2022 Rookie Draft Reference Guide: The QBs
John Cooney - 4/24/2022

QUARTERBACKS 2022: ROLL THE DICE!

 

It has been a while since the NFL has had such an unsettled class of QBs in a draft. The 2022 class is unsettled for sure. There is clearly arm talent in this year’s offering, but most are in need of seasoning and refining. Some say no QB here is worth a 1st round roll of the dice, but this is a league always looking for QBs. With beauty being in the eye of the beholder in play this year, there are sure to be a QB or 3 selected early that will get folks talking. There is a QB that has received modest hype at most, who may actually end up being the best of this lot in a couple of years. But, overall… ROLL THE DICE!

 

THE BLUE CHIPPER

 

Not this year!

 

THE ‘PASTEL’ BLUE CHIPPERS

 

Sam Howell, North Carolina

Sam Howell is my favorite QB of this 2022 draft. Howell took part at the Combine, measured 6’1-218 with a 9 1/8 hand. He is an extremely confident QB who is very comfortable in who he is and how he plays. The North Carolina field general owns a stocky build but trimmed down for Combine action. Howell brings a gunslinger mentality and style but with a controlled method. He is a fearless but poised competitor who will let it rip yet protects the football. He leaves North Carolina after 3 years with 92 TD passes and just 23 INTs in 1117 attempts. 2021 seemed to be a statistical drop in performance for Howell, completing just 62% of his passes for 3056 yards (8.8 YPA), 24 TDs and 9 INTs. The year prior the Tar Heel QB fired 30 TDs at a gutsy 11.1 YPA and hit on 68% of his tosses. Game tape shows a different story however as Howell and the offense adjusted after losing 4 very key players to the NFL. Big picture, Howell actually had more offensive yards generated than the previous campaign, gaining 3884 total yards (3056 passing and 828 rushing), and matching his 35 total TDs of a year ago, rushing for 11 scores to go with his 24 scoring passes. Howell closed his final season at North Carolina with 5 games of 100+ rushing yards and 2 more contests with 98 ground yards. He is not a swift, game-breaking runner but Howell is agile and athletic enough to navigate his way through the 2nd-level of a defense. AS a passer Howell shows an above average arm and is skillful in delivering the ball at multiple angles and off-schedule. He is accurate but needs work on timing and ball placement. To be fair he was a victim of an abundance of drops by his receivers. He works from shotgun mostly, sees the field well and will go deep in his progressions, a pro plus. A habit that the QB will be challenged to break as an NFL passer is throwing while fading back, often releasing off his back foot, a Brett Favre-like motion. Better platforming would result in better accuracy, more velocity and less arm-throws and more leg drive through the ball. Sam Howell is not the prototypical pro QB prospect, a bit shorter than the ideal, a little stocky and a tad unorthodox in his throwing platform, but he owns quality traits, poise, leadership, arm-talent, moxy and creativity that all fit well into today’s NFL offenses. Howell is more ready to play pro football more than most of the QBs in the 2022 draft.

PROJECTION:

Sam Howell has a lot of Ryan Fitzpatrick in his play. He isn’t the biggest but he is durable, strong and athletic enough. Howell is a huddle boss who commands and calms an offense, playing with poise but at the same time adding dash and daring when needed. The Tar Hell QB already understands reading defenses and scanning through progressions and has the arm strength and skill to get the ball to the target with zip and accuracy. He showed last season that he can get out of the pocket and make things happen while still protecting the football. Sam Howell has that ‘IT’ factor to be an NFL starter in a hurry, given the right place and right time.

