Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, many considered the Quarterback class to be underwhelming. While that may have been correct, there were still several storylines that were created as a result of last season’s rookie Quarterback class. This article will rank the 2022 rookie Quarterbacks heading into the 2023 season.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
As the only first-round pick of the 2022 Quarterback class, expectations were relatively high for Pickett as a rookie. In 12 starts last season, he threw for 2,548 yards and seven touchdowns with nine interceptions. While his stat line might not be encouraging, Pickett did make progress as the season developed.
Entering 2023, Pickett has a solid group of weapons to throw to. The Steelers signed free agent Wide Receiver Allen Robinson this offseason to add him to a group of Wide Receivers that already included Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. The Steelers offense will also continue to feature Tight End Pat Freiermuth and Running Back Najee Harris heavily. While the Steelers are likely to be a run-first team again in 2023, Pickett should be in a position to take a solid step forward in 2023.
Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Although he was the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, Brock Purdy was arguably the biggest story of the 2022 NFL season. In six games last season, Purdy threw for 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions while posting a 6-0 record.
However, Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the NFC Championship game and needed to have elbow surgery as a result. There is still a chance that Purdy is ready for the start of training camp but it appears that Quarterbacks Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are going to be getting the majority of the starting reps at the moment. Purdy’s injury status makes him difficult to rank for 2023 but if he is the starter he should produce a solid stat line next season.
Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
As a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Ridder spent most of the season as a backup to Marcus Mariota. In four starts last season, Ridder threw for 708 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Ridder has some rushing upside but he only rushed for 64 yards in his four starts last season.
Ridder enters the 2023 season as the starter in Atlanta and has a strong core group of playmakers around him headlined by Tight End Kyle Pitts, Wide Receiver Drake London and rookie Running Back Bijan Robinson. The downside for Ridder is that the Falcons’ offense was 2nd in rush play percentage last season and they appear to be leaning towards a run-first approach once again in 2023.
Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
As a fifth-round pick, Howell only started one game during his rookie season and it was in the final week of the regular season. In that game, Howell completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown pass and an interception while also gaining an additional 35 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Howell is expected to be the Week 1 starter in Washingon this season and he has a capable group of receivers in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel to target in the passing game as well as Running Backs Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson to lean on in the rushing attack. New offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is now calling the plays in Washington and should be able to create a quick passing scheme that plays to Howell’s strengths. Howell is one of the more intriguing players to follow as the season progresses.
Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans
The Titans selected Willis in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft with hopes that he could be their Quarterback of the future. Unfortunately, the three starts Willis made went about as poorly as possible as he was only able to complete 51% of his passes and failed to throw a single touchdown pass. Heading into 2023 it appears that Willis will be the third-string Quarterback behind Ryan Tannehill and rookie Will Levis. While it may be an overreaction to say Willis will never be a starter in the NFL, his future in Tennessee is very uncertain.