2022 NFL Draft

Our top 40 prospects

Get positional rankings, proprietary stats and in-depth player analysis. Read more draft insights from Mike Tanier and Derrik Klassen in Draft Film Room and Walkthrough.

Updated April 25th, 9:00 am ET
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    Breece Hall FO40
    1

    Breece Hall

    +
    1
    Running Back
    Age
    20
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    220
    Class
    Junior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: 149.1%, 1st among 2022 RBs 

    Hall led the nation in rushing in 2020 and rushed for 3,950 yards (second to Troy Davis on the Cyclones’ all-time list) and 50 touchdowns (first) in three seasons. He’s an explosive, barreling north-south runner who becomes ordinary when moving parallel to the line of scrimmage. The Cyclones (like many college teams) ran lots of outside zone over the last two seasons, and Hall was at his best when finding the first available cutback lane , squaring his shoulders, and blasting past or through tacklers. 

    Hall caught 82 passes in his college career and is a handful in the open field after screens or checkdowns. He’s a serviceable pass protector who can spot blitzers and get in their way. Strong combine results, including a position-high 40 inch vertical jump and a fine 4.39-second 40-yard dash, helped Hall's draft stock. Hall ranked second to Rutgers' Isaih Pacheco in Speed Score, our size-to-speed ratio metric. He also registered the fourth-highest BackCAST projection in Football Outsiders history.  

    Hall lacks shiftiness and has good-not-great vision and tackle-breaking capability, and all of that collegiate usage could be a mixed blessing. His upside may be limited due to all of those collegiate carries, but Hall could turn out to be the most dependable, ready-to-play back in this rookie class. 

    For more on Hall, check out Derrik Klassen's Film Room report
     

    Kenneth Walker FO40
    2

    Kenneth Walker

    1
    Running Back
    Age
    21
    Height
    5'10"
    Weight
    210
    Class
    Junior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: 54.4%, fourth among 2022 RBs

    Walker can go from zero to 60 in a heartbeat when bursting through a crease, then take it up to 90 in the open field. He can turn four yard gains into 15-yarders by exploding past a surprised linebacker in the hole and 15-yard runs into touchdowns by combining his fourth gear with some open-field juke moves.

    Take away his elite push-to-pass burst and the rest of Walker’s game is ordinary. He’ll get bottled up when a play isn’t blocked up just so and is a good-not-great tackle breaker and finisher. BackCAST loves his pure speed but is not happy about his 19 career receptions at Wake Forest and Michigan State (he transferred to the Spartans last year), and you shouldn’t be, either: he was strictly a screens-and-flats receiver who will probably leave the field on third downs as a rookie.

    Walker looks a little bit like Jonathan Taylor, though with far less refined receiving chops. Given a functional offense to work in and an All Pro or two to run behind, Walker could be a 1,200-yard rusher as a rookie. If Walker gets stuck on a team with a weak offensive line, however, he may find himself without any holes to burst through.
     

    Isaiah Spiller FO40
    3

    Isaiah Spiller

    Running Back
    Age
    20
    Height
    6'0"
    Weight
    215
    Class
    Junior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: 48.0%, fifth among 2022 RBs  

    A darting, swivel-hipped start-stop rusher, Spiller rushed for over 1000 yards for the Aggies in 2020 and 2021 and caught over 20 passes in each of his three college seasons. Spiller is an effective receiver on wheel and angle routes and can do Super Tecmo Bowl stuff in the open field with his jump cuts and spins. On the downside, he jitterbugs to the line of scrimmage far too often, resulting in lots of TFL (see last year’s Alabama game) and making him a liability in short-yardage situations.

    Receiving chops and breakaway capability will get Spiller onto a backfield committee in a hurry. Think Devin Singletary or Darrell Henderson: a back who needs a good system and a “thunder” running mate to succeed but will produce enough highlights and 100-yard games to keep earning touches.
     

    Garrett Wilson FO40
    4

    Garrett Wilson

    -
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'0"
    Weight
    192
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 706 Yards/Season, second among 2022 WRs (Projected)

    There are a lot of Michael Thomas elements to Wilson’s game. Like the former Buckeyes and erstwhile Saints superstar, Wilson excels at gaining position on his defender in his first few steps off the line of scrimmage, snapping off the tops of his routes and feasting on comebacks and other short-breaking patterns. He possesses an extra open-field gear, sure hands and the ability to both make catches in traffic and bounce off tacklers for YAC. His primary weaknesses? Wilson's releases and stems can get a little too exaggerated, disrupting the timing of his routes. He also lacks pure explosiveness off the line and will be a liability as a blocker, even on bubble screens to his teammates.

    Wilson came on strong late in 2021, with 27-371-6 (plus a 51-yard rushing touchdown) in his final three collegiate games. Playmaker Score loves Wilson’s big-play capability as a rusher and the fact that he earned such a high percentage of targets in an offense which also featured Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. 

    The Michael Thomas comp may be too optimistic (and carry a bit of baggage), but Wilson could become a Stefon Diggs-type, capable of either turbocharging an offense or acting as a 12-target-per-game security blanket for a developing quarterback.

    For more on Wilson, check out Derrik Klassen's Draft Film room feature.

    Drake London FO40
    5

    Drake London

    -
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    20
    Height
    6'5"
    Weight
    210
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 514 Yards/Season, fifth among 2022 WRs.