 

Malik Willis, Liberty

There is no QB in the 2022 draft more physically gifted than Liberty’s Malik Willis. Willis is ruggedly built, strong, athletic, possesses a powerful arm and is mobile as heck. His Combine measure show 6’ ½-219 with 9 ½" hands. Though he has proven to be a dangerous and willing runner out of the pocket, Willis did not perform the 40-dash or agility drills at the Combine, opting to let his passing do the talking. His Combine passing spoke loud and clear, as does much of his 2021 game tape. Willis completed an underwhelming 61% of his 399 throws, going through frustrating spurts of forced throws, poor decisions, and inaccuracy. However, the manner in which he attacks a defense as a passer and runner is what sets him apart from most of the 2022 QB class. Willis is a power-passer who seeks targets beyond the sticks. His passes jet off his hand with tight spiral and juice yet he shows capable of moderating his passes as needed, short to long. Willis tends to evacuate the pocket prematurely, having utmost confidence to pick up chunky gains with his RB-like skills.He can make every NFL throw with authority with a clean pocket, and use the entire field, horizontally and vertically; he is superb in the vertical attack. An area that Willis must work on is his passing under pressure. When plays break down against good quality defenses Willis is often baffled and unable to find his safety outlets. Bottled up behind the line of scrimmage, Willis loads up his power-packed arm and fires rockets at covered targets. He’s thrown some horrible INTs, even during his breakout 2021 season. Learning to trust his progressions and remaining ready to throw before taking off upfield is vital. Malik Willis has a lot to learn before transitioning into a star pro QB, but his high character and coachability will absorb NFL coaching and rapidly have this very impressive prospect playing his best ball yet.

PROJECTION:

Other than being just over 6’, Malik Willis owns star-quality tools to crush it as a pro. His physical abilities alone qualify as 1st round material. Add in his outstanding character and his drive to learn, succeed and some NFL squad is going to have a dangerous weapon at the most important position in the game, QB. However, Malik Willis is not ready to start as a rookie. He can make plays off schedule and create, but he needs time to expand his reads, find added measures of patience in the pocket and clean up some of his mechanics. All of this will surely happen, but it will not happen overnight. Malik Willis is about a year away from being ready to start with confidence and should hear his name called in round 1 of this draft.

 

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Kenny Pickett checks a majority of the required boxes as a potential starting QB in the NFL. However, some of those unchecked boxes are telling as well. Pickett has perfect size at 6’3-217, spins a pretty fair ball at above average velocity and is effectively mobile. He’s appeared in 52 games for the Pitt Panthers, though he enjoyed just 1 noteworthy year of production (last year). The Pittsburgh star passer had a big breakout senior year, completing 67.2% of his 497 throws for 4319 yards, a sharp 8.7 YPA, 42 TDs and just 7 INTs.He gained just 1.9 yards per rush out of the pocket, but that is not indicative of his athleticism. Pickett crashed the goal line for 20 college career rushing TDs, 13 in the last 2 seasons. He uses the full field and last season improved his accuracy and anticipation of receivers breaking open. This is an experienced, mature, well-coached and talented QB. Now for those unchecked boxes. While he is quite experienced Pickett still tends to get a bit jumpy in the pocket with pressure. He is protective of the football and will take sacks holding the ball too long. Pickett still lapses into locking in on his intended target, staring the receiver down and telegraphing his intentions to DBs. His release could use a bit more urgency and efficiency as some tosses arrive a tad late and/or behind targets. Pickett is not an accurate deep ball QB and needs work with trajectory perspective, dropping the ball over defenders.Hand size? Yes, Pickett’s hands are smaller than desired, and he will have some weather related struggles in the NFL. Pickett did playhis college ball at Pitt where weather factors in some contests. He dons a pair of gloves for a more secure grip and has made that work well for him. Rarely do you see Pickett patting the ball for regripping, but also you rarely see the Panther QB pump-fake DBs off the ball, most likely due to some insecurity with the grip. The positives do outweigh the negatives here; Kenny Pickett is among the top QBs of this draft.

PROJECTION:

It would seem people in the business of covering and/or evaluating college prospects are efforting mightily to find flaws in Kenny Pickett. Hands size is the most repeated ‘concern’ tagged onto Pickett’s scouting report. He’s also been hit with being a "one year wonder", having had just one season of elite play and production. Joe Burrow was a one-hit wonder just a couple of years ago and he’s done quite well thus far. Now, Pickett is no Joe Burrow, but he is a talented passer with starter quality tools and should be a steady, productive pro going forward. Pickett is a ‘safe’ QB prospect and is borderline-worthy of being called in the first round of the 2022 draft. IF a team is looking for the next QB with BIG upside in a year or 2, Kenny Pickett is not THAT guy. Translation? Safe, steady, capable.

