2022 NFL Draft Quarterbacks Temperature Check: Senior Bowl

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The top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft have now completed their journey to Mobile. With the Senior Bowl over, they now turn their eye to the NFL Scouting Combine. Before diving into that, however, let’s see where the class stands. Six of the top seven quarterbacks played in the Senior Bowl. We’ll check in with what their temperature is as a prospect before moving onto the next stage of the NFL Draft process.

Senior Bowl Practice Star Malik Willis
Photo by Jeff Hanson

Malik Willis, Liberty

Of all the 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks, Malik Willis probably had the most to gain or lose at the Senior Bowl. As was the case during most of his college career, Willis was somewhat inconsistent during his time in Mobile. But his flashes were so explosive that it got some people (perhaps too) excited.

Willis undeniably possesses the best physical gifts in this draft class in terms of his athletic/running ability and arm talent. He also looked the most energetic and engaged with his teammates during practices, especially during the torrential downpour on Wednesday. 

But Willis also has a long developmental road ahead of him with regards to his lower body mechanics, accuracy, and mental processing. He put all these facets of his game on display during the Senior Bowl process. Willis frequently made electric plays with his feet, along with some truly unique throws. But he also missed several easy passes due to his poor footwork.

Nevertheless, Willis probably flashed enough during the week to convince several teams they can fix him and turn him into the next Mahomes or Allen. Because of his elite traits, many are going to be willing to bet on him as the best quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Temperature Check: Hot, slowly approaching Fever

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Kenny Pickett arrived in Mobile with arguably his biggest flaw at the forefront of the discourse: his hand size. Pickett did not measure his hands due to his thumbs being double-jointed, leading to a misleading number. Nevertheless, the rumor is that his hands are only 8 ¼” across, the smallest for any quarterback in the modern era. However, Pickett apparently soared above the other 2022 NFL draft quarterbacks in Mobile, as he was the clear winner during the interview process with NFL teams. 

On the field, Pickett performed like most of the other quarterbacks: inconsistent. He had some nice throws on the first day but also struggled to receive snaps (albeit from unfamiliar centers who were new to the position). On the second day, Pickett donned a glove on his throwing hand to deal with the pouring rain. However, he looked even worse this day, as he struggled to drive the ball with velocity through the rain.

But on the third day, he played arguably the best of any quarterback during the whole week. Granted, this practice took place indoors, but Pickett parleyed this performance into another solid one on game day. At the end of the week, Pickett most likely helped himself; but there are still legitimate concerns about his game that could scare teams off. 

Temperature Check: Warm, slowly approaching Hot

Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sam Howell, North Carolina

Of the quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, Sam Howell probably had the most consistently solid week in Mobile. Howell had some of the same issues as the other quarterbacks (snap exchange problems, drops, etc.). He made numerous good accurate throws to most levels of the field.

But Howell did not test the defense deep as much as quarterbacks like Willis and Strong. On one hand, it was frustrating not to see him take deep shots; on the other, he didn’t miss as badly as the other quarterbacks. 

During the actual game, Howell was plagued by the same issue that gave him so much trouble this past season: poor offensive line play. Even though the offensive lines at the Senior Bowl were much better than Howell’s at UNC, the opposing defensive lines were unstoppable. At this point in the process, he represents somewhat of a middle ground between Pickett and Willis.

The problem is that more teams want to bet on elite traits, even if that player has major issues. Howell doesn’t have any elite traits, but he also doesn’t have any major flaws. For these reasons, I think he could fall in the draft but it might land him in a better situation where he can succeed immediately. 

Temperature Check: Lukewarm but Comfortable

Carson Strong, Nevada

Carson Strong might have had the most to gain among the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl. However, in my opinion, he failed to fully take advantage of this opportunity. Over the course of the past year, Strong became the darling sleeper of many draft analysts. His big arm and accuracy from the pocket were unique, especially for a Group of Five quarterback.

