- Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Travon Walker, Georgia
- Detroit Lions – DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
- Houston Texans – CB Derek Stingley Jr., Louisiana St.
- New York Jets – OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina St.
- New York Giants – OT Evan Neal, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers – OT Charles Cross, Mississippi St.
- New York Giants – CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
- Atlanta Falcons – DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
- Seattle Seahawks – OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
- New York Jets – DE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida St.
- Washington Commanders – WR Drake London, Southern California
- Minnesota Vikings – CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
- Washington Commanders (from Texans) – DB Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
- Baltimore Ravens – DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
- Philadelphia Eagles – WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
- New Orleans Saints – QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
- Los Angeles Chargers – WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio St.
- Philadelphia Eagles – DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
- New Orleans Saints – WR Chris Olave, Ohio St.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – QB Malik Willis, Liberty
- New England Patriots – LB Quay Walker, Georgia
- Green Bay Packers – WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
- Arizona Cardinals – CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
- Dallas Cowboys – OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
- Buffalo Bills – CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
- Tennessee Titans – OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
- Green Bay Packers – DB Lewis Cine, Georgia
- Seattle Seahawks (from Chiefs) – LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
- Kansas City Chiefs – DE Boye Mafe, Minnesota
- Cincinnati Bengals – CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
- Tennessee Titans (from Lions) – QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
2022 NFL Draft Top 100 Prospects (Final)
Below are the prospects I consider most likely to go within the top 100 picks on draft day, listed alphabetically by position. Note that this is my expectation of what will happen, rather than what should happen. Click on a player’s name for my notes on the prospect.
- QB Matt Corral, Mississippi*
- QB Sam Howell, North Carolina*
- QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
- QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
- QB Malik Willis, Liberty
- RB Breece Hall, Iowa St.*
- RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M*
- RB Kenneth Walker III, Michigan St.*
- WR David Bell, Purdue*
- WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas*
- WR Jahan Dotson, Penn St.
- WR Drake London, Southern California*
- WR John Metchie III, Alabama*
- WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan*
- WR Chris Olave, Ohio St.
- WR George Pickens, Georgia*
- WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
- WR Khalil Shakir, Boise St.
- WR Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
- WR Christian Watson, North Dakota St.
- WR Jameson Williams, Alabama*
- WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio St.*
- TE Greg Dulcich, UCLA*
- TE Trey McBride, Colorado St.
- TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio St.
- OT Charles Cross, Mississippi St.**
- OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina St.*
- OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
- OT Abraham Lucas, Washington St.
- OT Evan Neal, Alabama*
- OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
- OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio St.*
- OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
- OT Tyler Smith, Tulsa**
- OG Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan
- OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M*
- OG Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
- OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
- OG Dylan Parham, Memphis
- OG Sean Rhyan, UCLA*
- OG Jamaree Salyer, Georgia
- OG Cole Strange, Chattanooga
- OC Cam Jurgens, Nebraska*
- OC Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa*
- OC Luke Fortner, Kentucky
- DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
- DT Travis Jones, Connecticut
- DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M*
- DT Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
- DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma
- DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
- DE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma*
- DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn St.
- DE Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
- DE Logan Hall, Houston
- DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
- DE Drake Jackson, Southern California*
- DE Jermaine Johnson, Florida St.
- DE George Karlaftis, Purdue*
- DE Boye Mafe, Minnesota
- DE DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky
- DE David Ojabo, Michigan**
- DE Josh Paschal, Kentucky
- DE Dominique Robinson, Miami (OH)
- DE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
- DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon*
- DE Cameron Thomas, San Diego St.*
- DE Travon Walker, Georgia*
- DE Sam Williams, Mississippi
- DE Alex Wright, Alabama-Birmingham*
- LB Troy Andersen, Michigan St.
- LB Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma*
- LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin*
- LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia*
- LB Christian Harris, Alabama*
- LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
- LB Chad Muma, Wyoming
- LB Quay Walker, Georgia
- CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson*
- CB Coby Bryant, Cincinnati
- CB Kaiir Elam, Florida*
- CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati*
- CB Kyler Gordon, Washington*
- CB Marcus Jones, Houston
- CB Damarri Mathis, Pittsburgh
- CB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston St.
- CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
- CB Trent McDuffie, Washington*
- CB Derek Stingley Jr., Louisiana St.*
- CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
- CB Joshua Williams, Fayetteville St.
- CB Tariq Woolen, Texas-San Antonio
- DB Jaquan Brisker, Penn St.
