With the calendar flipped to April, the time has come to update the 2022 NFL Draft Big Board featuring my top-100 rookies in this year’s class.
These post-NFL free agency rankings blend my personal view on each incoming rookie while also factoring in projected NFL draft capital. The goal here is to reveal which prospects I am highest on, but ones that real-life teams are also high on. They may differ slightly from my 2021 rookie rankings and order of players in my latest NFL Mock Draft 4.0.
Accompanied by each player’s Big Board ranking is a small insight on the prospect to provide some perspective on where they fall in the pecking order. I also make sure to hit heavier on fantasy-relevant prospects – with a few notes on IDP suggestions for you die-hards – with that being my ultimate area of expertise.
1. Aidan Hutchinson (Edge – Michigan)
The new odds-on favorite to be selected No. 1 is Michigan pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson (-175). His 2021 PFF defense grade (94.5) is the highest among any edge defender entering the NFL since Washington Commander Chase Young.
The Alabama tackle finished top-10 in his draft class with the lowest pressure rate allowed (2.4%) as a full-time left tackle in his first season. With Neals’ mammoth size – 6-foot-7, 350 pounds – he will be a foundation piece addition to any offensive line.
His versatility and experience playing right tackle and guard will go a long way to ensuring he gets selected high in the draft.
3. Ikem Ekwonu (OL – NC State)
Ikem Ekwonu allowed zero quarterback hits in 2021 and offered versatility to line up at guard. In the run game, he’s also an absolute mauler – PFF’s fifth-highest graded run-blocker in 2021.
The Wolfpack offensive lineman did wonders for his draft stock at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, generating rhetoric that he will be the No. 1 pick by Jacksonville when April 28th rolls around.
Travon Walker led the Georgia Bulldogs No. 1-ranked defense in total pressures this past season, with 13 coming during their playoff run.
His rare agility at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds will be a significant issue for opposing offensive lines. The former Bulldog flashed his rare speed/bend at the NFL Combine with a 4.51 40-yard dash (98th percentile) and 6.89 3-cone drill (93rd percentile).
With 35 1/2 inch arms to boot, Walker possesses rare traits that make him worthy of a top-5 overall pick.
5. Kyle Hamilton (S – Notre Dame)
The talented safety didn’t necessarily increase his draft stock after running a 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but that raw time requires context. Kyle Hamilton is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, so it’s a solid time adjusting for size. The Fighting Irish product also posted elite numbers in the jumping drills with a 38″ vertical jump (81st percentile) and 131″ broad jump (100th percentile).
In this draft, Hamilton is a top-end defensive talent and provides recourse against ever-evolving NFL offenses. With so much to offer – strong tackler, desired length/size, and coverage ability – he fits the profile of a top-10 selection.
Ahmad (Sauce) Gardner is a lock-down press cornerback from Cincinnati. He played the second-most snaps from man coverage among his classmates in 2021 and allowed just 55 total receiving yards, and Gardner has also never allowed a touchdown in coverage.
7. Kayvon Thibodeaux (Edge – Oregon)
Elite pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux generated 48 pressures in 11 games his junior season – 4.4 per game. That mark ranked tenth among the 2022 edge class.
8. Charles Cross (OT – Miss. St.)
After taking over 1,200 snaps from that position the last two seasons, Charles Cross is a locked-and-loaded franchise left tackle. The Mississippi State Bulldog was elite from Week 4 onward as PFF’s second-highest graded pass-blocker (87.6).
Cross also showed up against the most substantial competition allowing just two combined pressures in four SEC matchups against Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn.
9. Jermaine Johnson (Edge – FSU)
The FSU product tied Aidan Hutchinson with 14 sacks to lead the 2022 NFL Draft class.
10. Garrett Wilson (WR – Ohio State)
Garrett Wilson was deemed open on 90 of 107 targets in 2021 – an 84% open target rate. Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ) – the Jets’ second-round pick in 2021 – earned an 88% open target rate last year at Ole Miss.