    London is the best pure route runner in this class. He combines crafty releases, changing speeds, head fakes and tight cuts at the end of his stem to both gain separation from cornerbacks and set them up on shorter routes. London is also tall, well built, useful in the screen-YAC game and one of the youngest prospects in the 2022 draft class: he doesn’t turn 21 until July.

    Like many king-sized receivers, London lacks initial explosion, and he’s more of a gather-up runner than a pure burner. His blocking technique and tenacity are inconsistent, which could be a problem for a receiver who looks best suited to a McVay-Shanahan type offense. Playmaker Score is skeptical that USC's pass-heavy scheme inflated London's raw stats in 2021. 

    If his route running translates to the NFL level, London could develop into a Tyler Boyd-type. London likely fell behind the Ohio State receivers on draft boards, at least temporarily when he did not work out at the combine.(Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson both performed very well). Where London gets drafted may hinge on how he performs at his personal Pro Day in early April.
     

    Kenny Pickett FO40
    6

    Kenny Pickett

    +
    1
    Quarterback
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'2"
    Weight
    225
    Class
    RS Senior
    Quarterback
    Expand

    There are shades of the young Andy Dalton in Pickett’s game. Don’t snicker: Dalton threw 20 touchdown passes, led the Bengals to the playoffs and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2011. 

    Like Dalton, Pickett throws with great anticipation and touch, knows where to find his secondary receiver and runs well enough to escape danger and make the occasional positive play. As a four-year starter and “super senior,” Pickett is about as experienced and NFL ready as a college quarterback can be. 

    Also like Dalton, Pickett is a low-upside prospect who lacks A+ arm strength or mobility. He also sometimes runs himself into trouble. Most troublingly, Pickett's hands measured just 8.5 inches at the combine, a historically low figure. Don't let DraftTwitter browbeat you into believing that it does not matter that Pickett's hands are at least a full half inch smaller than the traditional minimal threshold: it's one more suboptimal attribute for a prospect who isn't dazzling enough to afford very many of them. But there is plenty to like about him on film, and our QBASE projections are sure to love his four-plus years of experience and his 9.7 adjusted yards per attempt in 2021. 

    Given an immediate starting opportunity for a team like the Panthers or Saints, Pickett could win a starting job in camp and quickly establish himself as a capable system quarterback. Malik Willis has the higher upside, but Pickett is more likely to be making headlines in September.
     

    Jahan Dotson FO40
    7

    Jahan Dotson

    +
    1
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    184
    Class
    RS Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 425 Yards/Season, seventh among 2022 WRs.

    Dotson is a lean, slippery receiver who produced some mammoth games in 2021: 11-127 with a rushing touchdown against Ohio State, 11-242-3 against Maryland, and so on. He works well in traffic, finds holes in zones, can adjust to haul in bad balls and provides some YAC ability. But lots of Dotson’s production came from slip screens, sometimes from quads formations: he’s not a precise route-runner or size-speed marvel. He’s also entering the draft after his senior season, and Playmaker Score is wary of an over-aged prospect from a high-volume dink-and-dunk system.

    Anyone looking for (oh boy, here it comes) the Next Deebo Samuel will be disappointed in Dotson. Teams looking for a more traditional safety valve who can hoover up short underneath routes – think Jameson Crowder, but with greater big-play ability – would be happy to land Dotson in the late first or early second round.

     

    Malik Willis FO40
    8

    Malik Willis

    +
    2
    Quarterback
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    215
    Class
    RS Senior
    Quarterback
    Expand

    Willis has the strongest arm in the quarterback class – Carson Strong is not even in the same category – and impressed at the Senior Bowl with his presence and poise on and off the field. Willis suffered through a three-interception performance against Ole Miss in November and had other rough late-season outings, but a strong Senior Bowl week should put to bed any lingering concerns that his skills would not translate to the NFL level.

    Willis has the highest upside of any quarterback in the 2022 class but will need far more polish than Kenny Pickett and some of the others. His footwork and accuracy are both spotty, and he has the small-program scrambler’s habit of thinking the pocket is his living room to shuffle about as he pleases (Willis will drift straight into some sacks). But Willis can throw the deep out, sees the field well, finds secondary targets and adds value as a burly/shifty option runner and scrambler. 

    A team with a Matt Ryan or Jared Goff to soak up 2022 starts would be wise to invest a first-round pick in Willis and slow-cook him into a quality dual-threat starter.

    Willis ranks ahead of Pickett as a prospect but below him as a potential fantasy target in 2022: no rookie quarterback is worth drafting in non-keeper leagues, but Pickett is likely to see the field right away, while Willis will probably redshirt.

    Discover much more about Willis in Derrik Klassen's Film Room.

    Chris Olave FO40
    9

    Chris Olave

    +
    4
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    188
    Class
    Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 617 Yards/Season fourth among 2022 WRs 

    Olave was a vertical threat in a Buckeyes offense that also featured Garrett Wilson and top underclassman Jaxon Smith-Njiba in 2021. There were only so many footballs to go around, but Olave scored 13 touchdowns, often by getting open deep against defenses on their heels. 

    Olave is an open-field glider who can eat up a cornerback’s cushion in off coverage and catches defenders flat-footed in deep coverage. He tracks over-the-shoulder catches well. Everything else is a mixed bag: Olave isn’t as effective on comeback routes as a speedster should be, won’t produce much YAC unless he’s already behind the defense and gets tossed around as a blocker. Olave's 4.39 second 40-yard dash at the combine didn't hurt his stock by any means, but it did not help as much as it could have: teammate Garrett Wilson outran Olave by one one-hundredth of a second.  

