There's no rest for the wicked in the game of grid-iron American football. With the dust still settling on a fabulous NFL draft that concluded last weekend, it's time for the game's aficionados get ahead of the game by throwing a sneak peek at the 2022 NFL Draft class.
QBs Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance were the first three players off the board at last week's celebration of college football in Cleveland, Ohio. But with QBs being the NFL's most valued commodity every year in the draft, those teams that weren't able to pluck a top signal-caller this year would have already begun plotting for next year...
On that note, let's take a look at the early picks for next year's NFL Draft.
Top 10 quarterback prospects heading into the 2022 NFL Draft
#1 Sam Howell, North Carolina
In three seasons at UNC, QB Sam Howell has amassed 7,227 yards of airmail, 68 TDs and just 14 interceptions.
In terms of pure stats, Sam Howell is probably the early pick of the QBs likely to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. The Tar Heels' star has a big arm; plays brave football, toughing it out in the pocket to make plays for his team and isn't scared to run the football either.
I wouldn't say he was a dual threat like Lamar Jackson. But when he has to, Howell can put the skates on in a similar vein like Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott.
#2 Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
Though he was a 5-star prospect coming out of high school in 2019, Spencer Rattler had to be patient and wait for his chance to lead the Sooners' offense, as he was behind now-Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts.
Spencer Rattler got his chance to lead in 2020 and certainly lived up to the razzmatazz he had garnered during an excellent high school career, throwing for 3,031 yards, 28 TDs and just seven interceptions.
Before Hurts' selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Sooners gifted QBs Baker Mayfield (2018) and Kyler Murray (2019) to the NFL Universe. So I'd expect to see another Sooner go high in the draft come 2022, and his name is Spencer Rattler.
#3 Kedon Slovis, USC
Though he lost out on a starting spot to the now-Georgia QB JT Daniels during USC's preseason training camp in 2019, Kedon Slovis was given another chance to shoulder the burden in the pocket when Daniels went down with a torn ACL during the first game of the season.
Slovis gobbled up his chance and impressed; he threw for 3,502 yards, 30 TDs, and just nine interceptions during the course of the year.
Keldon Slovis struggled with injury during the Trojans' 2020 campaign, and his stats and confidence took a bit of a dip. But there's little doubt that he could be one of the hotly-tipped prospects heading into next year's NFL Draft, assuming he can get himself back to peak condition and top form by then.
#4 Jayden Daniels, Arizona
Jayden Daniels put in a superb show in his freshman year in 2019, chalking up nearly 3,000 passing yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing just two picks.
The 2020 season was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so fans in Arizona didn't get to see as much of their star man as they would have wanted to. But Jayden Daniels' 2019 passing stats, combined with his ability to run the football when required, makes him one of the early frontrunners to claim next season's Heisman Trophy.
#5 Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
Tyler Shough was originally penciled in to be the NFL 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert's successor in Oregon. But after a poor showing down the stretch of the Ducks' season, the big 6' 5" QB transferred to Texas Tech.
Shough has regained his form since switching Oregon for Texas, posting 1,559 yards and 13 touchdowns since his arrival. But he will need to ensure he doesn't trail off in the same manner again if he hopes to make it to the NFL via the 2022 Draft.
#6 Carson Strong, Nevada 6-4, 215
From what I've seen of Carson Strong, he looks to be an ideal replacement for Ben Roethlisberger at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That's because Strong is a natural pocket-passer blessed with a strong arm, a good range of delivery and an engrained ability to take care of the dingus when it matters most.
Playing in the highly competitive MWC conference for the Nevada Wolf Pack, Strong has registered 5,193 yards, 38 TDs and just 11 picks in his first two campaigns as a starter. He definitely looks to be a QB who could be hotly tipped during next year's NFL draft.
#7 Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Desmond Ridder was eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft but decided against it when the NFL talent spotters told him he'd likely go off the board late on the final day. So he instead opted to take the turf with the Bearcats for his senior year in college football.
In a great career in Cincinnati to date, Ridder has thrown for 6,905 yards and 57 TDs. He's equally proficient on the ground, too, chalking up 1,825 yards and 22 TDs on the ground.
The Bearcats are expected to be one of the best teams in college ball next season, and the NFL loves dual-threat QBs at present. So I'd expect to see Ridder go in the first or second round come the 2022 NFL Draft.
#8 JT Daniels, Georgia
Honestly, I haven't seen a ton of tape on JT Daniels as yet. The former USC QB didn't feature at all in 2019 after going down with a knee injury in the first game of the season.
After transferring to Georgia at the beginning of the 2020 college football campaign, Daniels didn't feature till the final four games of the year.
It was during these games that the young star impressed NFL talent spotters, throwing for 1,231 yards and registering ten TD passes down the stretch, which is why he makes this list.
#9 Bo Nix, Auburn 6-1, 205
A 6' 1", 205 pound QB from Auburn, Bo Nix is another signal-caller that plenty of analysts have tipped to have a bright future in the NFL.
In his freshman year with the Tigers, Nix sent 2,542 yards worth of airmail and registered 16 TDs.
#10 Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Brock Purdy will begin the 2021 season with 33 career starts tucked safely under his belt. The Iowa State QB has already chalked up 8,982 yards and 62 TDs with the Cyclones.
Purdy can also get outside the pocket, extend plays and chalk up yards and rushing TDs, as evidenced by his 936 yards and 18 TDs on the ground.
To rise to the upper echelons of the 2022 NFL Draft board, though, Purdy will need to learn to take better care of the football and throw fewer picks (25). But he's definitely a young QB worth keeping an eye on.