If you missed out first 25 players, give it a look here. These players are where head coaches and general manager’s become champions or become a punchline. I’m a bit higher than most “experts” on a few of these guys, but also have several guys who will likely go in the top fifteen.
2022 NFL Draft Big Board, Part 1
26. DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M DL
In terms of versatility for defensive linemen, Leal is the best in this class. He has inside-out capability and can play in any defensive scheme. While he had some inconsistent film and isn’t the best athlete, Leal would look like the best player on the field at times. He will never be a high sack total guy, but he should be a solid starter for years to come.
Pro Comparison: Chris Jones
27. Malik Willis, Liberty QB
I see why people love Willis. He has a strong arm, elite athleticism, and seems to be an excellent leader. However, he has a lot of room to grow as a passer. He leaves the pocket at the first sign of pressure and doesn’t like to sit in the pocket. On the other hand, he can just outrun every defender and throw the ball 70 yards down the field. If coached properly, he has a really bright future.
Pro Comparison: Colin Kaepernick, but shorter
28. Jahan Dotson, Penn State WR
I don’t see Dotson ever becoming a WR1 in a good offense, but he should have a long career working as a secondary option. He has great speed and separation ability that got him open over and over again at Penn State. He definitely needs to add some muscle to his small frame, but he could be a starter in his rookie year.
Pro Comparison: Jarvis Landry
29. Daxton Hill, Michigan S
Hutchinson and Ojabo got all the headlines for the Michigan defense, but Hill played a very important role in the secondary. A coverage safety who showed that he can play in zone or man, Hill can be used in a few ways. While stronger in coverage, Hill is also a sound tackler who can play near the line of scrimmage.
Pro Comparison: Jordan Poyer
30. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh QB
Seeing Pickett this low might surprise some people. He’s generally seen as a lock to go in the top twenty, but that’s mostly because of positional value. Quarterbacks with as much experience as him are rare and he did get a lot better in 2021, but he seems destined to be an above-average quarterback at best in the NFL.
Pro Comparison: Ryan Tannehill
31. Trent McDuffie, Washington CB
A high-floor prospect, it’s tough to describe McDuffie. He isn’t an exciting player, but he is going to be a productive player. No one thing stands out in his game, but he is versatile and ready to play as a rookie. I do worry about him physically in that he will have trouble against bigger receivers, but should be fast enough to stay on the speed guys.
Pro Comparison: Darius Slay
32. George Pickens, Georgia WR
If we are going off of talent, Pickens would be much higher. He’s a natural pass catcher with incredible speed and good height. In a pass-heavy offense, he could develop into a star. However, there are some major red flags. He is a poor run blocker and doesn’t display much effort in that regard. Second, he tore his ACL last summer and hardly played this past season. Finally, he did get ejected for fighting in a game that didn’t look good for him. A high-risk, high-reward player.
Pro Comparison: Kenny Golladay
33. Kaiir Elam, Florida CB
People, including myself, thought Elam was going to break out in 2021. While he didn’t have a bad season, he didn’t take it to the next level. Elam is athletic and has the ideal size, but should be a better player than what his film has shown. He’s also on the skinny side and has trouble being physical against the run. He is good enough to play right away, but he is likely a developmental player.
Pro Comparison: Trevon Diggs
34. Zion Johnson, Boston College OL
If you’re looking for a jack of all trades, then Johnson is your guy. Having played tackle and guard in college, Johnson took snaps at center at the Senior Bowl and Combine. He’s likely to start as a guard, where his footwork and power allow him to play in any style of offense. He may never become an All-Pro, but he could become a good starter for where he is likely to get drafted.
Pro Comparison: Laken Tomlinson
35. Roger McCreary, Auburn CB
McCreary might be a scheme-specific player, but can blossom in a man-heavy defense. He might have the best ball skills out of any cornerback, leading the SEC in pass breakups in 2021. In zone, he can get a little lost and look out of place.
Pro Comparison: Bradley Roby
36. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State WR
If there’s a recent trend that we’ve seen recently in first-round receivers, it’s that the league values speed now more than ever. Between Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle, the top receivers in each of the last two drafts were sub 4.4 guys. Wilson might not be as fast as those guys, but he can absolutely fly. You could argue that he was the third-best receiver at Ohio State in 2021, but he will still likely be a top-twenty pick.
Pro Comparison: Diontae Johnson
37. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M RB
Spiller first came on my radar in 2020 when Texas A&M pulled off a huge win against Florida. In that game, Spiller looked like a grown man playing against boys. His power and vision at that point were pro-ready and he has only gotten better in that regard. He doesn’t have breakaway speed but has enough burst to hit any hole.
Pro Comparison: Melvin Gordon
38. Trey McBride, Colorado State TE
Unlike last year, there is no consensus top tight end in this draft. However, for me, it’s quite clear that McBride is the guy. Most of the top tight ends in the game are not particularly strong blockers, but they can get open. While McBride should be much better at blocking than he actually is, he knows how to make big plays. Use him as a big slot receiver and you could be looking at multiple 1k receiving yard seasons.
