It’s by no means too early to take a look at the 2022 NFL Draft, it doesn’t matter what the mock draft detractors say.
Sporting News constructed its first Top 50 Big Board for subsequent season, and that record is heavy on quarterbacks and receivers. A complete of six quarterbacks and 7 receivers cracked the highest 50, a nod to the significance of these two positions on the final two nationwide championship groups at Alabama and LSU.
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is the highest participant on the board for now, however the competitors for that high QB spot will probably be extra aggressive now that Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is within the professional recreation.
Ohio State and Alabama – which performed in final 12 months’s CFP championship recreation — have essentially the most gamers on this record with six apiece.
Here is a have a look at the very best 50 greatest gamers accessible within the 2021 NFL Draft no matter place, and the way excessive every may be chosen primarily based on staff wants, place shortage and different elements.
NFL Draft prospects 2022: Big board of high 50 gamers
1. Sam Howell*, QB, North Carolina
Howell piled up 7,224 yards, 68 TDs and 14 interceptions at North Carolina as a part of a program-wide makeover with Mack Brown, and he has put up 9 video games with at the least 300 yards passing. Howell is 6-1, 225 kilos, dimensions which can be near Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Howell is the highest quarterback prospect on the board for 2022, and QBs have been taken with the primary choose in 4 of the final 5 drafts.
2. Derek Stingley Jr.*, CB, LSU
Stingley Jr. endured a sophomore stoop for LSU after an outstanding freshman season in 2019, so there’s a prove-it issue at work for one of many most-gifted gamers within the FBS. He has all of the measurables to be an All-Pro cornerback on the subsequent stage. There is figure to do with new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones. Just bear in mind a defensive again has not been chosen with the No. 1 choose since 1956.
3. Evan Neal*, T, Alabama
Neal has made 26 begins, and the flexibility between guard and deal with makes him a fair more-attractive first-round choose. He performed proper deal with as a sophomore reverse Alex Leatherwood for one of many best offenses in FBS historical past. He allowed 1.5 sacks in 2020.
4. Kayvon Thibodeaux*, DE/LB, Oregon
Thibodeaux has 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 20 video games the final two seasons, and he has essentially the most upside of the sting rushers on this class. The former five-star recruit continues to stay as much as expectations. He ought to problem for double-digits sacks as a junior, which might guarantee his top-five standing.
5. Spencer Rattler*, QB, Oklahoma
Rattler endured some rising pains as a redshirt freshman, however he handed for 18 TDs and three interceptions in eight straight wins to finish final season. Rattler has the benefit of a 3rd 12 months in Lincoln Riley’s system, and his recreation will translate properly within the NFL. Can he comply with within the footsteps of Mayfield and Kyler Murray and be a Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 choose? It’s doable.
6. Kyle Hamilton*, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton is the most-talented security within the FBS. He averages greater than 50 tackles per season the final two seasons, an he is totaled 5.5 tackles for loss and 5 interceptions in that stretch. The Irish have been artistic in transferring Hamilton across the area, and that ought to proceed with new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.
7. Christian Harris*, LB, Alabama
Harris has performed forward of the curve at Alabama the final two seasons. He averages 70 tackles and 7 tackles for loss, and he improved in go protection as a sophomore. As far as secure picks go, Harris initiatives as a type of within the high 10.
8. Kedon Slovis*, QB, USC
Slovis will probably be a polarizing quarterback prospect. He is one other basic passer from the USC lineage – and that has been good for a 70 p.c completion proportion, 47 TDs and 16 interceptions the final two seasons. Sam Darnold, Mark Sanchez and Matt Leinart are USC’s final three first-round quarterbacks. Slovis ought to comply with in that line, however he must elevate his recreation to be a top-five choose.
9. DeMarvin Leal*, DT, Texas A&M
Leal is without doubt one of the most athletic defensive linemen within the nation, and the 6-4, 290-pound defensive deal with anchored the center of an improved Aggies’ protection in 2020. He’s a constant run stopper – and he’ll get a handful of sacks with that straight-forward inside stress.
