2022 NFL Draft Top Prospects
We are just a few days away from the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, and the opening of all of the presents under the Draftmas tree.
Who will your team select? What will be the best picks, the biggest reaches and the highest-graded hauls?
…and who, exactly, is going to be taken No. 1?
The No. 1 Overall Pick
The end of the college football season coincided with the speculation regarding the top pick in the draft. It was thought to be Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, because without a worthy quarterback or a dominant offensive tackle, a top pass rusher was the default choice. Since 1997, only quarterbacks, offensive tackles and defensive ends have gone No, 1 overall.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to Las Vegas, site of the draft. Someone not considered as the best player on his team, or even second-best, is now thought of as the best player on the draft board.
His name is Travon Walker. The former Georgia Bulldog, originally a projected second-round pick, is now the favorite to be taken first. Walker’s draft rise has been largely related to his performance at the combine. Even after that, Hutchinson was still thought of as No. 1. For whatever reason, that’s changed, so if you’re looking to wager on the first player to have his name called Thursday night, Walker is the safest bet to make.
NFL Draft Top Offensive Tackles
There are some excellent offensive tackles available in this draft, and a number of them are going to be taken Thursday.
North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu is the betting favorite to be the first offensive tackle off the board, expected to be in the top five overall. Another potential top-five pick is Evan Neal of Alabama, playing both guard and tackle for the Crimson Tide.
NFL Draft Top Wide Receivers
It’s a deep class of wide receivers, with perhaps as many as seven selected in the first round. That would be the highest number since 2004.
Among this group, who’s the best? Who’s the favorite on the board?
Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson is the “winner.” The 21-year-old had more than 1,000 receiving yards last season and 12 touchdowns. He’s below even-money to be the first wideout chosen, priced at -115 on the latest NFL Draft odds.
Alabama’s Jameson Williams is seen as better, but the first-team All-American tore his ACL in the title game, and that may cause him to slide down Thursday. It shouldn’t.
The other names in the mix are Drake London (USC), Chris Olave (Ohio State), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Jahan Dotson (Penn State), and Christian Watson (North Dakota State). Watson was a four-time FCS national champion.
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Liberty’s Malik Willis is the first quarterback off the board. He could go to Carolina at No. 6, or maybe the Saints (No. 16) pick Willis if he makes it past No. 8 Atlanta.
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is the next quarterback to go. He doesn’t have the same physical tools that Willis possesses, but he’s a safe pick who was a four-year starter. He finished his career with an excellent season as a senior.
Oddsmakers think Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder is the next quarterback out the door. If a third quarterback makes it into the first round, it’s likely to be the former Bearcat.
NFL Draft Top Defensive Backs
There are a pair of cornerbacks expected to be taken in the top-10. Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was the AAC Player of the Year, and the first-team All-American is going to be a great pro wherever he goes.
The other corner seemingly a lock for the top-10 is Derek Stingley, Jr., out of LSU. He suffered a Lisfranc fracture to his left foot and played in just three games last season.