- DB Lewis Cine, Georgia*
- DB Bryan Cook, Cincinnati
- DB Nick Cross, Maryland*
- DB Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame*
- DB Daxton Hill, Michigan*
- DB Kerby Joseph, Illinois
- DB Jalen Pitre, Baylor
OT Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan
6’5″ – 312 lbs. – N/A
Originally attended UW-Stevens Point, where he started four games at tight end before transferring to Central Michigan. Started a total of two seasons with the Chippewas, missing the 2020 season after sustaining a season-ending knee injury. Solidly-built player who carries his weight well. Level of refinement is impressive for someone who began their career as a tight end. Effective in the run game because he brings a lot of power and demonstrates impressive grip strength. Generally does a pretty good job of playing within his frame. Does a nice job of lining up second-level opponents and engaging with form, although his overall movement skills are closer to adequate. Works hard to sustain through the whistle, with nastiness to finish. Natural knee-bender with a sound base and plenty of functional strength to absorb power. Lacks the lateral quickness to recover when he sets up too far inside. Hand placement can be a little bit wide. Kickslide can look a little bit lumbering with distance, and he often has to sell out to try and protect the edge against true speed rushers playing from wide alignments, opening himself up to inside moves/counters. Could be considered a potential candidate to slide inside at the next level, but not necessarily.
Tight End Sketches
A quick look at some of the top tight end prospects in this year’s class.
TE Greg Dulcich, UCLA* (6’4”, 243, 4.69)
Slightly undersized tight end who lined up all over the formation, including as an inline Y and in the slot, but projects as more of a flex as a pro. Runs patterns to all three depths of field, with a lot of digs, sneak flats from motion, and seam routes. Gets up to speed quickly as a route runner, and shows impressive attention to detail for a tight end; makes an effort to sink his hips and snap off routes with clean feet at the stem. Adds enough nuance to his routes to set up defenders and create windows of opportunity for deeper throws downfield. Offers natural receiving skills. Length and body control makes him a pretty big target despite his lack of ideal height; shows the ability to locate/track and make adjustments as needed. Competitive toughness is impressive, with adequate functional strength. Was typically running routes on passing downs, but shows a good work rate in the run game, with active feet and solid extension to stick with opponents through the whistle. Does a good job of lining up opponents in space as a stalk blocker on passing downs. Can get a little bit grabby when coming in motion to crack backside defenders. A polished tight end prospect who lacks elite size and explosiveness, but shows attention to detail in the different elements of his game and lacks major weaknesses.
TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa St. (6’7”, 252, 4.62)
Massive team captain with three seasons of high-end production and a highly impressive academic background. Lined up around the formation, but will probably be more of an inline Y at the pro level because of his physical/athletic profile. A big, reliable target who can get into soft spots in zone and provide easy completions, snatching the ball away from his frame; never dropped more than a couple of throws in a given season. Should be a solid red-zone option in the pros, as he was in college. Physical and competitive with the ball in his hands. Wasn’t purely a safety valve; also ran deeper routes, but might not give linebackers too much trouble in the seams, timing a little bit faster at the pro day than he looks on tape. Doesn’t have a lot of sink/snap at the route stem to create separation. Works hard to get positioning and sustain in the blocking game, but might be a little bit more valuable in the passing game at this point. Was asked to execute various different types of blocks from different alignments, and shows adequate form when engaged. Doesn’t have elite quickness out of his stance, which can make him susceptible to sudden defensive ends. Can struggle to line up opponents in space.
TE Trey McBride, Colorado St. (6’4”, 246, 4.56)
Team captain who started five games as a freshman and has been with the first team ever since, but really broke out this past season with an incredible 90 catches for 1,121 yards; was a consistent part of the passing game all season. Was listed at 260 during the season, presumably dropping weight for pre-draft workouts. Lined up both as an inline tight end and as a flex, often motioning to the other side of the line and releasing into the flats. Ran a lot of over routes. Shows some explosiveness out of his stance, with the ability to get physical with defenders and create separation against linebackers. Doesn’t present the widest catch radius, but is a reliable pair of hands who can hold on through contact and grind out tough first downs when needed. Shows the ability to go up and bring in throws away from his frame. Runs hard after the catch, even if he’s not the most creative with the ball in his hands. Not retained frequently in pass pro. Willing to get physical in the run game, but can struggle to stay connected at times. Plays outside his frame and can get caught bending at the waist. At his best, however, can attack the outside shoulder and collapse the edge.
TE Cade Otton, Washington (6’5”, 247, N/A)
Has been starting for the past four years, not necessarily as a major focal point of their receiving game. Has adequate size for a pro tight end, but length is on the average side and might need to add some additional bulk to work inline. College usage was pretty varied, but he wasn’t split out very often. Plays with the polish you’d expect given his experience. Basically a one-speed guy who doesn’t offer a ton of speed and explosiveness, but was often running routes to the intermediate level at Washington and using his body to shield defenders from the ball. Pretty physical route-runner with good contact balance at the stem and some attention to detail. A safe pair of hands who can bring in throws away from his frame and produce against zone coverage. Can be difficult to bring down with the ball in his hands. Works hard to engage and stick with opponents as a blocker, and was asked to execute some pretty difficult assignments in the move. Range, ability to line up opponents in space, and toughness stand out more than his ability to generate push, which is just adequate. A jack-of-all-trades type whose draft status will depend on whether teams are looking for special traits or polish.
TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio St. (6’6”, 252, N/A)
Toolsy tight end who stepped into the starting lineup this past year, although he was never a major target in the team’s passing game. Has an impressive combination of size and length for someone who was essentially a flex; frequently lined up as an H-Back, motioned out, or lining up in the slot. Moves very well for his size, with some explosiveness to his game; does a pretty good job of avoiding chips when releasing at the line and is fast enough to threaten down the seams. Doesn’t seem to be bothered much by physicality while running routes. Offers a big pair of mitts and can be hard to tackle as a ballcarrier. Wasn’t a volume receiver but did average four touchdowns over the past three years, with the size to contribute in the red zone. Brings physicality as a blocker and has the raw athleticism to line up opponents in space, but is a little bit inconsistent in terms of actually engaging and staying connected at this point. Hands are wide, will drop his head into contact, and can struggle to anticipate defenders. Basically a pure project at this point, having been underutilized as a receiver in college and still needing to hone his positioning and technique as a blocker, but should be one of the first few tight ends picked because of what he offers from a physical/athletic standpoint.
TE Jelani Woods, Virginia (6’7”, 253, 4.61)
Basically a four-year starter, but didn’t show up much on the stat sheet until this past season, when he had a big line. Very tall inline tight end with a basketball background. Style of play is a little bit linear. Doesn’t seem to have a ton of bend or quickness, but is pretty fast in a straight line, with build-up speed. Ran most of his routes down the field, either on seam routes, skinny posts, etc.; wasn’t used as much of a safety valve. Mostly glides through his routes, with little nuance, hip sink, or snap. Doesn’t seem too bothered by physicality. A size mismatch for many defenders, and does a good job of using his body to shield them from the ball. Provides a huge, safe target by virtue of his height/length. Also lined up in the slot or split out a little bit, especially in the red zone; should continue to get looks in the red zone at the next level. Can execute fades/back shoulder throws from a receiver alignment. A pretty decent blocker who can line up opponents reasonably well and obviously has the size/length to develop into a real asset in that facet of the game. Shows solid effort and adequate physicality in that facet of the game. Wasn’t retained much in pass protection.
Wide Receiver Sketches
Brief sketches of a handful of other receivers in this year’s draft class:
Calvin Austin III, Memphis (5’8”, 170, 4.32)
Tiny slot receiver who has been really productive the past two seasons. Played both inside and outside in college but will be a Z at the next level. Shows some creativity with his releases at the line. Has a track background which carries over into his play speed; timed a bit faster than expected, but still shows the ability to run away from defenders on crosses/over routes. Shows a good feel for making adjustments against zone coverage, moving himself into soft spots for easy completions. A lot of his production comes on shorter throws and manufactured touches, as he can be dangerous with the ball in his hands. Shows some ability to track/bring in throws away from his frame. Needs to work with a cushion, as he gets swallowed up by physicality at/near the line; routes can be disrupted when defenders get their hands on him. Would like to see him snap off his routes a little bit more consistently. Drops a ton of passes, although he was somewhat more reliable this past season. Shies away from contact as a blocker and lacks the frame/strength to make a big impact there in any case. Has experience returning punts as well and shows the suddenness and explosiveness to potentially make an impact there.
Danny Gray, Southern Methodist (6’0”, 186, 4.33)
Two-year starter after transferring from community college; was never a volume receiver, but production escalated this past year. Has adequate size for a boundary receiver; took snaps both on and off the line of scrimmage, typically to the right side of the offense. Would have liked to see him working more from the left side. Go-to trait is his speed; can stack defenders in his hip pocket, opening up throws downfield on deep posts and go routes, where he shows pretty good tracking over his shoulder. Also shows impressive flexibility and pretty good body control, providing his quarterback with a bigger target than his size would suggest. Shows good competitiveness at the catch point. Can be a weapon on back-shoulder throws. Plays with some physicality through his routes and as a blocker. Still needs to work on attention to detail as a route-runner, and had a pretty simple tree in college. Would like to see him flatten out patterns over the middle to shield opponents more consistently. Ends some of his routes covered instead of trying to improvise and create windows. Had issues with dropped passes last year.
Skyy Moore, Western Michigan* (5’10”, 195, 4.41)
Has started all three seasons at Western Michigan and broke out this past year with a massive line. Smaller receiver who played both inside and outside, but definitely looks like more of a slot at the next level. Tree contained a lot of slants and screens, but there were deeper routes and outside releases as well (production was not entirely manufactured.) One of the more polished, detail-oriented receivers in the class. Efficient with his footwork and hands when getting off the line; doesn’t try to do too much. Plays fast and sudden. Nice snap and explosiveness through the route stem to generate separation, although tree wasn’t the most complex. Looks good with the ball in his hands and was given plenty of chances to work in space via screens, etc. Doesn’t provide the biggest target but looks reliable within his radius. Works to maintain inside positioning but can’t always shield defenders from the ball when working over the middle. Can get crowded by bigger, more physical receivers near the sidelines and when working outside releases; struggles to stack defenders against physical man coverage. Gives good effort as a blocker but lack of ideal size limits his upside.