Pro Comparison: Hunter Henry
39. Matt Corral, Ole Miss QB
Of all the quarterbacks this year, Corral is the toughest to project. He is a good athlete and got better as a passer over his three years at Ole Miss. What knocks him down a bit is that he doesn’t have great size nor does he have a strong arm. He also ran a lot of RPOs in college and seems destined for that type of role in the NFL. A coach will have to really believe in him and accommodate their offense to his skill, but the potential is there.
Pro Comparison: Daniel Jones
40. Jaquan Brisker, Penn State S
Despite not having much film, Brisker is a coveted prospect due to his elite athleticism. A member of Bruce Feldman’s freak’s list, Brisker dominates the athletic portion of playing football. He’s probably destined to be more of a contributor on special teams as a rookie, but with more seasoning can become a sound free safety.
Pro Comparison: Taylor Rapp
41. Kyler Gordon, Washington CB
As you can tell, this is a DEEP cornerback class. Gordon, like the others, is very sound as a coverage guy, but I love his ability to tackle. Because of this and his speed, he should develop into an elite gunner in punt coverage. He does have a tendency to bite on double moves and will give up big plays or get called for a flag, but his aggression is both a blessing and a curse.
Pro Comparison: CJ Henderson
42. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State RB
As a pure runner, Walker III is the best running back this year and it’s not even close. Not only does he have 4.3 speed, but he runs hard with excellent vision. What I do worry about is his role in the NFL as a pass-catcher. He wasn’t asked to do much as a receiver in college, but also didn’t show me much to get excited about in his opportunities. If he’s able to be a three-down back, he could become a special player.
Pro Comparison: Tony Pollard without the receiving ability
43. John Metchie III, Alabama WR
Coming into the season, I saw Metchie has a top-twenty player. After a mediocre season and tearing his ACL in December, he’s likely to fall into the second or even third round where a team will get great value. He’s probably not going to develop into a star, but he can work from either the slot or out wide and use his quickness to get open.
Pro Comparison: Emmanuel Sanders
44. Coby Bryant, Cincinnati CB
Sauce Gardner got the hype, but Bryant has the chance to be a high-level starter. Bryant has the length and speed that’s desired for the position. What set him apart to me is that he’s battle-tested and a ballhawk. Since teams didn’t throw at Gardner, Bryant was consistently thrown at and responded with ten career interceptions.
Pro Comparison: James Bradberry
45. David Bell, Purdue WR
Despite playing for a relatively average program in Purdue (sorry Boilermaker fans), Bell had some moments where he looked as good as any receiver in college football. Overall there really is no one part of his game that stands out, but he is just so consistent across the board. Because of this, he is likely destined to be a third option on a good offense, but you know what he brings to the table.
Pro Comparison: Marvin Jones
46. Breece Hall, Iowa State RB
Hall is the best running back in Iowa State history and was a touchdown machine in his three seasons in Ames. He has great vision and never misses an open lane. Hall isn’t the fastest nor is he explosive enough to make defenders miss, but he is reliable. I do worry about him being the featured back for a team as his ceiling is relatively low. Should he continue to develop as a receiver though, he could have a long career in the league.
Pro Comparison: Sony Michel
47. Sam Howell, North Carolina QB
If there’s one quarterback who can make me look very dumb with these rankings, it’s Howell. He had a down year in 2021, but was also dealing with a new supporting cast. I like his mobility and arm strength and he has three years of experience which helps. I’d like to see more development in the accuracy category as his mobility isn’t enough to take over games. In an RPO-heavy scheme, I think Howell can thrive and become an above-average starter.
Pro Comparison: Jalen Hurts
48. Martin Emerson, Mississippi State CB
Emerson fits the mold of the prototypical Cover 3 cornerback. He’s long, physical, and should only be playing zone. There were too many times that Emerson was too grabby in coverage and that will be costly should he continue to play that way. On the other hand, he is strong in press and can knock a receiver off his route. He also does an exceptional job of reading the quarterback’s eyes in coverage to make a play.
Pro Comparison: Rasul Douglas
49. Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State EDGE
After three pedestrian seasons at Temple, Ebiketie broke out for 9.5 sacks for Penn State in 2021. At this point, he’s a one-trick pony as a pass rusher. If he’s going to beat you, it will be with speed and quickness off the edge. In that regard, he’s elite and could be a big contributor early in his career. He does need to get a little stronger and more disciplined as a run defender, but that might come as he continues to become a better football player.
Pro Comparison: Odafe Oweh
50. Marcus Jones, Houston CB
He’s not going to be for everyone, but Jones is a baller. Undersized and having dealt with numerous injuries in his career, Jones has red flags that normally I try to avoid. But seeing his tape will make you fall in love. He’s only a slot corner, but he’s a strong tackler and sticky in coverage. As a returner, he had nine combined touchdowns. Those are game-changing type plays he can make that every team should try to take advantage of.
Pro Comparison: Desmond King