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2022 NFL Draft Predictions: One Man’s Thoughts on Quarterbacks and Running Backs

We look at some potential landing spots for quarterbacks and running backs.

The 2022 NFL Draft is upon us. In preparation, let’s predict some of the top fantasy-relevant prospect landing spots and discuss how those landing spots might pan out for that prospect’s fantasy football value. This week we will begin with quarterbacks and running backs.

QUARTERBACKS

Malik Willis, QB Liberty

Willis is arguably the most talented quarterback in this class and will likely go first among quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. His athleticism and cannon for an arm display some elite upside if he is developed properly.

Right now, I see the Lions taking the potential franchise quarterback at number two overall. This would be a landing spot you would need to be patient with as Willis would likely not start as a rookie. However, looking to his second year, he will have a full year of development under his belt and find himself in a growing offense full of young talent in Amon-Ra St. Brown, TJ Hockenson, and D’Andre Swift. The offensive line is also growing quickly as well.

Kenny Pickett, QB Pittsburgh

Pickett is likely the most polished passer of this 2022 draft class. Considered by many to be the safest quarterback draft choice, he has range all over the field and brings sneaky athleticism, running a 4.73 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

I see Pickett in a Panthers uniform in his first year, going sixth overall. This would not be my dream spot for Pickett, but with Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield along with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson at wide receiver, there are plenty of weapons for him to work with. With the massive threat of McCaffery in the running game, more running lanes will open up for Pickett to take advantage of with his athletic ability. The Panthers are additionally one of very few teams that may potentially start a rookie quarterback in week one. So the Pittsburgh prospect could potentially jump into the action right away and deliver us fantasy football managers some exciting fantasy points early.

Matt Corral, QB Ole Miss

Corral is an interesting quarterback in this 2022 draft class. Along with Pickett and Willis, he has solid athletic ability. However, he has been somewhat of an inconsistent passer on the field and should not be a starter in week one.

The Steelers did commit a two-year deal to Mitchell Trubisky, but that does not mean they believe in him as their future. That said, I see them scooping up Corral in round two. Although a former Pro Bowler, Trubisky has played pretty poorly since his amazing 2018 campaign, becoming a backup for Josh Allen in 2022. The Steelers are a great landing spot for quarterbacks out of this draft class as the Steelers have so many offensive weapons. They have Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Pat Freiermuth as the main pass catchers alongside Najee Harris out of the backfield. The only problem here for fantasy is Trubisky. He will likely be a much more serviceable quarterback than Drew Lock or Sam Darnold will be for their teams who also may be looking for a quarterback.

Corral would need some development before getting thrown out onto the field and Pittsburgh may decide to just keep the rookie on the bench for a year and let him develop. For fantasy managers, this would not be optimal in the short term. However, if you can wait a year your patience just might pay off.

Desmond Ridder, QB Cincinnati

Ridder is someone with a lot of potential in this 2022 quarterback class. He shows promise as a passer all over the field and great athleticism. Some people consider him the best quarterback prospect of the draft. Additionally, there are rumors surfacing that many NFL teams have him as a first-round talent.

I anticipate Ridder getting picked up by the Seattle Seahawks at number nine overall. You read that right – I anticipate three quarterbacks going in the top ten in a pretty weak quarterback class. In today’s NFL, you really need a standout quarterback to take your team to the next level. With Pickett and Willis off the board, the Seahawks could go tackle (which is projected by a lot of people), but they have not drafted a tackle in the first round since 2010 when they selected Russel Okung sixth overall. Pete Carroll is not looking for a rebuild as a seventy year old coach. He wants to win now before retirement and he knows Drew Lock is not the answer. I believe Carroll will push for a quarterback to replace Drew Lock and take the reins early, providing his team a legitimate chance to win. This would be a very intriguing spot for Ridder’s fantasy value.

Sam Howell, QB North Carolina

Howell is a difficult prospect for me in this class. His accuracy seems inconsistent and upon reviewing film, he seems to struggle with getting through his reads before he takes off running out of the pocket. He will need significant development and even after that, the odds seem slim we see Howell become a franchise quarterback. He is athletic, but not the way you want him to be. He is also not a player who will make you miss and that has caused some injury problems throughout his career thus far. In the NFL, all it takes is one bad hit and your career could be over. Consider Todd Gurley and his knee injury. Post-injury, he was not the same despite knowing multiple years as a superstar in Los Angeles. I cannot help but mention Alex Smith who eventually did come back after a few years, but Smith was simply not the same player, either. If Sam Howell gets hit wrong, his career could quickly spiral down.

