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Prospect Declaration Deadline Coverage (2022 NFL Draft)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Jan 17, 2022

Keeping track of all of the juniors that have declared or have decided to return to school can sometimes be a cumbersome process. With that in mind, we have listed the juniors who have decided to declare by position.  Most juniors consult with the draft advisory committee before making their decision. This committee will provide these potential prospects with a draft round projection that is intended to help aid them in their decision-making.

If they decide to declare, they hire an agent, which in turn ends their amateur status and college eligibility. As long as a player is three years removed from high school, they are permitted to seek special eligibility to enter the draft.

Why do we track underclassmen entering the draft? Underclassmen entering the draft often receive high enough grades from the draft advisory committee that they feel confident about their prospects of being drafted. In most years, they also make up the bulk of Day 1 and at times even the Day 2 selections. In 2021, 24 underclassmen were selected in the first round. 

We will be updating this article up until the deadline, so be sure to check back for the latest updates.

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Quarterback

Matt Corral (QB – Ole Miss)
Kaleb Eleby (QB – Western Michigan)
Sam Howell (QB – North Carolina)
Carson Strong (QB – Nevada)

A draft class already thought to be one of the weaker ones in almost a decade took a hit when Spencer Rattler was benched for Caleb Williams. Rattler has transferred to South Carolina and will spend at least one more year in college. Another player thought to be in the first round mix prior to the season in Kedon Slovis has transferred to Pittsburgh and will attempt to resuscitate his draft stock in place of the departing Kenny Pickett.

Running Back

Tyler Allgeier (RB – BYU)
BJ Baylor (RB – Oregon State)
Raheem Blackshear (RB – Virginia Tech)
Snoop Conner (RB – Ole Miss)
Jashaun Corbin (RB – Florida State)
Tyrion Davis-Price (RB – LSU)
Jerrion Ealy (RB – Ole Miss)
Jerome Ford (RB – Cincinnati)
Tyler Goodson (RB – Iowa)
Breece Hall (RB – Iowa State)
Cam’Ron Harris (RB – Miami)
Kevin Harris (RB – South Carolina)
Hassan Haskins (RB – Michigan)
Quay Holmes (RB – East Tennessee State)
Zonovan Knight (RB – NC State)
Jordan Mason (RB – Georgia Tech)
Sincere McCormick (RB – UTSA)
Isaih Pacheco (RB – Rutgers)
Ricky Person Jr. (RB – NC State)
TJ Pledger (RB – Utah)
Isaiah Spiller (RB – Texas A&M)
Master Teague (RB – Ohio State)
Kenneth Walker III (RB – Michigan State)
Zamir White (RB – Georgia)
Kyren Williams (RB – Notre Dame)

The 2022 running back class has some good depth. We may not see any of these names drafted in the first round but the flood gates should open on Day 2. There looks to be a handful of potential starters in this group and a good number of them should find their way into a committee. However, we will likely see a handful of these hopeful prospects go underdrafted.

Wide Receiver

Kevin Austin Jr. (WR – Notre Dame)
David Bell (WR – Purdue)
Stanley Berryhill III (WR – Arizona)
Treylon Burks (WR – Arkansas)
Britain Covey (WR – Utah)
Erik Ezukanma (WR – Texas Tech)
Drake London (WR – USC)
John Metchie III (WR – Alabama)
Jalen Nailor (WR – Michigan State)
Kyle Philips (WR – UCLA)
George Pickens (WR – Georgia)
Makai Polk (WR – Mississippi State)
Charleston Rambo (WR – Miami)
Jaquarii Roberson (WR – Wake Forest)
Wan’Dale Robinson (WR – Kentucky)
Justyn Ross (WR – Clemson)
Jerreth Sterns (WR – Western Kentucky)
Jalen Tolbert (WR – South Alabama)
Tre Turner (WR – Virginia Tech)
Devon Williams (WR – Oregon)
Jameson Williams (WR – Alabama)
Garrett Wilson (WR – Ohio State)

The 2022 wide receiver class has some very intriguing prospects. We should see at least three hear their names called in the first round and most of the names listed above should be drafted. Garrett Wilson should be the first of these names off the board, but Treylon Burks, Jameson Williams, and Drake London should all garner first round consideration. Justyn Ross, George Pickens, and David Bell could strengthen their bids for first round capital with strong testing numbers leading up to the draft.

