2022 NFL draft: 3 QB prospects with breakout potential

Breaking down a trio of quarterback prospects who could improve their stock for the 2022 NFL draft with a strong showing in 2021

The 2021 NFL draft is only two months in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to prepare for next year’s draft.

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round, marking just the second time the feat has been accomplished in the 21st century. While the 2022 draft may not be as highly-touted at the position heading into the upcoming season, there is not shortage of quarterback talent.

The likes of Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell have been consistently ranked among the top returning quarterbacks in college football. Kedon Slovis, JT Daniels and Matt Corral have also seen plenty of hype as gifted, Power 5 signal-callers. Outside of the Power 5, Malik Willis, Carson Strong and Desmond Ridder have made their fair shares of appearances in the first rounds of early 2022 mock drafts.

However, there’s always a quarterback or two that breaks out with a stellar season and shoots up draft boards. While it’s difficult to predict said breakout candidates with incredible precision, there are a handful of quarterbacks with major sleeper potential.

Here are three quarterbacks who could shoot up boards in the 2022 NFL draft:

2020 NFL draft: Cameron Dantzler scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about Mississippi State cornerback prospect Cameron Dantzler

Cameron Dantzler | CB | Mississippi State

Elevator Pitch

Dantzler is an enticing press-man cornerback with impressive length and ideal physicality who plays with good route anticipatory skills. He’s not a fantastic athlete, but he offers value as a boundary defender with solid starting upside at the next level.

Vitals

Height | 6-2

Weight | 188

College Bio Page

Career Stats

Strengths

If you like length at the cornerback position, you’ll love Dantzler’s game.

A tall and lanky cornerback who possesses the height necessary to match up with ‘X’ receivers on the boundary, Dantzler brings plenty of physical upside. Despite being somewhat skinny for his height, he plays with impressive physicality. He packs a solid jab in quick-jam press coverage, timing and placing his strikes with precision and then executing them with force. That physicality is maintained through a receiver’s stem, and Dantzler also does a good job of fighting with his opponents to make sure he doesn’t get boxed out on 50/50 balls or route that break across the middle of the field. He is a feisty and competitive player who brings plenty of swagger at the cornerback position, which is an encouraging sign for his professional prospects.

Dantzler does a good job of anticipating routes and mirroring his opponents’ movements. He positions himself well to make a play on the ball and prevent receivers from attacking leverage points against him. He does a great job of sniffing out screens and has the closing speed as a tackler and the motor to accelerate downhill and blow up the play. His ball skills show up through his adjustments to the ball and his ability to attack the ball in the air, as well as his ability to attack a receiver’s hands to break up the pass.

Weaknesses

For the physicality and awareness Dantzler brings, he doesn’t have top-notch athletic abilities. He plays with solid fluidity in coverage, but he can be burned by double moves and has average deep speed when covering a vertical route. He can improve in his ability to sink his hips a bit more when he changes direction, and he can work on his burst coming out of his breaks in short-area situations. His 4.64 40-yard dash at the Combine was a bit underwhelming, too.

Dantzler could also improve as a tackler, as he doesn’t play with spectacular form or play strength in that regard. While he has shown effort in run support, his style of play combined with his lanky frame might make it tougher to consistently bring down ball-carriers at the next level. He could stand to add on a bit more bulk, as his frame is a bit too wiry at this stage in his career.

Projection: Day 2

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2020 NFL draft: Saahdiq Charles scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about LSU offensive tackle prospect Saahdiq Charles

Saahdiq Charles | OT | LSU

Elevator Pitch

Charles is an athletic offensive tackle prospect who possesses intriguing quickness, flexibility and footwork for someone his size. He could stand to work on his technique and strength a bit, and his suspension this past year may need some digging into, but the potential is palpable in his skill set.

Vitals

Height | 6-4

Weight | 321

College Bio Page

Strengths

Charles’ athletic abilities should see him high in demand after the first tier of offensive tackles comes off the board in this year’s class.

A nimble lineman who moves around better than most his size, Charles has very good lateral quickness and possesses impressive footwork and body control when moving around. He changes direction well, allowing him to counter speed rushes and adjust his set points to close off the possibility of a defender bouncing inside against him. His acceleration climbing to the second level is impressive, and he has the athleticism and awareness to make adjustments and position himself to take on incoming defenders or blitzes. He has shown some potential in his flexibility, as he can bend pretty well when he maintains the composure to do so.

