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2022 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks Available for Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons

The Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons are on the hunt for a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft, likely in the first round.

The 2022 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away, and teams are creating their final boards on which players they want. This year’s quarterback draft class isn’t strong, but it has the potential to be impactful. A few teams in the top ten have looked into drafting a quarterback early, the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons. These teams have big questions at the quarterback position and have shown they may not wait until the 2023 NFL Draft for a more talented and elite-caliber prospect. 

2022 Carolina Panthers NFL Mock Draft

2022 Atlanta Falcons NFL Mock Draft

Non-Quarterback Draft Options For Seattle Seahawks

Quarterback Draft Options for Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers Looking For Job Insurance With Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett

During the last off-season, Carolina took a low risk, high reward by trading for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. The team is more complicated by exercising the fifth-year option on Darnold’s contract, guaranteeing #18.858 million this season. Darnold was efficient in the first four games of the season before suffering a fractured scapula. This past season, the Panthers struggled under an injured Darnold and Cam Newton. Carolina fans are calling for the jobs of head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer. They are patient with Darnold, but they also know one more bad year of the Darnold experience, and there could change coming to the team. After several years of flirting with the idea of getting a quarterback in the first round, they are likely finally making a move for Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Throughout the evaluation process, the Panthers have shown more interest in Pickett than Liberty’s Malik Willis. Rhule was completely interactive with Pickett during his Pittsburgh Pro Day, which sparked up Mock Drafts. Carolina has shown to be more aggressive in getting a quarterback early in this Draft than in several past drafts. This week, the Panthers hosted seven quarterbacks, including Pickett. The Panthers have the sixth overall pick in the Draft as they could make Pickett the first offensive player taken by Carolina in the first round since 2018 when they selected D.J. Moore. Pickett’s arm strength, accuracy, defensive reads, and athleticism out of the pocket make him a talented quarterback they can build off of. He will likely battle Darnold for the number one spot, but Carolina should not rush to get on the field.

Atlanta Falcons Find the Next Incarnation of Michael Vick in Liberty’s Malik Willis

This off-season, the Falcons were one of the busiest teams, especially at the quarterback position. The Falcons traded quarterback Matt Ryan, who will be 37 years old in May, to the Indianapolis Colts. After losing out on the chance to trade for three-time Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson, Atlanta signed former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Falcons believe he can build off the success of the 7-10 record this past season. Head coach Arthur Smith believes Mariota can fit perfectly with the RPO, dynamic offense he wants for Atlanta this season. While Atlanta sees potential in Mariota, they will have to decide on their franchise quarterback. They could get the next Michael Vick in Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis with the eighth overall pick.

Atlanta has had several meetings with Willis during his Pro Day and official visits. They love his tremendous arm strength, elite athleticism, and ability to read the field and playbook. These are all qualities that Vick showed during his time with the Falcons. This is a fit that makes sense in the long run for Atlanta. With young quarterbacks not being pressured to play immediately and learn a complicated offense (ex: Trey Lance III), Willis doesn’t have to try and fight for the first-string position for the Falcons. He can take his time learning the offense under Smith, Mariota, and offensive coordinator Dave Ragone. Once he is ready, he can become the franchise quarterback of a team that hungers for the playoffs.

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