    Olave has stratospheric upside but is a vexing prospect. Daniel Jeremiah compares him to Will Fuller, which fits: Fuller has spent five years scattering big games among long stretches of waiting for big games (plus injuries).

    Olave fits best in the NFL as a vertical lid-lifter for a team that already has a big-armed quarterback and a 12-target-per-game go-to guy. Given ideal circumstances, he could have a DeVonta Smith-like impact as a rookie.

     

    James Cook FO40
    10

    James Cook

    1
    Running Back
    Age
    22
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    190
    Class
    Senior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: -45.7% (Projected)

    Cook, the younger brother of Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, split time with Zamir White in the Bulldogs backfield in 2020 and 2021 after backing up D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and others early in his collegiate career. Cook is a well-built, one-cut speedster who sometimes doubled as a jet sweep threat in the slot. His instincts, moves and tackle-breaking chops are ordinary, but Cook has reliable hands as an underneath receiver and picks up blitzes well enough to get the job done as a third-down back.

    BackCAST is skeptical of a four-year committee back, and while Cook can look like Swift for a handful of touches per game, he can look ordinary for some stretches and gives way to White a little too often. He projects as a Tevin Coleman type whose pure speed will get him touches but will never be much more than a committee back.
     

    Tyler Badie FO40
    11

    Tyler Badie

    +
    1
    Running Back
    Age
    22
    Height
    5'8
    Weight
    194
    Class
    Senior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: Not yet ranked.

    Badie was a Senior Bowl favorite: a pint-sized speedster who looked like the quickest player on the field at times in Mobile. He rushed for 1,612 yards and 14 touchdowns for Mizzou, adding 55-330-4 as a receiver. 

    Badie has the skillset of a natural third-down back, right down to the feistiness to throw his body around in pass protection. Overall: a Jeremy McNichols/J.D. McKissic type whose quickness and hands will give him lots of opportunities as a change-up back and receiver out of the backfield.
     

    Trey McBride
    12

    Trey McBride

    2
    Tight End
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'4"
    Weight
    260
    Class
    Senior
    Tight End
    Expand

    Travis Rating: 395 yards/season, 1st among 2022 TEs

    McBride checks all the proverbial boxes. He can make over-the-shoulder catches like a playmaking wide receiver, has the footwork of a crafty possession receiver off the line, and blocks slightly better than the average tight end prospect (in other words: not all that well but not disastrously). 

    There’s no Kyle Pitts-like A+ quality to McBride’s game, but he caught 90 passes and ended up the focal point of the Colorado State passing game in his final season. McBride could be capable of Zach Ertz-level production down the line. As a rookie, he does everything well enough to see the field right away.
     

    Desmond Ridder FO40
    13

    Desmond Ridder

    +
    4
    Quarterback
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'4"
    Weight
    215
    Class
    RS Senior
    Quarterback
    Expand

    The best thing that can be said of Ridder is that he won’t get a general manager or head coach fired. He’s tall and athletic, throws zippy, accurate short passes between the numbers, runs well enough to be an option threat and generally makes sound decisions, looking off his primary receiver at times and rarely taking unnecessary risks. He’s also a four-year starter who led a midmajor on an unprecedented run of success, which speaks to his reliability and “football character.” He’s exactly the sort of prospect NFL teams draft and try to prop up behind an RPO-heavy system, which is why Ridder is likely to rank very highly on “insidery” draft boards across the Internet.

    As for the negatives, Ridder throws too many sinker-sliders outside the numbers and gets a LOT of passes tipped at the line (see the BCS playoff loss to Alabama), which for a 6-foot-4 passer is usually a sign of a predictable process and a slower-than-ideal release. Ridder underthrows many of his deep shots, though his receivers often bailed him out. He endured lots of sacks when the Bearcats faced Georgia and Alabama in bowl/playoff games: a sign that Cincinnati’s AAC offensive line wasn’t quite up to SEC snuff to be sure, but also a reminder that Ridder may face a steep ramp from the midmajors to the NFL.

    While Ridder is not as good a prospect as Marcus Mariota was leaving Oregon, he projects as a Mariota type. He can be effective as a scrambling, rhythm-passing pepperpot in short bursts, but his upside is strictly limited by a lack of A+ attributes.
     

    Treylon Burks FO40
    14

    Treylon Burks

    2
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'3"
    Weight
    225
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 737 yards/season, 1st among WRs  

    The Deebo Samuel comparisons are inevitable: Burks is a heavy-duty slot receiver who also sometimes lined up in the Razorbacks backfield. He’s a rumbling runner with the ball in his hands who can also sprint away from defenders in the open field. He also excels at making contested catches and can out-leap defenders along the sideline. On the downside, Burks lacks sudden quickness and rarely gets separation against SEC-caliber defenders in man coverage. Playmaker Score loves Burks’ production in the running game and the fact that he produced such a high percentage of the Razorbacks' receiving yardage.

    Despite the high projected Playmaker Score and all the buzz, Burks has high boom-bust potential. His upside is a cross between a Deebo-like slot weapon and Mike Evans-like big boundary target. His downside could be a second-tier gadget specialist who needs to be schemed open. But that sweet upside makes Burks a likely first-round pick.

