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CFB’s Top 25 Draft-Eligible QBs: Week 11

  • The Draft Network
  • November 8, 2021
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Week 10 of the college football season is in the books, with several highly-touted and ranked opponents falling to teams that weren’t getting quite as much attention. In regards to that, it’s been one of the most interesting years in the sport on record and you get the sense it will remain that way, at least for now, with the impact of the extra eligibility due to COVID-19.

As we move through this college football season, and release these rankings weekly, a quick note: Players enter the season with a preseason ranking that they have earned over the course of their college career up to this point. Players have good weeks and bad weeks. Some pick themselves up while others enter a downward spiral. Some start near the top, have one bad game, and consistently get worse and fall off the radar for good reason. But do not expect to see a player drop 15 spots in the rankings because of one or two bad performances. Players will be moved down at a proper rate—there will be no jumping the gun and bouncing around here. Quarterbacks are evaluated on criteria that include accuracy, ball placement, level of mental processing, and natural/raw athletic ability.

Here’s a look at who makes the Top 25 rankings at the quarterback position in the 2022 NFL Draft after Week 10:

1. KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH

Last Week: No. 2

Pickett has continued to stay hot, posting video-game numbers throughout September and has impressed throughout October too. In his latest performance, a 54-29 win over Duke, Pickett completed 28-of-43 passes for 416 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, also carrying the ball eight times for 57 yards with one score on the ground. The week before in the loss to Miami, Pickett did have a couple of misfires, so he wasn’t interception-free, but he did toss for some 519 yards. Pickett has been a clutch player for Pitt this season, and should transition nicely to the NFL as the player who has been compared to Joe Burrow continues to have a meteoric rise within Pitt’s pro-style offense.

2. CARSON STRONG, NEVADA

Last Week: No. 1

Strong has had an exceptional season this year, showing accuracy at all levels of the field and showcasing the best deep ball (especially down the sideline) in this quarterback class. While Strong had his roughest showing of the season in the 27-24 narrow victory over San Jose State, when he completed 36-of-54 passes for 314 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, he was responsible for leading the game-winning drive that sent Nevada to a 7-2 overall record. Strong took a beating throughout the game, taking some shots and being sacked three times, but stayed in the game in a situation in which many quarterbacks would have headed for the sideline—and got the job done when it counted. The numbers from this performance are far from indicative of just how talented he really is, and it’s hard for a quarterback to play like himself when he’s taking hits like those. So far this season, Strong has completed more than 70% of his passes for 3,197 yards with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

3. MATT CORRAL, OLE MISS

Last Week: No. 3

Corral’s most recent showing, a 27-14 win over Liberty, was a quieter one in terms of touchdowns of his own, but he did what was called for, completing 20-of-27 passes for 324 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions—he was limited on the ground with six carries for nine yards. So far this season, Corral has completed 182-of-272 passes (66.9%) for 2,527 yards with 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

4. SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA

Last Week: No. 5

Keeping Howell involved both in the air and on the ground seems to be the right recipe for success when it comes to this North Carolina offense, and it certainly helped the Tar Heels knock off a then No. 8-ranked Wake Forest team, 58-55. Howell completed 16-of-26 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, also carrying the ball 21 times for 104 yards with two touchdowns on the ground.

5. GRAYSON MCCALL, COASTAL CAROLINA

Last Week: No. 6

McCall has been electric for the Chanticleers so far this year, completing 73.4% of his passes for 2,063 yards with 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s one of the most impressive young players in this class. McCall is currently out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. If McCall misses a significant number of games, he’ll be moved to the injured reserve list next week.

6. MALIK WILLIS, LIBERTY

Last Week: No. 4

Willis may be the best quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft class in regards to raw ability and things that can’t be taught. But he’s also shown some red flags this season, throwing three interceptions in back-to-back games against lesser competition not long ago before seeming to correct the issue. Willis had a huge performance last week in the 62-17 win over the UMass Minutemen last week, but he showed some regression in Saturday’s loss to Ole Miss, completing 16-of-25 passes for 173 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. He was out there juking folks though, as he carried the ball for 71 yards and a touchdown. However, he needs to find some consistency as a passer and it’s safe to say the question marks are there.

7. DESMOND RIDDER, CINCINNATI

Last Week: No. 7

Ridder’s numbers haven’t exactly been high lately, as he passed for less than 200 yards in the Navy and UCF games last month. But outside of a fumbled snap, Ridder had a good game and put the ball where it needed to be. The signal-caller who’s still considered a part of the Heisman Trophy race completed 15-of-23 passes for 274 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the 28-20 win over Tulsa, also carrying the ball 12 times for 43 yards and a touchdown. He’ll look to continue to build on this momentum in the final stretch of the season.

8. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest

Last Week: No. 14

Hartman is one of those prospects that wasn’t on much of anyone’s radar going into the 2021 season in regards to the upcoming draft. But to say he’s made quite the case for himself is an understatement as he’s also become a regular part of the Heisman Trophy conversation. So far this season, Hartman has completed 188-of-301 passes (62.5%) for 2,873 yards with 27 touchdowns and five interceptions. In the painfully close loss to UNC, Hartman completed 25-of-51 passes for 398 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions, also carrying the ball 12 times for 78 yards with two rushing touchdowns. As the numbers reflect, Hartman is a quarterback who is effective both in the air and on the ground, with a high level of composure in the pocket, arm strength, speed, accuracy, and ability to evade pressure. How much he can keep rising will be something to watch as the season winds down.

9. BAILEY ZAPPE, WESTERN KENTUCKY

Last Week: No. 8

Zappe continues to lead the nation in passing with 3,713 yards through the air after he completed 29-of-50 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions, also scoring one touchdown on the ground. Zappe’s head coach, Tyson Helton, describes Zappe as the best quarterback he’s ever been around, one who has a solid understanding of protections, and knows what’s going to happen in a play before the ball is ever snapped. It’s safe to say Zappe looks the part as he seems to become more and more on the radar with each passing week.

10. SEAN CLIFFORD, PENN STATE

Last Week: No. 9

Nittany Lions signal-caller Sean Clifford simply didn’t look like himself after he suffered an injury against the Iowa Hawkeyes—and in some aspects (hello, negative rushing stats), he still doesn’t. But Clifford put together a solid performance in Saturday’s 31-14 win over Maryland, completing 27-of-47 passes for 363 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. At full capacity, Clifford is a quarterback who has improved from a passing standpoint, looks more comfortable and in rhythm in this year’s offense, and has the ability to evade pressure and make plays with his legs. He’s displayed a lot of toughness on the ground but is obviously going to have to be a bit more careful in that aspect moving forward.

11. Phil Jurkovec, Boston College

12. Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia

13. JT Daniels, Georgia

14. Brock Purdy, Iowa State

15. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

16. Devin Leary, NC State

17. Jake Haener, Fresno State

18. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State

19. Will Levis, Kentucky

20. Tanner Mordecai, SMU

21. Dustin Crum, Kent State

22. Hank Bachmeier, Boise State

23. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

24. Jayden De Laura, Washington State

25. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

Honorable mention: Eric Barriere (EWU), Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Tyler Shough (Texas Tech), D’Eriq King (Miami), Chase Brice (App State), Kedon Slovis (USC), Spencer Petras (Iowa), Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma), Emory Jones (Florida)

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