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Who is QB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft? Is Malik Willis closing in?

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Who is QB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft? The top quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft is a hotly contested topic. That’s not going to change, even on a week-to-week basis. We’re not in the business of throwing around the QB1 mantle to anyone who has a breakout game, but we can analyze these fluctuations and see where things might be trending.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the notable quarterback performances from the previous week. Which of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft helped their stock? Which ones might have it? And what should we look for in Week 3 of the college football season?

Week 2 performances from top quarterbacks in 2022 NFL Draft

To gauge the 2022 NFL Draft QB1 race, let’s take a look at how some of the most notable quarterbacks played in Week 2 of the 2021 season.

Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell bounce back in 2022 QB1 race

This is why, while it’s important to document performances every week, we must keep things in perspective. Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell both struggled in their respective debuts, but it was only the first week of the season. Positive regression was likely, and we saw that on Saturday, albeit against inferior competition.

Rattler helped Oklahoma crush Western Carolina 76-0. In doing so, he looked much more comfortable than he had against Tulane. He still faded back in the pocket at times, but Rattler was crisp, quick with his decision-making, and terrific in terms of ball placement. His arm talent always pops, but that only makes it more stark when he’s comfortable and composed. He also showed off his mobility at times — an underrated part of his game.

Howell, meanwhile, put up numbers against Georgia State. He threw for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns while generating 104 yards and 2 scores on the ground. For Howell, structural improvements yielded individual growth. He had more time to get into a rhythm and looked more comfortable as the game went on. Howell made good decisions but also flung the ball downfield when he had the looks. His physical traits aren’t elite, but he has a strong arm nonetheless with solid baseline mobility.

Malik Willis, Matt Corral, and Carson Strong make it too close to call

While Rattler and Howell both had good weeks, you could feasibly have at least five different QB1 options right now. Malik Willis, Matt Corral, and Carson Strong all looked exceptional in their Week 2 outings. Among all of the top 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks, the consistent theme is that they played less-than-stellar competition in Week 2. Even so, it’s good to see execution in optimal circumstances.

Willis and Corral, in particular, have two of the highest-upside skill sets in the entire 2022 NFL Draft. Both put those skill sets on display on Saturday. Although Willis only threw the ball 18 times, he was a steady 13-of-18 for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the ground, he provided 93 yards and a score as well. Willis showed off improved touch and accuracy from last year. That was one of the big issues in his game from 2020, so it’ll be a huge boost for his stock if he stays consistent there.

Corral, meanwhile, put up 5 touchdowns in a surgical display of passing. You love to see quarterbacks play fast, and Corral certainly does. He’s confident and decisive, and his passes carry a rare, unnatural zip. Accurate to all levels of the field, Corral has visibly toned down his volatility so far this season, and that was the only thing standing in the way of his ascension.

Then there’s Strong. Perhaps the steadiest of all the quarterbacks, Strong once again brought his A-game for Nevada. He’s a pocket passer, no doubt. But he brings many of the elements desired in such a QB, including good processing ability, ball placement, and poise.

Sleepers like Will Levis, Desmond Ridder, Kenny Pickett still making noise

There seems to be a safely-formed top five with any order of Rattler, Howell, Willis, Corral, and Strong. However, the 2022 NFL Draft QB1 conversation isn’t exclusive to them alone. Several sleepers had impressive weeks, including Will Levis, Desmond Ridder, and Kenny Pickett.

Statistically, Levis was the most underwhelming out of this group, but he still put up quality reps. There were times when Levis could’ve responded better to pressure — an issue visible in his Week 1 outing as well. Yet, Levis’ deep accuracy still awed. On his touchdown throw, he actively used his eyes to hold the safeties in the middle of the field, then fired to his open man in the flat. That quick development with his eye discipline is extremely promising, and it cultivates excitement for Levis’ future growth.

Pickett may not be a QB1 contender in the 2022 NFL Draft like Levis and Ridder, as he doesn’t quite have the elite traits. Nevertheless, Pickett is a solid prospect in his own right, and he doesn’t always get warranted respect. He’s one of the toughest players in college football, and he put Pittsburgh on his back last Saturday. With solid mobility and arm elasticity, he has a great off-script skill set. He may not be an NFL starter, but someone will be lucky to have him in their quarterback room.

Grayson McCall an under-the-radar name to watch

He may not declare, given that he’s only a redshirt sophomore. Nevertheless, Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall has been playing lights out, going all the way back to last year. McCall has been one of the driving forces in the Chanticleers’ success, but more than that, he’s also a legitimate NFL Draft prospect with high-end traits.