I predict the Washington Commanders will be trading up into the third round with some of their later picks and picking up Howell. The Commanders did just invest some draft capital in Carson Wentz, but they are likely not complete at the quarterback position. Considering his performance last season, Washington should realize Wentz will likely be a bridge quarterback for them for the next year or two. The Colts were just begging to give away Wentz this off-season for a reason. Howell will be able to sit and learn for a year or two and then when the time arises, take over for the Commanders as their starting quarterback – this would make Howell a late round pick in most rookie drafts.

RUNNING BACKS

Breece Hall, RB Iowa State

Hall is pretty much everything you want in a running back. He is smart, patient, explosive considering his large size and he is an excellent pass catcher. The only thing he may have to develop is his pass blocking abilities which will be crucial to his NFL success.

Buffalo could pick up Hall in round one of the draft, making sure they get that running back they want. Buffalo would be the perfect landing spot for Hall. This is a killer offense with an elite quarterback in Josh Allen who is looking for a running back they can really lean on. A good offense gives their running backs a lot of touchdown opportunities. Hall would take advantage of it. He has scored a whopping 41 rushing touchdowns in his past two seasons as a Cyclone, along with adding five more in the passing game. The only thing in Hall’s way is Devin Singletary. However, he has been with the Bills for four years and has not really proven to be dependable. Hall’s talent compared to Singletary’s would eventually lead to him being the three-down back for Buffalo’s high-powered offense.

If this was to come to fruition, it would obviously lock Hall in as the 1.01 in both 1QB and Superflex formats. It would also severely affect the ADP of Singletary. Dynasty managers who have Singletary on their rosters are going to have a very stressful night or two.

Kenneth Walker III, RB Michigan State

Walker is a very smooth runner with excellent speed and elusiveness. Although a great pure runner, he did not prove much as a pass-catcher at Michigan State. Interestingly, that is not completely his fault. Michigan State has a history of not utilizing their running backs in that manner, but we saw tons of practice reports and leaked videos of Walker making some insane catches. So the potential is there, Michigan State just never utilized it.

I see Houston scooping up Walker in the second round of the NFL draft. The Texans needs a running back and Walker would be a great fit for them. They need a runner who can take the workload on the ground and help out Davis Mills as a receiver as well – Walker may be able do both. Walker took on 263 carries this past season as a Spartan and Houston is going to need that from him as they try to develop Mills into their potential franchise quarterback. Houston also does not have a deep receiving core and they need bodies to help catch passes. Based on Walker’s practice videos, he can do that. This Houston Texans offense may not be truly good for a couple of years but the volume is going to be there from day one. We all know in fantasy football, volume is king. If this was to come to pass, Walker would be a very tempting player to draft towards the top of the draft, regardless of the recent struggles in Houston.

Isaiah Spiller, RB Texas A&M

Spiller is a physical and powerful 216-pound runner who can be a three-down running back in the NFL. He is powerful and hard to tackle but lacks explosive speed. He can very easily be tracked down on bigger run plays as well.

I see Spiller being selected in the third round of the NFL Draft. He would be a pretty good fit for Atlanta. Right now, the Falcons need a running back who can do it all and help out Cordarrelle Patterson. They cannot let Marcus Mariota or even a potential rookie throw the ball 35+ times per game as they have in 2019 and 2020. As a result, they need a running back who can take a lot of work on the ground, which they do not currently have. Spiller would be able to come in and see a ton of volume right away. Even with Patterson there, he can also help out as a pass-catcher. Atlanta needs that help at receiver. So, if Spiller can catch passes well, he will also be looked at in the passing game. The offense is not great and probably will not be for the next two to three years. This could certainly affect his fantasy value but the volume will be there to outweigh that negative.

How do you think it’s going to go down this weekend. Post your thoughts below!

2022 NFL Draft Predictions: One Man’s Thoughts on Quarterbacks and Running Backs
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Ryan Maldonado
17 days ago

QBs didn’t quite turn out like you thought. These predictions are difficult. I think teams are just looking towards next years strong class and not wasting a pick in this years weak class

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