The 2022 NFL Draft is officially less than a year away. Even if the 2021 NFL season hasn’t touched down, draft excitment for 2022 off-season has begun. Next year’s draft class showcases decade talent at the quarterback spot, future hall of fame defenders, and pass rushers will All-Pro potential. In this outlook, I’m going to untwine the “cream of the top” prospects. Let’s take a look.
Sam Howell – QB – North Carolina
Sam Howell, The 20 year old gunslinger QB for North Carolina, notched a 179.1 passer rating in 2020 – up from 160.2. What Howell lacks in physical dimensions (6’1), he makes up for with arm talent and gutsy play. He may compare well to the likes of Baker Mayfield, or former first overall pick Alex Smith. However, There shouldn’t be any character concerns as there was with Mayfield, Winston, or Lawrence (ethic). If Howell puts up numbers slightly more impressive than his 2020 self, he’s a slam dunk number one overall pick.
Kavyon Thibodeaux – DE – Oregon
Kavyon Thibodeaux registered nine sacks as a 19 year old edge rusher for the Oregon Ducks in 2019. He also carries 20 tackles for loss in the last twenty matchups. He’s the first Oregon Duck to receive All American honors since the great Deforest Buckner garnered the award in his college days. If Thibodeaux continues to harass QBs and oust double digit sacks in 2021, the Duck should follow in the footsteps of Chase Young and Nick Bosa.
Kyle Hamilton – S -Notre Dame
The Notre Dame safety is a STUD. Kyle Hamilton is Gil Brandt and CBS Sport’s second ranked prospect for the 2022 class. The 6’4 220 safety received all American honors in 2020 and was a force in the pass/run game. Hamilton impresses with five ints in the last two years, but he also can be a thumper in the run game. Hamilton can very well be the next Earl Thomas when he gets his name announced in the top 5 next year.
Spencer Rattler – QB – Oklahoma
The 2022 NFL Draft can oust a two QB horse that towers over any top two QB pair in previous drafts – yes, that’s right. Sam Howell and of course, Spencer Rattler is the other dynamite at QB. NBC Sports already has inked Rattler to be the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. Rattler deserves leaps of praise for his rocket launcher arm and gritty play for the Oklahoma Sooner. Rattler, similar to Howell, is only 6’1 and roughly 200 pounds. Rattler poses similar strengths of arm strength and ability to throw on the run to the likes of Jordan Love and even former Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Expect Rattler to be a Top 10 pick in next year’s draft.
Derek Stingley – CB – LSU
Watch out, there’s another LSU defensive back throwing on #7. As a freshman, The 19 year old LSU DB Derek Stingley received the highest PFF grade among non QBs in 2019. This led him to undoubtedly receive “freshman of the year”. Stingley poses similar traits to former LSU Tiger Patrick Peterson. They both have strong man to man skills, consistent instincts, and they both are capable of even taking offensive reps. Stingley will be a Top 5 pick in the 2022 draft if he has a season near his 2019 campaign.