ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona-grown QBs projected in 1st round of early 2022 NFL mock drafts

May 5, 2021, 3:16 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm

Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis throws against UCLA during the first half of an NCAA c...

Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis throws against UCLA during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The 2021 NFL Draft came to an end this past weekend.

So is it too early to start projecting where players will be selected in a year from now? Probably.

But that’s not going to stop anyone from scouting ahead. Looking to the 2022 edition of the NFL Draft, you’ll find that a lot of national pundits have two Arizona-grown quarterbacks going in the first round of their way-too-early mock drafts: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (Phoenix Pinnacle) and USC’s Kedon Slovis (Scottsdale Desert Mountain).

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer is bullish on the duo, having Rattler go No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans and Slovis with the second pick to the Detroit Lions.

The Texans are headed to splitting with Deshaun Watson in some form and they will quickly find that Davis Mills isn’t the answer. For a QB-needy team, the best place to start is with the latest athletic dual-threat from Lincoln Riley’s offense. The Lions will be looking for their future at the position beyond Jared Goff in 2022. Slovis should have a breakout season as an efficient and accurate passer ahead.

USA Today’s Draft Wire has Rattler and Slovis going No. 2 and 8 overall to the Detroit Lions and Washington Football team, respectively.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson doesn’t have the duo going quite as high, with Rattler being selected eighth overall to the WFT and Slovis getting picked ninth by the Las Vegas Raiders.

Rattler is undersized at 6-foot-1, but that’s less of an issue in today’s NFL. Either way, he can sling it — he completed 67 percent of his throws last season with 28 touchdowns and he’s only going to improve. The Raiders need a lot of things — and maybe the ’21 draft class will solve some of those issues — but it’s only a matter of time before Jon Gruden succumbs to the allure of a new QB.

Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski is much higher on Rattler than Slovis, as his mock has the Oklahoma QB going No. 1 overall to the Texans but Slovis at 19 to the New Orleans Saints.

NBC Sports Chicago’s Glynn Morgan is even less bullish and has Rattler being picked ninth by Washington and Slovis going to the Denver Broncos at No. 24.

According to Pro Football Focus, Rattler finished third in its rating system (92.5) behind Zach Wilson and Mac Jones — two top 15 overall picks in the 2021 draft. Recently, the Washington FT competed with aging, past-their-prime veterans at quarterback. Possibly finding themselves drafting within the top ten, a talent like Rattler would be difficult for Washington to pass up.

Quarterbacks have a tendency to skew draft boards and make teams overvalue their need for a “franchise” capable triggerman. Should Slovis last until the 24th pick, it’s possible the team acquiring his talents would be getting value on the dollar with his selection. Slovis needs to add some weight and improve attacking downfield, but he has massive upside as a pro prospect.

Two other Arizona native quarterbacks are also on 2022 NFL Draft watchlists in Texas Tech’s Tyler Shough (Chandler Hamilton) and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy (Gilbert Perry).

Shough is ranked as the fifth-best QB and Purdy comes in at the No. 10 spot, per CollegeFootballNews.com’s top-10 quarterback prospects list.

Sporting News also has Shough ranked as the No. 5 QB, as well as the 34th-best prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class.

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