 

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

The picture of what a winner looks like should include Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder. Ridder leaves Cincy U with an incredible college career record of 44-6. He led the Bearcats to a 13-1 record last season and a 4th overall national ranking, losing only to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. Ridder’s 2021 campaign was outstanding and his best over 4 years at Cincinnati; 3334 yards passing, 8.6 YPA, 30 TDs to just 8 INTs. Ridder is a big (6’3-211) but agile QB with a zippy arm and active legs. One of the few QBs who challenged the 40-dash at the Combine, Ridder posted a swift 4.52 mark, while hitting the vertical at 36" and a strong 10’7" broad jump. That speed and agility shows up on game tape. In his 4 years at Cincy U Ridder ran for over 2100 yards and scored 28 TDs rushing. As a passer Ridderhas the arm to make all the pro throws but he does struggle with accuracy and depth perspective throwing outside-right. Ridder just does not ‘see’ that angle with clarity. Most other areas of the field we see the ball come off his hand with authority, using a high ¾ release. There is a slight hitch in the mechanics but that rarely hinders his ability to get the ball out on time. Desmond Ridder is not the most polished QB but he is certainly the most accomplished winner in the 2022 gang of passers.

PROJECTION:

Desmond Ridder is the definition of ‘winner’. He is a field leader who gets the job done with or without style points. Ridder’s size, arm skills and athleticism fit well in the ‘move’ offenses of today’s NFL. He needs spit and polish as a passer but brings with him qualities and abilities pro coaches look for today. He’d do well in an RPO, play-action offense. Most years Ridder would be considered a day 2 prospect as there are blemishes in his passing game that need cleaning up. However, the current NFL environment is QB-needy and this QB class is rather shallow in top-shelf talent, leading to Ridder likely being selected in round 1. Best scenario is for Ridder to red-shirt his rookie season and learn the pro game from the sidelines. His biggest flaw, throwing at the sidelines to his right, effectively limits his range of targets to half the field (middle and to his left) and defenses will take full advantage of that. Vince Young of past Titans fame had the very same issue. Desmond Ridder has what it takes to start in the NFL… but not in year one!

 

Matt Corral, Mississippi

Matt Corral is arguably the best natural QB in this class and deserves to be counted among the top-5. Last year at Ole Miss Corral connected on 67.9% of his passes for 3349 yards, 20 TDs and a stingy 5 INTs. Like many of the QBs in the game today, Corral has good wheels and is able to not only navigate the pocket but get out and gain yards in a hurry He proved willing and able as a runner, taking off 152 times, gaining 614 ground yards and notching 11 TDs rushing. Against Tennessee Corral bolted the pocket 30 times, rushing for 195 yards. Corral plays fearlessly and aggressively, with an infectious attitude teammates want to follow.The Rebel QB appears thinly constructed though he did weigh in at the Combine at 212, and 6’2". Slings a tight ball from a 3/4 release with lots of juice on it. Corral has no trouble going downfield but needs to trust his receivers speed to get under the ball rather than wait for the play to clear. He does work progressions adequately but could be expand his field of vision for a wider assortment of target options. Corral is urgent in motion, drop-backs and footwork. Strong leg drive and shoulder whip propels a lively ball accurately and on time. While Corral is a nifty runner he is often late getting out of harm’s way, protecting the football and taking more sacks than need be. When he does bolt the pocket Corral gets all he can and challenges tacklers, which opens him up to potential injury. However, he also will hit the turf and slide to safety to play another down. Suffered a high ankle sprain in his final game at Mississippi, the Sugar Bowl vs Baylor and skipped all drills, including passing, at the Combine. Matt Corral is an exciting RPO QB waiting to happen. He is clearly a first round quality prospect in 2022 who could hold his own as a starter if force in as a rookie.

