NFL Draft 2022: Positional Rankings

NFL Draft 2022: Positional Rankings

Climbing The Pocket
Climbing The Pocket
NFL Draft 2022: Positional Rankings

The NFL Draft 2022 is less than two weeks away. While this class lacks clear top talent, it offers a lot of depth. This makes it more unpredictable, because teams might value prospects higher because of their scheme fit. Below are my personal rankings for each position.


1. Malik Willis

2. Matt Corral

3. Kenny Pickett

4. Desmond Ridder

5. Sam Howell

This class of signal callers lacks the kind of top talent teams are looking for. However, it featueres some prospects, who at least should have productive rookie contracts with the chance for a solid pay day afterwards. The only player, who clearly sets himself apart from the bunch is Malik Willis, who possesses rare physical gifts. Due to his arm talent and athleticism Willis has an almost unlimited ceilling.

Matt Corral also has some solid natural gifts, but his processing skills are simply unknown due to a very simplified system at Ole Miss. Kenny Pickett might be the safest prospect, but he doesn’t offer much potential beyond being a solid game-manager. Desmond Ridder is probably the most pro-ready Quarterback in terms of processing and operating an offense, but accuracy issues are complicating his projection. Sam Howell throws a pretty deep ball, but he can’t operate outside the structure and takes way too many sacks despite good mobility.

Running Backs:

1. Breece Hall

2. Kenneth Walker III

3. Isaiah Spiller

4. James Cook

5. Daemon Pierce

The Running Back group was one of the more underwhelming position groups at the top. Breece Hall is the most complete Running Back in this class. He has good vision, athletic ability and some skills as a receiver. I wish he was a bit more elusive, but he just runs too high at times. 

Kenneth Walker III is the best pure runner of this group, but he has yet to show he can offer any value on third downs. Isaiah Spiller is a solid all-around Running Back, but he simply lacks dominant traits. The best receiver in this group is James Cook. However, he might never get a full-time role due to his lack of mass and play strength. Daemon Pierce never saw a full workload in college, but he was effective whenever his number was called.

Wide Receivers:

1. Chris Olave

2. Jameson Williams

3. Garrett Wilson

4. Drake London

5. Treylon Burks

As usual, the Wide Recervers offer one of the deepest groups in this year’s class. The most complete receiver is Chris Olave. He is a very polished route-runner, has enough speed to be a consistent deep threat and he has very secure hands. I wish he’d offer more after the catch, but that’s only a minor issue in his resume.

Jamison Williams offers a rare combination of top speed and shiftiness, but he’s very lean and struggles with physicality. He also tore his ACL late in the season. Olave’s teammate Garrett Wilson also is a great route-runner, but needs to find more answers for phsical and long Cornerbacks. The best Wide Receiver at the catch point is Drake London. However, there are some concerns about his speed and ability to seperate consistently. Treylon Burks is a unique receiver, but he also needs to show he can consistently gain seperation on traditional routes.

Tight Ends:

1. Trey McBride

2. Greg Dulcich

3. Cade Otton

4. Jelani Woods

5. Jake Ferguson

The Tight End class doesn’t have a true alpha, but it offers nice depth on day 2 and the first half of day 3. Trey McBride offers a very good all-around package. He’s a polished route-runner, offers good hands and he is a capable in-line blocker. He might not have the athleticism of some modern Tight Ends, but he has enough juice to run past Linebackers.

Greg Dulcich is the most consistent downfield threat in this group. He just doesn’t offer any value as a blocker. Cade Otton is almost the opposite of Dulcich as he is already a pretty accomplished blocker, but has yet to unlock his potential as a receiver. The freakiest athlete of this group is Jelani Woods, who already showed flashes of potential as a pass-catcher, but he will need time to develop the nuances of the game. Jake Ferguson is a solid all-around prospect, but lacks the athletic tools you want in a modern Tight End.

Offensive Tackles:

1. Charles Cross

2. Ikem Ekwonu

3. Evan Neal

4. Trevor Penning

5. Bernhard Raimann

I know, I’m a bit off the consensus with this one, but I put a lot of value on pass blocking and Charles Cross is in my opinion the best pass protector in this draft, which helps him to be ranked above Ekwonu and Neal. He moves very well in space and has the foot quickness to always stay connected with opposing pass-rushers. This obviously was tested a lot in Mississippi State’s air raid offense, which uses very wide splits. He doesn’t have much expierience in pro-style run blocking concepts, but his athleticism should allow him to become a solid run blocker in a wide zone offense.

