Post-combine trends … In normal times, NFL teams come out of the combine with a little more clarity on where players stand heading into the final stretch leading up to the draft. For those that haven’t noticed, these are anything but normal times and talked with a couple of NFL people we know and they hinted, in not so many words, that they are almost more confused, at least about who are the top prospects for the upcoming draft, than they were before the combine. And its not that many of the top prospects at this year’s combined failed to deliver; for the most part they did, but that so many others really excelled too that the challenge now is to figure out who really deserves to be at the top of the board. Bottom line is that other than the QB situation this is shaping up to be potentially a very good draft.
Ah yes, but speaking of the QBs. Certainly the sense one gets is that NFL teams are still trying to figure out what they have at the QB position for the 2022 draft. It seems that everybody likes Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and what he brings to the table. Problem is that nobody appears to really love Pickett. And if you’re going to draft a QB, especially early in the first round, you’d really like to love the guy. Pickett is probably the most pro ready of this year’s prospects at the position and certainly checks off all the boxes, but he just doesn’t have much upside. Which brings everyone back to Liberty’s Malik Willis, the one QB this year that teams do seem to be really intrigued by. He’s still very raw, but he’s got the athleticism and arm strength you just can’t teach. Given that it is looking more and more like teams like Carolina, Denver, and Washington among others, which are desperately looking to upgrade at QB, aren’t going to be able to get much done at the position via a veteran trade and are going to be forced to use the draft if they really want to get anything meaningful done this year. And right now the sense one gets is that Willis is the one guy who teams are really intrigued by in that context which, if true, could set off a bit of a bidding war to see who gets there first. At the same time, the other QB one is hearing a bit of a buzz about coming out of Indianapolis is North Carolina’s Sam Howell, who didn’t have a great year in 2021, but like Willis has some tools. Stay tuned!