    George Pickens FO40
    15

    George Pickens

    +
    1
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    20
    Height
    6'3"
    Weight
    200
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Pickens led the Bulldogs with 49 receptions as a freshman in 2019. He then caught just 36 passes in 2020 due to a COVID-truncated schedule and missed most of 2021 with a knee injury, returning late in the season for five receptions, including a sensational 52-yarder in the BCS Championship Game. So Pickens has not played much football, and evaluating him requires a bit of projection. 

    Pickens is a tall vertical threat with the speed to threaten top cornerbacks, outstanding ball-tracking skills and a wide catch radius. Most opponents gave him a soft cushion, and Pickens feasted on quick slants and underneath routes in 2020. The refinement level of his overall game is a matter of conjecture, and he looks like a pure boundary threat who won’t be of much use in the slot or as a possession receiver working the middle. A strong showing at Georgia's Pro Day at least put to rest any lingering concerns about Pickens' health status.

    Pickens has the upside of a Mike Williams-type of big deep threat, but he’s still a work in progress

    Greg Dulcich FO40
    16

    Greg Dulcich

    +
    1
    Tight End
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'4"
    Weight
    243
    Class
    Junior
    Tight End
    Expand

    TRAVIS Rating: 250 yards/season, second among 2022 tight ends

    Dulcich runs routes, catches the football and blocks like a pumped-up slot receiver. He lined up in the slot, flexed or at H-back frequently for Chip Kelly’s Bruins, running a surprising number of deeper routes (37 targets of 10-plus air yards per Sports Info Solutions; 17.3 yards per reception in 2021). Dulcich changes speeds in the open field and effectively snaps off the tops of his routes to get open, and he’s capable of making tough over-the-shoulder catches. As an in-line blocker, he gets in his defender’s way, throws an elbow out and hopes for the best. 

    Dulcich had a strong Senior Bowl and an excellent scouting combine, where he proved that he has the athleticism to be a seam-stretching tight end in the NFL. His blocking won’t impress blood-’n’-guts Bill Parcells types, but he could be a Mike Gesicki type who either serves as the default #1 target in a weaker offense or a “win more” playmaker as the fourth or fifth option in a strong one.
     

    Brian Robinson FO40
    17

    Brian Robinson

    +
    2
    Running Back
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    226
    Class
    RS Senior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: -49.3%

    Alabama teammate Phil Mathis said at the Senior Bowl that “Hitting B-Rob is like hitting an old-school Cadillac hard body.” That shows up on film: Robinson rips through arm tackles and cannot be fun to bring down when he has a full head of steam. 

    Based on his size/quickness/tackle breaking profile, Robinson looks like an NFL featured back. But Robinson has been in Alabama so long that he backed up Josh Jacobs as a freshman. Robinson turns 23 years old in March, old for a running back prospect (Jonathan Taylor just turned 23 in January), and his upright running style will result in a lot of big hits. Robinson isn’t particularly elusive, and he didn’t need to display much vision in a program that blasts open plenty of holes for its backs.

    Robinson is an adequate outlet receiver and a willing pass protector who can handle blitz pickup, so he should crack a rotation as a big back. He could have A.J. Dillon potential as the big back in a rotation.
     

    Abram Smith FO40
    18

    Abram Smith

    -
    Running Back
    Age
    23
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    221
    Class
    RS Senior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: -50.6% (Projected)

    Smith bounced between running back and linebacker for three years at Baylor before leading the Big 12 in rushes (257) and yards (1,602) in 2021. Our BackCAST metric doesn’t like the fact that he was barely used as a rusher before last season, and his 2020 position change is indeed a minor concern. But Smith had a solid Senior Bowl week and stood out during the game itself, outperforming more experienced, better-pedigreed backs in Mobile.

    Smith is a quick one-cut runner with great burst through the hole and (based on his work in Mobile) more receiving capability than his 13 career receptions would suggest. He’ll make a roster as a RB3 based in part on his tackling ability, which will make him useful on kick coverage teams. Once he earns a committee role, Smith could emerge as a Jamal Williams type who does enough well to get plenty of snaps and touches.
     

    Jameson Williams
    19

    Jameson Williams

    -
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    20
    Height
    6'2"
    Weight
    188
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 691 Yards/Season, third among 2022 WRs 

    Williams transferred to Alabama in 2021 from Ohio State, where he was in danger of getting lost in the crowd among Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. He exploded for 79-1572-19.9-15 last season, with some mammoth games against tough competition (7-182-2 in the SEC Championship versus Alabama, for example). Williams then suffered an ACL tear in the national championship game, which will obviously limit his 2022 value and hurt his draft stock, though he remains a likely first round pick. 

    Williams looked a little like Jaylen Waddle in the Tide offense: blurry open-field speed, double-move capability in space, the explosiveness to beat defenders to the corner on jet sweeps. Two kickoff return touchdowns and an eagerness to throw his body around as a punt gunner add value. His “weaknesses:” a somewhat lean frame and unrefined contested-catch capability.

    Had he remained in Columbus, Williams may have earned Terry McLaurin comparisons as a speedy tough-guy #3 receiver and special teamer. McLaurin turned out to be a versatile go-to receiver in disguise. Williams isn’t wearing any disguise. 