Kyle Phillips, UCLA* (5’11”, 189, 4.58)
Has been pretty productive over the past three seasons; during the games reviewed, was virtually always working out of the slot, where he also projects best at the next level. Physical tools are just adequate but gets up to speed fast and shows impressive quickness. Could do a better job of sinking his hips into route stems but does a pretty good job of snapping off his patterns and getting through them without gearing down too much to create windows under the defense. Flattens out slants and other breaking routes to prevent routes from getting undercut. Shows a good feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage to create easy completions. Ran a lot of patterns within ten yards of the line of scrimmage and didn’t look particularly threatening down the seams. May struggle to create separation against man coverage, especially down the field. Was more reliable in the past, but had some issues with drops this past year. Works hard to sustain blocks through the whistle, with plenty of competitiveness. Has additional value as a punt returner.
Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky* (5’8”, 178, 4.44)
Spent two seasons at Nebraska, then eclipsed his combined totals in a monster first season at Kentucky before declaring. Significantly undersized slot/gadget receiver who’s one of the most dynamic weapons in the class. Lines up tight, in the slot, and as a flanker. Changes speeds and knows how to lull defenders into a false sense of security when coming off the line. Makes sharp cuts and doesn’t need to gear down much into the route stem. Has enough speed to get separation down the field; lots of nice inside releases from the slot. Looks pretty good at tracking/adjusting to throws. Solid flexibility and impressive body control. Dangerous with the ball in his hands (was a running back in high school) and can do damage on manufactured touches such as screens and sweeps. Against press, some of his releases seem a little bit too long. Doesn’t present quarterbacks with a big target and dropped his fair share of passes last season as well. Chippy as a blocker but doesn’t have excellent technique or much ability to significantly disrupt opposing defensive backs. Would fit best on a team with an accurate quarterback and which likes their slot receivers to run deeper patterns.
Christian Watson, North Dakota St. (6’4”, 208, 4.36)
Redshirt senior who was never a volume target in school but put together a solid 2021season. Very tall, lanky split end up who lines up on both sides of the formation. Has plenty of speed and explosiveness to eat up cushions and uncover downfield; averaged over twenty yards per catch over his college career. Threat of the deep ball creates opportunities for him to work underneath the defense, but most of his patterns take him down the field. Overall route tree at this point is still relatively simple, and worked against a lot of off-coverage; might need to get stronger to release against press in the pros, but footwork at the line looks pretty good. Can glide through routes, relying on his superior athleticism. Able to track the ball over his shoulder and make adjustments. Has a wide radius, with an impressive combination of length, leaping ability, and body control. However, commits more focus drops and double-catches than is typical for a high-end receiver prospect. Competitive after the catch, with some physicality to fight for additional yardage. May not have the frame to work too much over the middle of the field. Gives pretty good effort as a stalk blocker; lacks power but works to finish.
Running Back Sketches
Shorter writeups for some of the top running back prospects in this year’s class.
RB Tyler Allgeier, Brigham Young* (5’11”, 224, 4.60)
Big-bodied back who played out of a lot of pistol and shotgun formations. Able to change up his speeds in the backfield before hitting the hole, giving his linemen a chance to clear holes. Pretty clean footwork for a power back; appears to have a pretty good feel for when to plant his foot and get upfield in a hurry. Shows some ability to make defenders miss with stop-start moves. Weaves through tight spaces for solid yardage. Can become dangerous once he gets going, but struggles to break tackles or make defenders miss in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t play with as much violence or physicality as anticipated given his frame. Willing to lower the shoulder into contact but doesn’t break a ton of tackles; leg drive looks pretty good once he gets going. Does the vast majority of his work grinding out yardage or looking for chances to cut upfield, struggling to outrun opposing defenders to the edge. Tends to catch or dive as a pass protector. Usage in the passing game is limited to the typical outlet passes.
RB James Cook, Georgia (5’11”, 199, 4.42)
Split time with Zamir White this past year and probably doesn’t have the bulk to carry the load in the pro game, either; only had four games all season with ten or more rushing attempts. Played in an offense which featured more pro-style concepts, but was typically on the field when the team was working out of the shotgun; despite that, workload included plenty of attempts between the tackles and just off-tackle. Capable of changing speeds to let lanes develop. Speedy back who shows impressive acceleration out of the backfield and can beat defenders to the edge and rip off chunks of yardage. Has enough power to run through some arm tackles. Feisty back who drives his legs and fights for additional yardage after contact, although he’s not going to break too many tackles. Tends to run a little bit upright, which could be a concern given his thinner build. Not afraid to stick his nose in as a blocker. Has the receiving skills to potentially earn a third-down role. Can catch throws away from his frame and is fast enough to challenge downfield on wheel routes. Also motioned out to take snaps as a receiver and showed some solid nice releases at the line. Dangerous when he gets a lane in space.
