2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Looking at the top-30 Pre-Bowl Season

by Brandon Coyle
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The college football season is just about to be wrapped up with bowl season here and the college football playoff at the end of the month. It’s time for the best players in the country to turn their attention to the 2022 NFL draft with four important months before the big day. The NFL combine, senior bowl, individual pro days, and interviews will give many players a chance to make a team fall in love with them. Here we’re going to go over a quick 30 man big board before New Years. 

1. Kyle Hamilton safety, Notre Dame
2. Kayvon Thibodeaux edge, Oregon
3. Aidan Hutchinson edge, Michigan
4. Derek Stingley cornerback, LSU
5.Andrew Booth Jr cornerback, Clemson

Derek Stingley hasn’t gotten the national media coverage like he did his freshman year, but he’s still one of the best cornerback prospects of the 2022 NFL Draft.

At six-foot-one 195-pounds, Stingley has the frame and 4.3 40 speed to be a difference maker on a defense from day one. It’s very difficult to find shutdown corners in the NFL and if Stingley can stay on the field, he can be one of the best shutdown guys in the league. 

6. Charles Cross offensive tackle, Mississippi State
7. DeMarvin Leal defensive tackle, Texas A&M
8. Kenyon Green offensive lineman, Texas A&M
9. Tyler Linderbaum center, Iowa
10. Evan Neal offensive tackle, Alabama

Being the left tackle for the Crimson Tide is almost a guaranteed path to being a first round pick and we have one again with Evan Neal. His stock may still be rising when he shows his unreal athleticism at six-foot-seven 360-pounds.

A monster on the outside with versatility across the line of scrimmage, NFL teams will find a home for Neal. However, after his first season at left tackle it’s not exactly a guarantee that Neal is an elite pass protector, at times this season you can see him struggle with rushers that win with speed and bend. It’s not to say Neal won’t become a great left tackle in the NFL, but it’s a bit more of a projection than advertised at this moment. 

11. Kaiir Elam cornerback, Florida
12. Garrett Wilson wide receiver, Ohio State
13. Treylon Burks wide receiver, Arkansas
14. George Karlaftis edge, Purdue
15. Jameson Williams wide receiver, Alabama

Who would’ve thought that a receiver who struggled to find consistent playing time at Ohio State would go on to become the number one guy at Alabama. This isn’t a slight to any Buckeye receiver or that they made a bad decision for letting Williams go since.

Both sides seemed to have come away winners as Williams played himself securely into the first round conversation while Ohio State was able to develop their next star in Jaxson Smith-Njigba. The talk of the NFL Draft will be about Wilson/Olave vs. Williams, but all three are great talents. Jameson Williams showcased surreal speed at six-foot-1 190-pounds and will destroy secondaries in the NFL. 

16. Trevor Penning offensive tackle, Northern Iowa
17. George Pickens wide receiver, Georgia
18. Drake Jackson defensive end, USC
19.  Devin Lloyd linebacker, Utah
20. Ahmad Gardner cornerback, Cincinnati
21. Sam Howell quarterback, North Carolina

The first quarterback on the 2022 NFL Draft board here may be a bit of a surprise with Sam Howell. After losing two top targets and two top rushers, the UNC offense went through tough times to start this season and Howell faced the brunt of it from the media. The reality is that it took this offense a couple of weeks to get going, but Howell showed great leadership to get this train back on track.

His easy throwing mechanics and clean delivery put him above other guys in this class as he won’t have to go through a mechanics overhaul to be consistent in the NFL. The UNC offense didn’t ask much of Howell in terms of pro-level decision making, but it’s clear that Howell is a smart leader that bought in quickly with this offense and mastered it in just his sophomore season. Seeing a young quarterback master any type of offense that quickly, gives an NFL coach confidence that he can do that at the next level. 

22. Jack Campbell linebacker, Iowa
23. Sean Rhyan offensive tackle, UCLA
24. Trent McDuffie cornerback, Washington
25. Daxton Hill safety, Michigan
26. Darian Kinnard offensive tackle, Kentucky
27. Jordan Battle safety, Alabama
28. Jahan Dotson wide receiver, Penn State

Dotson was almost a one man show for the Nittany Lion offense, through instability at the quarterback position, Dotson still showed to be a star player on the outside for this offense. He’s shown an alpha mentality going up against big time corners and still dominating at every turn. The ability to grab almost any ball thrown his way and to win at multiple levels of the field will translate immediately at the next level. 

29. Ikem Ekwonu offensive lineman, NC State
30. Carson Strong quarterback, Nevada

One of the more intriguing prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft class is Carson Strong. If not for a serious medical red flag, Strong would be quarterback one on this board. His tape is a step above anyone else in this class with his ability to layer throws at every level and put touch when he needs to.

Strong doesn’t fit the mold of the mobile quarterbacks seen across the league, but that doesn’t mean he’s a statue. Inside the pocket, Strong moves to find throwing lanes and different windows. Hopefully, the knee checks out and Strong can find himself as a starting quarterback for an NFL franchise.

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