At this point in the process, we’ve already got a list of usual suspects when it comes to teams that could be looking for a new quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
But there are still a few other clubs that could surprise on draft day, opting to replace a starter that many thought was entrenched.
This mock has the Browns spending the No. 16 overall pick on Pitt’s Kenny Pickett:
This is controversial, we get it. But if the Browns don’t want to pay Baker Mayfield north of $35 million a year on a long-term deal, they could look to the draft. Pickett has been lights out this season and has ascended from Day 3 pick to likely hearing his name called in Round 1.
Easily the fastest-rising quarterback prospect in this year’s otherwise weak class (if you don’t count Wake Forest redshirt sophomore Sam Hartman), Pickett is finding himself in the mid-first round range in most mock drafts right now, though Cleveland is certainly a surprising landing spot for the “super senior” who has put together an impressive 2021 campaign.
Pickett is one of three quarterbacks to land among the top 32 picks in this projection, joining Mississippi’s Matt Corral (No. 9 overall, Washington Football Team) and Nevada’s Carson Strong (No. 21 overall, New Orleans Saints). That leaves the likes of Liberty’s Malik Willis, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder and others waiting until Day 2 to hear their names called.
To check out the full first-round projection at CBS Sports, click here.