Ikem Ekwonu is the best run blocker in this class and made good strides as a pass protector, but he still has to develop in this regard to function in more pass-heavy offenses. Evan Neal is a freakish athlete and has the versatility to play multiple positions, but I have him lower than most because of balance and leverage issues which can get him in trouble more frequently in the NFL. Just like Neal, Trevor Penning is also a rare athlete and he might be one of the nastiest players at the position. However, he still needs a lot of technical refinement and his aggressiveness can work against him at times. Bernhard Raimann is a former Tight End, who has the desired athleticism for a wide zone offense, but his anchor can be an issue in the NFL.

Interior Offensive Line:

1. Tyler Linderbaum

2. Zion Johnson

3. Kenyon Green

4. Darian Kinnard

5. Sean Rhyan

The interior Offensive Line is one of the deeper positions in this year’s class with eleven players on my top 100 Big Board. This is mainly due to a lot of Tackles, who I project as Guards in the NFL, which is something I’m normally pretty heasitant to do. The best interior Lineman in this class is Tyler Linderbaum. He may be undersized as a Center, but he’s very athletic, technically clean and smart. He wasn’t tested often in pass protection as Iowa ran the ball a lot, but he can mask potential anchor issues with very good independent hand technique and foot quickness.

Zion Johnson is probably the safest prospect of this group. He isn’t spectacular, but he’s technically sound and doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. Kenyon Green is a strong and versatile Guard, but his wide hand placement will get him in trouble and cause penalties. Darian Kinnard is the most promising Tackle-to-Guard-convert as he possesses all the mass and power you want for a traditional phone booth Guard, but he’ll need to correct his strike timing and wide hand placement to be effective on the inside. Sean Rhyan is a good athlete, who will probably move to Guard due to his lack of length. His hands are very good, but his footwork needs to be cleaned-up.

Edge Rushers:

1. Aidan Hutchinson

2. Kayvon Thibodeaux

3. George Karlaftis

4. Jermaine Johnson II

5. Trevon Walker

There has been a lot of talk about how good this Edge class is and it is absolutely justified. On my Big Board this position is represented ten times (!!!) within my top 50. The leader of the pack is Aidan Hutchinson, who seems to be the favorite to be selected with the first overall pick. He might be on the lower end of the length spectrum, but he uses evry inch of it with brilliant technique and a very diverse set of moves.

There have been a lot of headlines about Kayvon Thibodeaux and his character recently, but I hope most of it is smoke, because there’s no way you can seriously question his effort on the field. He also has a great set of physical tools. He just needs to become more polished at using them. George Karlaftis is one of the best power rushers in this class. He just gets too cute at times and tries to use finesse over power when he totally doesn’t need to. Jermaine Johnson II is a long and powerful edge-setter, but his sack production was probably a bit enhanced by a lot of playing-time and a high pressure-to-sack-conversion-rate. Trevon Walker’s tools are by far the best in this class and it’s hard to believe that somebody with this freakish athleticism won’t make an impact, but he’s way too raw for me to consider him as a top 5 pick.

Interior Defensive Line:

1. Devonte Wyatt

2. Jordan Davis

3. Logan Hall

4. Travis Jones

5. Perrion Winfrey

The talent on Georgia’s defensive line last season was INSANE as they didn’t only have Travon Walker coming off the edge, but also the two best interior Defensive Linemen of the Draft. Of those two, Jordan Davis gets the most hype due to his freakish physical profile. However, the best player on this line was Devonte Wyatt. He is a versatile player, who was used in many different alignments. While his physical profile might not look as insane as the profiles of his running mates, he’s still one of the best athletes at this position over the past few years. Wyatt was very productive as a run defender and a pass rusher. He just gets too cute at times and should try to go through blockers instead of going around them at times. 

Jordan Davis on the other hand was mostly just a run defender at Georgia. Don’t get me wrong, this alone will have a big influence on his team’s scheme as he will allow them to use light box counts even on early downs. However, he has a long way to go as a pass rusher and conditioning is a question. 

