The quarterback wheel of fortune will spin for a dozen NFL teams once the season is over. When the musical quarterback game ends, what awaits the needy teams in the NFL Draft that won’t have a seat occupied by Deshaun Watson, or maybe Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers?
“If you book these guys with last year’s class and watch Bryce Young for next year  of Alabama, Bryce Young would be in the Trevor Lawrence category, âESPN’s inimitable Mel Kiper Jr. told Serby. âThis year you’ve got a lot of guys who are doing great, but not great, and then last year we had the five phenomenal guys.â
Just Lions luckâ¦ no quarterback in sight for Tank For until the 2023 NFL Draft.
A lot can change (raise your hand if you predicted Zach Wilson last December would become second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft), but for now, Kiper is backing down, scanning the field, and loose on the assessment. more difficult of the sport.
âIn all sports, this is the most important position,â says Kiper. âPeople would say, ‘If your arm isn’t strong, it doesn’t get stronger.’ Well, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning have all proven otherwise. Then they saidâ¦ you can’t solve the accuracy issues. Well Josh Allen has proven that to be wrong. Where are we now? We are still trying to figure all this out. It’s hard. Then you ask yourself, “OK, what team is he going on?” Which offensive coordinator does he go to? What system does it go to? How is the staff around him? ”
There will be a quarterback plot involving the Giants, who currently own the sixth and seventh picks, and the Eagles, who own the 12th, 13th and 17th picks.
Kiper’s 2021 QB Class Ranking: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Wilson, Mac Jones, Trey Lance.
Kiper’s highest rated quarterback for 2022 is Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett – who would have been his sixth quarterback in 2021.
Given the uncertainty over who will lead the Giants’ draft and given the lack of progress Daniel Jones has shown in his third season, Kiper was asked if the Giants should consider Pickett.
âI like win-win situations,â he said. “If they liked one of those quarterbacks – and where the Giants are going to choose with those two picks, if you like one of them, it’s terribly high, it’s terribly rich for me – but if you like one of them, and Daniel Jones comes out like a great quarterback, we’re happy. If he doesn’t, then we’ve got this guy who we think can be really good. If you don’t feel like any of these quarterbacks are that good, then you go ahead with Daniel Jones and wait. If you think Pickett in two years can be Derek Carr, would you take him? If you think those quarterbacks had a cap on getting to a certain level that you feel is better than where you think Daniel Jones’s cap may be, then you take that quarterback.
Kiper ranked Pickett 18th on his Big Board. Desmond Ridder of Cincinnati is 19th, Matt Corral of Ole Miss is 21st and Malik Willis of Liberty is 27th. Sam Howell of North Carolina could be a second round from now.
âThey’re all pushed to the top,â Kiper said. “I would say all of these guys will probably go a little higher than I rated them.”
There are concerns about the size of Pickett’s hand, but Kiper looks at him and sees Carr.
âHe’s going to be a 24 year old rookie in the NFL, what Bill Parcells has always wanted a number of career starts, he will be 50 by the end of his career. [college] career, âKiper said. “If you like Derek Carr, I think you’ll like Kenny Pickett.”
Ridder is the biggest boom-or-bust. âRidder is a super talented kid, he throws a nice ball, he just isn’t as precise or precise as you would like,â Kiper said. “Now you’d say, ‘Who was like that on the way out? Josh Allen was. There are going to be mixed reviews on him. There will be times when he will throw a throw that leaves you scratching your head a bit. He can lead RPOs, he can beat you running, he can really fly. He seems part of the game, big kid, mature.
Corral is only 6 feet 1,205 pounds.
âThe toughest quarterback you can find,â Kiper said. âIf you look at him 10, 15, 20 years ago, he wouldn’t look in the game. He’s not 6-3, he’s not 215, 220 pounds. But rock hard, high pain tolerance, he can really make it spin. It’s a quarterback version of [215-pound former Steelers middle linebacker] Jack Lambert.
Willis struggled at the end of the year.
âHe threw three interceptions against Louisiana-Monroe,â Kiper said. âBut he’s talented, someone’s going to roll the dice on him. He’s been holding the ball too long, he’s taking unjustified sacks, he’s made some bad decisions this year. He’s got a strong arm, he’s really athletic, he’s a mighty kid, he looks like a mighty running back, he’s tough to take down. He will avoid, he will escape and he will shake up the defenders and he will keep the game alive. You have to reconcile the issues this year with maybe the staff around him just weren’t good enough.
Fast forward to next fall. âPut it this way: a team has a 0-3, 0-4 start, they’ll be talking about Tanking For Bryce,â Kiper said. âAfter four, five games the fans will be like, ‘Lose them all, just get Bryce Young. “”
Or whatever price for Bryce. âIt would be in the Trevor Lawrence category,â Kiper said. âFirst choice guaranteed, generational talent. We’re going to talk about him the same way a Trevor Lawrence would. He’s already making comparisons with Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers.
Kiper favors the Wilson comparison.
“Very instinctive, sees the pitch incredibly well, incredible information processor, great precision, good ball placement, good pace for his throws in terms of knowing when to take something away, when to put in a little, great leadership, studies the game, extraordinary mobility, âsaid Kiper.
Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is said to be the next coveted quarterback after Young in 2023.
âThey really trained him and he had everything around him,â Kiper said. “But he’s a double-threat quarterback.”
Kiper believes Phil Jurkovec (Boston College) can access the 2023 first-round conversation.
âHe’s kind of like Kenny Pickett,â Kiper said. âKenny Pickett injured his ankle last year. He was limping the whole time he was there. It was smart to go back. Phil Jurkovec had wrist and hand surgery, came back late in the year, didn’t play well, so he’s going back to Boston College. He has the ability and the natural talent to be a guy we’re talking about.
Jets fans are wondering if general manager Joe Douglas should have signed Mac Jones instead.
âI would definitely say no,â Kiper said. âJust because Mac Jones is in a perfect situation. [If] Mac Jones was with the Jets, oh my God! It would have been terrible for him.
Wilson’s first fights after BYU shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.
âHe played cupcake after cupcake, I said his sugar was at an all time high,â Kiper said. âThe NFL is trying to beat you physically and the fans and the media are trying to beat you mentally. So if you can get over the physical punches you get just by being with a bad team and you can get over the mental hits you get from the fans and the media and everyone by saying, “You should have drafted this guy, this guy is a bust. ‘ If you can handle all that noise without even listening to it, what did Zach Wilson show that we weren’t expecting? The simplest prediction in the world was to say that Zach Wilson was going to have a hard time an once the bell has rung and the regular season has started.
If Mac Jones is a poor man’s Tom Brady, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
âHe’s one of the smartest kids you can find,â Kiper said. âHe sees something, he holds it back. If you say, “What is his mental capacity on a scale of 1 to 10?” ” He is 20 years old. He’s incredibly, incredibly smart. Few of his throws fall short. Intellect is what separates Mac Jones. Brady is that 20 competitor. Mac is an intellect of 20.
Kiper is certain the Bears got the right quarterback at Fields.
âInternally they think they know this guy is going to be really, really good, and if not great,â he said.
The 49ers are preparing Lance to succeed Jimmy Garoppolo.
âWhat he needs to work on is his precision. He’s a pitcher, not a pitcher right now, âKiper said.
There is always a risk-reward when writing quarters. Ask the Jets (Sam Darnold). Ask the Cardinals (Josh Rosen). Ask anyone. Especially in the 2022 NFL Draft.