We continue our pre-draft positional preview with quarterbacks, who are often an afterthought in traditional dynasty rookie drafts. In 1-QB leagues, even in a good quarterback draft, I don’t even think about them until the second round. Superflex leagues are becoming more and more popular to increase the value of the position relative to the other skill positions with more starting slots, and I have to say I really enjoy the format and the added dynamic it brings to rookie drafts. In a normal year, quarterbacks in that format could end up comprising the first several picks because of the longevity they hold.

To me, this is the worst quarterback class since 2014 when Blake Bortles went third overall to the Jaguars. I recently overheard MMQB’s Albert Breer tell a Boston radio show that if Davis Mills had stayed in school another year, he very well could have been the number one overall pick this year. The implication there is that 6 quarterbacks in last years draft were better than any from this year’s class in the eyes of NFL scouts, a sentiment which seems to hold merit when reading informed mock drafts in recent weeks. The blue-chip talent in this class is on the offensive and defensive lines. If Carolina doesn’t take a QB at 6, the top signal caller might not go until the Steelers at 20. Still, there are sure to be some serviceable players that come out of this group that will be values in rookie drafts, especially in Superflex leagues. 



2022 NFL Draft Top Dynasty League Rookie Quarterbacks



(DOB 5/25/1999, Age 22) 

In terms of upside, there is not much debate that Willis has the most to offer among this year’s signal callers. As a true freshman and sophomore at Auburn in 2017-2018, he attempted only 14 passes while serving as backup to Jarret Stidham, who despite his struggles at the pro level was a solid SEC quarterback. Willis was however used as a situational rushing threat, gaining 309 yards and 2 scores on just 28 carries (11.0 YPC), foreshadowing his future production in that department. He then made the decision to transfer to Liberty, but was forced to sit out 2019 before the new transfer rules kicked in. That patience was rewarded by his play as Liberty’s starter the last two seasons, where he accrued a combined 5,107 yards (8.5 YPA) and a 47:18 touchdown to interception ratio while completing 62% of his passes. His production on the ground was perhaps even more impressive, adding 1,822 yards and 27 touchdowns on 338 carries.

Willis has immense athleticism that enables him to not only be prolific as a rusher but also as an escape artist in the pocket, which he is able to leverage further with his ability to make off platform throws. Many of his highlights reel plays are just that: him breaking the pocket and finding a man downfield. There is no question he is somewhat raw mechanically and needs to develop, but all the physical tools are there. You shouldn’t need me to tell you how much his production on the ground means for his fantasy football potential. All his production does need to be scrutinized given his limited competition at Liberty, but it seems that expectations for him are reasonable as a project pick who will probably sit and learn for a bit. I feel for those of you sitting at 1.01 in Superflex leagues needing a quarterback. Normally that is a slam dunk pick to take a quarterback, but even Willis feels like a serious dice roll there.


(DOB 9/16/2000, Age 21)

Howell is by far the youngest signal caller in this year’s group, which is a huge feather in his cap as someone who also has three years of starting experience in a Power 5 conference. After being talked of as a future top pick this time last year coming off a sophomore year where he led one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, he has seemingly fallen out of favor with the draft community. It’s hard to tell why looking at the stat sheet considering Howell had strikingly consistent numbers every year as a Tar Heel. In total, his three seasons resulted in 10,283 yards (64% completion and a stellar 9.2 YPA) with an elite 92:23 touchdown to interception ratio. It’s also worth noting that in 2021 he doubled his previous season high in carries with 183, gaining 828 yards and 11 touchdowns (granted, North Carolina’s offensive line was awful and probably cause for some of those scrambles). 

Howell throws a beautiful deep ball that he perfected in that magical sophomore season when he averaged over 11 yards per attempt while regularly connecting with Dyami Brown, a 2021 third round pick who in hindsight may have benefitted more from playing with Howell than the other way around. That deep ball skill and willingness to push the ball down the field should translate well to the NFL. Howell is slightly undersized for a player you envision mainly operating out of an NFL pocket, but it shouldn’t be an issue given his track record of high-level production in a major conference. I don’t think he's being talked enough as the potential top quarterback in this class when the dust settles. It looks like he will end up going late in the first round, but there is a chance he slips to Day 2. I think he is going to be a value in rookie drafts either way.



(DOB 6/6/1998, Age 23)

Whereas Willis represents raw upside that one can see blossoming into a potentially dynamic player with proper development, Pickett is perhaps the most NFL ready quarterback but with a limited long-term ceiling. After starting his sophomore through “senior” seasons in 2018-2020, Pickett took advantage of the NCAA granting all 2020 fall athletes an extra year of eligibility to return as the Panther’s starter for the fourth year in a row. It turned out to be an incredibly fruitful decision on his part as he set highs in all statistical categories this past season: 4,319 yards on 497 attempts (8.7 YPA, 67% completion) with 42 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. While his per carry average was abysmal, Pickett did also have 416 career rushes for 810 yards and 20 touchdowns.