Strong played quite well again this past year, but concerns about his mobility (or lack thereof) and the long-term health of his knee flared. Going to Mobile, Strong had a chance to seize the mantle of QB1 if he could continue to wow with his arm talent and show he could move around the pocket. 

During his time in Mobile, Strong accomplished about one-and-a-half of those goals. He did not wear a knee brace during practice and showed on multiple occasions he could get outside the pocket and even scramble for a few yards. He also displayed the raw power of his arm, launching passes 50 or 60 yards downfield.

Unfortunately, many of these passes completely missed the receiver, as Strong struggled to properly locate passes, especially intermediate and deep. While he didn’t have a bad week by any means, Strong failed to make a significant change to his stock — especially after the first day. If anything, Strong’s chances of being drafted in the first round decreased after this week.

Temperature Check: Warm but lower than anticipated

Photo Credit: AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

Matt Corral, Mississippi

Matt Corral did not attend the Senior Bowl, but the performance of the other 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks affects his stock as well. Some said Matt Corral was the biggest winner in Mobile because the rest of the quarterbacks were so inconsistent/bad.

Corral runs a very similar offense to that of Sam Howell and Malik Willis, and arguably ran it the best this season, leading Ole Miss to a 9-3 season. But I am still wary of Corral; he presents a lot of the same issues that plague Willis and Howell, but lacks the size, arm strength, rushing ability, or toughness. 

Furthermore, Corral could have been eligible to attend the Senior Bowl. Since Jim Nagy took over, the game has been much more open to accepting fourth-year juniors that have graduated. They even took Sam Howell, who graduated from North Carolina in only three years.

Conversely, Corral failed to graduate from Ole Miss in four years (one of which was a redshirt year) as a multidisciplinary studies major. Obviously, there have been great quarterbacks with less than stellar academic records who succeeded in the past. But this falls in line with Corral’s history of immaturity and lack of focus, dating back to his time in high school. Therefore, with all these elements combined, I would say Corral has not moved very much in recent weeks. 

Temperature Check: Tepid

SEE ALSO: 2022 ALL-SENIOR BOWL OFFENSE

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

On one hand, Desmond Ridder did exactly what people expected of him at the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, on the other, he did exactly what was expected. Ridder is an extremely polished, developed quarterback — especially relative to the other 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks. However, that is part of the problem.

Despite starting for several seasons, Ridder still struggles to maintain consistent accuracy and ball placement, especially when throwing deep. He also doesn’t have the strongest arm; it’s not bad, but is about NFL average in terms of both velocity and distance. 

In Mobile, Ridder struggled with a lot of these same issues. Granted, the offensive line, receivers, and offense we all new. But he still made more mistakes and bad plays than most of the other quarterbacks there. Most people see Ridder as a step below the previously discussed quarterbacks, due to his lack of elite (or perhaps even very good) traits. He did nothing to dissuade these notions in Mobile. At this point, it’s hard to plot a path for Ridder to re-elevate his stock to that of a first-round pick. 

Temperature Check: Room-Temperature and Dropping

Bailey Zappe led the American team of winners and losers on Day 3 of the Senior Bowl
Photo Credit: Jeff Hanson

Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky

Even though the rest of the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback group in Mobile struggled throughout the week, Bailey Zappe was clearly a tier below the rest. While Zappe is very accurate in short and intermediate areas of the field, he lacks the arm talent to consistently threaten the entire field. He would need an elite team around him, along with a domed stadium, to be a successful NFL starting QB.

While one might point at Drew Brees as a possible model for Zappe, I would gesture towards the scores of undersized, noodle-armed quarterbacks who barely lasted one contract. 

Temperature Check: Cold

Others

Of the quarterbacks at the East-West Shrine Game in Las Vegas, Jack Coan stood out the most to me. Coan flashed at various points in his career, both at Wisconsin and Notre Dame. He probably doesn’t have the consistency or the physical tools to develop into a full-time starter, but he’s extremely smart with an NFL-caliber arm and some athletic ability. He could carve out a niche for himself as a long-time backup in the league. At this point, I’d rather spend an early-Day 3 pick on Coan than Zappe. 