    Christian Watson
    20

    Christian Watson

    +
    11
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'5"
    Weight
    208
    Class
    RS Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Watson’s hands and his ability to make contested catches really stood out during Senior Bowl practices. He uses his frame well to shield defenders and extends his long arms to attack the ball in the air. Watson is a long strider who should time well at the combine, and he changes directions smoothly enough to develop into an effective NFL route runner. He followed up a fine week in Mobile with an outstanding scouting combine: a 4.36-second 40-yard dash; a position-high 136 inch broad jump. 

    Watson' can still look a little straight-linish on tape, and some small-program concerns may linger. But he's a 6-foot-4 speedster with great hands and a Day Two projection, so let's not quibble too much. Watson should play a role quickly and could become a young quarterback’s security blanket on short-to-intermediate routes in traffic.
     

    Skyy Moore FO40
    21

    Skyy Moore

    +
    4
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    5'10"
    Weight
    195
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 417 Yards/Season, seventh among 2022 WRs

    Moore played quarterback and defensive back in high school in Pittsburgh and never caught a pass until he converted to wide receiver at Western Michigan. He then started for three seasons, going 85-1,292-13.6-10 in 2021. 

    Moore is a compact, precise route runner with a quick-footed release who really snaps off the tops of his routes. He was effective both when split wide and out of the slot, where he caught his share of bubble screens. Moore can make the tough catch in traffic. He’s not a human highlight reel after the catch, but he’s all business with the ball in his hands, able to make a quick cut to make the first man miss and then take whatever else is available.

    Moore is just 5’10” but well built. He’s not all that explosive off the line. But his overall combine results were rock solid and he’s an impressive interview. 

    Moore fits best in an RPO-heavy system where his ability to get open on quick-developing routes could make him a developing quarterback’s best friend. He should develop into a quality second or third wideout for an NFL team.
     

    Sam Howell FO40
    22

    Sam Howell

    -
    Quarterback
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    220
    Class
    Junior
    Quarterback
    Expand

    If you like rugged scramblers who throw lots of RPOs and have a knack for late-game dramatics, Howell is your 2022 quarterback prospect. If you worry that ACC tackle-breaking highlight runs and hero balls will turn into sacks and turnovers at the NFL level, then congratulations: you agree with the FO 40!

    Howell is frustrating to evaluate because so many of his positive plays are either quick slants with lots of YAC to Josh Downs (we’ll see him in the 2023 draft class) or scrambles in which Howell took off as soon as the first read wasn’t open. Howell’s velocity is very good on 10-15 yarders and he can barrel through tackles, but his deep accuracy is scattershot, and he gets into trouble and produces some blooper-reel worthy plays when he tries to do too much.

    Howell projects as a cross between Carson Wentz 2.0 and the post-2017 version of Cam Newton. If forced into a lineup in 2022, he could look like Justin Fields, scattering one or two big plays per week across a heap of sacks, turnovers and throwaways. But Howell lacks Fields’ upside. He’ll only be drafted because of raw tools and only merits Fantasy 40 consideration because his rushing value could make him a useful DFS option if he gets some starts.
     

    Jalen Tolbert FO40
    23

    Jalen Tolbert

    +
    2
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'3"
    Weight
    190
    Class
    RS Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 64.0%, 10th among 2022 WRs (Projected)

    Tolbert’s football career started late: he attended South Alabama on a baseball scholarship but switched sports after a knee injury. He went 64-1,085-17.4-8 in 2020 but decided to stick through a coaching change instead of entering last year’s draft and went 82-1,474-18.0-8. 

    Tolbert is a tall, long-limbed receiver who eats up Sun Belt-level coverage. He caught lots of passes on short stop routes because he gets such a big cushion from defenders. He proved both against Tennessee and during Senior Bowl week that he can make tough catches along the boundary.

    Tolbert is a gather-up speedster with some concentration drops on his game tape. His route running will need refinement once defenders are no longer playing 12 yards off him. The knee injury is also a potential concern, per the Senior Bowl rumor mill. But Tolbert has the traits of a quality vertical threat as a WR2 and WR3 if his speed translates and his route-running develops.
     

    Rachaad White FO40
    24

    Rachaad White

    +
    17
    Running Back
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    205
    Class
    RS Senior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: 58.6%, 2nd among 2022 RBs

    White lacks Jonathan Taylor’s breakaway speed and can’t stiff-arm a defender into the parking lot like Derrick Henry. Otherwise, he has many ideal traits for a featured running back: vision, jump-cut capability, size, explosion through the hole, a whole game-console controller’s worth of moves (including an effective high hurdle) and, most importantly of all: all-purpose receiving chops. BackCAST loves White's size-speed combination and 43 receptions for 10.6 yards per catch for the Sun Devils in 2021: an ability to do more than just catch occasional screen passes will get him on the field right away as a rookie. 

    Think of White as a potential Tony Pollard type: not a workhorse, but a versatile 1B committee back with big-play capability.
     

    Jeremy Ruckert FO40
    25

    Jeremy Ruckert

    -
    Tight End
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'5"
    Weight
    250
    Class
    Senior
    Tight End
    Expand

    Travis Rating: 179 yards/season, 6th among 2022 TEs 

    Ruckert caught just 54 total passes in his Buckeyes career and just 26 as a senior in 2021. His blocking technique often consists of lunging in the general direction of a defender and just hoping for the best. 

