NFL Draft Notes: Kenny Pickett, Carson Strong, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, Malik Willis

NFL Draft

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora talked to multiple NFL sources in the scouting community about the 2022 draft class of quarterbacks. While this class isn’t viewed as highly as any in the past few years, evaluators do think there will be around three or four taken in the first round: “It’s a nice class. There isn’t one guy who everyone wants, but I like the group overall.”
  • While there was no consensus, La Canfora says Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Nevada’s Carson Strong, and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral generally were seen as potential first-round picks, with Liberty’s Malik Willis and North Carolina’s Sam Howell also potentially factoring in, though they were seen as riskier prospects. 
  • Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder has some fans in the scouting community, per La Canfora, with his work the past few years leading the Bearcats into contention for the playoff: “The kid is pretty special running outside the numbers, and he can throw the deep ball. I have some issues with his accuracy, but he is an interesting prospect.” 
  • PFN’s Tony Pauline says no NFL evaluator he’s talked to has any actual first-round grades on any of the 2022 quarterbacks, though he has heard there could be a handful who end up going that high due to demand.
  • For example, one evaluator told him they liked Pickett and he very well could be the first passer off the board and go in the first, but they had him with a third-round grade presently. This same evaluator had a second-round grade on Corral. 

Kenny Pickett

  • Pickett’s size helped him stand out to La Canfora’s sources, as well as his leadership, decision-making, and accuracy: “He’s got a good arm. It’s not as strong as the kid from Nevada, but it’s strong enough.” 

Carson Strong

  • A lot of the evaluators were intrigued by Strong but he has some potentially serious medical red flags. He missed his entire senior year of high school and has had multiple knee surgeries: “If he has a good Senior Bowl and the medicals are clean enough, then he will be ‘The Guy.’ He’s a pro passer.”

Matt Corral

  • Corral’s size caused some to question whether he’d be able to hold up physically during his transition to the NFL. He’s listed at 6-2, 205: “He’s very comfortable and relaxed playing the position. He can make plays with his feet and has a great football IQ. But at that size, can he hold up?”

Sam Howell

  • Howell was talked about before the college football season as a potential No. 1 pick, but his stock has slipped this year as one exec tells La Canfora: “Is he going to be able to stand in the pocket and have the vision to make passes under pressure? That’s my biggest question with him.”

Malik Willis

  • The same source adds there are also doubts about Willis, who has incredible athletic potential but his game needs a lot of polishing: “He is the best athlete in the class. and he has all the intangibles you want. But’s he’s still really a work in progress and the interceptions are a concern.”

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