Another lower-tier quarterback that played well at a lower-level all-star game is Chase Garbers. The California quarterback was fantastic in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl; he displayed good zip on accurate throws, along with surprising athletic ability. He is proto-typically built (6’2”, 218 lbs) and looks like the type that could be a solid backup and competent spot starter. If I had to burn a sixth or seventh-round pick on a quarterback to be an NFL backup for the next decade, I would spend it on Garbers.

The Three FCS Musketeers

This quarterback class is notoriously thin, which is driving scouts to the FCS ranks to look for hidden gems. The three names that have come up the most are Alabama A&M’s Aqeel Glass, Brown’s EJ Perry, and Southeastern Louisiana’s Cole Kelley.

Glass is the most prototypical of the three, as he plays like Strong. While he’s extremely accurate, he’s an underwhelming athlete and does not push the ball vertically very much.

Perry is probably the hottest name right now, as he’s coming off several tremendous seasons in the Ivy League after transferring from Boston College. Unfortunately, he’s small and probably doesn’t have an NFL-caliber arm.

My favorite of the bunch is Cole Kelley. Formerly of Arkansas, the 6’6”, 250 lbs behemoth might be the most unique QB in this class. While his arm is not as strong as one would expect of someone with his size and build, Kelley probably has the most NFL tools of any of the FCS quarterbacks. Again, if NFL teams are going to bet on physical tools, Kelley is the smartest man to wager on. 

Sam Howell 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Sam Howell Scouting Report
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Background

Sam Howell is a quarterback for the North Carolina Tar Heels and a prospect in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, so let’s dive into his scouting report. Howell started every year in high school, finishing his career going 805-of-1,361 for 13,415 yards and 145 touchdowns while rushing for 3,621 yards and 60 scores. He set the North Carolina state record for total yards with 17,036. As a senior, he earned North Carolina Offensive Player of the Year by USA Today and the Associated Press. 

Howell was a consensus four-star prospect, ranked as the No. 2 player in the state of North Carolina, the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the country, and the No. 87 overall player nationally by the 247Sports Composite. He earned offers from P5 schools all over the country, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, and Oregon. He initially committed to Florida State but flipped to UNC to stay home and help resurrect the program after Mack Brown returned.

Howell started all 13 games at quarterback as a freshman in 2019, earning ACC Offensive & Overall Rookie of the Year and Third-Team All-ACC honors. He came back in 2020 and elevated his play, starting all 12 games again and earning 2nd-Team All-ACC. Howell returned in 2021 expected to be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, if not the country. However, he lost several vital playmakers to the NFL, and the offensive line regressed.

He missed one game due to a shoulder injury late in the season but still earned All-ACC Honorable Mention. Howell could have returned for his senior season, but he declared for the draft early and even earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl as an early graduate.

Stats

Career Stats: 37 GP/GS, 1117 attempts, 713 completions (63.8%), 10283 yards, 92 TDs, 23 INTs, 111.7 NFL passer rating; 149 rushing attempts, 1696 yards (6.4 avg), 17 TDs, 24 fumbles. 

2021 Stats: 12 GP/GS, 347 attempts, 217 completions (62.5%), 3056 yards, 24 TDs, 9 INTs, 101.7 NFL passer rating; 76 rushes, 1106 yards (8.1 avg), 11 TDs, 10 fumbles. 

2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 90.9 Offense (12th), 80.3 Passing (t-37th), 91.0 Rushing (2nd), 50.7 Fumbling (106th).