Offensive Line

Alec Anderson (OT – UCLA)
Charles Cross (OT – Mississippi State)
James Empey (C – BYU)
Joshua Ezeudu (OT – North Carolina)
Kenyon Green (OL – Texas A&M)
Brock Hoffman (C – Virginia Tech)
Cameron Jurgens (C – Nebraska)
Jaxson Kirkland (OT – Washington)
Tyler Linderbaum (C – Iowa)
Evan Neal (OT – Alabama)
Trevor Penning (OT – Northern Iowa)
Sean Rhyan (OT – UCLA)
Dare Rosenthal (OT – Kentucky)
Tyler Smith (OT – Tulsa)
Luke Tenuta (OT – Virginia Tech)
Rasheed Walker (OT – Penn State)
Dohnovan West (C – Arizona State)

We should see at least three of the names above drafted in the first round. Evan Neal has an excellent chance to be drafted first overall if the Jacksonville Jaguars keep the pick. Tyler Linderbaum and Charles Cross are near locks to go in the first round, while Kenyon Green and Rasheed Walker will also be in consideration.

Defensive Line

Amare Barno (EDGE – Virginia Tech)
Damion Daniels (DL – Nebraska)
Christopher Hinton (DL – Michigan)
Drake Jackson (EDGE – USC)
George Karlaftis (EDGE – Purdue)
DeMarvin Leal (DL – Texas A&M)
David Ojabo (EDGE – Michigan)
Mika Tafua (EDGE – Utah)
Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE – Oregon)
Cameron Thomas (EDGE – San Diego State)
Travon Walker (DL – Georgia)
Alex Wright (EDGE – UAB)
Devonte Wyatt (DL – Georgia)

At least five of the names listed above are expected to be drafted on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thibodeaux is in the mix to go first overall and Karlaftis, Leal, Ojabo, and Jackson should all hear their names called by the end of the first round. Don’t be surprised to see teams trade up for these defensive line prospects.

Linebacker

Brian Asamoah (LB – Oklahoma)
Nik Bonitto (LB – Oklahoma)
Leo Chenal (LB – Wisconsin)
Nakobe Dean (LB – Georgia)
Christian Harris (LB – Alabama)
Avery Roberts (LB – Oregon State)
Nephi Sewell (LB – Utah)
Brandon Smith (LB – Penn State)
Khalan Tolson (LB – Illinois)
Carson Wells (LB – Colorado)

 

Nakobe Dean will generate most of the hype of the off-ball linebacker prospects in this class, particularly among underclassmen, but Penn State’s Brandon Smith has the tools and tape to sneak into the back end of the first round. Dean is the most complete linebacker prospect we have seen in years due to his excellent ability in coverage.

Cornerback

Jalyn Armour-Davis (CB – Alabama)
Andrew Booth Jr. (CB – Clemson)
Kaiir Elam (CB – Florida)
Martin Emerson Jr. (CB – Mississippi State)
Ahmad Gardner (CB – Cincinnati)
Vincent Gray (CB – Michigan)
Daxton Hill (CB – Michigan)
Trent McDuffie (CB – Washington)
Ja’Quan McMillian (CB – East Carolina)
Brendan Radley-Hiles (CB – Washington)
Chris Steele (CB – USC)
Derek Stingley Jr. (CB – LSU)
Isaac Taylor-Stuart (CB – USC)
Jermaine Waller (CB – Virginia Tech)
Bryce Watts (CB – UMass)
Mykael Wright (CB – Oregon)

This group of cornerbacks features a number of prospects expected to be drafted on Day 1 and Day 2. Derek Stingley is the toast of the class, but there are a number of other prospects who should be making starts for the new teams in their rookie seasons.

Safety 

Bubba Bolden (S – Miami)
Lewis Cine (S – Georgia)
Nick Cross (S – Maryland)
Nasir Greer (S – Wake Forest)
Kyle Hamilton (S – Notre Dame)
Kerby Joseph (S – Illinois)
Verone McKinley III (S – Oregon)
Juanyeh Thomas (S – Georgia Tech)

This is one of the weaker safety classes as far as underclassmen but comes with an elite prospect in Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton. Hamilton is arguably the best safety prospect we have seen in years and should hear his name called in the top-10 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Tight End

Daniel Barker (TE – Illinois)
Greg Dulcich (TE – UCLA)
Cole Fotheringham (TE – Utah)
James Mitchell (TE – Virginia Tech)
Cade Otton (TE – Washington)
Teagan Quitoriano (TE – Oregon State)
Jalen Wydermyer (TE – Texas A&M)

This is a particularly weak year at tight end regardless of designation. 2023 and 2024 will feature elite names expected to go in the first round but we could have to wait until the middle of Day 2 before any tight end is even considered by an NFL team.

Special Teams

Matt Araiza ( P – San Diego State)
Gabe Brkic (K – Oklahoma)
Cade York (K – LSU)

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his profile and follow him @FantasyContext.

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