NFL primed to commit familiar mistake that could benefit the Packers
In a seemingly annual tradition, the post-collegiate all-star games appear to have inflated the draft stock of an underwhelming crop of rookie QBs.
The NFL draft industrial complex came online this past weekend, just as it does every year around this time. On this occasion, two overlapping events — the Senior Bowl in Mobile and East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas, two annual post-collegiate all-star games — signaled the formal kickoff of #DraftSZN with a cavalcade of top prospects and scouts from all 32 teams assembled in both locations.
And once again, familiar mistakes were apparently made. Despite multiple seasons of data suggesting that this incoming quarterback class lacks a clear franchise signal-caller, the subculture of draftniks has determined that a few days of all-star game practices have solidified first-round statuses among the group. Suddenly, mock drafts show Liberty's Malik Willis knocking on the door of a top-10 selection while Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss' Matt Corral battle for the second and third QB slots on Day 1.
While these sorts of projections sometimes exist only in the minds of draft media, NFL teams often share in the disillusionment when it comes to quarterbacks. The league remains in a near-constant demand for quality play under center and, in a year when the college game doesn't deliver the standard crop of high-end prospects at the position, front offices will convince themselves that such players exist anyway.
One doesn't need to look far for examples. The 2013 NFL Draft saw 11 signal-callers taken, including three in the top 100 picks. None of them went on to make 40 starts and three never registered an official appearance in a regular-season game. The 2015 draft didn't perform much better with only Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota cracking 30 starts and neither has a starting job locked up for next season.
Time will tell how the 2022 rookie class compares to that historically awful group from 2013 on the quarterback front. However, the consensus opinions prior to the all-star games held that none of the signal-callers would have graded better than those who went in the first round a year ago. Now, with the Senior Bowl and Shrine Bowl in the rearview mirror, that perception has flipped with little empirical data to support the change.
While that dynamic doesn't suggest a great return on investment for the clubs that ultimately draft a passer on April 28, it does bode well for the Green Bay Packers who could directly benefit regardless of what happens in their own quarterback room.