2022 NFL Draft: Top-5 Positional Rankings on Offense

by Brandon Coyle
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NFL and College football is in full swing, and the countdown to the NFL draft has started. Even this early into the season, the draft is on the front of every prospect and NFL front offices’ mind. There’s a ton of game left to be played this season, but there’s plenty of players separating themselves from the pack. Let’s get into the top players across the offensive side of the ball for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Quarterbacks

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

One of the most polarizing players in college football, Spencer Rattler has put himself into the race for the first quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. Rattler’s tape is riddled with peaks and valleys, but the peaks are what make you excited for his potential as an NFL passer.

He’s a supreme arm talent paired with being a good athlete, the physical traits are undeniable for Rattler. However, the rocket launcher for an arm gets him in trouble by playing hero ball far too often. With more consistency in his playmaking, Rattler will be in the discussion for the No. 1 pick up until draft day.

Sam Howell, North Carolina

As a true freshman, Sam Howell emerged as one of the best pure throwers in the country. In the vertical passing offense North Carolina runs, Howell has made big throw after big throw for the past two seasons. Deep accuracy and ball placement have been huge focal points of Howell’s game.

Losing his top two pass catchers and two great running backs going into this season will hurt. Howell needs to show he can work with lesser weapons and become a quicker decision maker. His projection to the NFL is murky coming out of this offense, but the raw traits are there.

Carson Strong, Nevada

Carson Strong isn’t just another big arm, Mountain West quarterback, with some similarities to Josh Allen. Strong is an intriguing prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. His powerful arm and size projects well in today’s NFL. However, he has ways to go mechanically as a passer similar to what Allen had to go through when transitioning to the NFL.

His lower half doesn’t sync well with his arm, and gets in trouble throwing with a lack of hip rotation. Strong is poised for another huge season, launching deep balls all over the field in this offense.

Matt Corral, Ole Miss

If you take away Corral’s game against Arkansas in 2020, he may be the best prospect in the class. However, that’s not the reality of Corral’s situation going into this season. His six interception game against Arkansas still lingers in the back of many fan’s minds.

The cold streaks in Corral’s game are concerning, but makes plays that get you out of your seat. One of the best pure throwers in this class, Corral can make off-platform throws at any angle. He’s got a full season ahead of him to make a jump in this class.

Malik Willis, Liberty

Close to the best athlete in this quarterback class, Willis is oozing with talent. It’s easy to fall in love with Willis’ game and the way he plays at Liberty. Arm talent and mobility makes him extremely dynamic and could be dangerous in the NFL.

However, there’s glaring parts of Willis’s game that makes me hesitant on his transition to the NFL. His offense lacks true NFL reads and doesn’t show him making progression consistently. Overall accuracy has been far too inconsistent for a first round pick paired with turnover trouble.

Running Backs

Breece Hall, Iowa State

A future bell-cow running back, Breece Hall looks the part of an NFL back. Standing at 6-foot-1 205 pounds, Hall has all the explosiveness you could want in the 2022 NFL Draft. Hall was a 1,500+ yard runner in 2020 and looked dominant at points throughout the season.

Missed tackles and staying on his feet are big strengths in his game, both will translate to the NFL. Hopefully, more added work in the pass game and Hall could become an all-around great running back.

Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

Part of a talented running back room, Isaiah Spiller was the focal point of this Aggie offense in 2020. At 225 pound, Spiller’s game is predicated around his power running style. He’s not the fastest athlete on the field, but is tough to bring down with just one tackler.

Spiller is able to pick apart running lanes at the line of scrimmage and attack with a low center of gravity. NFL teams with a power run style will love the way Spiller runs the rock.

Zonovan Knight, NC State

Zonovan Knight is just one half of a special running back tandem for the Wolfpack offense. Knight may not have the raw numbers other backs in this class have put up, but he’s shown to be extremely efficient with his workload. A quick runner, makes people miss consistently, and is a plus receiver out of the backfield and in the slot.

The question for Knight will be, can he take on a bigger workload in the NFL? It’s a question right now, but by the end of the season it may not matter when he’s shredding ACC defenses.

Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

Widely considered as a slot receiver, Smith brings a dynamic profile to this 2022 NFL Draft class. Smith was used all over the field for the Aggies in 2020 catching 43 passes and running 49 times. Averaging 9.3 yards per touch, Smith brings an unique ability to an NFL offense that allows offensive coordinators to get creative with his usage. The ability to make defenders miss and create separation in the slot will create havoc for NFL defenses. 

Kyren Williams, Notre Dame

Behind a top notch offensive line, Kyren Williams was dominant in 2020. Williams accelerates through the hole well and runs super compact due to his size. At only 5-foot-9 195 pounds, he may be too small for NFL schemes, but he brings to the table some of the pass blocking ability of a running back. His willingness to step in the hole against blitzing linebackers is remarkable and will keep on the field for third downs in the NFL.

Wide Receivers

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Only around 70 catches to his name entering 2021, Garrett Wilson has emerged as a top end receiver prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Top end speed and separation skills are prevalent in Wilson’s game. He’s lethal at the top of routes and projects are a number one option in NFL offenses.

He had some drops in 2020 that are concerning, but the route running ability is undeniable. A true three level threat, Wilson will be a first round pick come April.

Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Freakish size and athleticism, Treylon Burks is a unique prospect. At 6-foot-3 230 pounds, Burks moves like a sub-200 pounder. His ability to move smoothly in and out of breaks paired with his length is hard to defend, especially out of the slot against smaller defensive backs.