Sam Howell Scouting Report

Strengths
  • Very good poise and pocket management/awareness, dealing with pressure very well by using very good athletic ability to avoid rushers and move/reset in the pocket. 
  • Good decision-making on RPOs to get the ball to the right player; solid at finding open receivers on longer-developing throws with good ability to work through progressions and reads.
  • Excellent accuracy to all levels of the field with great timing and YAC maximization on short/intermediate throws; deep ball accuracy was fantastic in 2020, with great touch helping hit receivers perfectly in stride. 
  • Very good touch on intermediate and deep throws, layering throws above defenders and putting appropriate amount of air under deep balls. 
  • Good arm strength allows him to get the ball to all areas of the field with ease; he can fire the ball into tight windows in short/intermediate areas and push the ball vertically 50+ yards. He has the ability to make all NFL throws. 
  • Very good play extension ability: great running ability allows him to escape pocket and distance himself from defenders quickly; has play strength necessary to break tackles in the pocket and stay alive; arm strength and accuracy are not significantly affected while on the move, and he does a nice job of keeping eyes downfield.
  • Dangerous running threat in his own right, with very good athletic ability, play strength, and competitive toughness, allowing him to run through and around multiple defenders in the open field. 
  • Outstanding competitive toughness, frequently breaking out of tackles in the pocket to keep the play alive while keeping eyes downfield; willing to sacrifice body as an open-field runner. 
Weaknesses
  • Not asked to do much in terms of pre-snap adjustments/diagnosis beyond RPOs. 
  • Overhand delivery is a touch delayed, could be improved.
  • Could stand to speed up his progressions and decision-making on more complex intermediate concepts. 
  • Would like to see him be more aggressive with making intermediate throws. 
  • Deep accuracy suffered some inconsistencies in 2021
  • Occasionally panics and scrambles backward, trying to do too much.
  • Lacks the arm strength to consistently make deep, cross-field, off-platform throws.
  • Ball security is concerning

Summary

Sam Howell possesses all the necessary traits to be a starting quarterback immediately in the NFL. He has great accuracy, very good poise in the pocket, and the ability to extend plays with his feet. Howell needs to clean up some of the mental aspects of his game, such as decision-making in the pocket and quickly working through his progressions.

While he does not have elite arm strength, he has the ability to make every NFL throw with excellent placement and touch. He is also exceptionally tough in the pocket and as an open-field runner, consistently sloughing off defenders to stay alive and get extra yards. 

In the NFL, Howell would fit best in a Kansas City-style scheme with frequent RPOs and deeper passing concepts that might require him to get outside the pocket. He is very accurate on short quick throws and consistently makes good decisions. Aside from some ball security issues, he rarely makes mistakes and puts the ball in danger.

For those reasons, the scouting report shows Sam Howell should be ready to play immediately. He might have some growing pains early in his career, but by the end of his rookie year, he should be an above-average starter that will develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

Grade: 8 / 10

Comparison: Baker Mayfield (2018 R1 #1, Cleveland Browns)

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Malik Willis 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report

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Background

Malik Willis (#7, 6’1″, 225) is a quarterback from Liberty University and a prospect in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Willis is originally from Atlanta, GA, and led his high school to the state title game, earning Offensive Player of the Year and 1st-team all-state as a senior. He earned a three-star distinction as a recruit with offers from mostly Group of Five and FCS programs, and a few ACC programs sprinkled in.

He initially committed to Virginia Tech, but he flipped to Auburn when they offered him a scholarship. Willis played in 15 games during his first two years with the Tigers in 2017 and 2018. He was primarily used as a gadget player and in mop-up duty. In 2018, he lost the quarterback competition to Bo Nix and transferred after the season. 

After transferring to Liberty, Willis redshirted in 2019 as he sat out due to transfer rules. In 2020, he started all but one game, leading Liberty to a 10-1 record, with their only loss coming on the road at NC State 15-14.

He led all FBS quarterbacks in rushing yards (944) and rushing TDs (14). In 2021, the team regressed and finished 8-5, but they capped off their season with a dominating performance in their bowl game. As a redshirt senior, Willis had the opportunity to play for another season due to the COVID year. Instead, he elected to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft and earned an invite to the Senior Bowl. 

Statistics

Career Stats: 38 GP, 23 GS, 618 attempts, 388 completions (62.8%, 71.7 Adjusted), 5176 passing yards, 48 TDs, 18 INTs, 103.4 NFL passer rating; 366 rushing attempts, 2131 rushing yards (5.8 YPC), 29 rushing TDs, 20 fumbles. 