A three-year starter who has only been playing as an offensive lineman for four years, Charles possesses an enticing experience-room to grow combination and is continually getting better as he adjusts to the position. He has some experience as a guard too, which may help him get additional playing time early on in his career. His athletic abilities, as well as the flashes of potential he’s shown when he gets his technique down, give him a high ceiling at the next level.

Weaknesses

Charles weighed significantly more at the Combine than he was listed as at LSU, and while he did need to pack on weight, it remains to be seen if that weight gain will translate to added play strength. On tape, he didn’t pack much of a punch at the point of attack and didn’t have enough of a mauler playing style to drive defenders into the dirt. He struggles at times with recovering from speed-to-power conversions against him, and his overall core strength is pretty average.

Part of his power struggles stem from his technique, as he doesn’t play with optimal pad level and can do better at maintaining leverage. He can also improve the consistency in his hand placement and can allow defenders inside his frame a bit too easily. His ability to re-set his hands isn’t all that great yet, and he has a tendency to lunge from time to time. Charles was suspended for six games in 2019 for disciplinary reasons, and while the exact cause of the suspension is unknown, teams will certainly have to do some digging in that regard.

Projection: 3rd-4th Round

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2020 NFL draft: Matt Peart scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about UConn offensive tackle prospect Matt Peart

Matt Peart | OT | UConn

Elevator Pitch

A high-ceiling tackle prospect with a lengthy frame and commendable athleticism for his size, Peart has the physical tools to be a high-quality offensive lineman at the next level. Though he’s pretty raw and can add some more muscle to his frame, the upside he offers should help his draft stock a bit.

Vitals

Height | 6-7

Weight | 318

College Bio Page

Strengths

Coaches like length at the offensive tackle position, and Peart has that in spades.

A giant who measured with the longest arms at the Combine, Peart has fantastic measurables for his position. His arms alone give him plenty of range as a blocker, but that length is complemented by impressive speed and agility. He moves well laterally in pass protection and is light on his feet when changing direction. He has the burst coming out of his stance – as well as sustainable speed – to keep up with athletic edge rushers off the snap. When climbing to the second level, he accelerates quickly and has the body control to maintain blocks while on the move, which also helps out in down-blocking situations.

Peart also has shown that he can play with a nasty edge at times, demonstrating flashes of grip strength that can overwhelm opposing defenders. He offers versatility along the offensive line, having played as both a tackle and a guard at UConn. He was also a four-year starter, so he has plenty of experience and plenty of tape to go off of, and his growth as a blocker is apparent.

Weaknesses

Though his athletic upside will see Peart drafted highly, his rawness as a blocker will more than likely prevent him from going higher than Day 2. He has a skinny frame and doesn’t possess much raw power in his lower body. That underwhelming strength is affected more so by his subpar pad level, as he doesn’t do a great job of sinking his hips and staying low to get his weight underneath him. It’s not a matter of flexibility with him, as he is a quality athlete, but rather composure. He fails to generate significant force or drive in his legs.

Peart can also stand to improve his hand placement a bit. While he has shown some flashes in that regard, he can be more consistent at places his strikes correctly and making sure not to lunge at opposing defenders. He weighed in heavier at the Combine than he ever did at UConn, but time will tell if that weight was fluctuated, or if it wasn’t, if that weight translates to more power.

Projection: Day 3

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2020 NFL draft: Isaiah Wilson scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about Georgia offensive tackle prospect Isaiah Wilson

Isaiah Wilson | OT | Georgia

Elevator Pitch

Wilson is a massive individual who brings plenty of raw power, nastiness and potential at the next level. He’s a work in progress, but the upside is there for him to be a solid starter at the next level.

Vitals

Height | 6-6

Weight | 350

College Bio Page

Strengths

You don’t even need to watch Wilson’s tape to determine one of his strengths; one look at him tells the story.

Wilson is absolutely huge, even by offensive line standards. The second-heaviest player to attend the Combine this year, the Georgia product has a hulking frame with a wide chest, a strong lower body and broad shoulders. That bulk correlates to his play strength, as he packs a powerful punch at the point of attack. He has consistent grip strength and is able to overwhelm defenders at the point of attack. Once he grips onto an opponent, he has the drive in his lower body and the nasty edge in his game to knock them backwards and finish them off.

