The NFL is a quarterback-hungry league, and even though this year’s crop of signal-callers isn’t as deep as the one last year, there will still be several players at the position picked up by teams in the first and second rounds.
The Washington Football Team is one of a handful of teams who could look to add a passer in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Taylor Heinicke has been nothing short of impressive, especially considering that at one time he was a forgotten-about player who saw the resurgence of his NFL career not long after being a third-stringer on the XFL BattleHawks’ depth chart. With Washington currently expected to pick at No. 13, and there still being no consensus No. 1 overall quarterback prospect, anyone could still be available at that point. Given the flashes Heinicke has shown, the Football Team is in a good position to allow its potential rookie to sit for a year and learn—the way it should be.
Here’s a look into three possible quarterback options for WFT, depending on how things shake out:
1. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Corral was one of the most highly touted quarterbacks ahead of the season and still is as Ole Miss prepares to play in the Sugar Bowl. Corral has been praised for his high level of accuracy by coaches and analysts alike. He’s solid on the deep ball when he’s asked to throw it and has the right amount of mobility to make plays with his legs and the ability to work off-script and outside of the pocket when the situation calls for it. There are areas he needs to polish up as far as fine-tuning is concerned (and let’s face it, every rookie-to-be has those areas), but should make the transition to the NFL nicely after some time to adjust and develop. He’s not the most flashy guy in terms of physical tools at 6-foot and 200 pounds and doesn’t necessarily have a strong “it” factor that sticks out as some other prospects do, but he has effectively gotten the job done elevating the Rebels’ offense and has plenty an NFL team could build upon. Corral completed 68.4% of his passes for 3,339 yards with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.
2. Kenny Pickett, Pitt
If Corral or another quarterback is selected before the time Washington ends up picking and if Washington does still end up picking early on in the order, there is a chance that Pickett could be available. The Panthers passer has experienced a Joe Burrow-like rise in 2021 and shares a lot in common with the current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback. He has the speed, mobility, and toughness to do well both when he has to make a running play outside of the pocket and on designed quarterback runs if asked to do so, and he’s an elite passer at all levels of the field. His accuracy, placement, and timing are what should be credited to the video game numbers he put up this season—he was the only quarterback not to play in the Air Raid offense who finished top five in the FBS this year in passing yards. Pickett completed 67% of his passes for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.
3. Carson Strong, Nevada
There is no better established pure passer in this draft than Carson Strong, who could end up being the Mac Jones of this class. Depending upon where Washington ends up picking and how much Strong’s already high stock continues to rise, this could end up being a good match. Strong doesn’t bring the type of mobility to the table that some other quarterbacks in this class do and is certainly a far cry from someone like Malik Willis in that aspect, but he does bring the highest level of mental processing, football IQ, and overall accuracy (especially when it comes to accuracy on the deep ball and placement even on the most difficult of throws) and can be consistently relied upon getting the job done with what a quarterback is supposed to do: throw the ball. Strong completed 70% of his passes for 4,186 yards with 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions—stats that could have been even better if it weren’t for sometimes poor offensive line play and dropped passes by receivers.