2021 Stats: 13 GP, 13 GS, 339 attempts, 208 completions (61.4%, 70.1 Adjusted), 2858 yards, 27 TDs, 12 INTs, 100.1 NFL passer rating; 197 rushing attempts, 878 yards (4.5 YPC), 13 TDs, 3 fumbles. 

2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 91.8 Offense (t-4th), 78.4 Passing (49th), 94.5 Rushing (1st).

Malik Willis Scouting Report

Strengths
  • Compact, thick build with defined muscle on entire body. Can withstand hits in the pocket and when running the ball. 
  • Elite arm strength and talent, both velocity and distance. Can push the ball 50+ yards with ease and fit throws into tight windows. 
  • Solid accuracy, especially when in rhythm with clean pocket and sound mechanics. Arm strength allows him to make special throws that can hit receivers perfectly. 
  • Good pocket awareness and management, using athletic ability to buy time in the pocket and scramble out when necessary. 
  • When he’s hot, has special play-making ability; can make unique, off-platform throws out of structure. 
  • Good athletic ability allows him to be a weapon in the running game. Frequently makes defenders miss in the pocket and in the open field. Has speed and explosiveness to create big gains as a runner. 
  • Good competitive toughness, using physicality and strength to grind out extra yards in the run game; plays through injuries and comes back after tough hits. 
Weaknesses
  • Below average processing/field vision. Frequently waits for targets to come open before throwing the ball, allowing DBs to recover and make plays on the ball. Needs to improve speed progressing through reads and trigger to throw the ball. 
  • Inconsistent decision-making, frequently scrambling backward to buy time and taking big losses on sacks. Ignores check-downs sometimes and tries to fit in risky throws or scramble. Cut down on TWPs in 2021 but still struggles with interceptions. 
  • Accuracy lacks consistency: frequently misses high on quick slants; intermediate throws lack proper timing, limiting YAC and risking receiver’s health. 
  • Subpar level of competition and yet still plays a little slow (mentally); relies on his athleticism too much, which could get him into trouble at next level. Does not have elite athletic/running ability; NFL defenders will not flounder like G5 defenders. 
  • Very inconsistent as a passer: games are extremely feast or famine, turnovers seemingly compounding themselves. 

Summary

Malik Willis possesses remarkable and unique physical talents. He can be a dynamic playmaker, using his elite arm talent and excellent running ability. However, Willis struggles to make accurate throws consistently. He also struggles to read the field, anticipate receivers coming open, and make timely throws.

Furthermore, his play was relatively inconsistent against a lower level of competition; for the most part, when he played superior opponents, he struggled. In short, Willis is not ready to be an NFL starter in his rookie season. But given his physical gifts, in the right situation and with a year of development, he could become a high-level, perennial-Pro Bowl starting quarterback. 

Grade: 7.5 / 10

Comparison: Jalen Hurts (2020 R2 #58, Philadelphia Eagles)

2022 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings 1.0

Credit: Fansided

Welcome to my first rankings for the 2022 NFL draft. I am not a ‘Big Board’ type of person, so you will not see a big board from me. This focuses on the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback rankings. Players will be ranked by positions they are slated to play or at least I feel they will play in the NFL. I will stick to a top 10 for now, but that might change as players move up and Juniors declare. It is obviously early so my rankings will change by the time we get to the actual draft. I will include Juniors who are expected to declare.

Quarterbacks:

Right now the class is a little weird in that no one has established themselves as “the guy” yet.

1. Carson Strong – Nevada

Probably the most pro ready of the top QBs. His ceiling may not be as high as some of the others, but he has the talent to be a very good quarterback at the next level. Not much of an athlete either, but he has shown he can move around in the pocket well.

2. Matt Corral – Ole Miss

Credit: Mark Cornelison/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Probably the most volatile quarterback on the list, but also one of the guys with the most upside. He was really hot and cold in 2020, he seems to have remedied that in 2021. He could move up if he continues to play as he has.

