Although the 2022 class of quarterback prospects doesn’t quite stack up to the pre-draft grades of the 2021 class, there are still several exciting players the Falcons could explore drafting to groom behind Matt Ryan.
Kenny Pickett is an accurate passer on short to intermediate passes while also displaying an ability to throw a very catchable deep ball, and he’s also a tough and willing runner. Sam Howell took a step back this compared season to last year, but his supporting cast was significantly worse. Some have called Howell a poor man’s Baker Mayfield, which I don’t think is too far off.
There are plenty of other quarterback prospects too that have wildly different skillsets — Matt Corral, Carson Strong, Desmond Ridder, and Brock Purdy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Falcons came away with one of these guys.
Someone I didn’t mention that might have the highest upside of this quarterback class is Malik Willis. He has an intriguing skillset with dangerous mobility that helps his offensive line — something the Falcons have to be interested in considering their poor line play in 2021.
He’s got a strong arm and throws a decent deep ball, but Willis’ mechanics need refining. His footwork isn’t fantastic as he throws flat-footed sometimes. However, the raw tools are there for a team to turn Willis into a franchise-caliber quarterback. If he had to start from day one, his career trajectory would look much different than if he got to sit behind a veteran for a couple of seasons, developing mentally and physically.
Matt Ryan would be as good of a mentor for a young quarterback as any, and the Falcons could explore the possibility of drafting Willis to do just that. Moreover, Willis actually models his game after Ryan, specifically his anticipation.
— Jonathan Adams (@JonDAdams) February 2, 2022
Willis sitting behind Ryan is a scenario I’m not against; however, the question starts and ends where Willis will be drafted. In no way, shape, or form would I agree with Terry Fontenot selecting him with their first-round pick, but a second-round pick for a potential franchise quarterback is a meager price to pay.
If Fontenot believes Willis is the guy, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Falcons floated the idea of taking Willis with that 8th overall pick. When organizations find the guy, there should be no hesitation to pull the trigger; only time will tell if Willis is that guy for the Falcons.