We’re just over a week out from the 2022 NFL Draft and while we have a few more mock drafts left to unveil, this will be our final big board; this time, 150 players strong. As has been the case for months, this isn’t the quarterback class to find a Trevor Lawrence or Joe Burrow. And while it’s an improvement over the 2013 group that included just one first-rounder, EJ Manuel, the reality is that we have just one first-round grade on these passers, and it’s Ole Miss’ Matt Corral (here’s why we’re higher on him than the others).
That said, talk to someone — anyone — else and their top five QBs will almost certainly be different. Also worth noting: This doesn’t mean only one quarterback will go in the first round. Teams overdraft players all the time, especially at the most important position, and we expect three, and maybe even four, to be among the first 32 selections.
The good news is that if your team is set at franchise quarterback, there is depth at wide receiver, edge rusher, cornerback, offensive line and safety. That’s reflected in our Top 150 Big Board, below, where we have first-round grades on 27 players.
1. Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan2. Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State3. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati4. Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon5. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama6. Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia7. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State8. Drake London, WR, USC9. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State10. Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
Aidan Hutchinson remains our No. 1 player, which hasn’t changed since midway through the college football season. Ikem Ekwonu admits that he’s still a long way from a finished product, and that should be a scary thought for NFL defensive linemen. Ekwonu got by on sheer athleticism and brute strength in college and once he hones his game he’s going to be just about unstoppable.
Sauce Gardner has been our CB1 for some time and he leaves Cincinnati without ever allowing a passing touchdown. He’s long, physical, fast and has ball skills, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets seriously considered him with the fourth-overall pick. Kayvon Thibodeaux, the football player, is a game-changer when he’s locked in and it’s hard to imagine teams passing on that type of talent because of vague off-field concerns that some folks in the league admit seem overblown.
Though they’re different players, both Garrett Wilson and Drake London are top-10 talents for us because they can come in and help immediately; Wilson reminds us of Odell Beckham Jr., while London, in our mind, will be a better version of Michael Pittman, his former USC teammate who has had a strong start to his NFL career.
Derek Stingley’s pre-draft process is reminiscent of what we all witnessed a year ago with his former LSU teammate, Ja’Marr Chase. Chase opted out of the 2020 season, then dominated his pro day, then ended up as the fifth-overall pick and proved he was absolutely worth it. Stingley could follow a similar path and his ’22 season could look a lot like his freshman campaign in Baton Rouge back in ’19.
11. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama12. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah13. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington 14. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame15. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia16. Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa17. David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan18. Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia19. Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson20. Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M21. Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State22. Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota23. Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa24. Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan25. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Jameson Williams suffered an ACL injury in the national title game but even as he rehabilitates, we consider him one of the best players in this draft. Barring a setback, he’ll be ready to go in late October or early November. Same holds for David Ojabo, who tore his Achilles during his pro day. He remains a first-round talent for us, even if he’s only played football for five years.
Meanwhile, Kyle Hamilton is a really good football player who happens to play a position that isn’t as highly valued as edge rusher or cornerback, and the fact that he ran a 4.59 at the combine and then in the 4.7s at his pro day could scare teams off even further. And by “scare off” we mean that instead of being a top-five selection, Hamilton goes in the middle of Round 1.
We have four offensive linemen ranked 11th-25th and the top two, Tyler Linderbaum and Kenyon Green, play inside. Trevor Penning and Bernard Raimann are high-upside athletes who either played FCS football (Penning) or are new to the position (Raimann, a former tight end). Both could go in the first round and begin their careers inside at guard before settling at tackle.
26. Daxton Hill, S, Michigan27. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss28. Sam Howell, QB, UNC29. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn30. Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia31. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida32. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota33. Logan Hall, DL, Houston34. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington35. Ken Walker, RB, Michigan State36. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia37. Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State38. Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State39. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State40. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty41. Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky42. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State43. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama44. Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College45. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh46. Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa47. Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati48. Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State49. George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue50. Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan
Here’s where our QB1, Matt Corral, finally shows up and he’s followed by Sam Howell, who the more we watched the more we liked. Realistically, both could end up going on Day 2 while Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett find their way into the Day 1 conversation.
Many draft analysts have Pickett (No. 45) as their QB1. And we get it; he made huge strides from 2020 to 2021, is a good athlete, a great leader, and NFL ready on Day 1. But he’s not Joe Burrow, which is a comp that gets thrown around too loosely. For us, he’s more Daniel Jones, which isn’t a death knell, just recognizing that sometimes players get over-drafted and then drown in the expectations. For us, Pickett has a second-round grade and if he, say, goes to the Colts in Round 2, the expectations will be immeasurably less than if he goes to, say, the Panthers at No. 6.