Logan Hall is a tweener, who can be a dangerous pass rusher from a 3-, 4i- or 5-technique alignment. However, his size might give him trouble as an inside run defender and he needs to be more active with his hands. Travis Jones is a very powerful Nose Tackle, who also adds a little extra as a pass rusher. He also dominated at the Senior Bowl. Another Senior Bowl standout was Perrion Winfrey. He is a very good gap penetrator, who shines as an inside pass rusher. You just shouldn’t ask him to play gap control too often as he’ll consistently give up too much room.


1. Devin Lloyd

2. Nakobe Dean

3. Chad Muma

4. Brian Asamoah

5. Quay Walker

Like a lot of other position groups this year, the class of Linebackers offers a really nice amount of depth espacially on the second day of the Draft. The only clear first round prospect of the group is Devin Lloyd. He might not be the kind of athlete most first round Linebackers were in recent years, but he’s a very good all-around player with very few holes in his game. His play recognition is great, he’s a good run defender, a solid pass rusher and competent in coverage, although he might face some challenges against quicker Running Backs. 

Nakobe Dean is an undersized Linebacker, who might be at his best as a weakside Linebacker in space espacially on passing downs. His run defense was good at Georgia, but he was very protected by the talented Line in front of him. Chad Muma was a riser during the Draft process. He is a very intelligent player, who offers a good range against the run and in coverage. He just doesn’t offer a lot of value as a pass rusher, yet. Like Dean, Brian Asamoah is also an undersized but athletic Linebacker prospect, who will be at his best at the weakside. Quay Walker is one of the most secure tacklers in this class with a missed tackles rate of 4.3%. He just isn’t much of a playmaker against the pass and his play recognition needs some work.


1. Ahmad Gardner

2. Derek Stingley jr.

3. Trent McDuffie

4. Kaiir Elam

5. Andrew Booth jr.

The decision between “Sauce” Gardner and Derek Stingley was one of the closest for me during this Draft process. I normally don’t use rumored off-field question marks in my evaluations, because I simply don’t have enough access and knowlege about most of it, but if grades for two players are that close, it can be used as basically the last tie-braker, which gives Gardner the edge in this case. Gardner is a prototypical press-man Cornerback, who can take Receivers completely off the map with his physicality and technique. He needs some work as a zone player, but his traits should allow him to play zone at a high level, too.

Derek Stingley jr. has rare athleticism and is a great technician in man- and zone coverage. He can be a liability against the run as he missed close to 18% of his tackle attempts during his career. Trent McDuffie gets moved down on some people’s boards due to his lack of length, but his play recognition, movement skills and coverage technique are elite and I expect him to be successful as an outside Cornerback. Kaiir Elam is a physical press-man Cornerback with good agility for a tall Cornerback. However, he will struggle with stricter NFL rules against Defensive Backs. Andrew Booth jr. has some of the best feet in this class, but his hips can have trouble to keep up with his feet and he struggles to find the ball at times when his back is turned to the Quarterback in man coverage.


1. Kyle Hamilton

2. Jalen Pitre

3. Daxton Hill

4. Lewis Cine

5. Jaquan Brisker

There have been some reports about Hamilton sliding on some boards, but he certainly doesn’t fall on mine. In my opinion, he is the best player in this Draft class and no 40 yard dash time is going to change that. He is one of the most intelligent and versatile players at the position in recent years. He can affect offenses as a blitzer, high level run defender and in zone coverage from deep alignments or close to the line of scrimmage. A Safety like this simply opens up so many possibilities for your scheme.

Jalen Pitre is probably the best Slot Defender in this year’s Draft, but he might also offer more than that and get an expanded role like Tyrann Mathieu. Daxton Hill also played in the slot for most of the time, but I don’t like him as much in man coverage. However, he offers elite range to play as a deep Safety. Lewis Cine is one of the more versatile Safeties in this class, but he’s at his best when playing from deep alignments, where his short area quickness won’t be tested too much. Jaquan Brisker is a very good run defender in the box. In the passing game he needs to be better at reading his keys as his eyes are often too glued to the backfield while losing sight of his coverage responsibilities. 

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