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2022 NFL mock draft: Who are the top QBs and which teams will invest in one?

A lot of question marks surround the quarterback class for the 2022 NFL Draft. Which teams will make the call for one in the first round?

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Pittsburgh vs Wake Forest Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL season has two weeks left and it’s time for another 2022 NFL mock draft. The final draft order is far from settled, but we’re starting to get a handle on teams at the top. And in a year where there isn’t a dominant quarterback prospect, things are wide open after defensive linemen Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson.

The quarterback class for the 2022 NFL Draft is an interesting one. There’s not an obvious “can’t miss” guy like Trevor Lawrence last year, but there’s a handful of signal-callers from the college ranks that could make for intriguing prospects if put into the right situation.

Arguably no one in the draft class improved their draft stock more than Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, who is now considered a first-round pick. Throwing for over 4,000 yards and 42 touchdowns this year, he led the Panthers to an ACC Championship and earned a trip to New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral was a fireworks show and arguably the most exciting quarterback in the SEC for the last two years. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, adding an addition 597 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground as the Rebels claimed their first 10-win regular season in school history.

North Carolina’s Sam Howell had somewhat of a disappointing junior campaign, but some of that dropoff can be explained by the offense losing weapons like Michael Carter and Javonte Williams to the NFL during last year’s draft. The Tar Heel QB took a dip in accuracy, but still threw for just shy of 3,000 yards with 28 touchdowns.

Malik Willis of Liberty has creeped into draft consciousness throughout the season and will be hyped up as an elusive, dual-threat prospect similar to Zach Wilson from last year. He threw for 2,857 yards and 27 passing touchdowns in addition to adding 878 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Turnovers were a bit of a concern for the former Auburn QB this season.

Other notable quarterback prospects whose stocks could rise include Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Nevada’s Carson Strong, and Stanford’s Tanner McKee.

We put together a 2022 NFL mock draft focusing on two things. First, we provided a pick for each of the 18 non-playoff teams along with their relevant team needs. Second, we offered up odds on if the team will draft a quarterback in the first two days of next April’s draft.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux - Oregon

Needs: WR, OT, DL

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Even after a poor showing from Trevor Lawrence his rookie year, the team is set at the position and will give Lawrence multiple years to prove himself.

2. Detroit Lions: DE Aidan Hutchinson - Michigan

Needs: QB, CB, OG, DL, WR

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 50%

Jared Goff isn’t the answer, but he has shown enough in 2021 to remain the starter as the team builds up their defense while grabbing a quarterback later in the draft to develop. But, teams who think they’re going to hold off on quarterback also know that it is the most important position and if they can upgrade, they will.

3. Houston Texans: DB Derek Stingley Jr. - LSU

Needs: QB, WR, CB, DL

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 75%

The Texans have seen improvement out of their third-round pick Davis Mills and it may be enough for them not to draft a quarterback early in the first round. Mills likely isn’t the answer though, so there is a reasonable chance they fall in love with a quarterback in the draft process. They’d have no qualms with scooping him up if so.

4. New York Jets: OL Evan Neal - Alabama

Needs: CB, OL, DL

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Just like the Jaguars, the Jets can’t feel over the moon happy about their rookie quarterback’s season, but they’re also not going to scrap their high draft pick based on a poor rookie season surrounded by a less than ideal team.

5. New York Giants: OL Tyler Linderbaum - Iowa

Needs: QB, DL, OL

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 20%

Reports have head coach Joe Judge and quarterback Daniel Jones returning for another season. Those reports are likely accurate, but probably shouldn’t be. Jones has shown glimpses of above average play, but he hasn’t shown an ability to elevate his teammates or be consistent. Another year for Jones isn’t the worst thing if they can’t find someone they like more, but they should be looking.

6. New York Giants (from Bears): DL DeMarvin Leal - Texas A&M

Needs: See above

Odds they’ll pick a QB: See above

7. Carolina Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh

Needs: QB, OL, DL

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 100%

The Panthers need a quarterback in a bad way and will likely get one somehow. A trade is probably their first choice, but if they can’t make that happen, drafting a quarterback is on the agenda. I’d put their chances of having a new quarterback at the helm next year around 100%, but it’s harder to put an accurate percentage on if they draft one or not.

8. New York Jets (from Seahawks): Safety Kyle Hamilton - Notre Dame

Needs: See above

Odds they’ll pick a QB: See above

9. Washington Football Team: QB Malik Willis - Liberty

Needs: QB, OT, CB

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 95%

Taylor Heinicke has shown flashes of useful quarterback play, but he makes too many mistakes to believe he can take a good team through the playoffs into the Super Bowl. He could be a bridge quarterback until their draft pick is ready to go.

10. Atlanta Falcons: DE George Karlaftis - Purdue

Needs: QB, EDGE, LB, RB

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 75%

Matt Ryan is a lame duck quarterback at this point, and like Matthew Stafford, probably deserves a trade to a contender to see what he can do. The Falcons could keep him around another year as they continue their rebuild, but it’s probably time to move on.

11. Minnesota Vikings: DB Andrew Booth Jr. - Clemson

Needs: EDGE, OG, CB

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Could the Vikings unload Kirk Cousins in a trade? Sure. Should they unload Cousins in a trade? Sure. Will they? Probably not. Cousins is an above average quarterback, but he doesn’t appear to have what it takes to win big games. The Vikings will likely keep him around, as it will be tough finding someone better.

12. Cleveland Browns: WR Garrett Wilson - Ohio State

Needs: EDGE, DT, WR

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Baker Mayfield hasn’t proven he can lead the Browns where they need him to, but the team will give him another year to do so.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (from Dolphins): Edge David Ojabo - Michigan

Needs: EDGE, CB, WR

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 5%

Is Jalen Hurts the answer at quarterback? It is difficult to answer that question, but he put together a good enough season as the starter to give him another year at least.

14. Denver Broncos: QB Matt Corral - Ole Miss

Needs: QB, EDGE, OT, OG

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 100%

The Broncos are one of the few teams that could probably be a real contender if you just slotted in a Top 10 quarterback as their starter. They will try to find that quarterback this offseason, either through trade or the draft.

15. New Orleans Saints: WR Jameson Williams - Alabama

Needs: QB, WR, CB

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 75%

Does Sean Payton truly think he can win a Super Bowl with the quarterbacks on the roster right now? He just might, and that’s why it isn’t a lock that they’ll go after a quarterback this offseason, but they really should.

16. Las Vegas Raiders: OG Kenyon Green - Texas A&M

Needs: OG, WR, DT

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Derek Carr, like most average quarterbacks, keeps his team from getting a No. 1 pick while showing enough to believe he can take another step into consistently strong play. Will that happen with Carr? Probably not, but he’s good enough to keep the Raiders competitive.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Ikem Ekwonu - NC State

Needs: DT, OT, WR, EDGE

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Herbert is the quarterback of the future and has proven himself enough for years of overlooking any hiccups.

18. Baltimore Ravens: LB Nakobe Dean - Georgia

Needs: OT, EDGE, DT, LB

Odds they’ll pick a QB: 0%

Lamar Jackson, he’s great. Tyler Huntley, he’s not bad himself. They’re set at the position.