McCall’s accuracy impresses, as does his willingness to push the boundaries and take advantage of shots down the field. On top of his passing ability, McCall is also a stellar positional athlete and a tough competitor. If he keeps playing well, he may have to consider capitalizing on his stock and declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Coastal Carolina won’t have many particularly challenging opponents in 2021. So the opportunity is there for McCall to inflate his perception nationwide.

Race to be QB1 in 2022 NFL Draft still open-ended

As expected, we don’t have too many definitive answers as to who 2022’s QB1 is after Week 2. Many of the quarterbacks in the running this week played subpar competition. Although execution is important no matter what, it means a little bit more when it’s amidst more adverse circumstances. That’s not something you can see against Western Carolina, Murray State, or Troy.

Week 2 was a positive week for many quarterbacks. But from an NFL Draft perspective, it was relatively stagnant. As we get farther down the schedule, however, these quarterbacks will start to encounter more obstacles. Through that process, we’ll get more valuable information. Thus, we may eventually be able to narrow down the 2022 QB1 candidates.



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Saints vs. Seahawks prediction, pick, odds, and how to watch the Week 7 game

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This New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks matchup is a little bit less intriguing than the NFL had originally planned, with Seattle rolling with Geno Smith under center while Russell Wilson is injured. With Seattle hanging onto a thread in the NFC West, will a home game against Jameis Winston be enough to save their season? Here are the TV channels and ways to listen, the current NFL odds, and our pick and prediction for the Saints vs. Seahawks game.

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks prediction and odds | Week 7

  • Spread: Saints -5
  • Moneyline: Saints -226, Seahawks +188
  • Over/Under: 43.5 (Over -110, Under -110)

Odds from DraftKings sportsbook

Saints vs. Seahawks prediction

For the past several years, a Saints vs. Seahawks game would have been a marquee matchup of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. That is far from what we are going to get in this one. Brees retired this offseason, and Wilson is out until at least Week 10 with a finger injury. So instead, we will be getting Geno Smith and Jameis Winston.

After stepping in for Wilson after the injury, Smith looked good and almost led the team to a comeback victory against the Rams. Unfortunately, the next week they lost to the Steelers in overtime. It was a good effort, but the Seahawks are now below .500.

The Saints, meanwhile, have been up and down all year. During their tour of the NFC East, they lost to the lowly New York Giants but then followed that up with a win against the Washington Football Team. You just never know which version of Winston you are going to get.

Injuries clouding the picture for both Seattle and New Orleans

It’s not only Wilson out for Seattle — there are also question marks surrounding their running back corps. Chris Carson is on IR with a neck injury, and his replacement Alex Collins, who played well last week, will also miss this matchup. That means Rashaad Penny will likely get the bulk of the carries for the Seahawks.

Things are not much better for New Orleans. Their injury report includes offensive linemen Erik McCoy and Terron Armstead, defensive end Marcus Davenport, linebacker Kwon Alexander, and others.

With both teams beat up, I think the play is to the under 43.5. Both offenses will struggle, and I have little faith that Smith will be able to accomplish much this time around.

Saints vs. Seahawks Prediction: Saints 17, Seattle 10

How to watch and listen to Saints vs. Seahawks this week

  • Start time: 8:15 PM ET
  • Channel: ESPN
  • Live stream:
    • Hulu + Live TV
    • fuboTV
    • YouTube TV
    • DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket
    • NFL Mobile App
    • NFL GamePass
  • Listen:
    • Local Seattle: 710 ESPN Seattle, KIRO Radio 97.3, & Westwood One
    • Local New Orleans: WWL 870 AM/105.3 FM
    • TuneIn Radio
    • Sirius XM Radio



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Colts vs. 49ers prediction, pick, odds, and how to watch the Week 7 game

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The Colts vs. 49ers is a battle between two very different teams. On one side, you have the Colts, who are coming off a dominant performance against the Texans. On the other, you have the 49ers, who still have questions at the QB position and are now coming off a bye. Here’s the channel for the Week 7 contest, the current NFL odds, and a pick and prediction.

Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers prediction and odds | Week 7

  • Spread: San Francisco 49ers -3.5
  • Moneyline: 49ers -210, Colts +175
  • Over/Under: 45 (Over -110, Under -110)
  • Odds from DraftKings sportsbook.

The Indianapolis Colts come into this game looking to build off their 31-3 win over the Houston Texans last week. They are still a long way from the top of the AFC South at 2-4, but a somewhat easy schedule in the coming weeks could put them back in contention.