PROJECTION:

Pro personnel folks wish Matt Corral was a bit stouter in build, and he could add a few more quality pounds as he goes about his NFL career, but Corral has been quite healthy throughout his years at Mississippi. Corral should thrive with a creative OC calling the shots and developing a playbook that enhances the Ole Miss QB’s multiple talents. He requires a solid O-line as well, one that can keep him clean in the pocket. Corral’s game is aggressive, and he will make plays from the pocket and on the run. The more game tape one watches of Corral, the more his outstanding skill set shows up. This young man is a terrific QB and the best overall of all the 2022 QB prospects. He will start and produce as a pro, able to make some things happen year 1. Matt Corral comps quite similarly with the Jets Zach Wilson, and that’s a good thing.

UPDATE: It has recently been reported that teams are questioning Matt Corral’s off-field character. Given the Deshaun Watson on-going sage and the Baker Mayfield questions, NFL draft bosses are sure to be more cautious regarding a QB’s character. Corral suffers a drop in ranking for sure.

 

UPSIDE PROJECTS

 

Carson Strong, Nevada

Carson Strong (6’3-226) is a classic pocket passer, a throwback for sure. He stands tall in the pocket and attacks a defense through the air with a gunslinger attitude. Watch his game tape and there is no doubting Strong owns pro level arm talent and the aptitude to thrive as an NFL starting passer. However, the health concern regarding his knee cannot be ignored. After the 2020 season the Nevada tam captain had surgery to clean up cartilage in the same knee he had treatments on in high school. Strong also had the knee drained multiple times after that. Despite the troublesome knee Strong played 12 games in 2021, his red-shirt junior year at Nevada. Strong hit on 70.1% of his 522 throws, matching his completion mark a season prior (70.1% in 2020). Strong was both accurate and aggressive, gaining 4175 yards at 8.0 YPA, firing 36 TDs against just 8 picks. He is able to navigate the pocket with smart slides to safer throwing zones but will never be able to avoid the speed of NFL rushers. He can throw with zip sliding away from pressure. Strong’s arm talent is fully loaded, with plenty of power but the skill to adjust smartly to touch throws. Throws from a high ¾ point and the ball comes off is hand with fire. He is accurate and though ball location is not quite spot-on. Strong has supreme confidence in his arm and that does tend to play against him. He will force throws into coverage at times, and he holds onto the ball too long too often. Strong will lock onto his target and tip off DBs, yet fire into that dangerously closing window anyway. Waiting to rip it also leads to some balls arriving late and/or behind crossing receivers. There are questions about his ability or ‘want’ to go through progressions or read defenses prior to the snap. There is no question about his throwing ability.

PROJECTION:

Carson Strong has the arm and build of a first-round prospect, but the mobility and knee of an undrafted priority free agent. He is an immobile target for the heat-seeking pass rushers of the NFL. Can’t deny Strong’s passing chops but even there he has flaws; reading defenses, patience for progressions, holding the ball too long, ball placement. Here’s one set of stats that are draft day killers… over 4 years at Nevada Strong rushed 139 times and LOST 305 yards. He is quite rare in that he will leave the Wolfpack never having rushed for even 1 TD. Today’s pro QBs require the ability to move and Carson Strong just cannot move to meet the NFL minimum.

 

Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky

Let’s get this out on the table right away; Bailey Zappe had a season for the ages. Did anyone notice? Here’s the numbers for 2021; 14 games, 686 passes, 475 completions (69.2%), 5967 yards, 62 TDs and 11 INTs. Zappe is a smaller QB, with Combine measures showing him to be 6’ ½ -215. He opted to run the 40 (4.88)and hit a 30" vertical and 9’1" broad jump. Zappe played 4 years at Houston Baptist University in FCS action then transferred to Western Kentucky for his breakout last college performance. The stocky QB plays with poise and looks to be in command on the field but he is clearly a ‘system’ QB. He can diagnose a defense in pre-snap. He moves through a pocket effectively to get to clean passing lanes but also will plant, become stationary and get flat-footed before throwing. His release is compact but a bit too low for NFL standards and given his size. Zappeis not a great runner of the football. Zappe has average arm strength from the pocket but velocity and accuracy wane on the move. He will quickly use the full field in progression reading but cuts the field in half once he gets off the first look.Zappe sees passing windows and angles clearly and is accurate within his somewhat limited range. His ball starts to float on deeper launches and Zappe’s trajectory downfield is flat due to his average passing power. Improving mechanics should add more gas to the pass. Bailey Zappe is a smaller QB with average abilities who fit into a passing system that happened to mesh perfectly. Last season he racked up college passing numbers that are truly monumental but his QB toolbox may not translate to anything more than a NFL backup.

PROJECTION:

Bailey Zappe landed in the right place at the right time versus the right defenses in 2021. His spectacular production does not match the QB package that Zappe owns. He is a smaller QB, a limited thrower with somewhat lazy mechanics and average mobility. Zappe looks like a late-round roll of the dice or a post draft priority signing.

 

WILD CARD!

Dustin Crum, Kent State

Dustin Crum is an underdog in mind and on the field. However, the underdog performed well enough and displayed traits that caught pro scouts’ eyes that he got an invite to the 2022 NFL Combine. Underdog did not disappoint but we wouldn’t know it as Crum has received little to no hype thus far. The tape measure and scale results show Crum to be 6’1-210. He added a few quality pounds prior to the pre-draft event. Dustin Crum is an underrated athlete with desirable rushing chops. He ran a 4.75-forty dash at the Combine, leaping 32.5 vertical and 10’ broad jump. However, it was during pass drills that Dustin Crum made his mark and quietly drew the attention of pro onlookers. Crum displayed great improvement in his throwing mechanics and generated far great thrust in his passes than he showed in game tape. He was confident, zippy and accurate in short-to-mid range throws and darn impressive going deep, hitting streaking wideouts on target and in stride. The distance and arching trajectory were quite noticeable compared to live action at Kent State. Speaking of Kent State action, in his final season there Crum produced 3206 passing yards at 8.4 YPA, completed 64% of his throws with 20 TDs and just 6 picks. Crum’s athleticism was on full display, rushing 161 times for 703 yards (4.4 YPC) and 12 TDs. 2020 was a missed opportunity to get on the national map as Crum and his Kent State offense were on fire. The season was canceled after 4 games and Crum was on pace to deliver the following, based on a 13-game slate: 367 passes, 73.5% completion rate, 10.5 YPA, 39 TD tosses and 6 INTs. His ground pace pointed to 786 rushing yards and 13 scores. Dustin Crum’s throwing motion is a tad mechanical, with an over-the-top release point. He needed to inject more urgency in his motion and that urgency showed up at the Combine. The ball travels with above average zip but Crum is not a power thrower. He is accurate, uses the field and handles progressions well. The Golden Flash QB is calm in the pocket and moves smartly to avoid the rush, though he tends to carry the ball low when on the move behind the line. Once breaking the line Crum becomes a true runner, ruggedly breaking tackles and changing directions for extra yards. He is a tough, effective but methodical runner. Dustin Crum’s Combine performance surely forces pro personnel people to take another look at this game tape and it is well-deserved.

PROJECTION:

Some in this draft biz view Kent State QB Dustin Crum as undraftable or say he is not an NFL worthy talent. Crum’s agent, Joe Linta, strongly disagrees and Joe should know, being a longtime football man and agent who handles Joe Flacco and many others. Kent State’s Pro Day drew a number of teams taking in the works of Crum, including the Lions, Chiefs, Packers, Browns, Jets, Giants and Chargers. IS Dustin Crum a starting pro QB? The honest answer is ‘no’, but he is an NFL-level QB who can spot start and provide a high-quality option off the bench.