Dax Hill is listed as a safety but he plays in the slot, deep centerfield and even outside, and that versatility, coupled with his athleticism, makes him a popular late-Round 1 target for teams like the Buffalo Bills. In fact, there’s plenty of depth at safety here; in addition to Hill there’s Lewis Cine, Jaquan Brisker and Bryan Cook, centerfielders who love to come downhill in run support and who also are good in coverage. Also among the players ranked 26th-50th is the first running back (Ken Walker at No. 35) and tight end (Trey McBride at No. 37).
You’ll notice we have George Karlaftis at No. 49 and don’t get it twisted, he’s a solid player who had a fantastic ’19 season and did a lot of things well last season. He reminds us more of former Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa than a top-10 talent (Epenesa went in the second round to the Bills in ’20), but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a disruptive presence at the next level.
51. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State52. Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina53. Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor54. Cole Strange, OG, UT-Chattanooga55. Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA56. Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming57. Luke Fortner, OC, Kentucky58. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State59. Marcus Jones, CB, Houston60. Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati61. IsaIah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M62. Kalia Davis, DL, UCF63. Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State64. George Pickens, WR, Georgia65. Quay Walker, LB, Georgia66. John Metchie, WR, Alabama67. Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State68. Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State69. Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma70. Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC71. Travis Jones, DL, UConn72. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan73. Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee74. Dylan Parham, OG, Memphis75. Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
UTSA’s Tariq Woolen is 6-foot-4, ran a 4.26 40 at the combine, and is more than just a workout warrior. His tape is good, and he’s only going to improve. Houston’s Marcus Jones is only 5-foot-8, 174 pounds and we don’t care. Like, at all. He plays like he’s 6-foot-1, he’s the most dynamic returner in this class, and he can also play wide receiver.
UCF’s Kalia Davis would be higher if he had seen more of the field. He opted out in ’20 and then played just five games in ’21 before tearing his ACL. When he’s healthy, however, he’d damn near unblockable. And Penn State offensive tackle Rasheed Walker’s tape varies widely from first-round abilities to something less than that, but when he’s locked in he’s really, really good. Then there’s Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen, who began his college career on offense (he rushed for 2,260 yards, and had a school record 21 rushing TDs in 2018) before moving to linebacker, where he was routinely the best player on the field.
There’s also a run on edge rushers here, starting with Kingsley Enagbare (No. 52), then Myjai Sanders (No. 60), Arnold Ebiketie (No. 68), Nik Bonitto (No. 69) and Drake Jackson (No. 70). If you like length, speed-to-power, sheer strength, quickness or bend, you’ll find it among this group, which is among the deepest in the draft.
76. Justin Shaffer, OG, Georgia77. Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State78. Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State79. David Bell, WR, Purdue80. Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State81. Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin82. Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama83. Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State84. Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M85. Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia86. Nick Cross, S, Maryland87. Phidarian Mathis, DL, Alabama88. Chasen Hines, OG, LSU89. Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss90. DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M91. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati92. Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama93. Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame94. Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky95. Jashaun Corbin, RB, Florida State96. Juanyeh Thomas, S, Georgia Tech97. Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri98. Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina99. Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State100. Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
Desmond Ridder (No. 91) is our QB5, and while he was one of our favorite interviews at the combine, we have concerns about his accuracy. If that can be cleaned up (and this is where we remind you that people were down on Josh Allen because he struggled with accuracy at Wyoming) he’s a first-round talent all day long because he’s started more than 50 games, he has Josh Allen-type athleticism, and he’s a locker room leader who loves football.
Nick Cross (No. 86) is yet another safety who could end up getting drafted higher than this — he plays centerfield with an edge and then he went to the combine and ran in the 4.3s. The thing is, he played that fast on tape, which is what you hope to see. Fayetteville State’s Joshua Williams (No. 83) is built like a safety but plays cornerback with the fluidity of someone who is 5-foot-11. The level of competition is a concern but Williams didn’t look out of place at all at the Senior Bowl, where he matched up against some of the best players in the country.
Channing Tindall continues the theme of insane athletes. And while he may have been sharing the linebacker position with Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker at Georgia, he was arguably the best athlete on that side of the ball (though Nakobe Dean isn’t picking him in a pick-up basketball game).
