First-round quarterbacks growing popular in 2022 Saints mock drafts

·1 min read

We know where the New Orleans Saints are picking in the 2022 NFL draft. We have an idea of which positions they’ve valued strongest in recent years. And we can make an educated guess at where they need the most help in ranking their draft needs. But there’s little agreement in which specific prospects the Saints will be targeting in April.

That makes sense. It’s very early in the draft process — New Orleans’ scouts haven’t yet hit the road for the pro day workouts circuit, and big draft events like the Senior Bowl (something they value highly) and the annual NFL Scouting Combine are still ahead. And few teams have thrown more curve balls early in the draft than the Saints lately.

Still, it’s good to keep up with the latest 2022 mock drafts to get an idea of which prospects might be available when the black and gold get on the clock. And at this early juncture, quarterbacks are a popular pick for the Saints at 18th overall:

The Athletic

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

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The pick: QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Author: Dane Brugler

Author’s take:

“The Saints are in limbo with their quarterback situation, but Corral could be the answer that Sean Payton has been looking for. The Ole Miss quarterback has the athleticism of Taysom Hill coupled with an explosive arm and passing instincts to create big plays through the air.”

ESPN

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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The pick: QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt

Author: Mel Kiper Jr.

Author’s take:

The Saints won four of five games to end the season and almost snuck into the playoffs, but their offense was subpar after Jameis Winston tore his ACL in late October. If Winston goes elsewhere in free agency, Sean Payton is going to want a new quarterback to coach up. Taysom Hill, who turns 32 before the start of the 2022 season, hasn’t shown enough to be considered their QB of the present nor future.

That’s why I see Pickett, who’s coming off an efficient 42-touchdown, seven-interception season, as the perfect fit for New Orleans. He took a huge leap in 2021, showing off pinpoint accuracy to every area of the field. He started 49 games in college, so he can play right away for a team that wants to compete for the playoffs. The biggest question I’ve heard from people in the NFL is one that you might laugh at: hand size. Pickett has small hands — we’ll find out their exact size at the Senior Bowl soon — and that matters to the teams doing the drafting. If he can play his home games in a dome in New Orleans, that’s a plus.”

Pro Football Focus

Cara Owsley/The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

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The pick: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Author: Austin Gayle

Author’s take:

“In an interview on Tailgate last week, analyst Nate Tice made his case for why Cincinnati signal-caller Desmond Ridder should be the first quarterback taken in April’s draft. Ridder turned in a career year in the Bearcats’ playoff run in 2021, finishing the season with a 90.7 PFF grade. He had never cleared 80.0 in any season prior.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder possesses excellent mobility and above-average arm talent for the position, but he is coveted for much more beyond his physical tools. He’s proven to be a quick processor with experience operating an offense while consistently working through his progressions, rarely relying on just his first read.”

Draft Wire

AP Photo/Michael Woods

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The pick: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Author: Luke Easterling

Author’s take:

“Even if Michael Thomas returns to form, the Saints will still need a big-play wide receiver to pair with him who can stretch the field and challenge opposing defenses over the top. Burks is big, physical and athletic, with a skill set that has drawn comparisons to A.J. Brown.”

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