As the 2022 NFL Draft nears, we’re taking a look at every position on both sides of the ball to find some options for the Eagles throughout the three-day event. Kicking it off with quarterbacks.
The Eagles have been publicly committed to Jalen Hurts this offseason as Hurts prepares to enter his third NFL season and second as a starter.
We also know, however, that the Eagles at least looked into veteran options and have been doing their homework on some of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class.
Does that mean they’re going to draft one in a high round? No. But we know the Eagles are a Quarterback Factory and are always looking.
Even after the Eagles’ trade with the Saints, they still have two first-round picks and 10 total:
1-15 (from Miami)
1-18 (from New Orleans)
3-101 (from New Orleans)
5-154 (from Washington)
5-166 (from Arizona)
7-237 (from New Orleans)
Here are some quarterback options throughout the draft:
In first round
Malik Willis, Liberty (6-0, 219): It seems likely that Willis will be the top quarterback taken in this class because of his upside. So if the Eagles ended up being in on Willis, they’d probably have to trade up to get him. He’s still pretty raw but Willis has all the tools to be a great player. He might not be ready right away but the upside is huge. In a weak QB class, he’s the guy you could see a team falling in love with.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (6-3, 217): The safer bet of the two, Pickett will also be a first-round pick. His hands are small and that’s been a big deal in the pre-draft process but he’s a Day 1 starter. In 2021, he completed 67.2% of his passes for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has a ton of experience as a four-year college starter.
In the middle rounds
Matt Corral, Ole Miss (6-2, 212): Not the tallest quarterback but Corral has a strong arm, is very athletic and can make plays with his legs. He had an interception problem in 2020 but really cleaned that up in 2021. This past season, he completed 67.9% of his passes for 3,349 yards with 20 TDs and 5 INTs.
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (6-3, 211): Ridder was a four-year starter for the Bearcats and has apparently been very impressive during the pre-draft process as he’s met with teams. His best season came in 2021, when he completed 64.9% of his passes for 3,334 yards, 30 TDs and 8 INTs. He has all the physical tools required but might get drafted between the Eagles’ first-round picks and their pick in the second round.
Sam Howell, UNC (6-0, 218): Another shorter quarterback, Howell was a three-year starter at North Carolina in an RPO heavy offense. He has a good enough arm to have a shot at the next level. He was a three-year starter at UNC completing 63.8% of his passes with 92 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
Carson Strong, Nevada (6-3, 226): The aptly named Strong has a big arm, which is a reason to think there’s some upside … but he needs work. He’s a little more of a lumbering quarterback who isn’t a threat to take off and run and can sometimes be a sitting duck. He put up big numbers in 2021, completing 70% of his passes for over 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky (6-0, 215): If the Eagles want to add a developmental quarterback in a later round, Zappe would work. After four years at Houston Baptist, Zappe started at Western Kentucky in 2021 and had a big season, throwing for nearly 6,000 yards and 62 touchdowns. (62 touchdowns!) He doesn’t appear to have the upside as some of the top QBs in this class and he is a tad short but could be a solid backup option.
D’Eric King, Miami (5-9, 196): We’re cheating here a little bit. There’s a pretty good chance King doesn’t even hear his name called during the draft. The former starter at Houston transferred to Miami in 2020. Some teams see him as a quarterback, some as a receiver. He’ll probably need to be a slot receiver at the next level. The Eagles eventually had some success with Greg Ward and there are some similarities with King if they want to bring him in as a priority free agent.
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