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  • Writer's pictureFred Wheeler

Prospects #1-25 for the 2022 NFL Draft

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

So if you've already read the first half of this article, you know who won't be listed; if not, you can find it here.

You'll likely recognize a lot more of the players in this article, these are the stars, the guys you hope will take one more year to make another run at a Natty (or, in some cases, just making a bowl game). These are the guys whose jerseys you see in the stands for years after they've graduated and the ones who NFL fans hope turn around their franchises.

1. Kayvon Thibodeaux – Oregon – DE – The #2 player in the 2019 recruiting class might end up as the #1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but there will be competition for that slot.

Twitchy and raw, will need to add weight to play DE in the NFL.

Game to Watch – Sept 11 @ Ohio State

2. Sam Howell – North Carolina – QB – Another of the approximately half-dozen players who could be picked #1, Howell is (for me) the real deal. Athletic enough that you have to account for his legs, throws a nice, catchable deep ball. He reminds me of Baker Mayfield.

Game to Watch – Oct 30 @ Notre Dame

3. Spencer Rattler – Oklahoma – QB – The latest in the line of QBs parading out of Norman under Lincoln Riley, Rattler is being mentioned as a Heisman favorite. Has very good arm strength and is good under pressure. I’m concerned about his only starting for (after this season) two years.

Game to Watch – Oct 2 @ Kansas State – A trap game the week before Texas, plus K-State has beaten them two years running.

4. Derek Stingley Jr. – LSU – CB – Will be in the conversation for #1 but probably won’t be picked there. Is one of the best cover corners in college over the last ten years, THE best over the last two. Great ball skills and a good enough tackler, a certain game-changer.

Game to Watch – Nov 6 @ Alabama

5. DeMarvin Leal – Texas A&M – DE – A ridiculously athletic lineman who plays on the EDGE at 290#, Leal will be a factor in every game that the Aggies play this year. His pass rush moves are sufficient for college, but watching him ragdoll OTs who are 30-40lbs heavier is amazing.

Game to Watch – Oct 9 Vs. Alabama

6. Evan Neal – Alabama – OT – Moving from RT to LT for 2021, Neal is a load at 6’7”, 360lbs. If you watch his highlights from last season you see him absolutely steamrolling smaller EDGE rushers and smothering them with his bulk. I’ll be interested to see him against DeMarvin Leal as I think his footwork will be very important in that matchup.

Game to Watch – Oct 9 @ Texas A&M

7. Kyle Hamilton – Notre Dame – S – Does everything well and nothing poorly. Covers receivers and makes plays on the ball when he can, makes the difficult catch. Blitzes effectively when free and will stick his nose in to make the tackle, though he’s more of a wrap-up tackler, not a big hitter.

Game to Watch – Oct 30 Vs. North Carolina

8. Kaiir Elam – Florida – CB – The second best corner (who might be) available, Elam is an eraser. Whoever he’s covering is just gone from the field. Has the speed to catch up to overthrown balls and the body control to break up passes when he’s shielded. If a ball is underthrown, he turns into a WR who can shield and highpoint for a turnover.

Game to Watch – Sept 18 Vs. Alabama

9. Chris Olave – Ohio State – WR – A surprise return for the Buckeyes in 2021, most thought he could have left for the NFL as a sure-fire 1st rounder after last season. Is a sure route runner at the mid-to-deep levels and has a 16yd average route depth. Coming back may have bumped him into the top 10.

Game to Watch – Sept 11 Vs. Oregon

10. Jordan Battle – S – Alabama – Makes plays on a consistent basis and his only INT of 2020 was returned for a TD. Not a big hitter, but will find the ball carrier and wrap him up. Is versatile and has good size for the position.

Game to Watch – Oct 2 Vs. Ole Miss

11. Trent McDuffie – CB – Washington – Not the cover corner that the first two CBs on this list are, but a solid player nonetheless. McDuffie might be the most complete DB though, especially with regards to his tackling and ability to play as a “gunner” on special teams.

Game to Watch – Sept 11 @ Michigan

12. Kenyon Green – OT – Texas A&M – After spending the last two seasons at guard, Green is moving to LT this season where the Aggies believe his athleticism will allow him to blossom. Anchors well against bull rushes and has the feet to handle smaller, faster EDGE rushers.

