The 2021 college football season is scheduled to kick off in less than one month, and the hype around the 2022 NFL Draft class is already beginning to swell.
The expected 2022 quarterback class isn’t as strong as what we enjoyed in 2021 when five quarterbacks were selected in the first 15 picks, but it still has a couple of prospects who could end up jockeying for early first-round consideration.
Take the latest mock draft from The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling, for example, which has two quarterbacks as the first two selections in Round 1.
The Rattler pick is fascinating for a few reasons. If Easterling’s prediction becomes reality, it means Deshaun Watson got his wish and was traded. And that means some other NFL club solved their quarterback need with a franchise-caliber starter (on the field). It also means one less quarterback coming off the board in the first round.
It’ll be fun to watch how Rattler’s camp handles the prospects of being QB-next in Houston, too. With college players becoming more powerful branded entities following the changes to the name, image, and likeness rules, it seems logical to conclude they’ll have a bit more bravado when entering the NFL. Why should a prospect settle for a team that’s become the laughing stock of the league? Whether it’s Rattler or another quarterback who ends up worthy of the first pick, it’s going to be something to monitor.
Howell going second overall to the Lions is a prediction that has a ripple effect, too. It assumes Jared Goff was a failure — if he’s a success, he’s young enough to build around. If Goff fails as a Lion, he’s likely destined for backup duty moving forward regardless of where he’s playing.
As for the players — Rattler and Howell? Are they good enough to warrant picks this high?
It’s honestly way too early to tell. Rattler has exceptional arm talent but his undersized frame and relative inexperience work against him. With a full season in 2021, he’ll erase that inexperience concern from his scouting report. But he isn’t getting any taller.
Howell has been on the ‘top-pick radar’ for the last two seasons and as silly as it sounds, it may be a result of his resemblance — physically — to Baker Mayfield. Howell is a good quarterback prospect, but he doesn’t have any special qualities or traits (including size or athleticism) that push him into the top of Round 1. I think he’ll be a player who falls down the board a bit as we inch closer to the draft kicking off.