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Each year, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield drill down to discover the top prospects at every position in the upcoming draft class. 2022 was no exception, and all of the top prospect lists are right here.
Using tape examples from copious study, and advanced metrics to fill out the picture, Doug and Mark go through testing data, biographies, player strengths and weaknesses, overviews regarding their NFL value, and comparisons to current NFL players.
This year, Mark did quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends, interior defensive linemen, linebackers, and cornerbacks.
Doug took care of running backs, offensive tackles, interior offensive linemen, edge defenders, and safeties.
You won’t find more detailed scouting reports on the 2022 draft class’ top players at every position — at least 11 for each — so dive in and enjoy!
The top 11 quarterbacks
(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
You hear over and over that the 2022 quarterback class is underwhelming compared to other classes, and while that may be true, there are quarterbacks in this class with the potential to be franchise-definers over time — they’ll just need extra time and coaching to get there. Liberty’s Malik Willis is the top quarterback on Mark’s board because of his impressive upside; click on the link below to find out how the rest of the class stacks up.
The top 11 running backs
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
It’s said all the time that running backs don’t matter in the NFL as they used to. This may be true in an overall sense, but there are still teams that wish to base their offense on a strong ground game. And in that more general sense, running backs are like insurance — they don’t matter until they do, at which point, they really matter. Florida’s Dameon Pierce is Doug’s top running back in 2022 — here’s how the rest of the list looks.
The top 16 receivers
(James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)
The 2022 receiver class is so deep, Mark couldn’t stop at 11 — he had to turn the volume up to 16. USC’s Drake London is atop Mark’s list; here’s how it goes from there. NFL teams have an absolute cornucopia of targets for their quarterbacks this year, with every kind of play style and attribute you could imagine.
The top 11 tight ends
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
There isn’t any tight end in this class that pops off the tape as Travis Kelce and George Kittle currently do in the NFL, but it’s worth remembering that Kelce was a third-round pick of the Chiefs in 2013 out of Cincinnati, and Kittle was a fifth-round pick of the 49ers in 2017 out of Iowa. Sometimes, it takes a while for tight end value to become obvious at the next level. Mark has Colorado State’s Trey McBride at the top of his list this season; see which other potential diamonds in the rough are ready to show their stuff.
The top 11 offensive tackles
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
If you’re running an NFL team, and you are in need of a field-tilting left tackle to help define your offense, the choices are highly intriguing in this draft class. You may find Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Alabama’s Evan Neal, or North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu to be the top guy on your board depending on scheme and style. Doug has Cross as his No. 1 tackle because Cross’ pass-blocking is so evolved, and he’s better in run-blocking than you might expect from a player who ran point in a Mike Leach offense.
How does everyone else measure up? Let’s find out.
The top 11 interior offensive linemen
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
NFL teams will also have fascinating choices when it comes to prospects capable of improving their interior offensive lines right away. Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum is the consensus top center, while Boston College’s Zion Johnson and Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green lead the list of guards. Doug has Johnson as his IOL1; see how the rest of the class shakes out.
The top 11 interior defensive linemen
(Syndication: The Indianapolis Star)
Here’s where the impact of Georgia’s national championship defense shows up, as Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt are Mark’s first and second interior defensive linemen. Mark makes the case that Davis can be more than a two-down thumper at the NFL level, which would certainly make things unpleasant for opposing running backs and quarterbacks.
The top 12 edge defenders
(AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)
As was the case with receivers, this class is so deep at edge-rusher, we couldn’t stop at 11 — especially when Doug watched San Diego State’s Cameron Thomas’ tape. Thomas is the 12th edge defender on Doug’s board, and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II is at the top. Where do highly-rated prospects Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson, and Kayvon Thibodeaux wind up? Read on, and find out.
The top 11 linebackers
(Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)
When Micah Parsons hit the NFL like the proverbial ton of bricks as a rookie in 2021, everybody started to want the next Micah Parsons — the unicorn ‘backer just as effective as an edge defender as he is off-ball as he is covering receivers up the seam and to the boundary. Good luck with that, but as Mark points out, this group of linebacker prospects, starting with Utah’s Devin Lloyd, has all kinds of stuff on the ball, with all kinds of desirable attributes to play the modern game.
The top 11 cornerbacks
(Syndication: The Enquirer)
Whether you have man or zone as your primary schematic ideal, there are cornerbacks in this class for you. Do you like your cornerbacks to play press or off? This class has cornerbacks who can play each just fine. Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is at the top of Mark’s cornerback list, but this is an incredibly deep class in which NFL teams might find future Pro Bowlers in the third day of the draft.
The top 11 safeties
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
More is asked of the modern safety that at another time in the history of pro football. Goodbye to the days of the designated free and strong defenders — at the NCAA and NFL levels, it’s less about being world-class at one thing than it is about being NFL-ready at four or five skills. Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton tops Doug’s list of safeties by a fairly wide margin (to the point where Doug’s ready to make the case that Hamilton is the best overall player in this class), but if you miss out of Hamilton, there are safeties ready to fill your defense with every attribute you could possibly want.