5 sleeper quarterbacks to watch out for in late rounds of 2022 NFL Draft

NFL Combine - QB Bailey Zappe from Western Kentucky
NFL Combine - QB Bailey Zappe from Western Kentucky

All the buzz of the 2022 NFL Draft surrounds the top four or five quarterback prospects. No one has a clear answer on who the first one off the board will be or how many will even be drafted in the first round. We do know that Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Matt Corral are likely the top three prospects and potential first-round picks.

Outside of those three, Sam Howell and Desmond Ridder are the next two in the rankings and could still possibly find a home late in the first round or early in the second. While everyone is keyed in on the top half of the rankings, the real scouts are looking at the bottom half for the sleeper candidates. Players like Tom Brady, Joe Theismann, Johnny Unitas, and Roger Staubach were all drafted in the late rounds of the NFL Draft. All of them turned out to be highly successful, Hall of Fame-level players on the field. The 2022 NFL Draft might not produce a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the later rounds, but a team could find a stable starter or high-level backup at the back end of Day 2 or on Day 3.

2022 NFL Draft QB Sleepers

#1 - Bailey Zappe - Western Kentucky

Many teams should, at least, have Bailey Zappe on their radar. He broke the FBS single-season record for passing touchdowns with 62, breaking Joe Burrow's record. He also holds the record for the most passing yards in a single season with 5,967. But Zappe's 2022 NFL Draft stock is hampered by playing at Western Kentucky and not being quite as physically gifted as other prospects.

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Zappe also came out of nowhere in 2021 after transferring from Houston Baptist and then breaking multiple records in his first and only year with Western Kentucky. At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Zappe showcased a limited arm but impressive decision-making and accuracy. Despite having amazing stats, he is still poised to be a great backup who could grow into a starter or, at least, be a journeyman for a lengthy career. He could go as early as the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

#2 - Kaleb Eleby - Western Michigan

Kaleb Eleby played as a redshirt sophomore for Western Michigan in 2021 and put together a rather solid performance: 63.5% completion rate, 3,277 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, six interceptions, and six rushing touchdowns. His stats don't leap off the screen at you, but he played safe, consistent football while having a strong arm.

With Eleby, the debate is whether the talent made him or he made the talent. He had the privilege of throwing passes to current NFL receiver Dee Eskride and fellow 2022 NFL Draft prospect Skyy Moore. At the very least, Eleby can properly use the talent around him to his benefit and that helps a team with a loaded roster outside of a quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers could snag him in the 4th or 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft to backup Mitch Trubisky.

#3 - EJ Perry - Brown University

EJ Perry is a lesser-known Ivy League prospect who has flown under the radar as a consistent dual-threat. He will fall in the 2022 NFL Draft as an unknown and from his rather average stats: 66.5% completion rate, 3,3034 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 14 picks, 402 rushing yards, and seven touchdowns in 2021.

Over the last two seasons at Brown, Perry has rushed for more than 1,100 yards with 15 touchdowns on top of 45 passing touchdowns. Moving from Boston College to Brown salvaged his career. Now, he has a chance to be drafted as a young backup quarterback with potential. He won't get hear his name called until, at least, the sixth round but has a decent ceiling.

#4 - Jack Coan - Notre Dame

Jack Coan gives off the vibe of being a pro-style quarterback that we rarely see these days. He has the skills to be an effective pocket passer and has seen his 2022 NFL Draft stock climb consistently but slowly over the years. He's not the greatest mobile quarterback that many teams look for, but he has quick reads and just needs to fine-tune his deep-ball placement.

In his last two seasons (one with Wisconsin, one with Notre Dame), Coan threw for 43 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. The move to the Fighting Irish was a better fit for his style, even if he is still viewed as a backup in the NFL right now. On the right team, Coan could develop in a starter with the right offense surrounding him.

#5 - Chase Garbers - Cal

California quarterbacks usually get a ton of the spotlight, but Chase Garbers has been viewed as a snub this year. He didn't post the best stats with the Golden Bears, but numbers are not the only thing scouts look at, of course. Garbers is a dual-threat and highly athletic runner, but he, sometimes, gets caught up in the pressure of the game. As a passer, he can pass as a NFL quarterback, but he's not the best improviser.

As far as being coachable, he can be a nice project player for someone with a knack for developing quarterbacks. Garbers is mentally tough and can be someone that can be molded to fit in as a long-term backup with little risk attached to him.

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Edited by Windy Goodloe