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NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft QB Class Giving Off Class of 2013 Vibes

  • The Draft Network
  • October 26, 2021
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Classifying the 2013 NFL Draft as a “down year” for signal-callers is fitting, to say the least. A group by no means considered elite, the eligible quarterback talent was not highly desired as a plethora of trench players were off the board early on night one. While the group contained a few QB prospects that had the potential to develop into franchise talents with the necessary coddling, it was nothing like the class before it, and skepticism hovered over the quarterback pool leading up to the draft. It’s eerily similar to that of the quarterback talent pool that has begun to mold this fall. 

Following a 2021 class headlined with gun-slingers aplenty in Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance, each of whom went on consecutive picks to open Round 1, the 2022 class possesses much less franchise-altering talent when microscoping each individual’s overall performance ceiling. 

With just three quarterbacks taken in the first 73 selections in 2013, just one went in the first round. Taken No. 16 overall by the Buffalo Bills, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was the first signal-caller to hear his name off the board. While Geno Smith (New York Jets) and Mike Glennon (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) followed—Smith in the second round, Glennon in the third—the concerns aforementioned within each talent came to fruition, as teams shied away from allotting high-leverage picks into players with a performance floor as uncertain as any. A group that progressed into one of the worst talent pools the quarterback position has seen in recent memory, if you’re an NFL general manager in need of a quarterback this offseason, memories of the 2013 class could be at the forefront of your evaluation process. 

When laying out the collegiate talent set to break its way into the pro game, there are no Lawrences or Andrew Lucks, but there also aren’t any Jimmy Clausens or Johnny Manziels for that matter. In fact, there’s an abundance of skill behind the mask that is the uncertainty surrounding the deep class that has lit up the collegiate landscape through eight weeks. 

At the top, it starts and stops with the dual-threat talent of Malik Willis, currently No. 19 on our TDN100. A stoutly-built signal-caller with the ability to shred defenses with both his arm and legs, Willis has become the next mid-major talent, similar to Wilson out of BYU, that has taken college football by storm and stole scouts’ hearts. A drastically different gun-slinger than that of the Jets’ No. 2 overall selection from this past spring, by no means is Willis considered to go in the top five or even the top 10, but like Manuel, and where our scouts currently have him projected, a team looking for a breath of fresh air in the middle of the first round could represent a prime spot to take a chance on Willis, who could become the poster child as the boom or bust product of the class. 

On his tail are Desmond Ridder, who’s led the Cincinnati Bearcats to their highest ranking (No. 2) in program history, and Matt Corral, Ole Miss’ captain and a QB under Lane Kiffin whose floor could be the highest of any in the class. But, like 2013, none drastically move the needle, and none look like bonafide must-haves as the draft and offseason circuit quickly approach. 

It’s been a lay of the land thus far through 2021, where defensive prospects and trench maulers, again, like 2013, have drawn scouts’ attention. Spencer Rattler, the de facto QB1 among league circles entering the summer, has quickly fallen off draft boards, Sam Howell, expected to make leaps in his senior season in Chapel Hill, has looked nothing more than average—and in a day in age where first-year quarterbacks have taken the league by storm, average isn’t enough. This has left organizations in scramble mode as they attempt to dig out this year’s cream of the crop under center.

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