Carson Wentz has thrown for 1,545 yards, 9 touchdowns, and an interception on 64.2% passing so far this year, and he looks more and more comfortable in the Indianapolis’ offense as the season progresses. Meanwhile, Jonathan Taylor has rushed for a team-high 472 yards and 4 touchdowns. His game against Houston was his best of the year, and he is finally falling into the RB1 role that everyone imagined for him.

The 49ers are coming off a bye but suffered a tough 17-10 loss to the Cardinals the week before. They played Arizona well, and in hindsight, a one-TD loss to the only undefeated team in the NFL is not a bad thing. The bigger problem is that they’re dealing with two banged-up QBs in Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance and a mess at the RB position. It still isn’t clear who their lead back will be in this contest.

Colts vs. 49ers prediction

If you had asked me this question at the beginning of the season, I never would have thought of predicting a possible upset for the Colts on the road against San Francisco. However, here we are. Indianapolis is 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games and 4-1 ATS in their last five contests overall. Wentz is playing like the best QB in this matchup, and as great as the 49ers’ coaching staff is, they have their hands tied behind their backs due to injuries.

Colts vs. 49ers prediction: Colts 24, 49ers 21

How to watch and listen to Colts vs. 49ers this week

  • Start time: 8:20 PM ET
  • Channel: NBC
  • Live stream: 
    • Sling
    • NBC App
    • Hulu + Live TV
    • fuboTV
    • YouTube TV
    • DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket
  • Listen:
    • Local Indianapolis: Indianapolis on 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan and 97.1 HANK FM.
    • Local San Francisco: KGO 810 AM and KSAN 107.7 FM The Bone
    • TuneIn Radio
    • Sirius XM Radio

Ryan Gosling is the Chief Written Content Officer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter @ryangoslingPFN.





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Do the Carolina Panthers favor Deshaun Watson over Sam Darnold?

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The Carolina Panthers are sitting at 3-3 on the season, fresh off of three straight losses. A key factor in those games? Sam Darnold throwing 6 interceptions. After starting the year on fire with his new team, he has cooled off. Do the Panthers have buyer’s remorse? According to what sources tell PFN Insider Tony Pauline, the Panthers may be eyeing Deshaun Watson as a potential replacement if things don’t turn around.

Could the Panthers be in on a trade for Deshaun Watson?

After defeating the Jets, Saints, and Texans in the first three weeks of the season, the Panthers have since lost to the Cowboys, Eagles, and Vikings. Darnold has looked particularly bad in the last two games. At home against the Eagles, he completed 56.8% of his passes for 177 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. He wasn’t any better when the Vikings traveled to Carolina the very next week. Darnold connected on just 41.5% of his attempts for 207 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Carolina’s next two games before the November 2 trade deadline are road trips against the Atlanta Falcons (2-3) and New York Giants (1-5). If Darnold cannot right the ship against two flailing franchises, the Panthers might move on.

Although the Houston Texans finished 4-12 in 2020, Watson was lights out. He led the league in passing yards (4,823) and yards per attempt (8.9), was third in completion rate (70.2%), and threw 33 TDs to just 7 INTs.

Are the Panthers sold on Sam Darnold as their future?

Pauline was the first to break the news that Carolina owner David Tepper wanted to pursue Watson via trade prior to the allegations against the Texans QB coming to the forefront. At the time, Pauline stated:

“Now, the big noise I have heard over the past 24 hours comes from the Carolina Panthers. I spoke with someone last night, and we spoke about Deshaun Watson. This is a person in the know, and they told me that the Panthers will do anything they can to acquire Watson, and they will pay any price to acquire Deshaun Watson.”

Sources tell Pauline that if Darnold continues his poor play of the past three weeks, the Panthers could make a move for Watson. Tepper bought the team in 2018, and he is not one to sit around while his team underperforms. In fact, while everyone expected Matt Rhule to be the next head coach of the New York Giants in 2020, Tepper had other ideas.

Sources also tell Pauline that if Carolina were to get involved in the Watson sweepstakes, it would likely be just before the trade deadline.

Understanding this, Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio may opt to wait another week or two to see if the Panthers do enter the bidding war in order to drive up compensation. This, of course, makes sense, considering the Dolphins may be looking at a trade for Watson as well.

According to reports throughout the offseason, the Texans are looking for around three first-round picks for Watson, if not more. A three-time Pro Bowler at the most important position in sports may just be worth such compensation.

Still, his 22 sexual assault lawsuits weigh heavily. Nevertheless, the Panthers don’t have an excess of draft capital to make a move. In fact, in 2022, they are without their second and third-round picks due to prior trades. Other than that, they have the usual allotment of picks in future years.



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