When NFL Drafts come around, we get excited to see which collegiate quarterback studs are drafted and where they land. This year’s class was a confusing one as, at one point, five quarterbacks were getting mocked in the first round alone. Only one quarterback ended up being selected in the first two rounds. Plus, at the time of this writing, none of the rookie quarterbacks are slated to start for their teams when the regular season begins on Thursday, September 8.
Top 5 fantasy football rookie quarterbacks
1. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers, QB25
Pickett was the lone quarterback taken in the first round. He played his college ball at the University of Pittsburgh, so the Steelers had plenty of scouting opportunities as they share a practice facility. With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retiring, Pickett made sense. Unfortunately for him, he started off slow in training camp, and Pittsburgh handled him with kid gloves. Plus, Mitch Trubisky didn’t do anything to give up the job, so it just remains to be seen if Trubisky can win with Pittsburgh. If he brings wins, Pickett won’t see the field.
2. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons, QB39
After falling two rounds, the Falcons took Ridder with the 10th pick in the third round. In a similar situation to Pickett, he comes to an offense where the franchise brought in a veteran backup to reignite their career on a two-year deal. Marcus Mariota likely has a longer leash than Trubisky in Pittsburgh, but Ridder showed good pre-season flashes to keep the quarterback battle close.
3. Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans QB37
Willis was being mocked as high as the second overall pick and fell to the 22nd pick in the third round. His tape at Liberty spoke for itself, and draft night ended up being a large surprise for Willis. He is now backing up Ryan Tannehill for the Titans. There doesn’t seem to be any pressure to go to the rookie, so the only way he sees the field is if Tannehill gets hurt.
4. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders, Undrafted
Howell began sneaking into the back end of the first round but was selected with the first pick in the fifth. The UNC standout now is the third-string quarterback for the Commanders. Carson Wentz being in town doesn’t inspire much confidence as he is on his third team in three years. That still doesn’t give Howell an easy path to relevancy, and he will likely be a non-factor in 2022.
5. Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots, Undrafted
Zappe was the fifth quarterback taken in the NFL Draft with the 32nd pick in the fourth round. Bill Belichick always seems to know more than we do when it comes to drafting prospects. Zappe played his collegiate ball at Western Kentucky and should have plenty of time to get acclimated to the NFL. He will sit behind Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer his rookie season.
*Honorable mention, Matt Corral was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round but suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason that won’t see him take the field until 2023.