 

THE BEST OF THE REST

 

Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana

Cole Kelley is a long, tall drink of QB water, standing strong at 6’7"-249. After spending 2 years as a backup at Arkansas Kelley transferred to SE Louisiana and was featured in the redzone, throwing 10 TDs and tallying 10 more rushing. He took control of the offense the next season (2020) then exploded bigtime last season. Everything about Kelley is big, including his 2021 performance for SE Louisiana. Kelley was sniper-sharp on his 552 shots, hitting his targets at a 73.6% clip. Those passes went for 5124 yards (9.3 YPA), 44 TDs and just 10 INTs. Kelley’s length did not hinder his mobility, proving to be not only a towering presence but a well-coordinated one, rushing for 491 yards and 16 scores. He is mechanically sound with a solid platform, surprisingly crisp footwork for a tall QB, a whippy high ¾ delivery that is as efficient as he could be given his arm length and spins a good ball with velocity. He is not the quickest through progressions and seems to be stuck after his first read. Anticipation needs work as Kelley prefers to see his receivers open, reluctant to throw them open. Now, despite his razor-sharp 73% completion rate, Kelley is mostly hand grenade accurate; he hit the general area where his targets are. The rangy QB was tasked with an abundance of called QB runs, which Kelley enthusiastically executed well, running with some nifty change of direction and/or powering through/over tacklers. He is not easy to bring down thanks to his massive size. Kelley performed well at the Combine, well-enough to draw new interest around the league. QB prospect with his dimensions have never panned out in the past, but Cole Kelley has much more coordination and natural athletic skills to change that fact. He is worth a late round look by an NFL squad.

PROJECTION:

Cole Kelley may be just hitting his stride as a productive QB, one who can make it as a pro. Playing against FCS defenses Kelley needed to dominate to be considered as a prospect and he did exactly that. His biggest hurdle comes in reading defenses and going through progressions then coming to a good passing decision. NFL coaches have been dipping into the play designs of the college ranks and there may be a pro club that likes how Kelley was utilized in the redzone and install a similar package with the tall, rangy QB in mind. Cole Kelley is hard to miss out there on the field and he has a real chance to be noticed in the NFL soon.

 

Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan

Kaleb Eleby is a redshirt junior heading to the 2022 NFL draft. Eleby received a Combine invite, so NFL scouts liked what theyu saw in live action. The Western Michigan athlete is a very underrated, well-prepared QB prospect, extremely coachable with a terrific work ethic. He ran an RPO-based offense at Western Michigan but the playbook delved into many offensive schemes. In a head-to-head matchup Eleby outdueled top ranked Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, 44-41, early in the 2021 season. He works mostly from shotgun, shows excellent ball skills, an urgent drop back with proper ball carriage, high and ready to throw. Eleby’s footwork is quick, smart with strong throwing platform. He seems to be able to go through some progressions, but more work is needed. His release is rapid, compact at ¾ delivery. Eleby is accurate with receiver-friendly ball placement and zippy velocity. He can make all the throws with true focus of avoiding the INT. The ball arrives timely and accurate, especially downfield. Nice anticipation, showing the ability to throw receivers open. Eleby is not a rushing QB, gaining just 64 yards on 87 trots, but ignore his rushing numbers at Western Michigan as it was more a product of the way the QB operates in that offense. Eleby can escape and gain yards with his legs if called on but prefers to throw before forced to take off. His pocket awareness needs seasoning. Kaleb Eleby is a more complete QB than one might expect and any weak points to his game other than iffy height is coachable, and this is a coachable young man. Definite pro qualities and tools here. He completed 230 of 362 passes (63.5%), 3277 yards (9.1 YPA), 23TDs and just 6 INTs.

PROJECTION:

Kaleb Eleby is not likely to be drafted, lacking ideal size and playing at Western Michigan, but he will land on a pro squad immediately post draft. His early pro career may be that of a practice squad/scout team QB. From there it is luck of right place and right time.