Game to Watch - Oct 9 Vs. Alabama

13. Garrett Wilson – WR – Ohio State – The “2” portion of the Buckeyes’ 1-2 punch at wideout in 2021. Wilson gets in and out of his breaks smoothly and attacks the ball to make the catch. Finished with 700+yds receiving in only 8 games last year, could break a 1000 with solid QB play.

Game to Watch – Sept 11 Vs. Oregon

14. Zach Harrison – DE – Ohio State – the next in a long line of pass rushers from Ohio State, Harrison is tall, rangy, and explosive. He’ll have a chance to show what he can do this season after gathering up 19 pressures in the last four games in 2020.

Game to Watch – Sept 2 @ Minnesota

15. Nik Bonitto – EDGE – Oklahoma – The number #1 rated pass rusher for 2020 according to, Bonitto was a problem for every OT tackle he ran into, or rather around, last year. He’ll need to either prove that he can cover as a LB or bulk up to play DE as right now he’s coming in at 240lbs.

Game to Watch – Oct 9 Vs. Texas at neutral site

16. Kedon Slovis – QB – Southern Cal – It’s possible that this doesn’t choice doesn’t look quite so good in January, but I like Slovis. He’s been the Trojans QB for the last two years and virtually every week his completion percentage is north of 65%. Not bad, but maybe that's to be expected when your HS coach was Kurt Warner, yes, THAT Kurt Warner.

Game to Watch – Oct 23 @ Notre Dame

17. Adam Anderson – EDGE – Georgia – For someone who hasn’t played a ton of snaps (337) in three years with the Bulldogs, Anderson sure has made the most of the ones he’s gotten, of 36 career tackles, 9 are sacks. He is super bendy and doesn’t give OTs anything to hit, must prove he can do it full time in 2021 though.

Game to Watch – Sept 4 Vs. Clemson @ Charlotte, NC

18. Malik Willis – QB – Liberty – Started at Auburn before transferring to the Flames in 2019, Willis has been a revelation (pardon the pun) for Liberty. 3000 combined yards and 35 TDs in 2020 put him on the NFL’s (and everyone else’s) radar. Has that “it” factor. He’s not my type of QB, but it’s easy to see why scouts like him.

Game to Watch – Nov 6 @ Ole Miss

19. Jaxson Kirkland – OT – Washington – Began his career at guard but transitioned to LT last season. Has ideal size for the tackle position (6’7”, 311lbs), quick, strong, and coordinated, he might be this year’s Rashawn Slater.

Game to Watch – Sept 11 @ Michigan

20. George Karlaftis – EDGE – Purdue – Has the size and bulk you want for a DE. Makes big plays and is a solid run defender. Limited action in college (14 games) but has still produced 9.5 sacks in that time.

Game to Watch – Nov 13 @ Ohio State

21. John Metchie III – WR – Alabama – Because why wouldn’t Alabama have another first-round receiver coming up? In the same vein as Heisman winner Devonta Smith, Metchie is a vertical threat who will be the go-to receiver for the Tide. Expecting big things would be an understatement.

Game to Watch – Sept 18 @ Florida

22. Ahmad Gardner – CB – Cincinnati - If “Sauce” played for any P5 program in the country, he’d be a top 10 selection in this draft. As it is, I feel he’s still a first rounder. With the size, explosiveness, and instincts he possesses, he'll be playing on Sundays for a while.

Game(s) to Watch – Sept 18 @ Indiana AND Oct 2 @ Notre Dame

23. Treylon Burks – WR – Arkansas – He’s big, strong, and fast. Throw in good hands and a knack for big plays and Burks is going to make some OC very happy. Buried on a bad (but improving) Razorbacks squad, Burks has a chance to make a name for himself on a national level in 2021.

Game to Watch – Nov 20 @ Alabama

24. Rasheed Walker – OT – Penn State – A prototype offensive tackle, Walker has starred on the line for Penn State. With his size, intelligence, and “punch” he can handle almost any rusher he encounters. He may need to move to the right side on Sundays.

Game to Watch – Oct 30 @ Ohio State

25. Drake Jackson – EDGE – Southern Cal – Too much of a ‘tweener for my taste (6’4” 255lbs), but someone will like him enough to make him a high pick. Explosive and uses his hands well, plus has good bend in his pass rush moves.

Game to Watch – Oct 23 @ Notre Dame

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