The 2022 quarterback draft class is…interesting. There isn’t a sure-fire, ticket-selling, future Hall of Fame QB to speak of in the group, but there are several interesting prospects that have the potential to become franchise pieces for whoever snags them.
Washington is in the midst of another quarterback search. While they certainly could feel out free agency and swing for the stars by trying to snag an Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, trying their hand at the draft is also a viable move. So, who jumps off the page of potential Commanders signal-callers?
“I would take a shot on Malik Willis from Liberty, I would,” NFL draft analyst Ryan Roberts told BMitch and Finlay on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday.
“Malik Willis is a fortified athlete, 220 pounds, thick build, strong arm. I think there’s plenty of talent obviously there. I just don’t think he’s a guy where you want to thrust him too quickly because he’s a guy that’s coming from Liberty, at a lower level…I would definitely take a shot with him, though, especially if you’re in the right situation where you can be a little patient.”
Willis is a prominent candidate to be the next quarterback for the Commanders, Willis as he's featured in NBCSW's QB Big Board ranking the 15 best draft and trade options for Washington this offseason. He threw for 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and ran the ball for 13 TDs this past year with the Flames. Willis would be an investment, no doubt, as there are slim chances he’d make an immediate impact in Burgundy & Gold, who hold the No. 11 pick.
However, Willis' pure electricity under center is reminiscent of a smaller Cam Newton in his early days. A scrambling, dual-threat QB is something Washington has lacked for years.
At the other end of the QB spectrum, though, is a Mountain West product who could perhaps start gelling in the NFL a bit more quickly. Is it worth spending a high draft pick on a gamble?
“One other guy that I think is…a big wild card in this class is Carson Strong from Nevada,” Roberts said. “I have a late first round [grade], great arm…I think from a mental capacity perspective, Carson Strong is further along than any quarterback in this class.”
Roberts went to describe the fact that Strong was asked the world at Nevada this past season, where he threw for over 4,100 yards, 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Strong had to set his protection, call frequent audibles, work the numbers game and read defenses more often than your typical college QB.
However, the knock on Strong has been his accuracy despite his 36-8 TD-INT ratio and 70.0% completion percentage at Nevada this year. His work at the combine and senior bowl performance did not wow any scouts, but Strong performed well at Nevada.
“I think from a mental capacity and arm strength perspective, accuracy, he can get it done…Relative to the rest of the class for sure, Carson Strong is one of the more accurate quarterbacks.”
The general consensus around Strong is that he is not worth a top-15 pick, but could be a potential steal in the later rounds as he could ‘work within the system and make the team better’ from day one, as Roberts said. Willis might be higher on the teams’ lists, though, as his athleticism and scrambling ability skyrocket him to top-10 pick potential.
Washington also holds the 42nd, 73rd, 111th, 187th, and 228th pick in the draft. If and when they go the quarterback route, Willis and Strong are two names to keep an eye on.