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Only 1 QB goes in the 1st round, others like Liberty's Malik Willis have to wait

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In 2013, there was a weak quarterback class for the NFL draft. Only one QB, EJ Manuel, went in the first round. The Buffalo Bills took him. NFL teams didn't push quarterbacks into the first round just to do it.

The 2022 quarterback class will hopefully have better success than that 2013 class, but it was a similar story on Thursday night. Only one quarterback, Pitt's Kenny Pickett, went in the first round. He went to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th pick. Other quarterback prospects, most notably Liberty's Malik Willis, will have to wait until Friday.

Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans who could have used a quarterback passed on taking one. The Saints had two picks, traded up once, and still didn't take one.

It just wasn't an exciting quarterback class. Even the selection of Pickett was questioned by many. Plenty of draft experts wonder if he can be a top-end starter in the NFL.

In 1996 there were no quarterbacks taken in the first round, the last time that happened. It came close to happening on Thursday night. Had the Steelers decided Pickett wasn't a long-term starter, it might have happened. Plenty of teams with QB needs obviously didn't like this class.

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was not selected in the first round of the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was not selected in the first round of the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Many mock drafts had multiple quarterbacks in the first round, assuming teams would want to take advantage of having the fifth-year option on those rookie contracts. Players like Willis, Ole Miss' Matt Corral, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and North Carolina's Sam Howell were speculated to be possible first-round picks. All of them are still available.

Those players could become second-round values. Perhaps some of the teams that could use a developmental quarterback won't be worried about using a second-rounder on a quarterback who has some bust potential.

There have been many great quarterback prospects entering the NFL in recent years. Perhaps some of the quarterbacks in this draft will become great players. But NFL teams weren't impressed, at least not enough to take more than one in the first round on Thursday.