Potential Landing Spots For Quarterbacks in 2022 NFL Draft

Steelers, Panthers, Saints Among QB-Needy Teams

Draft Light on Top Quarterback Prospects

It doesn’t matter what year it is, the landing spots of the top quarterbacks in the NFL Draft are always something that dominates the headlines in the days, weeks and months leading into the even.

A quarterback went first overall in six of the last seven NFL Drafts. Considering that Jacksonville took Trevor Lawrence with the top pick in last year’s draft, the Jaguars won’t be dipping into the quarterback market with the No. 1 pick on Thursday night.

There is a chance that no quarterback goes in the top 10 which hasn’t happened since 2013.

When looking at the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL draft, Liberty’s Malik Willis (-170) has the best odds to be the top quarterback selected, followed by Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder is climbing the draft boards in recent weeks and could also land in the first round.

There are some that think Matt Corral of Ole Miss could be an option to land in Detroit with the final pick of the opening round. That selection was acquired as part of the deal that sent former No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.

There has been plenty written about the top options in a so-so quarterback draft class. Now it is time to look at the teams most likely to take a chance and grab a quarterback early in the draft.

5. Seattle Seahawks

There might not be a team in the NFL that better understands that it isn’t always necessary to spend a top-10 pick to find a franchise quarterback.

Seattle took Russell Wilson in the third round in the 2012 NFL Draft and watched him develop into a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Wilson led Seattle to one Super Bowl championship and, if not for a questionable decision to throw the ball on the shadow of the end zone against New England, the Seahawks might have won two NFL titles during Wilson’s time there.

Wilson went to Denver last month in a blockbuster trade that sent the No. 9 and No. 40 picks as well as a late-round selection in the 2022 draft and next year’s first-round selection to Seattle.

Seattle’s original No. 1 pick is the property of the New York Jets as a result of the Jamal Adams trade. Otherwise, a quarterback might have made sense.

Quarterbacks aren’t being linked to the Seahawks with the ninth pick, but with selections Nos. 40 and 41, perhaps Seattle grabs its quarterback of the future there or trades into the first round to get one.

Drew Lock came back to Seattle in the Wilson trade and it is also a possibility that the Seahawks will ride with Lock.

4. Atlanta Falcons

Few trades were harder to figure out than the Atlanta Falcons shipping longtime starter Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick in the offseason.

Ryan isn’t getting any younger, but much of the issue with the Falcons’ passing game in 2021 had to go with Julio Jones being shipped out to Tennessee and Calvin Ridley stepping away from the team.

Atlanta taking a quarterback with the eighth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft doesn’t seem likely. It would be ironic if the pick acquired in the Ryan trade was used as part of a deal to move into the latter portion of the first round to grab a quarterback.

Marcus Mariota could be a short-term answer for Atlanta. It would be a little surprising not to see a quarterback taken by the Falcons by the end of the second day of the draft.

Willis is an Atlanta native, so he is a player that the Falcons could have plenty of information about heading into the draft.

3. New Orleans Saints

When New Orleans traded away its 2023 first-round pick and a second-round selection in 2024 to acquire another first-rounder in this year’s draft, some believed that was a signal that the Saints are in the market for a quarterback in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. With picks Nos. 16 and 19, it certainly could happen. Many mock drafts have the Saints passing on a quarterback to address other needs.

With quarterback guru Sean Payton no longer the head coach in New Orleans, it is hard to get a read on whether the Saints are truly content with Jameis Winston as the starting QB not only in 2022, but in 2023. By trading away next year’s first-rounder, since there will be no chance for New Orleans to grab one of the top passers in what could be a deep 2023 draft for quarterbacks.

Andy Dalton and Ian Book join Winston as the QBs currently under contract. Unless Winston makes that next step and avoids the turnover issues that led to his departure from Tampa Bay, the Saints look like a team that will go from an all-time great in Drew Brees to a quarterback room with more questions than answers.

2. Carolina Panthers

Taking a quarterback at No. 6 in this draft doesn’t feel like the right move. Anybody making the call for Carolina might want to see how it worked out for the New York Giants when they reached to take Daniel Jones with the sixth pick in the 2019 draft. An issue for the Panthers is that they traded away their second-, third- and fourth-round picks to acquire quarterback Sam Darnold and cornerback C.J. Henderson. What that means is that Carolina’s second pick in the draft is No. 137.

In a perfect world, Carolina would be able to trade down in the first round to acquire a second-day pick. It doesn’t seem like teams are in a hurry to move up in what is considered to be a mediocre draft when it comes to elite prospects.

Carolina coach Matt Rhule probably knows that his days could be numbered, and going into the season with Cam Newton and Darnold as the QB options could be a way for Rhule needing to update his resume.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

The No. 20 pick seems to be a perfect spot for one of the quarterbacks and it just so happens that the Pittsburgh Steelers have an opening for a starting QB for the first time since selecting Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

The two-time Super Bowl champion leaves a huge hole to fill. Despite losing Juju Smith-Schuster to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers are loaded with playmakers at the skill positions. There is some work to be done on the offensive line, but a quarterback going to Pittsburgh here makes all the sense in the world.

Liberty’s Willis is a popular pick for the Steelers in the mock drafts. He tops the NFL Draft quarterback rankings. If no quarterback goes off the board before Pittsburgh picks, he will be an option as well as Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.

Steelers fans still cringe when they recall the time when their team passed on another former Pittsburgh QB named Dan Marino when Terry Bradshaw was nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. Nobody is ready to compare Pickett to Marino, but the amount of information available when one of the top draft-eligible quarterbacks plays his college ball in your city means that the Pittsburgh brain trust should have a lot of intel on Pickett and his NFL future.

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