With the run-heavy offense Georgia tends to run, Wilson has plenty of experience blocking in the ground game and excels there the most. He has some potential as a pass blocker though, as he has shown solid lateral quickness and footwork for someone as big as he is. When he gets his hands placed correctly, he does a solid job of finishing the defender off and locking that defender out of the play entirely.

Weaknesses

Wilson is definitely a work in progress and will likely require a year on the bench. He doesn’t play with good body control and can struggle maintaining his balance, whether it be when he advances to the second level or when he lunges forward and mistimes his jabs. His hand placement can be hit or miss, which can allow defenders to slip underneath him. That can be difficult for him to counter, seeing as he doesn’t play with stellar pad level or flexibility in his lower half.

Though it isn’t a surprise considering how big he is, Wilson is a bit stiff-hipped and struggles with adjusting his set points and rotating to square up to the defender in pass protection. There are times where he loses to an edge rusher going forward with a speed rush, so he enters recovery mode and begins running instead of shuffling along with them. He’s also declaring as a redshirt sophomore, so there is some slight inexperience there, even though he was a two-year starter at Georgia.

Projection: Day 2

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2020 NFL draft: Troy Dye scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about Oregon linebacker prospect Troy Dye

Troy Dye | LB | Oregon

Elevator Pitch

Dye is a lengthy, rangy and intelligent linebacker with three-down potential at the next level. His play strength is questionable at best, so he’ll likely have to see a majority of his reps come on special teams in his rookie year. However, the tools are place for him to develop into a starter.

Vitals

Height | 6-3

Weight | 231

College Bio Page

Career Stats

Strengths

One look at the stat sheet will show how impactful Dye was for Oregon’s defense during his time there.

A four-year starter, Dye tallied a whopping 391 career tackles with the Ducks, topping 100 tackles in a season twice. Part of why he was so productive had to do with the athleticism he brought to the table for their defense. He is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with very good straight-line speed and the ability to beat ball-carriers to the edge in runs to the outside. He is a fluid mover in space who can go with the flow of the play before bursting downhill and pouncing on his opponents. He takes calculated angles to the ball and has plenty of range as a tackler due to his athleticism and his impressive length for the linebacker position.

Dye is an intelligent player whose instincts have progressively gotten better over time. His processing abilities have progressed, as he’s able to diagnose plays and act upon his reads much quicker than he did early on in his career. His 13 career sacks make him a dangerous blitzer when schemed correctly, and with 13 pass deflections over the past three seasons and 5 interceptions overall, he has solid production in coverage.

Weaknesses

The big concern with Dye is his frame. Length is far from an issue, but he doesn’t have much bulk on a lanky frame. His frame can likely afford to add on some weight, but as it stands right now, he doesn’t have the raw power to be an immediate starter at the next level. He struggles with taking blocks head-on and doesn’t pack much of a punch at the point of attack, hence limiting his schematic versatility on blitz plays. He doesn’t deliver powerful hits as a tackler, and the lack of weight he carries in his lower body could provide some issues against powerful NFL backs.

Dye is athletic, but he isn’t as sound in coverage as one would expect yet. His footwork in man coverage isn’t all that polished, and his feel for backpedaling and dropping back could be smoother. He also can do a better job of predicting which gap to shoot up as a run defender.

Projection: 3rd-4th Round

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2020 NFL draft: Marlon Davidson scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about Auburn defensive line prospect Marlon Davidson

Marlon Davidson | DL | Auburn

Elevator Pitch

A versatile defender with athleticism, size and power, Davidson is a bit of a tweener but possesses the tools to be a solid contributor, regardless of where he plays at the next level.

Vitals

Height | 6-3

Weight | 303

College Bio Page

Career Stats

Strengths

Defensive coordinators will have plenty of different ways to utilize Davidson at the next level.

While he’s packed on close to 30 pounds in his transition to the interior defensive line, Davidson can still play off the edge in a stand-up or hand-in-the-dirt role. He does a good job of setting the edge as a run defender and can also work off of blocks to make plays in space. He plays with a high motor when engaged with blockers and keeps his legs churning to try and penetrate the backfield. When slotted inside, Davidson’s athleticism for the position makes him tough for guards and centers to stop. He accelerates well off the snap and moves well laterally for someone his size. His agility allows him to be utilized on stunts, as well as pull off finesse moves like spins and swims as a pass-rusher.