Two names at wideout are interesting too; David Bell (No. 79) isn’t a burner but he’s a high-point machine who excels at yards after the catch. Jalen Tolbert reminds us of Will Fuller (though not quite that fast) and if he can overcome the occasional focus drop he could be special.
101. Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois102. Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana Lafayette103. Carson Strong, QB, Nevada104. Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin105. Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis106. Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati107. Dane Belton, S, Iowa108. Michael Clemons, EDGE, Texas A&M109. Cade Otton, TE, Washington110. Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU111. Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State112. Dohnovan West, OC, Arizona State113. Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA114. Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma115. Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State116. Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston St.117. Cade Mays, OG, Tennessee118. Danny Gray, WR, SMU119. Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State120. Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson121. Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati122. James Cook, RB, Georgia123. Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati124. Zach Tom, OC, Wake Forest125. Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA
Man, we wish Carson Strong’s knee was 100 percent because that’s the primary reason he’s sitting at No. 103. In the summer, we had him as our QB1 because he has a strong arm, throws with anticipation better than anyone in this class, and is willing to make NFL-window throws consistently — and consistently find his intended target. But it was clear early in the season that he was favoring the knee and though he improved as the season progressed, long-term concerns might lead some teams to wait until late Day 2 or even Day 3 to draft him.
Like Marcus Jones, Calvin Austin III (No. 105) might be undersized, but he is regularly the most dangerous player on the field. Incidentally, if you want to have some fun, watch any Houston-Memphis game from the last couple seasons; Jones vs. Austin is all it’s cracked up to be and then some.
Coby Bryant (No. 106) is the other Cincinnati cornerback. But just because he’s not Sauce Gardner doesn’t mean he wasn’t effective on the outside. He’s incredibly smart, can play both man and off coverages, and is a wrap-up tackler.
Brian Asamoah (No. 114) is undersized (6-foot, 226 pounds), even compared to today’s NFL off-ball linebacker but he flies all over the field making plays and his playmaking ability is why he’s the captain of Pete Prisco’s Better-Than team.
Danny Gray (No. 118) is a lot of fun, both as a receiver and a returner. He’s at his most dangerous with the ball in his hands and then taking a quick throw and turning into a huge gain. He blazed a 4.33 40 at the combine and he plays at that speed too. Five spots later is Alec Pierce (No. 123), Desmond Ridder’s favorite weapon at Cincinnati. He’s another wide receiver who blew up the combine but while his 4.41 40 time and 40.5-inch vertical got your attention, he didn’t play at that speed in college.
126. Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State127. Eyioma Uwazurike, DL, Iowa State128. Cam Jurgens, OC, Nebraska129. Cordale Flott, CB, LSU130. Jayden Peevy, DL, Texas A&M131. Ed Ingram, OG, LSU132. Delarrin Turner-Yell, S, Oklahoma133. Smoke Monday, S, Auburn134. Logan Bruss, OT, Wisconsin135. Spencer Burford, OG, UTSA136. Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State137. Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky138. Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State139. D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian St140. Andrew Stueber, OT, Michigan141. Mike Rose, LB, Iowa State142. Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor143. Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma144. Nick Zakelj, OT, Fordham145. John Ridgeway, DL, Arkansas146. DJ Davidson, DL, Arizona State147. Zonovan Knight, RB, NC State148. Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia149. Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska150. Cade York, K, LSU
Yep, that’s right, punter Matt Araiza (No. 136) makes the list. There have been reports that he could be a top-100 pick though we’ve heard he’ll more likely end up on Day 3. Either way, it’s hard to take away from what he accomplished in 2021, booming 80-yard punts without even trying.
Specialists aside, this is the range to get great value along the offensive and defensive lines — Abe Lucas (No. 126) could work his way into Day 2 and Eyioma Uwazurike (No. 127) can be disruptive from anywhere along the defensive line. Cam Jurgens (No. 128) has both the athleticism and strength to play center at a high level in the NFL and Nick Zakelj (No. 144) may have played at Fordham but he was really good against Nebraska last season, even if he struggled at times during the Senior Bowl.
Finally, Jelani Woods (No. 148) could end up a Day 2 selection. He looked pedestrian at times over the last half of the ’21 season but he suffered a high-ankle sprain that limited his effectiveness. Watch him earlier in the season and he’s a difference-maker. His 4.61 40 at his pro day reinforced his play speed, and the former Oklahoma State wide receiver shows the ability to be a good blocker at the next level too.