RB Tyrion Davis-Price, Louisiana St.* (6’0”, 211, 4.48)
Started off in a limited role but functioned as a workhorse for his hometown team in the second half of the season; still developing his overall feel for the position but has a really desirable package of physical/athletic/temperamental attributes. Well-built runner who runs hard with a bit of a galloping style and who exacts a price from tacklers at the end of his runs to help set the tone and wear down defenses. Shows impressive burst through the hole and into contact. Excellent leg drive to continue churning out yardage after contact. Was given some pretty big holes to run through in college; relies more on energy and brute force than patience and vision when working between the tackles. Fumbled three times last season on just over 200 touches. Somewhat willing to get involved in blitz pickup but might have some work to do before pro teams would feel comfortable leaving him in on passing downs. Wasn’t really thrown the ball much at all in college.
RB Breece Hall, Iowa St.* (5’11”, 217, 4.39)
Played in an offense which did a lot of work out of the pistol/shotgun, with a lot of off-tackle runs and sweeps. Does a nice job of mixing up speeds and letting holes develop. Pretty good vision/anticipation to weave through traffic. Home-run hitter when he sees daylight. Has nice moves and shows creativity once he gets to the second level; nice little stutter-step/side-step to make people miss. Can often break the first tackle, and sometimes create or salvage plays when the blocking isn’t there. Very good leg drive and lower-body strength to push the pile and finish. Played in a horizontal rushing attack behind a weak offensive line, so there are quite a few negative plays on tape compared to what you’d expect from a top running back prospect. Willing in pass protection but results are iffy and could be more consistent with his form and positioning. Looks dangerous as a receiver when he’s able to find a lane; actual usage was more of a safety valve/swing target.
RB Dameon Pierce, Florida (5’10”, 218, 4.59)
Didn’t have the same college workload as some of the other prospects in this year’s class (more of a change-of-pace slasher), but has a solid build for a pro ballcarrier. Offers a nice violent running style that should endear him to coaches and teammates. Doesn’t waste time in the backfield and show solid burst when he finds a crease. Able to recognize cutback lanes. Weaves through congestion effectively and shows very good contact balance between the tackles; often attempts to spin off of attempts. Knows how to finish runs with punishing blows and strong leg drive to push the pile. Can really hear the pads clicking when he runs. May not be a home-run hitter but is fast enough to win the edge and rip off chunks. Runs through arm tackles but doesn’t show a ton of creativity when it comes to making defenders miss in space. Engages defenders from his feet and with his hands in blitz pickup. Pretty limited usage as a receiver during the games reviewed.
RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama (6’2”, 225, 4.53)
The biggest of the top running back prospects in this year’s class. Shows pretty good flexibility for a player his size. Took a lot of snaps out of pistol/shotgun formations, and shows some pretty smooth running skills on off-tackle attempts. Nice footwork and cuts. Has enough juice to win the edge, with some build-up speed to pick up chunks and hit the occasional home-run. Able to make some defenders miss in one-on-one situations at the second level. Works through arm tackles with a head of steam. Fights for additional yardage with adequate leg drive at the end of runs but isn’t the most punishing back, running with a high pad level and generally being a little bit more of a finesse back than is usual for Alabama products. Not the most physical pass protector; will turn down some opportunities to chip and help out, and often engages with his body instead of his hands. Very simple responsibilities as a receiver, with some basic releases out of the backfield and some delayed leak-outs.
RB Abram Smith, Baylor (6’0”, 213, 4.50)
Slightly overaged back who carried a heavy load last year in an offense which featured more work from under center than is typical in college. Has a solid build and impressive combination of size/speed. Nice one-cut runner who can recognize and hit lanes with some burst; does a nice job of getting to the line of scrimmage quickly, although perhaps a little bit more patience would be warranted at times. Has the speed to rip off big chunks of yardage when he finds a crease. Overall contact balance is pretty good, and shows impressive competitiveness to fight for additional yardage and fall forward; more of a tough runner than someone who breaks a ton of tackles, although he can run through arms. Would like to see him get lower at times to limit the contact he absorbs. Doesn’t make too many defenders miss. Ball security was solid in 2021. Played behind an iffy line last year and showed some ability to salvage runs against early penetration. Can shy away from contact in pass protection, and needs to be more consistent about engaging defenders with his arms. Very little-used in the receiving game.
RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M* (6’0”, 217, 4.63)
Big, well-built back who often worked out of the shotgun in college, with a lot of stretch/one-cut running. Nice footwork in the backfield. Plays with patience and lets lanes develop. Uses his hands well to set up/follow blocks. Does a nice job of recognizing cutback lanes and picking up what yardage is there between the tackles, without unnecessary bouncing. Plays with good flexibility. Able to bend his knees and running behind his pads, with a lower center of gravity than his size would suggest. Easily runs through arm tackles and glancing blows, with excellent contact balance. Good leg drive to fight for additional yardage, although he’s not a major pile-pusher. More of a smooth/tough runner than an explosive one; probably going to churn out tough yards with the occasional chunk at the pro level, rather than hit home-runs. Willing and effective in pass protection, engaging from his feet. Usage in the passing game was relatively straightforward, but shows some creativity and elusiveness once he gets into space.
RB Kenneth Walker III, Michigan St.* (5’9”, 211, 4.38)
Very consistent, productive workhorse this past year, playing in a pro-style offense and finishing with only three games under 20 carries. On the shorter side but has nice weight distribution with a thick lower body. Doesn’t mess around, lowering his shoulder and burrowing ahead for solid gains between the tackles. Runs with a good pad level and solid contact balance. Plays the game with some violence, fighting for yards to finish runs. Nice stiff-arm when working his way horizontally. Some ability to make defenders miss in the backfield when linemen blow blocks. Sees opportunities to bounce runs and get into open space. Works in an effective dead-leg at the second level. Was fast enough to win the edge at the college level but doesn’t look like he plays as fast as he timed. Some opportunities to gain in the open field limited due to slipping. Keeps his head on a swivel and engages with technique but can be walked back as a blocker. Looks like a reliable receiver but usage is simple.
RB Rachaad White, Arizona St. (6’0”, 214, 4.48)
Slightly overaged back who totaled over 220 touches last year, albeit distributed somewhat unevenly. Well-built back who looks like he could potentially handle the lion’s share of carries as a pro. Lacks ideal overall speed and explosiveness (solid for his size), but plays with patience and an impressive feel for the position. Very smooth runner who relies primarily on his vision and ability to make cuts to weave through traffic and pick up yardage. Some ability to cut back and make something out of nothing when there’s congestion. Looks elusive once he gets to the second level, with a nice mix of different jukes and moves. Didn’t break a tn of tackles during the games reviewed, but works hard to fight for additional yardage after contact and finish runs. Ball security is very solid; only one fumble last year. Looks pretty comfortable in blitz pickup, but would like to see more physicality. One of the most frequently-targeted receiving backs in the class; also lined up in the slot to get the ball into his hands.
RB Zamir White, Georgia* (6’0’, 214, 4.40)
Well-built runner, albeit a little bit leggy. Was part of a rotation which also included James Cook, but has the type of frame to potentially be more of a workhorse at the pro level. Tools-based developmental back who did a lot of his work between the tackles with some more pro-style duties than other backs in this year’s class. Still developing his vision; can seem hesitant and run into the backs of his linemen at times. However, plays the game with violence and explosiveness, getting up to speed quickly and barreling through defenders. Shows good footwork in the backfield to slide into lanes or let them develop. Pinballs through congestion and does a good job of finishing runs by falling forward. Demonstrates pretty good contact balance to work his way through arm tackles. Has the speed to hit home runs when he gets a lane. Anticipation/positioning in pass protection could be a little bit better, but shows good competitive toughness and engages from his feet. Was rarely used as a route-runner during the games reviewed and will probably come off the field on third-downs.
RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame** (5’9”, 194, 4.65)
Highly-productive team captain who’s on the smaller side and will likely be more of a change-of-pace/third-down back at the next level. Typically got his carries out of shotgun sets. Shows good footwork and patience and pretty solid vision, especially for a redshirt sophomore. Runs with toughness and a low center of gravity, playing bigger than his size; some ability to escape when it seems like the play is dead. Willing to lower his shoulder and try to grind out tough yardage between the tackles. Contact balance is very good. Quicker than he is fast, and ran slow enough to make teams wonder whether he’ll be able to outrun defenders to the edge at the next level. When he does get into space, shows impressive elusiveness. Ball security has been an issue at times in college. The most versatile of the top backs in this year’s class, with more varied alignments/responsibilities in the passing game than other prospects; shifts/motions into the slot, etc. Willing as a blocker but doesn’t have a ton of sand in his pants, so can lapse into throwing his body around; needs to engage with his arms more consistently. Has additional experience as a punt returner.
QB Sam Howell, North Carolina*
6’1” – 220 lbs.
North Carolina local who originally committed to Florida St. before ending up with the Tar Heels. Was the first true freshman to start the season opener for the team, ending the year with 3,641 yards (61.4%, 8.6 YPA), 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Followed that up with 3,586 yards (68.1%, 10.3 YPA), 30 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in a more efficient sophomore campaign, then ended last year with 3,056 yards (62.5%, 8.8 YPA), 24 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a massive leap in rushing output, from 92-146-5 in 2020 to 183-828-11 in 2021, before declaring for the draft. North Carolina went 21-17 over the past three seasons. Spent all three seasons under offensive coordinator Phil Longo, who runs an Air Raid-style passing attack.
