Updated: Jun 6
2022 Rookie Quarterback Season Projections
Written by: Andrew Felton
With the NFL off-season well underway, let's take a look at the first five quarterbacks who were drafted off the board and see how well they could do in their rookie season.
Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh Steelers (Round 1, Pick 20)
Kenny Pickett was the first quarterback to be drafted in the 2022 NFL draft, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. This could not have been a better landing spot for Pickett, after playing college football for the University of Pittsburgh, where he impressed during his last season. Pickett's last season saw him throw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns, setting the school record, with only 7 interceptions.
Pickett has one of the best chances to start an NFL game this season, as a rookie quarterback, with many believing he is the best fit for the NFL coming out of college. With the Steelers seeing Ben Roethlisberger retiring and only managing to acquire Mitchell Trubisky as a replacement, Pickett could see himself having to step up and prove himself early on, into the 2022/2023 NFL season.
Desmond Ridder - Atlanta Falcons (Round 3, Pick 74)
We had to wait until round 3 for our second quarterback to be drafted, this was Desmond Ridder, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. Ridder, played in Cincinnati at college and managed to throw for 3,334 yards, with 30 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions.
Similar to Pickett at the Steelers, Ridder joins a team whose first-choice quarterback has left the team, leaving them to pick up Marcus Mariota, who possibly only has a few starts to really impress and stop the Falcons from testing the rookie out early in the season. Ridder has been compared to Mariota, as he is a tall quarterback who is very mobile, with the ability to carry the ball when needed. Will be one to watch.
Malik Willis - Tennessee Titans (Round 3, Pick 86)
Malik Willis was drafted shortly after Ridder and managed to land with the Tennessee Titans. Willis is definitely a quarterback with dual threat qualities, after throwing for 2,857 yards with 27 touchdowns, as well as 878 rushing yards with a further 13 touchdowns, for his school the Liberty Flame, after a transfer from Auburn.
With the qualities that Willis already possess', he will only get better under the guidance of the current Titans quarterback Tannehill. There is no doubt that Willis will be a regular starter in the NFL and maybe even go on to be a future champion, with the right team around him. However, whether this chance comes at the Titans will remain an uncertainty, but his chance will one day come.
Matt Corral - Carolina Panthers (Round 3, Pick 86)
Matt Corral was the fourth quarterback off the board, drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Corral had a good last year at Ole Miss with 3,349 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, 614 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. With the Panthers current quarterback spot being taken up by Sam Darnold, the Panthers decided to trade up on draft day, just to acquire the services of Corral, which could play a huge part in him pushing for a starting spot, as the Panthers look to rebuild and become a play-off winning team.
Bailey Zappe - New England Patriots (Round 4, pick 137)
Bailey Zappe is thought to have all of the assets needed to be a great quarterback for an NFL team and within a draft class where there is not really a clear superstar, Zappe could really make a name for himself and become the best quarterback out of this draft. Playing one year at Western Kentucky, Zappe managed to produce video game numbers with 5,967 passing yards and 62 touchdowns, which cannot be ignored.
However, Zappe was drafted to the New England Patriots, where last year's rookie of the year contender Mac Jones, took the Patriots to the playoffs and is very much looking to be the next face of the franchise. Zappe should stay ready in case injury hinders the Patriots QB depth chart, but his career may take off in a few years when he gets a starting job with a different team.