3. Malik Willis – Liberty

Transfer from Auburn. Had a really good year in 2020 and now has taken it to another level in 2021. Great athlete with a big arm and build like a tank, think of Donovan McNabb. Competition is a question and a little short at 6’0.

4. Same Howell – North Carolina

Well built quarterback, who really benefited from the amazing weapons he had in 2020. He will panic sometimes and get happy feet and make a ill-advised throw. Average athlete, with a good not great arm. Great deep ball thrower.

5. Kenny Pickett – Pittsburgh

2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks
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He had ho hum 2019 and 2020 seasons and was looking like a late day 3 prospect coming into the season. Pickett really has blown up in 2021. He has average physical tools and really small hands which might take him off some teams radar, but he has made it work. Showing great accuracy and anticipation.

6. Kaleb Eleby – Western Michigan

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Kind of came out of no where in 2020 and has continued and even improved on his play. Good overall athlete with a good arm. Moving up my board.

7. Kedon Slovis – USC

Came in and had an amazing freshman season. He was crazy accurate, over 70%. His play dipped in 2020 and even got benched at one point this season. He needs to figure out how to regain his form from his freshman year. He has a small frame and average arm strength.

8. Desmond Ridder – Cincinnati

Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Ridder has all the talent in the world, tall, athletic, big arm, but his accuracy and anticipation has never seemed to improved. The question becomes will it ever improve? His technique also needs work.

9. Jake Haener – Fresno State

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Transfer from Washington. Small and a bit undersized. Average arm strength. Has grit a ability to will his team to a win. Great intangibles. Upside is somewhat limited. Really smart.

10. JT Daniels – Georgia

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Transfer from USC who lost his starting job to Slovis. Has put up solid but not great numbers so far. Could move up if he takes it up a level and play more like he did at USC.

2022 NFL Draft: The Quarterback-chelor – Episode 3

Welcome to The QuarterBachelor! I am your host, Mitchell Wolfe, and we’re excited to bring you this new show, where the 2022 NFL Draft is looking for their QB1. Every episode, we’ll break down the 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks and how they are progressing in their relationship with the Draft to be the top-ranked quarterback.

Last year, our lead, the 2021 NFL Draft had many exciting suitors. But in the end, the favorite from the beginning, Trevor Lawrence, established an incredible connection and went home as the top-ranked QB and the #1 overall pick. This year, our Draft has a litany of handsome and exciting prospects looking for love and the honor of winning QB1. In the last episode, two contestants went home, one because of injury and another for poor performance. After a brief hiatus, the show is back, and we’re sending three contestants home this week. Let’s get into it!

Sam Howell, North Carolina

An early favorite to win the Quarterback-chelor, Sam Howell took over the top spot this episode. However, this was more so due to poor performance by some of his competitors. While Sam has had some nice appearances in recent weeks, he’s also been relatively inconsistent. He’s not showing the same poise and accuracy that we expected from him. Sam has a long season ahead of him, and he moves into the driver’s seat this week. But his reign as king of the hill is tenuous at best. 

Carson Strong, Nevada

A sleeper pick before the season began, Carson Strong has quickly ascended through the ranks. He took advantage of lackluster performances by other contestants and has been one of very few consistent performers this season. Carson is more of a traditional candidate, relative to some of the more successful past seasons. But this is an unorthodox group of quarterbacks, so maybe the most orthodox will actually have the best shot at winning. 

Matt Corral, Mississippi

Speaking of unorthodox contestants, these next two are among the most complex ones in recent memory. This week, Matt had a big test, and while he did not wow or excite the viewers, he was put in a very tough position. But he kept his poise and did not make any huge mistakes, which has been a problem for him in the past. Therefore, seeing this growth in him and being reliable and stable when the going gets tough is a pretty big win for him. 