Productive three-year starter. Mechanics look relaxed and consistent. Has a high release point but can drop it when needed. Accurate passer who looks good operating on rhythm throws. Maintains his composure and uses the time he’s given. Nice pocket presence/toughness; will stand in to complete a throw. Knows when to take something off of his throws; overall touch is very good. Capable of threatening the defense downfield against zone coverage. Uses a nice high arc down the sidelines, showing anticipation on bucket throws. Nice pocket movement to escape from pressure; knows how to make defenders miss. Has above-average speed to pick up chunks or first-downs on designed runs or scrambles up the middle, using his thick build to get physical with opposing defenders and fight for additional yardage.
Wasn’t quite as productive throwing the ball this past season, although he did lose a lot of skill position players. On the small side for a pro quarterback. Offense looks like it was shotgun-only and featured a lot of single-read throws; some bird-dogging to his game, allowing defenders to break on his throws. Too many plays where his primary read was covered and he scrambled instead of going to his second and third reads. Doesn’t generate a ton of velocity on his passes; better anticipating than fitting the ball into tight windows. Some attempts where he’s fading back instead of transferring weight effectively. Often drops his eyes once he starts moving. Physical style of play could lead to injuries.
A three-year starter who combines pretty sound mechanics, impressive composure, nice touch and ball placement, and the ability to escape pressure and pick up first-downs with his feet. Looks likely to come off the board in the couple of rounds as a potential starting-caliber quarterback a la Baker Mayfield, although he might need some time to get used to going through progressions and operating from under center.
QB Matt Corral, Mississippi*
6’2” – 205 lbs.
California native who appeared in four games as a true freshman before redshirting, backing up Jordan Ta’amu. Essentially shared the position with John Rhys Plumlee the following year, finishing with 1,362 yards (59.0%, 7.7 YPA), six touchdowns, and three interceptions. Became the full-time quarterback in 2020 under incoming head coach Lane Kiffin, putting together a season of 3,337 yards (70.9%, 10.2 YPA), 29 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions while adding 112-506-4 on the ground. This past year, went 3,343 (67.7%, 8.7 YPA) with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, rushing for 152-614-11 before being carted off with a leg injury in the team’s bowl game. Offense is influenced by but not identical to Baylor’s spread, with a fast tempo, heavy use of play action, and lots of quick, one-read throws; however, features tighter spacing/splits and often reduces the number of receivers on the field.
Highly productive over the past two seasons in college football’s premier conference, with a winning record over the course of his career; was able to limit turnovers much more as a junior, showing progression in Lane Kiffin’s system. Footwork looks pretty clean when dropping back from the shotgun. Gets set quickly and can be an effective rhythm thrower when well-protected and operating the short passing game. Compact three-quarters throwing motion/quick release. Nice ball placement when throwing over the middle of the field. Gets good zip on his throws but is also capable of adjusting and using touch. Dual-threat who makes good decisions on read-options and shows impressive competitiveness/toughness. Very elusive player who can make the first defender miss when facing pressure, or pick up first downs when a lane opens up. Will reestablish his base when on the move and given the opportunity.
On the smaller side for a pro quarterback, and, when combined with his style of play, durability may be a concern; injured both ankles this past season before sustaining the leg injury in the bowl game. Wasn’t really asked to take snaps from under center. Struggles to consistently replicate his throwing mechanics, leading to placement issues, whether incomplete passes or poor throws which force his receivers to adjust, limiting yards after the catch. Would like to see him generate more of his velocity from his base. Doesn’t always handle pressure well; can make some bad plays into disasters by trying to do too much, or by letting his mechanics deteriorate, dropping his arm angles or attempting throws without a sound foundation. Needs to learn when to take a sack or throw the ball away. Takes too many chances into tight coverage. Many throws either sail on him or are placed too high. Gets some passes batted at the line.
Comes with two years of high-end production and showed that he was capable of running a high-tempo offense based around short rhythm throws, particularly slant patterns; can also threaten defenses on read-options and extend the play when the protection breaks down. However, highly inconsistent mechanics, issues with composure, and some poor decision-making suggest that he is a risky pick even before factoring in potential durability/medical concerns. Might end up being a first-round pick given this year’s relatively weak quarterback class, but would probably be waiting until the second day in a typical draft.
QB Malik Willis, Liberty
6’1” – 225 lbs.
Originally attended Auburn, playing sparingly behind Jarrett Stidham. Transferred to Liberty in 2019, sitting out the season, then took over the starting role the following year. Threw for 2,250 yards (64.2%, 8.5 YPA), 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions, adding 141-944-14 (6.7) on the ground and finishing with a 9-1 record as the starter, then threw for 2,857 yards (61.1%, 8.4 YPA), 27 touchdowns, and twelve interceptions this past year, rushing 197-878-13 (4.5) as Liberty went 8-5.