The big appeal with Davidson is that he’s more powerful than most edge rushers and quicker than most interior defensive linemen. Whether you project him as a 3-tech, a 5-tech or even a pure edge rusher, he brings some sort of mismatch to the table, and that versatility should help him get on the field early on in his career. He also has some value on special teams, having blocked three kicks in 2018.

Weaknesses

As is the case with most tweener prospects, there’s some question as to where Davidson fits best at the next level. He started off his career as a 240-pound edge rusher, but has since had to put on a lot of weight to kick inside, and there are some inconsistencies in his game that show that inexperience. He’s still getting used to playing in the trenches, as his play strength hasn’t quite developed completely yet. His ability to eat up gaps against the run and hold on through blocks using his anchor strength could be improved.

Davidson’s pad level can be improved a bit, which is one of the factors affecting his lack of significant lower-body strength on tape. His overall feel and instincts as a run defender could be worked on, but that should come with spending more time and taking more reps as an interior defensive lineman.

Projection: Day 2

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2020 NFL draft: Kenny Robinson, Jr. scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about XFL safety prospect Kenny Robinson, Jr.

Kenny Robinson, Jr. | S | West Virginia/XFL

Elevator Pitch

Robinson’s unconventional route to the NFL draft is unproven and makes him somewhat of a risk, but the talent is there for him to blow everyone’s expectations of him out of the water. He’s a rangy, athletic and intelligent safety with the potential to be a steal later in the draft.

Vitals

Height | 6-1

Weight | 202

College Bio Page

Career Stats

XFL Stats

Strengths

If you like safeties who fit that centerfielder mold, then Robinson is a prospect you should get to know.

Robinson has crazy good range and has the lateral quickness and hip fluidity to be a reliable defender covering in single-high formations. He is a quick processor who is able to read the eyes of quarterbacks and diagnose the play before it comes to fruition. Once he makes that read, he is aggressive and quick in charging to close in on the ball and make a play. He can dominate in underneath coverage, as that allows him to accelerate downhill and jump a receiver’s route. The St. Louis Battlehawks star has very good ball skills too, as he can track down the ball and make difficult adjustments to it.

In addition to his athleticism, Robinson also possesses very good length for the safety position. His height and his long arms give him value if ever placed into man coverage or jump-ball situations. Regardless of the level he plays at, he is a rock-solid producer: he had 7 interceptions in his two seasons at West Virginia, and he had two picks in the five games he played in the XFL before the season shut down due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In a league that’s pass-heavy, a ball-hawking safety like Robinson comes at a premium, so there will likely be a team who takes a chance on him due to his high ceiling. He also can lower the boom as a tackler and isn’t afraid to deliver a powerful hit to a ball-carrier.

Weaknesses

What makes Robinson a unique case is that nobody has ever followed his exact route to the NFL before. This version of the XFL is still brand-new, and he is the only player who has left the college ranks to play in the league. While other draft prospect were participating in the Combine and practicing for their Pro Days, Robinson was playing in games and intercepting former NFL players like Matt McGloin and Cardale Jones. He hasn’t had the benefit of having his 2019-20 tape out there for as long as college players have, which has made him a bit of a sleeper in this year’s class.

On the field, Robinson is still a work in progress as a tackler. The diagnosing abilities are there, but he’s inconsistent in his effort and the angles he takes in pursuit as a run defender. When he’s facing a ball-carrier head-on, he’s a bit of a catch tackler who waits for the ball-carriers to come to him, instead of him going to chase a defender down. From an angle, his form isn’t all that great, as he relies too much on his arms as a tackler, and he doesn’t always play at full speed. His underneath instincts are still developing, and the communication of duties between him and his teammates at cornerback is still a bit of a work in progress.

Projection: Day 3

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2020 NFL draft: Michael Ojemudia scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about Iowa cornerback prospect Michael Ojemudia

Michael Ojemudia | CB | Iowa

Elevator Pitch

Ojemudia is a lengthy, fluid and intelligent cornerback who offers potential as a boundary corner at the next level. He isn’t a great tackler and his speed is average on tape, so that may knock his stock a little bit, but he has the tools to develop into a solid starter at the next level.

Vitals

Height | 6-1

Weight | 200

College Bio Page

Career Stats

Strengths

Iowa has produced plenty of talented defensive backs in recent years, and Ojemudia looks to be the next product in that assembly line of defenders.