    But oh, those traits! Some team will fall in love with Ruckert’s size-athleticism package, and he is silky in the open field and when making catches away from his body. 

    Ruckert looks a little like Eric Ebron at times and could be capable of producing an Ebron-like 13-touchdown season someday under ideal circumstances. Don’t count on that season coming in 2022, but the team that drafts Ruckert will be looking for ways to use him in their passing game, and he could end up with a Pat Freiermuth role (screens, goal-line shovels, goal-line post-ups) right away.
     

    Bo Melton FO40
    26

    Bo Melton

    +
    1
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    22
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    195
    Class
    RS Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    If Melton can catch the ball reliably, he will see the field quickly in a slot/end around/return man role. Melton’s quickness, releases, route running, separation and overall athleticism stood out during Senior Bowl practices. He dropped several passes in drills, however, before making a positive impact on the game itself as a receiver and return man. 

    Most rookie receivers struggle with drops – Ja’Marr Chase had 11 of them in 2021 – and Melton was dealing with soggy footballs and unfamiliar quarterbacks in Mobile. Playmaker Score doesn’t like Melton’s fifth-year senior status – older receiver prospects typically have lower upside – but Melton has the tools to be an instant-impact playmaker out of the slot.
     

    Jake Ferguson FO40
    27

    Jake Ferguson

    -
    Tight End
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'5"
    Weight
    250
    Class
    RS Senior
    Tight End
    Expand

    Travis Rating: 116 yards/season, 12th among 2022 tight ends 

    Ferguson may be the best blocker among the 2022 tight end class. He’s effective when lead blocking, where he can root defenders out of the hole, and can also be an asset on screens. He can even pass protect in a pinch without causing an insta-sack.

    As a receiver, Ferguson is quick for a huge dude, with soft hands a frame built for goal-line post-up touchdowns. His route tree looks pretty rudimentary, but Ferguson’s blocking gets him matched up against bigger, slower defenders, and he gets open on play-action passes by looking like he’s about to wallop the linebacker before darting past him.

    Ferguson was impressive during Senior Bowl week, where he caught everything in sight during soggy practices. His blocking will him an NFL starter. He probably will never be more than the fourth option in a passing game, but he could eventually put up solid numbers in the right system.
     

    John Metchie III FO40
    28

    John Metchie III

    6
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'0"
    Weight
    195
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 430 Yards/Season, seventh among 2022 WRs 

    Metchie was a productive receiver for the Tide – 96 catches in 2021 – and possesses several elite traits. He may be the most fluid receiver in the 2022 draft class when changing directions, gets to full speed from the snap in a hurry and can be slippery with the ball in his hands. Metchie can catch defenders flat-footed in zone coverage and usually demands a big cushion in man. When the ball arrives, however, Metchie no longer looks like a Top 10 pick: he tracks deep passes poorly, has suffered some concentration drops and doesn’t haul in contested catches or bad balls particularly well.

    Metchie suffered an ACL tear in the SEC title game in December, so he will be a glorified redshirt as a rookie. He’s worth a Day 2 pick based on his production and athleticism. Let him rehab and work the JUGGS machine for a year, and he could emerge as a go-to receiver in 2023. For fantasy purposes, Metchie is a keeper-league only player, but the same can be said of most rookies. 
     

    Wan'Dale Robinson FO40
    29

    Wan'Dale Robinson

    +
    2
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    185
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 498 Yards/Season, sixth among 2022 WRs.

    If Robinson were about three inches taller and 10-15 pounds heavier, he might be a top-15 pick. The Nebraska transfer finished third in the nation with 104 receptions and second with 1,334 receiving yards, capping the year with a 10-catch, 174-yard gem in the Citrus Bowl against Iowa.

    Robinson has effortless open-field quickness. He glides into open spots in zone coverage before defenders can adjust and can bounce back from a licking after the catch. Give Robinson a cushion and he’ll work underneath and make fearless catches in traffic. He’s shifty and determined with the ball in his hands, making him a dangerous weapon on screens and jet sweeps.

    Robinson is a tiny target downfield and takes a heavy beating for a smaller receiver. He’s also a less-than-precise route runner. 

    Robinson may never be the go-to guy in an NFL offense, but he projects as an Marquise Brown type who will get opportunities as a rookie slot receiver and could develop into more of an all-purpose playmaker.
     

    Jerome Ford FO40
    30

    Jerome Ford

    1
    Running Back
    Age
    22
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    220
    Class
    Junior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: Not yet ranked.

    Ford transferred from Alabama to Cincinnati before the 2020 season, backed up Gerrid Doaks for one year, then exploded for 1,319 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns last season. He’s a low center-of-gravity runner with good acceleration, tight change-of-direction ability and decent receiving chops. 

    Much of Ford’s production came against good-not-great midmajor opponents like Central Florida (189 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Houston (187 yards, 2 touchdowns) while playing for a conference powerhouse, and his big-play capability may not translate from the wide-open spaces of the AAC to the NFL. Ford also missed an opportunity to stand out from the pack during Senior Bowl practices and interviews; that’s a problem for one of many smaller-quicker backs looking to stand out in a draft class that’s full of committee types. 

    Ford will earn a day three draft selection and a chance to compete for an NFL committee role. Whether he ends up getting snaps depends on the situation he finds himself in and how his skills translate.
     

