets. Howell finished the day as the team’s leading rusher with 108 rushing yards on 11 carries.

6. JT DANIELS, GEORGIA

Last Week: No. 5

Daniels was out for a second consecutive week with a lat strain and he’s generally considered questionable moving forward with what head coach Kirby Smart called a Grade 1 strain last week. Daniels was out with another injury earlier this season (core) as well. So far this season, he has completed 76.1% of his passes for 567 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. It will be interesting to see just how soon Daniels resurfaces, how long he can consistently stay healthy, and if he continues playing at an elite level down the stretch.

7. GRAYSON MCCALL, COASTAL CAROLINA

Last Week: No. 8

Last week, McCall completed 13-of-13 passes for 212 yards with two touchdowns before leaving the game with an injury. He hardly seemed bothered this week though, continuing to play at a high level in one of the most entertaining offenses to watch in college football. McCall completed 18-of-23 passes for 365 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions as the No. 15 Chanticleers improved to 6-0.

8. DESMOND RIDDER, CINCINNATI

Last Week: No. 9

Ridder and the Bearcats handed Notre Dame its first loss of the season last week and scored 52 points to Temple’s three points this week. Ridder continues to be a part of the conversation for the Heisman Trophy and could continue to move up the draft boards after he completed 22-of-30 passes for 259 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Owls.

9. JAYDEN DANIELS, ARIZONA STATE

Last Week: No. 10

Last week, Daniels and a now No. 18-ranked Arizona State team came into the matchup against No. 20 UCLA with two passing touchdowns over four games. In the upset, he completed 13-of-19 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns to match his season total—proving what we thought of him as an effective passer who simply didn’t have to rely on his arm on scoring plays very often. We know Daniels is a talented runner, and that was something we saw more of this week as Daniels completed 14-of-23 passes for 175 yards, also recording 76 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground.

10. SPENCER RATTLER, OKLAHOMA

Last Week: No. 7

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley bench Rattler, and it makes you wonder when the day comes when Caleb Williams comes in and becomes the starter from there on out—and just how far away that might be. We’ve seen Rattler struggle from a mental perspective on the field, seeming to get too in his head and hurting himself by doing so. For lack of better words, he’s looked rattled more often than not. Rattler finished Oklahoma’s win over Texas 9-of-16 passing for 112 yards with one interception.

11. Sean Clifford, Penn State

12. Will Levis, Kentucky

13. Emory Jones, Florida

14. D’Eriq King, Miami

15. Devin Leary, NC State

16. Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia

17. Brock Purdy, Iowa State

18. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

19. Jake Haener, Fresno State

20. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

21. Kedon Slovis, USC

22. Spencer Petras, Iowa

23. Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky

24. Dustin Crum, Kent State

25. Brennan Armstrong, UVA

Honorable mentions/Injured Reserve: Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Tyler Shough (Texas Tech), Jayden De Laura (Washington State)

Written By:

Crissy Froyd

Feature Writer

Crissy Froyd is a graduating senior at LSU, also serving as the managing editor of the LSU division of USA TODAY SMG. Crissy has specialized primarily in quarterback analysis and features for the better part of her career and covers the Tennessee Titans in addition to the LSU Tigers.

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