He didn’t run an extensive route tree, but showed he can gain separation and win at the catch point. Burks is a monster after the catch, but hasn’t shown the ability to be a true X receiver in the NFL.

George Pickens, Georgia

Since the moment George Pickens has stepped on the field for the Bulldogs in 2019 he has dominated SEC defenses. His combination of size and explosiveness at the catch point is unmatched.

A brutal ACL tear this past spring may have jeopardized his junior season, but he’s put out plenty of tape to keep him at the top of this receiver class. Pickens is a true vertical threat that will be able to win downfield with his size consistently. A couple concerning personality flags, but who doesn’t love the guy that talks trash and backs it up.

Justyn Ross, Clemson

After a scary neck injury that sidelined him for all of the 2020 season, Justyn Ross is back and ready to make that jump to the NFL. When Ross and Lawrence exploded onto the scene in 2018, it seemed like this duo would be unbeatable.

Ross didn’t get back to the same production in 2019, but the big time play ability is still there. It may be risky ranking Ross this high, but if he can get back to his 2018 play the hype will be back for his NFL projection.

Zay Flowers, Boston College

A true speedster, Zay Flowers has been a consistent third level threat for the Eagles offense. Flowers has great top end speed and short area quickness to be a threat with the ball in his hands. At only 5-foot-11 179 pounds, he may just be a slot receiver at the next level.

His hands haven’t been consistent with seven drops in 2020. Every NFL offense is looking for elite speed at receiver and Flowers has that in the 2022 NFL Draft. Get this man to Buffalo and let him run under Josh Allen moon balls

Tight Ends

Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M

Prototypical NFL tight end size at 6-foot-5 265 pounds with great length. Wydermyer was the safety valve for Kellen Mond consistently and torched the middle of the field. Good feel for separating against linebackers and making catches in traffic. For his size, you expect a bit more as a blocker, but can improve mightily with his raw strength. Not a dynamic athlete like Pitts, but should be a productive NFL tight end.

Austin Stogner, Oklahoma

Stogner is another 2022 NFL Draft prospect with a great size profile that projects well into the NFL. Good blend of speed and route running allows him to get open across the middle of the field. Caught less than 40 passes through two seasons at Oklahoma, need to see a bit more of an increase in volume this season. Stogner is a solid possession tight end that could be a solid compliment in an NFL offense.

Jahleel Billingsley, Alabama

Billingsley is a ‘move’ tight end that gained a ton of attention this summer in his small flashes last season for Alabama. At only 6-foot-4 230 pounds, most NFL teams may not see him as a tight end and lacks a true position. He went through disciplinary action after getting suspended from the team this summer. The athleticism and ability to create mismatches across the field is all there. The big question is if Billingsley can put it all together and get back in Saban’s good graces.

Josh Whyle, Cincinnati

One of the most intriguing prospects in the class, Whyle has NFL traits that can get you excited. Slimmer build at 6-foot-6 235 pounds, he has the frame to add more weight as he’ll need it to grow as a blocker. Good long speed paired with the ability to miss and break tackles after the catch.

He’s been underutilized in the Bearcat offense, but could be even better in the NFL. Every NFL team is looking for the next George Kittle, and I’m not comparing the two. However, if there’s someone with that type of ceiling it may just be Josh Whyle. 

Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina

The top target in the Coastal offense, Likely has been a dynamic threat with his athleticism. Easily one of the best route runners in the class, his ability to drop his hips and change direction is elite. He won’t be a run blocker at the next level, but will create mismatches in the slot and out wide. Should be a threat after the catch and getting the ball in his hands will be key for NFL offenses.

Offensive Line

Sean Rhyan, UCLA

An explosive athlete, Rhyan was a stud on the left side for the Bruins this past season. Exceptional strength in his hands and lower half, Rhyan displays a great job of taking on power and anchoring against rushers.

Rhyan shoots his hands and lands them consistently onto the pass rushers’ chest. A powerful tackler, Rhyan will have another strong season in 2021 and could solidify himself as a top tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft class.

Evan Neal, Alabama

Massive size and explosive profile, Neal moves extremely well for 6-foot-6 370 pounds. Quick out of his stance, Neal gets depth quickly, but needs to keep his feet moving. Neal brings a ton of versatility to the table, logging snaps at positions all across the offensive line. His length is exceptional on the outside, but will give NFL lines versatility given injuries. Neal has all the physical traits to be a top NFL talent.

Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

Next in line for great Hawkeye lineman, Linderbaum has been outstanding at center for the past two seasons. Technically sounds, plays extremely low and wins with leverage consistently.

Stout build lacks strength at times against bigger defensive tackles. His athleticism projects well in wide zone schemes, he’s able to get leverage against three techniques or get the second level. Put Linderbaum in the middle of your line and running backs will have a field day.

Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

Green has lined up at guard for the past two seasons and has moved to tackle for the 2021 season. Strong at the point of attack, Green is able to get great push consistently in the run game. Green fires off the line of scrimmage and is exceptional at the second level. He’s shown inconsistencies landing his hands and keeping them inside the shoulder pads. Playing tackle this season will only help Green’s 2022 NFL Draft stock giving an NFL team’s versatility.

Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

A bully on the outside, Penning put together an impressive spring season after losing Spencer Brown to the NFL. At 6-foot-7 321 pounds, Penning has elite size for an NFL tackle with length to control rushers easily. Patient hands, Penning knows when to shoot them and get them inside the pads. Comes off the ball with power and creates gaps in the run game. Stiffer athlete isn’t able to bend with power from rushers at times. Pennings has the ceiling to be above average as an NFL tackle.

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