    Calvin Austin III FO40
    31

    Calvin Austin III

    -
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    22
    Height
    5'9"
    Weight
    162
    Class
    RS Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    A second-team All America 4 X 100 relay runner in 2019, Austin is a compact, well-built slot receiver type who went 74-1149-8 at Memphis while playing with true freshman quarterback Seth Henigan in 2021. 

    Austin can slip past defenders up the seam and on wheel routes and make over-the-shoulder catches. He works the underneath zones well and will work to get open for a scrambling quarterback. Austin also scored on a 69-yard rushing play and a (rather controversial) punt return in 2021. He enjoyed a very strong Senior Bowl week, where he proved that he could get open in 1-on-1 drills against top cornerbacks and hold onto the ball in monsoon conditions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJbJSLGa8_k 

    Fourth-year WRs typically have lower upside than underclassman. Austin lacks refinement as a route runner. And there can be an awful lot of room to run in the All American Conference. But Austin could end up earning a Rondale Moore-type role as a screen-and-reverse specialist in the right circumstances and system as a rookie. 
     

    Khalil Shakir FO40
    32

    Khalil Shakir

    1
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'0"
    Weight
    185
    Class
    Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Playmaker Score: 77.7%, 5th among 2022 WRs (Projected)

    Shakir caught 192 passes in three seasons as a starter and also rushed 71 times (and threw five passes) in four seasons as a regular. Shakir took Wildcat quarterback snaps and lined up in the backfield at times, but he’s far too lean for the obligatory Deebo comp. Think Kadarius Toney instead. Shakir’s best attributes as a receiver are his ability to make catches in traffic over the middle and a burst once the ball is in his hands.

    Shakir was able to glide past Mountain West defenders for deep catches, but he missed an opportunity to distinguish himself with a non-noteworthy week of Senior Bowl practices. Shakir’s versatility will make him a hot commodity in an offseason when many teams will be seeking a slot YAC threat, but expectations for 2022 should be set as “useful role player,” not “future OPOY candidate.” 
     

    Cade Otton FO40
    33

    Cade Otton

    NEW
    Tight End
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'5"
    Weight
    255
    Class
    Senior
    Tight End
    Expand

    Travis Rating: 172 yards/season, seventh among TE prospects

    Otton was a four-year starter for the Huskies, though his 2020 season (like many others) was shortened by COVID, and he missed parts of 2021 with a foot injury and a COVID positive. He looks like a top tight end prospect: well-proportioned at 6’5”, with the athleticism of a rebounding forward. Otton has the hands and agility to make difficult catches away from his body in stride. He’s quick when working in small spaces, making him an inviting target in traffic underneath. He’s not a technically refined blocker, but he has some pop and can help out downfield on screens.

    Otton’s production slipped as Jacob Eason gave way to weaker Washington quarterbacks over the last two years. He averaged just 8.9 yards per catch in 2021, with lots of receptions on short flat routes. Otton lacks the long speed of a top tight end prospect and generally lacks “sizzle” as a true seam stretcher, YAC threat or in-line blocker.

    Otton is TE1 on the NFL.com draft board. That’s too much of a projection based on how he looked in 2019; the FO 40 only has so much benefit-of-the-doubt to spend on injuries, truncated seasons and program downturns. Otton is certainly draftable and has some starter’s traits, but we project him as a second tight end and potential goal-line threat in the NFL.
     

    Romeo Doubs FO40
    34

    Romeo Doubs

    -
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'2"
    Weight
    200
    Class
    Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Carson Strong’s college roommate and favorite target, Doubs went 138-2111-20 with Strong (and other Wolfpack quarterbacks) in 2020 and 2021. He’s well built, runs tight routes, can catch the ball in traffic and track Strong’s deep moon launches through the air. Pure speed and a tendency to body-catch are concerns at the NFL level: Playmaker Score is wary of Doubs’ status as a four-year receiver and his dip from 17.3 yards per catch in 2020 to 13.9 last year, though our metrics like everything else. 

    A strong Senior Bowl elevated Doubs’ draft stock. Strong combine results would have helped even more, but Doubs did not perform in on-field drills. 
     

    Jelani Woods FO40
    35

    Jelani Woods

    -
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'6"
    Weight
    259
    Class
    RS Senior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Travis Rating: 782, eighth among 2022 tight ends. 

    A standout during Shrine Week, Woods looks like a left tackle who stole a wide receiver’s jersey and started running routes. He spent three seasons as a wide receiver at Oklahoma State before transferring to the Cavaliers and beefing up to nearly ridiculous proportions. 

    Woods came to the combine as a bit of a novelty act but weighed in at a trim 259 pounds, dropped a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at that size and 24 bench press reps, and made a very positive impression in media interviews. He said he models his game after Mercedes Lewis, and the comp makes sense: Woods blocks well enough to handle in-line chores, so at the very least he can be a TE2 and Round Mound of Rebound near the goal line at the NFL level. At best, Woods could end up having a few mammoth Eric Green-type seasons. 

     

    Tyler Allgeier FO40
    36

    Tyler Allgeier

    NEW
    Running Back
    Age
    22
    Height
    5'11"
    Weight
    220
    Class
    Junior
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: 57.8%, third among 2022 running backs

    Allgeier is this year’s BackCAST darling. Our metrics love his 6.4 career yards per carry and aren’t scared away by his 4.60-second 40-yard dash at a burly 220 pounds. He also ranked sixth in the nation with a broken/missed tackle rate per rush of 27.2%, per Sports Info Solutions.