 

Eric Barriere, Eastern Washington

Eric Barriere is a power-armed passer who wrecked FCS defenses in 2021 for 5070 yards and 46 TDs. The 2021 Walter Payton Award winner (FCS Heisman) may be another surprise QB prospect out of the FCS that hears his name called on draft day. The Eastern Washington QB may bring a big arm to the battle, but ‘big’ is not how he measured during Pro Day workout. Listed at 6’1-210 in his college profile, the truth of the tape revealed Barriere to actually be just 5’11-206. He ran a solid 4.77-forty and popped the vertical at 38". Game tape showed Barriere setting up his passing platform quickly and steady in the pocket. He does tend to vacate the pocket prematurely at times but when pressure breaks through Barriere easily steps up or out to buy more time. He scans his progressions fully and remains ready to throw even on the move. Barriere throws with an extremely compact, rapid release. He comes over the top and uncannily create great velocity with a flick of the wrist. For us old-timers, Barriere’s throwing motion is very much Dan Marino-like. Game film shows Barriere hitting 60+ yard bombs on more than one occasion and he gets it there with the same short, compact motion. Accuracy downfield is sharp but he will need to sharpen his shorter range tosses, and find better ball placement for his receivers to prosper after the catch. Barriere is mobile when he needs to beand gained over 1500 rushing yards in 4 years at Eastern Washington, including 21 ground scores. In his first 2 years Barriere had long runs of 85 and 92 yards. He has been a TD-making machine in college, amassing 141 total (pass + run) TDs, including 50 in 2021. His biggest single performance came last season against Idaho when Barriere blasted 600-yards passing, hit 7 TD passes and notched another rushing. A few weeks later Barriere broke over 500-yards in 2 consecutive contests and tossing a combined 10 TD passes. Barriere’s final game with the Eagles ended in a 57-41 FCS 2nd-round championship loss to Montana, exploding for 530 yards and 5 TDs. Eric Barriere has big challenges to make it in the NFL, but he’s got big talents that are getting noticed.

PROJECTION:

Eric Barriere attended not 1 but 2 Pro Day events. He performed on his home field at Eastern Washington and just recently showed his wares again at USC. Teams at the EW Pro Day were Seattle, Miami, Carolina, San Francisco and Denver. All 32 pro franchises were present at the USC event. Height is sure to be an issue, standing just 5’11. But Barriere’s big arm, athleticism, spectacular numbers and game tape to back it all up should help to land this offensive dynamo a spot in an NFL organization this year. He may not get a call on draft day (he just might though) but he is sure to get one immediately after. Barriere has Russell Wilson dimensions and deep ball chops to go with the quirky Dan Marino release. He looks like a 2022 practice squad stash for a pro club and will need to be in the right environment to get a true shot at game day rostering.

 

Jack Coan, Notre Dame

Jack Coan enjoyed his one and only year at Notre Dame, turned loose after 3+ years at Wisconsin.Coan showed incremental improvement seemingly every week last season, culminating in a grand finale of 509 passing yards and 5 TDs against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. He finished his final year with 25 TD tosses, 3150 yards, just 7 INTs and completing at least 71% of his passes 6 of the final 8 games. Those accomplishments earned Coanan invite to the 2022 Combine where he measured in at 6’3-218. There, Coan ran a 4.90-forty, hit a 33" vertical and threw well in drills. He has a strong arm, limited mobility and sketchy ball placement. Coan is a classic pocket QB who thrives attacking between the numbers but struggles with accuracy going to the sidelines. He can drive the ball downfield but needs to sharpen his timing and awareness, at times failing to recognize DBs closing in on the route. Jack Coan is an old school drop back kind of QB which doesn’t fit the trend many NFL squads seek these days. He does possess enough physical assets (size, arm, passing smarts) to become a valued backup QB as a pro.

PROJECTION:

Jack Coan looks the part of a starting NFL QB… 6-7 years ago. Pro QBs today are about speed, mobility AND passing chops. Coan might find work around the league as a relief passer and spot starter. First he needs to make a team and his chances of being drafted are 50-50 at best.

 

End.

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