Rookie quarterbacks have been the talk of the 2022 preseason. One quarterback has made a legitimate argument to his team’s starting quarterback (more on that in a second), while several other rookie quarterbacks have left his own marks during his first games in an NFL uniform. Each helped or hurt their collective cause during the final week of preseason, as NFL teams prepare to release their 53-player rosters for the official start of the regular season.
Here’s a rundown of how each rookie quarterback fared during the final week of preseason. One quarterback you won’t read about next is Panthers rookie Matt Corral, who suffered a serious foot injury a week ago. The injury will likely keep Corral out for the rest of the season.
Pickett didn’t enter the game until the second half, after Mitchell Trubisky gave the Steelers a 16-0 lead with his touchdown pass to Steven Sims just before halftime. Pickett played nearly the entire second half after Trubisky went 15-of-19 for 160 yards in the first half while playing with the first-team offense. Pickett looked good again as he ran the second team’s offense. He was 10-of-14 for 90 yards while directing a 12-play scoring drive. He also engineered a 10-play drive that ended with a blocked field goal attempt. Pickett’s best completion was a 29-yard pass to Miles Boykin on the near sideline.
As well as he played this preseason, Pickett will likely spend Week 1 holding a clipboard, which is how the last Steelers quarterback to be drafted in the first round, Ben Roethlisberger, began his NFL career. But what Pickett has done has shown the Steelers’ staff that he is ready to step into the fray if asked to do so.
Willis improved his accuracy in his final preseason game, going 15 of 23 for 131 yards against the Cardinals. He threw a touchdown and an interception while leading the Titans in four scoring drives. Willis’ biggest play was a 50-yard drive that set up Tennessee’s second touchdown. Sacks, however, continue to be a problem for Willis and the Titans, as he was sacked four times on Saturday, a week after being sacked three times against the Buccaneers.
Although he threw two passes to the other team, Ridder was solid in his preseason finale. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 185 yards against the Jaguars that included a first-quarter touchdown pass to Tyler Allgeier. One of Ridder’s most impressive passes of the day was a 21-yard completion to Cameron Batson on a third-and-10 play that helped set up the Falcons’ final touchdown.
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Despite a strong start, Howell was unable to break the Ravens’ historic preseason winning streak, which is now 23 games. Howell played significantly better than the week before, going 24 of 35 for 280 yards that included a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Reggie Bonnafon. He also took care of the ball after throwing a critical interception the week before against the Chiefs.
Zappe played the entire second half against the Raiders while engineering the second of the Patriots’ two scoring drives. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 84 yards that included a 15-yard gain to Tre Nixon on New England’s second scoring drive. However, Zappe committed a costly turnover for the second week in a row, as his deep pass late in the fourth quarter was intercepted and led to a Las Vegas touchdown.
Purdy was the most effective of the 49ers’ quarterbacks against Houston, though mostly against third-row defenders. He was 13-of-20 for 182 yards while playing most of the second half. Purdy finished the game with a 15-play drive that ended with a sack on second and goal on the last play of the game. He finished the preseason with a 61.2 completion percentage with a touchdown and an interception.
Crum completed his only throw, and an 11-yard gain to Tayon Fleet-Davis, against the Packers in the Chiefs’ preseason finale. Crum threw three passes without an incomplete pass in Kansas City’s second preseason game against the Commanders. He completed 6 of 11 passes for 18 yards in the Chiefs’ preseason opener against Chicago. He’s likely to be left off the Chiefs’ 53-man roster, but Crum may have done enough during the preseason to earn a spot on the Chiefs’ practice squad or another team’s.
The former Notre Dame quarterback went 2-for-3 against the Buccaneers in their preseason finale. He went 7-for-11 for 83 yards and a touchdown in the Colts’ second preseason game against the Lions and was 1-for-5 in his preseason debut against Buffalo. Coan, who currently trails Matt Ryan and Nick Foles on the depth chart, will be part of the Colts’ 53-man roster if the Colts decide to sign three quarterbacks.
Thompson capped off his impressive preseason with another big outing against the Eagles. Playing the entire second half, Thompson threw three touchdown passes that included a 39-yard pass to Lynn Bowden Jr. While facing stiff competition (Tua Tagovailoa and veteran Teddy Bridgewater are ahead of him on the depth chart), the preseason de Thompson should have finished. enough to earn a spot on someone’s 53-man roster, whether in Miami or elsewhere.
Strong didn’t have much work during the preseason. He threw a pass in the Eagles’ second preseason game and was 1 of 3 for six yards against the Dolphins in the Eagles’ final preseason game. Strong’s best bet to stay in Philly is on his practice squad, with Gardner Minshew and Reid Sinnett ahead of him on the depth chart.