At 6-foot-1 with a long wingspan, Ojemudia possesses plenty of length that gives him upside playing on the boundary. He isn’t afraid of getting physical at the line of scrimmage, as he has shown the ability to engage with receivers in quick-jam press and lock them up right at the snap. He can fight through box-out attempts pretty well too, which helps him out in jump-ball situations and when defending routes across the middle of the field in man coverage. Ojemudia complements that length and physicality with solid overall fluidity, as he can flip his hips well and change direction fluidly for his size. He plays with good footwork and pad level in his backpedal and has good overall patience in coverage.

Ojemudia isn’t just a tools prospect; he offers a high football IQ and instincts in man coverage. He is quick to read the eyes of the quarterback and diagnose the play, allowing him to act upon his reads to make a play on the ball. He tracks the ball down well and has impressive ball skills for the cornerback position. When engaged in tight man coverage, he is able to get his hands inside the frame of the opposition pretty well. He has a good feel for his safeties’ responsibilities, so he is able to determine what decision to make in zone coverage to ensure the opposing team doesn’t march down the field. The production is there with him, as well: he had 6 interceptions and 15 pass deflections in his last two seasons at Iowa.

Weaknesses

Though Ojemudia ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the Combine, his game speed isn’t necessarily reflective of that time. He doesn’t have stellar long speed when guarding vertical routes and can struggle against speedy wideouts in man coverage. He has enough quickness to be serviceable in that regard, but a lack of top-end athletic ability will likely limit him to guarding ‘X’ receivers on the boundary in the pros. He can be a bit too cushiony in zone coverage at times, and he doesn’t always have the downhill acceleration to effectively jump routes with consistency.

Ojemudia also struggles as a run defender. He doesn’t take very good angles as a tackler, and the effort with which he plays in run support is pretty lackluster on a down-by-down basis. His form isn’t all that polished, and he can stand to improve his ability to get his weight underneath him and play with good pad level as a tackler. He also can get better at shedding blocks.

Projection: 3rd-4th Round

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2020 NFL draft: Anfernee Jennings scouting report

Everything NFL draft fans need to know about Alabama edge defender prospect Anfernee Jennings

Anfernee Jennings | EDGE | Alabama

Elevator Pitch

A three-year starter at Alabama, Jennings has the experience, the power and tenacity to be a solid edge rusher at the next level, regardless of whether his hand’s in the dirt of if he’s serving as a stand-up rusher. Though he’s an average athlete with a set ceiling, he should be able to produce in the pros.

Vitals

Height | 6-2

Weight | 256

College Bio Page

Career Stats

Strengths

If you’re looking for power off the edge, Jennings is a guy you’d like to get to know.

Jennings, who had 13.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for a loss in his final two seasons at Alabama, packs a powerful punch at the point of attack. He plays with nice force behind a muscular frame, showing off good timing, placement and power in his strikes. In addition to his powerful upper body, he also gets solid drive in his lower body when he executes a bull rush. He does a good job of placing his hands inside the shoulder pads of opposing blockers and being able to control his battle at the point of attack.

As his experience would indicate, Jennings is an intelligent edge rusher who does a good job of processing the action ahead of him. He plays with a calculated approach when defending RPOs and other option plays, squaring up in space and exploding onto whoever keeps the ball. He can read the set points of his opponents to expose their hip alignments and identify when to cut inside. While he isn’t a stellar athlete, he times his jumps well off the snap.

Weaknesses

While Jennings brings plenty to the table as an edge rusher, he doesn’t have the highest upside in the world due to a lack of premier athleticism. He’s a bit of a stiff athlete, as he doesn’t move around in space with much fluidity, limiting his value in coverage. His speed in the open field isn’t all that impressive, and he doesn’t offer much value as a backside defender in pursuit. Though he doesn’t have great length off the edge, he can struggle with staying low and consistently getting his weight underneath him when he engages with blockers.

Jennings can be thrown off balance by powerful blockers at times, and his overall coordination as an athlete can stand to improve a bit. He doesn’t have stellar speed when he turns the corner, which allows opposing quarterbacks to climb the pocket and scramble while the offensive tackle seals him off at the top of his arc. He also has a worrisome injury history, having suffered a high ankle sprain and PCL and artery damage in his leg that nearly required amputation, with both injuries having taken place in 2018.

Projection: 3rd-4th Round

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