    Allgeier rushed for 1,601 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2021 and 1,130 yards and 13 touchdowns for a Cougars team led by Zach Wilson in 2020. He’s at his best when squaring his shoulders and blasting off tackle. He’s patient when following a convoy and can barrel through the first tackler when he’s going full steam. Allgeier is also a solid pass protector who is alert when picking up blitzes.

    Allgeier fumbled four times in 2021, so ball security is a concern. His 28 receptions last year mostly came on screens and flat dump-offs: he has soft hands and rumbles after the catch, but he’s not a polished backfield receiver. Allgeier can also get bottled up in the backfield, particularly when moving laterally.

    BackCAST sees a day three sleeper in Allgeier, and he has the traits to earn a thumper role in a committee backfield. Allgeier is the kind of back who thrives if he gets a chance for a run-heavy team like the Ravens, Browns or Eagles IF he convinces coaches he can hold onto the football. 
     

    Kyren Williams FO40
    37

    Kyren Williams

    22
    Running Back
    Age
    21
    Height
    5'9"
    Weight
    199
    Class
    RS Sophomore
    Running Back
    Expand

    BackCAST: -55.4%

    Williams is not huge, overpowering or in the Chris Johnson percentile as a speedster, but he has everything else an NFL team could want from a feature back. Williams has the patience and vision to find holes, can make the first defender miss and strings together open-field moves. He’s also a decisive runner who squares his shoulders and takes what he can get when nothing is blocked up: when Williams does freelance, the results are sometimes spectacular. Throw in willingness as a pass protector and soft hands as a safety-valve receiver and you have a back who should see playing time right away as a rookie. 

    Williams’ patience and decisiveness should make him a productive back, even if he lands in a poor NFL offense. Despite his unimpressive pre-draft measurables, he remains a versatile high-floor, low-to-medium ceiling Day Two back.
     

    David Bell FO40
    38

    David Bell

    23
    Wide Receiver
    Age
    21
    Height
    6'2"
    Weight
    205
    Class
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    Expand

    Bell led the Big 10 with 86 receptions as a freshman in 2019 and finished second in the conference with 53 receptions in 2020 and again with 93 in 2021. He’s a tall, sturdy possession receiver who gobbles up catches on underneath routes against soft cushions. He runs crisp routes, makes contested catches and can stiff-arm smaller defenders to generate YAC. He earns mixed reviews as a deep target: he tracks the ball well and has some double-move capability, but he’s a gather-up runner who doesn’t always get separation against faster cornerbacks.

    Bell is a willing blocker who fits the Shanahan-McVay possession receiver profile. He projects as more of a #2 receiver than a go-to guy at the NFL level, but he should see the field right away.
     

    Matt Corral FO40
    39

    Matt Corral

    +
    3
    Quarterback
    Age
    23
    Height
    6'1"
    Weight
    205
    Class
    RS Junior
    Quarterback
    Expand

    Combine the most recognizable attributes of several of the NFL’s recent highly-drafted lower-tier starters – Tua Tagovailoa’s RPO reliance, Mitch Trubisky’s streakiness, Daniel Jones’ shaky ball security – and you get Corral. 

    Corral has a quick release, finds secondary targets well, delivers accurate short-to-intermediate passes and is a shifty/pesky runner. But his fastballs have C+ velocity, his deep balls sail and he lost six fumbles (and benefited from a controversial no-call) in 2021.  

    Corral cracks the Football Outsiders big board because Tua, Trubisky and Jones were all top 10 picks who received lengthy auditions as starting quarterbacks. Corral will get drafted too high, and he could compete for a starting job and end up posting acceptable numbers in an RPO and-or zone-read heavy system. His upside is strictly limited, but he’s the sort of quarterback teams can’t help but take a chance on, and this quarterback class has few better options.
     

    Carson Strong FO40
    40

    Carson Strong

    8
    Quarterback
    Age
    22
    Height
    6'4"
    Weight
    215
    Class
    RS Junior
    Quarterback
    Expand

    Cherry-pick together a sizzle reel of Strong’s best throws, and it’s easy to make him look like the second coming of Dan Marino. Strong throws deep a lot, which is not the same thing as throwing deep well. He sails many of his bombs out of bounds or over his receiver’s head and puts so much air under others that NFL safeties will have no trouble running under them. Strong also often holds the ball too long waiting for those deep shots, and he’s helplessly immobile because of a recurring knee injury which required surgery before the 2021 season. Opponents like Kansas State blitzed him relentlessly, to great effect.

    Strong has B+ NFL arm strength, though it may look like an A+ on that sizzle reel. He lacks touch on underneath passes, sometimes zipping fastballs through his receivers, sometimes floating junkballs behind them or at their ankles. During Senior Bowl practices, Strong appeared to be pressing to show off his cannon and just started spraying 90 mph heaters in the general direction of his target. 

    Strong is the type of quarterback prospect some evaluators and draft hipsters fall in love with. The arm! The deep ball! Maybe he won’t be a crash test dummy in the pocket if the knee heels! There’s enough raw talent here to draft and stash on the bench, and Strong could have a short Brock Osweiller-like run of success given ideal conditions. But just because “another Josh Allen” makes a great talking point doesn’t mean there’s one in this draft class. And Strong does not even come close.