As prolific as his final season was, his pedestrian production in his first three seasons as starter (never more than 13 touchdowns or 3,100 yards despite heavy passing volume) is a red flag in terms of his upside. Clearly, the extra year in school allowed him to develop as a passer, which is why many think he is the most viable rookie to come in and start for a team right away. This may be true, but it’s not hard to envision the team who takes Pickett finding themselves in the same predicament many franchises have faced in recent years when deciding whether or not to pick up the 5th year option on middling quarterbacks such as Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. For dynasty, I would keep this in mind and view him as an asset to pump up and eventually sell after milking a few years of production. His projected top half of the first round NFL draft capital will give his value some insulation. 



(DOB 1/31/1999, Age 23)

Corral was the biggest beneficiary of offensive guru Lane Kiffin landing in Oxford, seeing his efficiency and overall production skyrocket the last two seasons compared to uneven first year as starter in 2019. His sophomore year in particular was impressive when he put up 3,337 yards and a 29:14 TD to INT ratio while averaging 10.2 YPA with a 71% completion percentage. Like Howell, that 2020 production gave him some Heisman hype coming into this year that ultimately went unfulfilled in an up and down year, but his efficiency was still solid with 68% completion, 8.7 YPA and 20 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. He also provided solid rushing output over those two seasons with 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns combined on the ground.

Despite the stellar YPA and completion percentages, the knock on Corral has been consistency as he had some truly awful stretches that offset his high end performances. It’s fair to wonder if Kiffin’s system, which no doubt helped prepare him to play in a professional offense, may have inflated his numbers by putting him in such a good position to succeed. While he is perfectly willing to push the ball down the field, his arm strength and deep ball do not stand out in the way Howell’s do. I would not doubt take Howell, but Corral is in a similar draft capital boat where he could go anywhere from late first round to early Day 2. His dynasty value will heavily hinge on where that capital ends up falling. 




(DOB 8/31/1999, Age 22)

Ridder has a very similar college career arch to Pickett as a four-year starter who found another level in his last season. Granted, Pickett’s final year production was more prolific statistically, but Ridder’s efforts led to more wins for his team. Under Ridder’s leadership this past season, the Bearcats became the first non-Power 5 school to qualify for the College Football Playoff while the quarterback put up 3,334 yards (8.6 YPA, 65% completion) with 30:8 touchdowns to interceptions. For his career, he put up a strong 87 touchdowns to 28 interceptions on 7.9 yards per attempt. He added well above average production on the ground throughout his career, totaling 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns on 501 carries.

A lot of film-based scouts I respect believe Ridder is a vastly underrated prospect that deserves consideration as a top signal caller in this class. As one of the few quarterbacks who ran at the NFL Combine, he confirmed his athletic ability with a 4.49 40 and 36” vertical. He has a strong pocket presence and that athleticism gives him an ability to move around the pocket when he needs to. Ridder does not have elite arm strength, but he showed a consistent ability to make the right read and limit mistakes while still taking chances down the field. There is a chance he sneaks into the first round, but he is likely a second round pick in both the NFL and Superflex rookie drafts. 



(DOB 9/14/1999, Age 22)

Strong has a solid track record of production at Nevada, totaling 9,368 yards and a 74:19 touchdown to interception ratio while completing 68% of his passes. His efficiency the past two seasons has been particularly noteworthy with a combined 70% completion percentage 8.1 YPA, granted against lesser competition at Nevada. Strong does not have much rushing production to speak of as his game contains a serious lack of mobility that hasn’t been helped by a history of knee injuries. What he does have is a huge arm that some team is sure to fall in love with. I just don’t see him as a long-term asset as a statue-esque pocket quarterback in today’s NFL. He’ll likely be a late Day 2 pick who will get a chance at some point but ultimately will have an uphill battle to become an NFL starter.


EJ Perry, Brown, (6’1”, 211 lbs., 1/1/1998, Age 24)

Perry is my favorite late round sleeper at the position this year as someone who should come at little to no cost in dynasty rookie drafts but has a dual threat skill set that may give him pockets of productivity in the NFL if he lands in the right system. Perry transferred from Boston College to Brown, where he lit up the Ivy League for the past two seasons (2019 and 2021, the Ivies did not play in 2020). Perry is a much older prospect than others in this group as a result. Perry turned 252 carries into 1,129 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground over those two years while putting up a 45 to 17 touchdown to interception ratio through the air. His chances of being a dynasty asset are ultimately slim as he will likely go in the 4th round or later in the NFL draft, but if you are looking for a late round QB dart throw this would be my guy.


Keep on the Radar

  • Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan
  • Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky
  • Jack Coan, Notre Dame
  • Brock Purdy, Iowa State

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