With the 2022 NFL draft approaching, quarterback deprived teams are doing their due diligence in figuring out which college prospects can turn their franchise around. However, often it does not matter how good the player is, but the situation they are put into.
A year ago, the 2021 NFL draft featured five quarterbacks selected in the first fifteen picks. Trevor Lawrence was chosen first overall and was universally regarded as the top quarterback prospect in years; however, Jacksonville saw little to no improvement. There was dysfunction around the organization, and the lack of talent and leadership led to the team finishing 3-14.
Meanwhile, Mac Jones was the last quarterback selected in the first round and was able to make the playoffs as a rookie. The Patriots put him in a much better situation to succeed and develop while still winning football games.
This article will identify the ideal spot for each of the top quarterback prospects of the 2022 draft.
Malik Willis: Washington Commanders
A quarterback quickly rising draft boards, Malik Willis is an athletic playmaker with a cannon for an arm. If he were to go to Washington, Willis would be surrounded by serviceable playmakers and a defense that can keep the young offense in games.
Ron Rivera has had prior experience coaching a top dual-threat quarterback prospect out of college, being at the helm during Cam Newton’s entire Panther career. While Washington has its own internal problems with ownership, their roster is filled with talent and could return to the playoffs in the 2022-23 season with the right upgrade at quarterback.
Matt Corral: Denver Broncos
No draft-eligible quarterback put up better production against top competition than Matt Corral, who put up video game statistics during his career at Ole Miss, commonly against SEC defenses. In the NFL, he needs to go to an offense that will give him the freedom to air the ball out while still taking the load off his shoulders at times through the run.
Denver provides both those things and should heavily consider drafting Corral if they lose out on the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes. Corral would join a young offensive unit already featuring Noah Fant, Javonte Williams, and Jerry Jeudy, all under 25 years old.
Sam Howell: New Orleans Saints
After the retirement of Drew Brees a year ago, New Orleans is still searching for a franchise quarterback. While Jameis Winston has shown flashes and is serviceable, it is clear he is not the team’s long-term option.
With that being said, Howell could benefit from a year on the sideline as he continues to develop, as the North Carolina product has shown flashes of greatness through his accuracy and arm strength but has also had his fair share of hiccups. New Orleans has a roster ready to win now, as they feature an elite defense, Alvin Kamara, and former all-pro wideout Michael Thomas.
If Sam Howell can live up to his potential in New Orleans, this team will be in title contention for years to come.
Kenny Pickett: Pittsburgh Steelers
In this situation, the former Panther gets to remain in his college city, joining a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has made the playoffs the past two seasons. Pickett would join a young offense featuring rookie sensation Najee Harris, receiver Diontae Johnson, and tight end Pat Friermuth.
The Steelers have built a winning culture under Mike Tomlin and have not gone under 8-8 since he arrived in 2006. If Pickett were to join the black and yellow, I would not expect anything to change.