The 2022 quarterbacks draft class is a group is lacking a consensus front runner. With a wildly inconsistent college season, prospects flaws were on full display, and no signal-caller has been able to separate themselves from the pack.
With this muddling of prospects, the top spot is ripe for the taking. If a player seizes one of the opportunities available during the evaluation stage and proves they have what it takes to be an NFL starter, they could quickly see themselves fly up draft boards.
The first main checkpoint of draft analysis is this week’s Senior Bowl. During the week, players will have a chance to impress coaches at multiple turns, but their play on the field during the three-weekday practices can expose or elevate a player. Through the first day of practice, things have been as expected: inconsistent.
Lot of predictable inconsistency from the QBs down here on Day 1. Strong, Willis and Howell all have guns, but each struggled to carry individual drill success to team portions.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) February 1, 2022
Quarterback struggles are expected in Mobile, Alabama, as they have never thrown passes to the receivers before, so it’s too early to make any sweeping declarations, but the folks over at the Draft Network believe Pittsburgh Kenny Pickett had the best performance of Day 1 and “took the early lead in (the) Senior Bowl QB race.”
“He showcased a live arm, smooth and efficient mechanics, and perhaps most importantly, he didn’t have any bad moments that stood out,” Draft Network’s Bryan Perez wrote. “He did throw an interception that was the result of a bobbled ball by tight end Trey McBride but if any of the National Team’s quarterbacks looked like a prospect who could end up being a first-round pick, it was Pickett.”
The Draft Network wasn’t the only ones to praise Pickett on Tuesday, as Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy compared him to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow earlier in the day.
“I know that just the way he’s wired and spending time around him and the kind of guy he is, and talking with the guys at the Manning (Passing Academy) that have been around him and the guys at Pitt, he’s going to crush this process,” Nagy said via Dave Birkett of the Free Press. “I think he’s already starting to in the interviews right now. He’s got a really cool way about him. Kind of reminds me a little bit of Burrow when I got to know Joe through this process. He’s just, guys gravitate to him. He’s a leader. It comes easy to him. So this is the start of a big week for him.”
Pickett is one of the more complete quarterback prospects in the class, but he has his share of flaws. He’s a fifth-year senior, will be turning 24-years-old this summer, and has never shown this level of potential before this season. There is also the issue surrounding his reported scout-measured 8 1⁄4 inches hand size.
No surprises with the QB weigh-ins.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 31, 2022
It appears Kenny Pickett skipped the hand measurement? (he was measured 8 1/4" previously by scouts) https://t.co/wGGcAaWxhU
Pickett explained he is double-jointed and it causes a unique bend that results in lower measurements. He said he is working on his hand flexibility and will measure at the NFL Combine, as reported earlier today by our own Jeremy Reisman.
For now, Day 1 belongs to Pickett. Let’s see how far this will carry him throughout the week.
Now, onto the rest of today’s notes:
- ESPN’s Eric Woodyard also wrote a piece about Pickett today, where he “acknowledges hand size concerns ahead of NFL draft, cites playing in ‘tough weather’ at Pittsburgh.” Here’s my favorite quote from the piece:
“I think everyone knows the kind of year I just had and it was a lot different from the previous three years,” Pickett said. “So I just want to show that playing at a high level for 13 games isn’t kind of a luck thing. I can be the same guy every week and I want to be the same guy now, down here in Mobile and just show consistency.”
- The Lions uploaded general manager Brad Holmes interview with the Lions’ beat from Monday:
- In case you missed it, here is our article focusing on what Holmes had to say about this quarterback class. And here’s Detroit Lions lead writer Tim Twentyman take on Holmes comments about the wide receiver group.
What Brad Holmes is looking for in a wide receiver prospect https://t.co/OITY5tqbjV— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) February 1, 2022
- The Athletic’s Chris Burke is one of the beat’s most keen observers and he took note that Lions starting linebacker—and potential unrestricted free agent—Jalen Reeves-Maybin was in the stands at the Senior Bowl with Lions’ scouts.
If you’re into reading tea leaves: Jalen Reeves-Maybin is sitting in the stands with the Lions’ scouts during this afternoon’s Senior Bowl practice.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) February 1, 2022
- It’s nice to see the Lions’ bringing some of their creative training camp competitions down to Mobile:
- Black History Month is upon us and the brilliant Lions creative department produced some stylish new Lions’ wallpapers:
- Last but not least, Happy Birthday to the most important pending free agent on the Lions roster: