Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022


 “The ball absolutely flies out of Matt Corral’s hand. He’s made for the modern-day NFL…There’s some parts of his game that I think are next-level elite.” – Simms on ranking Corral No. 1

“The most ready right now of all the quarterbacks. The safest pick of the NFL quarterbacks in this draft.” – Simms on Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett

“His ability to throw deep balls, balls on the outside that are power throws, they’re effortless.” – Simms on Liberty QB Malik Willis

“All of these [quarterbacks], I don’t know if they’re really worthy top 10 picks.” – Simms

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 22, 2022 – NBC Sports’ Chris Simms unveiled his quarterback draft rankings, discussing this year’s top QB prospects heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, listing Mississippi QB Matt Corral No. 1. In the episode, Simms ranks and breaks down Corral, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Liberty’s Malik Willis, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.

Simms, a third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2003 NFL Draft who played eight NFL seasons, is joined by NBC Sports’ Ahmed Fareed on the podcast. The two offer in-depth breakdowns, rankings, and NFL comparisons for this year’s top quarterback prospects.

“There’s question about this class, and I understand that,” Simms said of this year’s quarterback prospects. “Maybe the high-end talent isn’t as talented as we’ve seen in year’s past, and there’s certainly not the depth that we’ve seen in years past. For me and my money, after the top five or six, it really falls off. Like really falls off…It’s an underwhelming class.”

Fareed to Simms on his past rankings: “You broke the internet 365 days ago, or around then, when you ranked Zach Wilson over Trevor Lawrence. I just wanted to sing your praises for a moment. You saw red flags in Trevor Lawrence last year, and I think we all saw that. You were higher than most on Mac Jones, some may say he was the most impressive rookie quarterback, so that was a win for you. You saw some red flags and a longer way to go with Trey Lance, maybe the 49ers see that now too. And you saw some passing game issues with Justin Fields, why you ranked him lower, and I think we saw that. So, you had a lot of wins.”

Simms has had recent success in projecting college quarterbacks – including naming Patrick Mahomes as his most exciting prospect in 2017, listing Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen as his top-two QBs in 2018, and having Justin Herbert as his No. 2 QB in 2020.

In the lead up to April’s NFL Draft, Simms will rank and break down every position group, provide a list of mid-late round sleeper prospects, and issue a final mock draft.

Simms’ Top Five QB prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft:

1. Matt Corral, Mississippi
2. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
3. Malik Willis, Liberty
4. Sam Howell, North Carolina
5. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati


The following are highlights from Simms’ QB draft rankings:

No. 1: Matt Corral, Mississippi

“Here’s the basics: insane athlete. He’s the quickest quarterback in the draft. There’s nobody with quicker feet, can make people miss, great acceleration, can pop his feet to get back into throwing positions…nobody can do that as quick as Matt Corral…It’s as quick a release as I’ve seen coming out of college football in a few years. It’s almost to the point at times where I go, ‘Man, I wish he’d let his arm go a little bit more.’ … It literally looked like he just took it from his ear and just threw it like a dart, that’s how quick and compact the delivery is…The arm strength is phenomenal. The ball absolutely flies out of Matt Corral’s hand. To me, he’s made for the modern-day NFL…This guy can run. He’s the fastest quarterback in this group…He’s the most accurate thrower in the draft, too. I don’t know what his numbers are, I don’t really care. I know when he sees a target, he can put the ball on the money in the tightest windows out of anybody in this draft…There’s a lot of elite traits with Matt Corral…The one thing is he’s got to put it all together. It’s not all together yet. I wish we did see a little bit more of, ‘Let’s go through reads.’ … There’s some parts of his game that I think are next-level elite.”

No. 2: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

“Really good football player. The most ready right now of all the quarterbacks. The safest pick of the NFL quarterbacks in this draft. He is what he is. You know what you’re getting with Kenny Pickett. You’re getting the guy that can play the position truest to form out of this group of quarterbacks in this draft class. The most NFL-ready from understanding protections to reading the field to processing the information pre-snap, post-snap, going through the reads. Incredibly accurate thrower, especially in the intermediate range…Good size, plays pretty big too…Awesome in the pocket. I mean really, like awesome. He’s a good athlete, he’s twitchy, he can make people miss, there’s good pop in his feet. So, he can make people miss in the pocket that way, but also, he has a great natural feel of where the pocket is…He’s almost always in great position to throw the football, so that’s where he’s really good. He can run and rip off a 10-yard gain. There’s all those aspects to like about him…But I don’t say, ‘Wow’ about anything with Kenny Pickett physically…I don’t know if I necessarily see any trait that is real, real elite other than the fact that the guy can play quarterback and he is the most polished and ready to go of any quarterback in this draft class.”

No. 3: Malik Willis, Liberty

“It’s a special arm, no question. He can make every throw on the football field with ease. As a thrower, he keeps his body in the right positions, understands how to use the front shoulder…His motion is nice. His ability to throw deep balls, balls on the outside that are power throws, they’re effortless. He is a gifted runner…he can accelerate pretty good, and he’s got an incredible pair of legs on him. He understands how to set up blockers like a running back…there are true running back traits there. He breaks a ton of tackles, bounces off people, he has very good quickness and ability to make people miss in the space. …All of these [quarterbacks], I don’t know if they’re really worthy top 10 picks. He’s a naturally more gifted runner than (Trey) Lance. His throwing motion is tight…he’s got the second-quickest release out of all of these quarterbacks. To me, there’s a lot of projection here…You don’t get to see a ton of variety of throws, you don’t get to see a reading of the field. He’s physically more gifted than (Sam Howell and Desmond Ridder). He throws a very catchable ball, he is accurate, all in all…The arm is real.”

No. 4: Sam Howell, North Carolina

“Good in the pocket. There’s a toughness and grittiness to his game that shows in the film. He’s willing to stand in there, take shots. Not the fastest guy in the world, but he is mobile, and he’s got a great pair of legs on him that allows him to break a lot of tackles, make people miss within the pocket…I like that aspect about him. He’s one of the few guys in this draft that I look at that can really go across the field and read defenses…He does have the ability to throw the ball with some different platforms, and he does have a good hand. He’s got some mechanical issues…I don’t like his motion. It’s way too over the top…That does compromise power and accuracy of the ball. But he’s got experience, his arm is good, he had the strongest arm at the Combine in terms of miles per hour. He plays like Baker Mayfield…He’s gritty…He doesn’t have the arm Mayfield does, but I do think his movement and athleticism will translate better in the NFL because he’s a bigger human. There’s potential for him to be a better thrower. I don’t see first-round talent.”

No. 5: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

“He’s got a great personality, acts like a quarterback. I think he’s a guy who’s going to continue to grow into his body. Size is his skill…He can throw over the line of scrimmage, he can throw over people when they’re in his face and in the pocket. There are some issues here…It’s below average throwing at this point for an NFL starting quarterback. There are some major tweaks that have to be done in his throwing that are a little concerning to me. The running is real…the read-option is going to be a real threat for Desmond Ridder in the NFL. He is one of those guys, read-option, he keeps it around the edge, he can go for a 70-yard touchdown. The speed is worthy of that. But he’s got the worst feet in the pocket out of any of the top guys. He lets his arm get a little floppy…He’s not a good short ball thrower. There’s things I do like, certainly…throws a pretty good deep ball. He’s a good athlete…there are some physical traits there to build on, there’s just not a lot of evidence yet to go, ‘Oh okay, he definitely can do it.’ All in all, I guess I was expecting a hair more.”