Malik Willis, Liberty

Malik is among the most exciting contestants that this show has ever seen. He has a unique personality and style that is very exciting for our Draft. But his decision-making is questionable at times, and not everything in life (or football) is about spontaneity. Malik has had some up and down performances in the past week. But his two-on-one date with Matt is rapidly approaching and should be an excellent showcase for both contestants. 

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

Spencer, Spencer, Spencer; whatever will we do with you? Spencer entered the season as the favorite to win the competition. But he has been the most disappointing candidate from this pool by far. He’s had some nice moments, but they’ve come very sparingly. Spencer might have to come back next season if he wants a shot at winning. He could still turn it around with a big performance this week. But right now, it looks more like he’ll be going home early this season. 

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

From one of our biggest fallers to one of the biggest risers, Kenny Pickett almost looks like some of the late risers that finished very high in recent years. Kenny is one of the older contestants this season, and his growth and maturity make him a very attractive candidate. He hasn’t really been tested or challenged yet this season. As we move into the heart of the season, we’ll have to see how Kenny performs when the going gets tough. 

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Another one of our older contestants, Desmond, had arguably the most significant performance of the season this week. In a challenge that took him out of his comfort zone, he performed very well and even assuaged some concerns about his ability to deliver in big moments. With that being said, Desmond remains one of the most divisive candidates on the show this season. Some think Desmond should be a front runner to win; others believe he shouldn’t have even been on the show in the first place. If he wants to win, Desmond will need to keep playing like he did this past week. 

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

Grayson still might be too young and inexperienced to win this season. But viewers cannot deny he’s very exciting and consistent. He hasn’t been truly tested this season and most likely won’t face any significant challenges. Therefore, without encountering adversity, Grayson might not have the opportunity to elevate his game to a high enough level. He’s safe for this week, but his time could be running out. 

JT Daniels, Georgia

Frankly, it’s still pretty surprising JT is even on the show. He’s barely gotten any air time this season; he’s reportedly been dealing with some health issues. That’s unfortunate for him, but JT will probably have to go home if he keeps missing episodes. Even if he comes back, he might be too far behind the other contestants to have a realistic shot at winning. Along with our next contestant, he will probably have to come back next season if they want to win. 

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

Dorian has been another up-and-down participant. DTR’s performance has been improving recently. But he’s “fumbled” some opportunities of late, which could be an issue at the next level. At this point, he’s going to need to step up his performance in a significant way if he wants to have a shot at winning. But he has plenty of season left, so he gets to stay on for at least another week. 

Kedon Slovis, Southern California

Our other Cali contestant, Kedon, has been another inconsistent performer throughout the season. He was a very attractive candidate to some before the season. But he has fallen very far in the rankings due to poor play. At this point, Kedon looks like he could be going home very soon; however, he will most likely be back next season due to his early exit. 

Michael Penix Jr., Indiana

Michael has had a very tough season. He hasn’t performed well in limited opportunities and also had some lingering health problems. Michael needed to have a much more consistent, complete season. But it looks like that’s not in the cards for him. After a poor showing in the two-on-one with Desmond, he probably won’t be sticking around very long.

D’Eriq King, Miami

D’Eriq King already had a tough row to hoe, given his lack of height. He also entered the season with some health concerns, which reared their ugly head. He’s missed time on the show due to those health issues. He might be able to come back and perform, but it’s difficult to see a winning path for him, given where he stands. 

Who Doesn’t Get the Rose?

Our Draft is sending three contestants home this week. After a brief hiatus, they had to start narrowing the field. Two contestants will head home due to health concerns: D’Eriq King and Michael Penix Jr. In addition to their injury problems, neither quarterback played consistently well in their limited time. Given that they might miss time in the coming weeks, they will not make up enough ground to win. Michael could return next season, but this was the last shot for D’Eriq.
Our other contestant heading home is Kedon Slovis. Kedon is another participant who could come back next year. But this year, he couldn’t answer many of the questions our draft had about him. He might need a change of scenery that highlights his best assets. Regardless, Kedon is heading home as we cull down the group. 

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