10. Drake Jackson*, DE/LB, USC
Jackson is a top-10 choose throughout most early mocks, and the potential as a dominant hybrid go rusher is there. He began each recreation as a freshman at USC, and he completed with two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss in six video games final season. The 6-4, 255-pounder must construct on that success.
11. Zion Nelson*, T, Miami
Nelson, a 6-5, 316-pound left deal with, has been a constant power for the Hurricanes the final two seasons. Nelson bounced again from a troublesome freshman 12 months to emerge as a dominant go blocker, and he’ll problem to be the primary offensive lineman taken if that development continues.
12. Justyn Ross*, WR, Clemson
Ross missed all of final season with after season-ending spinal damage, and people medical issues might trigger him to slide down a couple of staff’s boards in 2022. Ross, nonetheless, averaged 16.7 yards per catch with 17 TDs the earlier two seasons and would have been a first-round choose this 12 months if not for that surgical procedure. That expertise will probably be on show once more this season, and that’s the reason we’ve him as the highest receiver for now.
13. Garrett Wilson*, WR, Ohio State
Wilson, a former five-star recruit, is understood for the highlight-reel catch. The 6-foot, 193-pound junior loved 4 100-yard video games to begin final season earlier than the manufacturing dipped within the second half of the season. Look for a extra constant playmaker to emerge as a junior.
14. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave and Wilson are interchangeable in these two spots, however each Ohio State targets determine to be first-round picks. Olave, returned for his senior season, averages 16.1 yards per catch with 22 TDs for his profession. He had 5 100-yard video games for Ohio State final season.
15. Kaiir Elam*, CB, Florida
Elam averages two interceptions and seven.5 go breakups over the previous two seasons. He has All-American potential as one of many high cornerbacks within the SEC. The Gators have produced 5 first-round picks within the secondary since 2010. Elam is subsequent in line.
16. Zach Harrison*, DE, Ohio State
Harrison is among the many first-round prospects with essentially the most to achieve this season. He’s put up 5.5 sacks the final two seasons, and that is his third season working with line of defense coach Larry Johnson. That typically results in first-round billing, and Harrison has that chance with the Buckeyes this season. If he takes benefit, then he might land within the high 5.
17. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Ridder is without doubt one of the most-experienced quarterbacks on this class. He’s been a dependable passer at Cincinnati with 57 TDs and 20 interceptions, however he additionally averaged 6.0 yards per carry with 12 TDs on the bottom. He’s one of many high dual-threat QBs on this class, and that mobility might push him up the board.
18. Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
Miller is without doubt one of the extra well-rounded inside linebackers, and he returned to Florida for his senior season. He averaged 70 tackles the final two seasons, however he additionally had 5 go breakups.
19. George Pickens*, WR, Georgia
This is hard as a result of Pickens doubtless could be the primary receiver off the board if not for a torn ACL suffered in spring observe. He averaged 14.6 yards per reception with 14 TDs the final two seasons with the Bulldogs. He’s nonetheless a first-round receiver, however we want to see him again on the sector first.
20. Perrion Winfrey*, DT, Oklahoma
The Sooners have improved on the inside line, and Winfrey is a giant purpose why. The 297-pound defensive deal with had 5.5 tackles for loss. Winfrey is a junior faculty switch, and a second season in Oklahoma’s protection ought to produce comparable outcomes.
21. Brenton Cox, LB, Florida
Cox, a former five-star recruit who transferred from Georgia to Florida, has at all times had the expertise. It began to resurface in 2020 in a season by which he had 10 tackles for loss. The 6-3, 250-pound linebacker needs to be much more disruptive in 2021.
22. Charles Cross*, T, Mississippi State
The 6-5, 305-pound left deal with ranked fourth in pass-blocking snaps with 528, in response to Pro Football Focus. Cross will probably be a redshirt sophomore, and that popularity ought to improve with one other 12 months in Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense. If Cross bolts for the NFL, then he will probably be within the first-round dialogue.
23. Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
Banks is the following first-round cornerback from Ohio State, and he’ll fill the lead position within the Buckeyes’ secondary left by Shaun Wade. This is banking on a real breakout season from the 6-1, 200-pound cornerback. The expertise is there.
24. Bubba Bolden*, S, Miami
Bolden – a 6-3, 200-pound sturdy security, returned for his senior season after main Miami with 74 complete tackles in 2020. He is an all-around expertise who compelled 4 fumbles and had 6.5 tackles for loss.
25. John Metchie*, WR, Alabama
Metchie could be the fifth Alabama receiver taken within the first spherical within the final three drafts at that time. Metchie steps into the WR1 position at Alabama this season, and he ought to have the manufacturing to match. The 6-0, 195-pounder suits the Crimson Tide prototype on the place.
26. George Karlafitis*, DE, Purdue
27. Rasheed Walker*, T, Penn State
28. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
29. Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
30. Breece Hall*, RB, Iowa State
31. Jalen Wydermyer*, TE, Texas A&M
32. Cade Mays, G/C, Tennessee
33. Kenyon Green*, G, Texas A&M
34. Tyler Shough*, QB, Texas Tech
35. Thayer Mumford, T, Ohio State
36. Jordan Battle*, S, Alabama
37. Merlin Robertson, DE, Arizona State
38. Xavier Thomas*, DE, Clemson
39. Tyler Davis*, DT, Clemson
40. Isaiah Spiller*, RB, Texas A&M
41. Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
42. Tyler Linderbaum*, C, Iowa
43. Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
44. Frank Ladson*, WR, Clemson
45. Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
46. JT Daniels*, QB, Georgia
47. Nik Bonitto*, LB, Oklahoma
48. Ahmad Gardner*, CB, Cincinnati
49. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
50. Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
NFL Draft prospect rankings by place
1. Sam Howell, North Carolina (1)
2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma (5)
3. Kedon Slovis, USC (8)
4. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (17)
5. Tyler Shough, Texas Tech (34)
6. JT Daniels, Georgia (46)
1. Breece Hall, Iowa State (30)
2. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M (40)
3. Brian Robinson, Alabama (50)
1. Justyn Ross, Clemson (12)
2. Chris Olave, Ohio State (13)
3. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State (14)
4. George Pickens, Georgia (19)
5. Jon Metchie, Alabama (25)
6. Frank Ladson, Clemson (44)
7. Ty Fryfogle, Indiana (45)
1. Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M (31)
2. Charlie Kolar, Iowa State (41)
3. Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State (43)
1. Evan Neal, Alabama (3)
2. Zion Nelson, Miami (11)
3. Charles Cross, Mississippi State (22)
4. Rasheed Walker, Penn State (27)
5. Cade Mays, Tennessee (32)
6. Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (33)
7. Thayer Mumford, Ohio State (35)
8. Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (42)
1. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon (4)
2. Drake Jackson, USC (10)
3. Zach Harrison, Ohio State (16)
4. George Karlafitis, Purdue (26)
5. Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan (28)
6. Merlin Robertson, Arizona State (37)
7. Xavier Thomas, Clemson (38)
Defensive deal with
1. DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M (9)
2. Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma (20)
3. Tyler Davis, Clemson (39)
1. Christian Harris, Alabama (7)
2. Ventrell Miller, Florida (18)
3. Brenton Cox, Florida (21)
4. Nik Bonitto, LB, Oklahoma (47)
5. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah (49)
1. Derek Stingley, Jr., LSU (2)
2. Kaiir Elam, Florida (15)
3. Sevyn Banks, Ohio State (23)
4. Josh Jobe, Alabama (29)
5. Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati (48)
1. Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame (6)
2. Bubba Bolden, Miami (24)
3. Jordan Battle, Alabama (36)