It’s too early to predict who the Green Bay Packers will take in the 2022 NFL Draft but it’s never too early to showcase some under the radar prospects
With the attention that’s recently been given to the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback room, we’ll start there.
USC’s Kedon Slovis, Georgia’s JT Daniels, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, and Liberty’s Malik Willis are the early front-runners to be selected in the first round. They’ve got the traits that NFL talent evaluators are looking for. Cole Kelley, Michael Penix Jr, Matt Corral, Skylar Thompson, and Grayson McCall have what it takes as well but are receiving less attention.
Cole Kelley – Southeastern Louisiana, 6’ 7” 260
Kelley, the Arkansas transfer, is an absolute behemoth, standing 6’ 7”, 260-pounds. He has above average but not elite arm strength. Still, he was known for his deep-ball production back in Arkansas. He shows fantastic pocket poise, allowing receivers time to work themselves free downfield.
Kelley has plenty of bad tape working the short and intermediate levels of the field, though that’s something he’s improved on during his time at Southeastern Louisiana. He’s improved plenty on his timing routes and has shown an ability to throw receivers open against zone coverage.
Kelley has also dramatically improved his footwork from his clunky Razorback days. He’s matured both mentally and physically and seems to be developing into a legitimate NFL QB prospect.
FCS ball doesn’t offer a clear path to the NFL unless you’re playing for NDSU but Kelley will enter the 2021 season as one of the most talented players in the division. He has NFL talent and seemed to put it all together for a few games during the shortened ‘2020’ season. Cole Kelley will be on the radar next year.
Michael Penix Jr – Indiana, 6’ 3” 218
Penix has had two seasons as the day-one starter for Indiana and two seasons interrupted by injury. But when he’s been healthy, he’s shown a whip of an arm and an affinity for hitting tight windows. The lefty may also be the top deep-ball thrower in the college game.
Much like with Kelley, it’s been the short and intermediate throws where we’ve seen Penix struggle. He can progress through reads quickly and looks great with a clean pocket, but when his protection breaks down, so does Penix.
When pressured, he shows a tendency to miss easy completions and force off-platform throws. His decision making under pressure combined with his durability concerns may be a red-flag for some scouts.
Still, Penix has the kind of arm talent that we can’t ignore. He can certainly operate an NFL offense. We just need to see him upright, which may be a tough ask considering he’s coming off a late-season ACL tear.
Matt Corral – Ole Miss, 6’ 1” 205
Corral is approaching just his second season as a starter. He led a 2020 Rebels’ offense that ranked third in both yards and scoring in the SEC. He also kept the Rebels competitive in every game.
Arm strength and natural athleticism are positives for Corral. He’s one of the more gifted ball-carriers at the position. Whether it’s a scramble or a designed run, Corral will make the first defender miss. He knows how to get every yard he can before surrendering himself with a slide.
Corral runs hot and cold, though, which can be maddening for an offensive coordinator. He’ll need structure and time to develop his mechanics at the next level. Aside from a small-ish frame, though, Corral has natural traits that you look for in a quarterback prospect.
Skylar Thompson – Kansas St, 6’ 2” 223
Operating a horizontal, gimmick-heavy offense, Skylar Thompson hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to showcase his arm talent. It may be fair to question his arm strength but we can’t question his athleticism or intangibles.
As a big-bodied, dual-threat quarterback leading his team to more wins than expected, he’s sure to draw some Tebow comparisons – or comps to former K-State star Colin Klein.
Thompson doesn’t have much experience with traditional drops and reads. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket and makes some questionable decisions. He’ll need to improve his footwork and display a more translatable skillset during the 2021 season.
Grayson McCall – Coastal Carolina, 6’ 3” 200
McCall may be thin but what he lacks in beef, he makes up for with moxie. He can sit in the pocket and absorb a hit when he has to, or he can take off and run, and looks great doing it. McCall displays quick feet and should record a decent 40-time.
He’s also one of the more accurate passers in the NCAA. He can place the ball with touch or fit it into tight windows with pace. Those windows get even tighter at the next level but McCall has the arm strength to drive it home.
McCall has solid throwing mechanics but he he’ll need some chalk development. With the Chanticleers, he may never be asked to operate anything resembling an NFL offense, which will hurt his draft stock.
That may not matter next year, though, as McCall will be just a redshirt Sophomore. He may decide to focus on adding good weight and learning the intricacies of the game. McCall has already displayed the tools needed to have success at the next level, and the scouting community knows that.
The Green Bay Packers may be in the market for a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. We’re already familiar with the top names but Kelley, Penix, Corral, Thompson, and McCall should be on the radar as well.