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2022 NFL Scouting Combine: Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell among quarterback winners and losers

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Interviews, medical checks, athletic testing and on-field drills are now over for the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends. Most of them will be departing from Indianapolis Friday. After reflecting on what was seen in Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday night, here are some of the winners and losers at the quarterback position:

EJ Perry 

6-2

211

Ads

9”

4.65 seconds

Desmond Ridder

6-3

211

10”

4.52

Brock Purdy 

6-1

212

9 1/4”

4.84

Skylar Thompson

6-2

217

8 5/8”

4.91

Dustin Crum 

6-1

210

9 3/8”

4.75

Malik Willis

6-0 1/2

219

9 1/2”

D’Eriq King

5-9

196

9 1/4”

Matt Corral

6-1 5/8

212

9 5/8”

Carson Strong

6-3

226

9 1/8”

Sam Howell

6-1

218

9 1/8”

Jack Coan

6-3

218

9 1/12”

4.9

Kenny Pickett

6-3 1/4

217

8 1/2”

4.73

Cole Kelley 

6-7

249

9 7/8”

Bailey Zappe 

6-0 1/2

215

9 3/4”

4.88

Kaleb Eleby

6-1

208

9 1/4”

Winners

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: Ridder was athletically superior to all of those that tested. When work on the field began, the Cincinnati product continued to look impressive. There were accuracy issues this season but some believe that it can be corrected with more consistent footwork in the pocket. If that is the case, then there is no reason to believe a team may not be comfortable taking him in the first round. He certainly showed the arm strength capable of pushing the ball down the field. Ridder does not have the most commanding voice but he was very supportive of the other quarterback participants. 

Sam Howell, North Carolina: Coming into the combine, Howell had the distinction of being the best deep ball thrower in the class. He and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett were probably the most accurate with their downfield attempts. The trajectory on Howell’s deep passes is impressive. When looking for translatable traits, Howell has that feather in his cap. 

Malik Willis, Liberty: Willis did not do any of the athletic testing. Most assume that he would test well so there is no reason to prove them wrong. There is a danger in Willis getting overhyped after his on-field performance. Concerns about his game stem from holding onto the football too long and that is not an aspect visible in a combine setting. However, it is hard not to be impressed by his arm strength. As the night was winding down, it turned into a ‘how late can you throw the go route’ contest to see who had the strongest arm and Willis stood out. He set himself apart in that sense. Willis also earned some credit off the field when he was spotted doing a random act of kindness for a homeless person. 

Notre Dame’s Jack Coan is another that had a solid outing. 

Losers

Matt Corral, Ole Miss: For the second time in as many months, all of the perceived top quarterbacks, except Corral were side-by-side performing in drills. When the California native finally takes the field for talent evaluators, it will be just him at his Pro Day. There will be no apples to apples comparison to other top prospects. Overall, the quarterbacks exceeded my expectations so, will that impact Corral’s stock?

Carson Strong, Nevada: Strong’s strengths are his command of the game pre-snap and his ability to work through progressions. Those traits are not necessarily present at the NFL combine. It is important to note that before diving into the criticism. For being one of the tallest quarterbacks in attendance, a lot of Strong’s throws were very low. He comes across a little more reserved than others in the group.

D’Eriq King, Miami: There has been conversation about King eventually switching positions for years. The gap between he and the other passers was evident. To be successful at the position in the NFL, King would need to display pinpoint accuracy, arm strength and mobility. His lack of ideal height (5-foot-9) makes him as much of an outlier as Pickett’s hand size. 


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