Was a highly productive dual threat over the past two seasons in an offense which featured a lot of throws out to the sidelines. No heel click on his footwork when dropping back from the shotgun. Light on his feet in the pocket. Shows the ability to work through looks and find his checkdown. Nice compact three-quarters throwing motion with good follow through. Has some of the most arm talent in this year’s class; ball seems to jump out of his hand, with plenty of velocity to get throws out to the boundary or into tight windows. Throws arrive on time on curls/comebacks. Able to escape from the first rusher when he sees pressure; sick jukes in close quarters. Can throw while rolling out to either side, resetting his feet when he has time. Explosive athlete who finds creases on read-options and draws, working through congestion to pick up available yardage. Clearly a tough and powerful runner with great contact balance; can break tackles, not just make defenders miss.
Offense wasn’t the most pro-style; RPO-based with an emphasis on horizontal spacing. Has a thick build but is on the small side for a pro quarterback. Was going to his second look at times but it often seemed like a designed element of the play (i.e. pump short and take a shot downfield) instead of an actual progression; more often took off when his primary read was covered. Relies on his arm talent at times to muscle throws instead of making sure he’s aligned and transferring weight to generate velocity, attempting passes off of his back foot. Some inefficient ball placement; most throws are catchable but some force adjustments which limit yards after the catch. Could take something off of his shorter throws and calibrate the touch more appropriately. Takes some questionable chances into tight coverage. Got sacked a ton of times this past year; drops his eyes and holds onto the ball against pressure. Flees the pocket prematurely instead of using pocket movement to buy time and find receivers. Takes a ton of punishment, which may lead to injuries over time. Needs to know when to give up on a play and throw passes away.
May have the highest highs and lowest lows of a quarterback in this year’s class; clearly an exceptionally talented dual-threat with incredible athleticism and arm talent, but who seemed to develop a lot of bad habits playing behind an offensive line that seemed like it was perpetually crumbling; clearly didn’t trust his blocking, leading him to flee the pocket early, attempt off-platform and back-foot throws, and take chances into tight coverage. Will also have to adapt to a leap in the level of competition he’s playing and a pro offense which will be significantly more complex than what he was running in college. Where he ends up going relative to the other quarterbacks in the class will depend on teams’ risk tolerance.
QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
6’3” – 220 lbs.
Originally committed to Temple but ended up at Pittsburgh. Started one of four games as a true freshman, finishing with 509 yards on the year, then took over the starting job the next year. Had three seasons of modest production as a starter from 2018-2020, finishing with 1,969 yards (58.1%, 6.4 YPA), 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions in 2018; 3,098 yards (61.6%, 6.6 YPA), 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2019; 2,408 yards (61.1%, 7.3 YPA), 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2020. Used an extra year of eligibility this past year and broke out, with 4,319 yards (67.2%, 8.7 YPA), 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, leading Pittsburgh to an eleven-win season to conclude his college career. Offense was coordinated by Mark Whipple every season but 2018 (Shawn Watson.)
Four-year starter who made an incredible leap this past season and established himself as a winner in college. Listed size is pretty solid for a pro quarterback. Footwork looks very polished when dropping back out of the shotgun; no heel click at the back. Went through some progressions in Pitt’s offense, which features a lot of same-side levels concepts. Willing to work the underneath throws when his primary read isn’t available. Throwing mechanics are efficient and consistent, with a three-quarters delivery. Effective weight transfer allows him to drive the ball with solid velocity, especially over the middle of the field. Arm strength is good enough to get the ball out to the sidelines. Pass-first quarterback who keeps his eyes downfield when scrambling but can also pick up a first down when he escapes the pocket. Can throw accurately when rolling to his right. Shows impressive toughness as a ballcarrier.
Fifth-year senior who will be 24 as a rookie and whose first three seasons as a starter were relatively unproductive. Played out of the shotgun in an offense which took advantage of spacing to spread out the defense and create some easy completions. Doesn’t always get the ball out quickly, forcing him to flee the pocket or throw the ball away. Overall ball placement is at least adequate but does force his receivers to make adjustments more often than you’d like; got better this past year. Can put a little bit too much on some passes; consistently hard thrower. Trusts his arm too much at times and will attempt throws into tight windows. A little bit slow to hit targets on delay screens. Tends not to throw the ball when rolling left. Expected to have small hand measurements at the Combine.
Has the type of pro-ready mechanics you’d expect after being coached by an offensive coordinator with a pro pedigree, and despite being older than your typical prospect, showed so much development this past season that it’s hard to argue he’s already reached his full potential. Would like to see him speed up his decision-making a little bit, use more appropriate touch, and reduce the number of tight windows he’s throwing into, but clearly shows starting-caliber traits and consequently should be one of the first quarterbacks off the board on draft day, if not the first.