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Race to 2022 NFL Draft’s QB1: Week 1 Risers and Fallers

Nevada QB Carson Strong is one of the best quarterbacks in the NCAA. Strong has an NFL arm, but will his decision making is questionable
Nevada QB Carson Strong is one of the best quarterbacks in the NCAA. Strong has an NFL arm, but what are scouts saying?

A few weeks ago I unveiled my Preseason Quarterback rankings that you can find here. Without a clear cut franchise quarterback in this year’s class, there will likely be far more volatility in my rankings and while it would be premature to change the overall rankings after just one week there are several top prospects that have helped or hurt their stock. Let’s start with our biggest risers

Stock Rising:

Matt Corral: Preseason QB4

Week 1 Statline: 22/32 (68.8%) 381 Pass Yards 1 Pass TD 0 Ints, 12 Rush Attempts for 55 yards (4.6 YPC) 1 TD

My Preseason favorite for a Zach Wilson like rise certainly looks poised to deliver on that level of hype. Corral not only made a number of big time throws into very tight windows but also played turnover free football. It’s only week 1 but Corral looked like the best Quarterback in the country. If Corral can avoid a meltdown game like LSU or Arkansas last season Corral could finish as my QB1 by season as a dynamic talent. 

Carson Strong: Preseason QB3

Week 1 Statline: 22/39 (56.5%) 312 Pass Yards, 2 Pass TDs 1 Int

Strong turned in a fantastic performance against a talented Cal team that should have him climbing up many draft boards. Strong answered my only question about him as a passer in this game. In my Preseason rankings I noted that Strong seemed more concerned about avoiding turnovers on deep passes and in turn overthrew many deep balls I believe he could have completed. Strong played aggressive and while it did result in an interception, it also resulted in Strong completing multiple deep balls that I believe he would have safely missed on last year. 

Phil Jurkovec: Preseason QB16

Week 1 Statline: 16/24 (66.7%) 303 Pass Yards 3 TDs 0 Ints, 5 Rush Attempts for 61 yards (12.2 YPC) 

Jurkovec had what in my opinion was his best collegiate game this past week, made multiple big plays in the air and on the ground but most importantly avoided the wild play to play inconsistency he showed last year. If he continues this level of play, Jurkovec could be our biggest riser.

Stock Falling:

Spencer Rattler: Preseason QB2

Week 1 Statline: 30/39 (76.4%) 304 Pass Yards 1 Pass TD 2 Ints, 8 Rush Attempts for 7 Yards (.9 YPC 1 TD) 

Rattler is the biggest faller of the week for me and the reasoning has little to do with the relatively positive stat line he posted in week 1. The issue with Rattler is that he appears to done little to answer the questions he had last season. Against Tulane, Rattler often missed easy reads on open routes underneath and opted to throw aggressive passes into double coverage. More troubling is Rattler’s tendency to back up several yards behind the pocket, often putting his blockers and in turn himself in harm’s way. Rattler is the most talented player in this year’s QB class but I have to worry about his lack of improvement after a full offseason with Lincoln Riley coaching him. 

Rattler needs to show these bad habits won’t be coming with him to the next level.

D’Eriq King: Preseason QB5

Week 1 Statline: 23/30 (76.7%) 179 Pass Yards 1 Pass TD 2 Ints, 9 Rush Attempts for 10 Yards (1.1 YPC)

King will almost certainly drop several spots iny next official ranking as I was waiting to see how he looked coming off of a 2020 ACL injury and honestly… he didn’t look like he belonged on the same field with Alabama. I don’t want to be too critical but after already having concerns about his size (reported only 5-9) and injury history, I can’t get behind a 6th year senior giving me so little against NFL talent. 

Michael Penix Jr: Preseason QB9

Week 1 Statline: 14/31 (45.1%) 156 Pass Yards 0 TDs 3 Ints

Giving a little context here Penix (Like King) is in his first game back from an ACL injury against a top defense so rust was expected but WOW what an absolute stinker by Penix. Two of those three interceptions were returned for touchdowns, and other than a few pinpoint passes, Penix looked like a much less accurate Quarterback since last season.

Sam Howell: Preseason QB1

Week 1 Statline: 17/32 (53.8%) 208 Pass Yards 1 Pass TD 3 Ints

I almost didn’t include Howell in this article but it doesn’t seem fair to not to ding a player with three interceptions no matter the context. Howell was under constant pressure, had multiple accurate passes dropped and all in all seemed to miss the talent that departed to the NFL over the offseason. Howell looked accurate but did fall into the type of hero ball we often see Quarterbacks on overmatched teams fall into. That’s a concern going forward because that’s not his game. If Howell settles down he should be fine. Week 2 will be very important.

While these were the most notable QB performances in my opinion, you can check out the stock up/stock down on my top 20 draft QB Prospects

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