Now that we’re a few weeks into the 2022 college football season, there’s enough of a sample size to start restacking the top of the quarterback class for the 2023 NFL draft.
Which of this year’s top passers have impressed, and which ones have their draft stock moving in the wrong direction?
Here are the signal-callers who are moving in either direction:
Stock Up | Cameron Ward, Washington State
(AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Ward put up ridiculous numbers at Incarnate Word, but transferring to Wazzu gave him the opportunity to prove himself against top competition in a Power 5 conference.
He’s passing that test so far, with a road upset against a ranked Wisconsin team in one of the most hostile environments in college football, and impressive performances in his other two games. In a 38-7 win over Colorado State this past weekend, Ward threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns.
So far, Ward is checking all the major boxes when it comes to evaluating quarterback prospects, from accuracy and pocket presence to anticipation and reading defenses. He’s made a few throws he’s sure to want back, but the early returns project a sky-high ceiling.
Stock Down | Anthony Richardson, Florida
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After an impressive performance in an upset win over then-No. 7 Utah, Richardson has struggled mightily over the past two weeks.
Poor decision-making, head-scratching throws and critical turnovers led directly to a loss against Kentucky, and a near-miss against USF. The ground game bailed him out last week against the Bulls, despite throwing multiple interceptions that could have easily cost the Gators the game.
There’s no denying Richardson has rare talent, and the kind of skill set that NFL teams will still gamble on early in the draft. But over the last two weeks, Richardson has proven just how much development he still needs before he can be a reliable presence at the game’s most important position.
Stock Same | CJ Stroud, Ohio State
(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Stroud came into this season as the popular favorite in this year’s quarterback class, and he hasn’t done anything to lose that title yet.
He didn’t put up gaudy numbers against Notre Dame, and he hasn’t been truly tested since, but he’s completing 73 percent of his passes, and hasn’t thrown an interception yet.
We’ll get a better picture with Stroud when he faces some tougher defenses throughout the rest of the season, but for now, he still looks like a strong QB1 candidate.
Stock Up | Michael Penix Jr., Washington
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Another transfer making the most of his move to the Evergreen State, Penix has been unleashed by the Huskies, and the former Hoosier is putting up huge numbers while leading UW to a 3-0 record.
He’s averaging 360 yards per game through the air, completing 66 percent of his passes, and has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception through three games. Beating up on Kent State and Portland State may not have moved the needle much, but throwing for 397 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in an upset win over No. 11 Michigan State last week certainly should.
The 6-3, 214-pound junior from Tampa should absolutely be on everyone’s radar as one of the fastest-rising quarterback prospects in next year’s class.
Stock Down | Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (FL)
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Another popular name in many preseason mock drafts, Van Dyke just hasn’t jumped off the tape yet this season.
After opening up against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Mississippi, Van Dyke finally got tested against top competition last week, and barely completed half of his passes in an ugly loss to Texas A&M. He’s only got 671 yards, three touchdowns and an interception through three games.
Stats aren’t everything, and he’s been the victim of some drops, but Van Dyke’s play still just hasn’t screamed “first-round quarterback” yet this season. It’s possible that could change throughout the year, but so far, he’s looked like a mid-round passer, at best.
Stock Same | Bryce Young, Alabama
(AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez)
Similar to Stroud, all Young has done so far this season is confirming what we all thought coming into the year.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy Winner has been surgical through the air, despite missing last year’s star pass-catchers. He also proved his ability to overcome adversity, leading the Crimson Tide to a game-winning drive to survive an upset bid from Texas on the road.
Doubters will keep pointing to Young’s lack of ideal size (6-0, 195 pounds), but whatever he lacks in physical stature, he more than makes up for in every other area. Young has all the physical and mental traits to be in the No. 1 overall pick conversation next April.
Stock Up | Jaren Hall, BYU
(AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
There may not be huge numbers on the page with Hall, but a closer look at his film shows an improving passer with intriguing traits.
Hall helped lead an upset win over a top-10 Baylor team in overtime, overcoming multiple missed field goal attempts that could have won the game earlier. As the Bears’ last-ditch attempt fell short, Hall was seen on the sidelines holding his kicker (who was weeping with relief), showing leadership qualities NFL Scouts won’t ignore. They made some clutch, tight-window throws that will turn heads among that group, too.
Even in a loss to Oregon last week, Hall was perhaps the most impressive he’s been so far this year, completing 29 of his 41 passes for 305 yards, two scores and no picks, despite playing in one of the most challenging road venues in the country.
Stock Down | Will Levis, Kentucky
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This may not seem fair, but considering Levis is still getting top-10 treatment in early mock drafts, his performance so far this season has left plenty to be desired.
Yes, the Wildcats are 3-0, but two of those wins were against Miami (OH) and Youngstown State. Levis wasn’t even particularly impressive in either of those games, throwing three of his four interceptions this year to the Redhawks and Penguins. Even in a road win over Florida, Levis completed just 54 percent of his passes.
There’s still plenty to like with Levis, but we still have the same questions about that we did when the year began (consistency, accuracy, decision-making). If he wants to be a top-10 pick, those areas still need big improvements.
Stock Same: Best of the Rest
(AP Photo/John Amis)
These quarterback prospects have been in the Day 2/mid-round conversation with potential first-round upside, and so far this season, that’s about what we’ve seen from them:
Devin Leary | North Carolina State
Hendon Hooker | Tennessee
Tanner McKee | Stanford
Kedon Slovis | Pitt
Sam Hartman | Wake Forest