The Ohio State wide receiver also tested extremely well with a 4.38 40-time. He has solidified his status as one of the top WRs in the class with impressive testing numbers and his savvy route running.
11. Trevor Penning (OT – Northern Iowa)
Trevor Penning‘s draft stock has been increasing since the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and his NFL Scouting Combine performance pushed him further up draft boards.
The 6-foot-7 and 325-pound behemoth ran a 4.89 40-yard dash (97th percentile) and blazed a 7.25 in the 3-cone drill (96th percentile) – tied for the fastest time of tackles that tested.
With a prospect profile that draws parallels to former first-round tackle Nate Solder, Penning won’t need to wait long to hear his name on draft night.
Penning’s 97.3 overall PFF grade and 99.9 run-blocking grade both ranked first in all of Division 1 college football in 2021.
After his freshman season, Derek Stingley was seen as a can’t miss option. The LSU product has regressed the past two years dealing with injuries, but the talent showcased in 2019 – PFF’s highest-graded corner – is too good to ignore.
The Utah product is a do-it-all linebacker with the ability to cover tight ends, generate pressure, and play on all downs.
He finished the 2021 season with eight sacks and 90 solo tackles – ninth-most in the FBS. Devin Lloyd should mitigate the damage that opposing tight ends create.
14. Trent McDuffie (CB – Washington)
Trent McDuffie was PFF’s fifth-highest graded 2022 draft-eligible cornerback in 2021, allowing no more than 39 receiving yards in any game. With the aptitude to play both zone and man coverage, the former Washington Huskie can become a significant immediate contributor to an NFL secondary.
15. Treylon Burks (WR – Arkansas)
Treylon Burks finished first in his class in yards per route run (3.57) while ranking No. 1 in yards per route run when lined up outside (6.08) among all receivers. It’s an encouraging sign that a size-speed specimen delivered when aligned on the perimeter, as he spent 77% of his career in the slot.
His 8.5 yards after the catch rank 14th among 169 qualifying wide receivers (92nd percentile) over the past two seasons.
And R-E-L-A-X about Burks’ 4.55 40-yard dash time and less than stellar jumping numbers. The Arkansas wide receiver weighs 225 pounds, so asking for anything in the sub 4.4s is expecting DK. Metcalf (WR – SEA) athleticism. He isn’t the freak athlete Metcalf is, but he’s still a top-3 wide receiver in this rookie class.
His elite college production and top-notch 32% dominator rating speak for themselves.
Burks remains a weapon waiting to be unleashed by an NFL offense. And I hope that the market sours on him in both best ball and dynasty formats post-combine so he can be acquired at a better value.
My favorite NFL comp for Burks is Josh Gordon (WR – KC).
16. Jameson Williams (WR – ALA)
Alabama’s Jameson Williams can be the extra firepower a team needs to get over the top after a monster season as the Crimson Tide’s No. 1 receiver.
Williams commanded a 31% dominator rating by hanging 1,561 receiving yards, 20 yards per reception, and 15 touchdowns – all achievements that ranked top-three among his 2022 NFL Draft class. His gargantuan yardage totals were fueled by his ability to create yards after the catch and downfield. He finished top-seven among all college-wide receivers in yards after the catch per reception (9.3) and receiving yards on 20-plus air yard throws.
Williams has shades of Will Fuller and Mike Wallace to his game, a big play waiting to happen.
Drake London boasts all the skills to be an alpha possession receiver at the next level. The 6-foot-4 and 219-pound towering wide receiver only played in eight games due to an ankle injury, making every game count. He commanded a 38% target share and led all WRs in contested catches (19). London concluded the year third in yards per route run (3.52) in his draft class.
The USC product has also yet to turn 21. His game as a big-bodied wideout echoes a spry Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG).
18. David Ojabo (Edge – Michigan)
David Ojabo enjoyed a breakout season with 11 sacks in 2021 after playing just 26 snaps in 2020. The considerable leap was unequivocally tied to Ojabo’s freakish athleticism that regular football players just don’t have. His 4.55 40-yard dash ranks in the 96th percentile among edge defenders.
Pair him with another top-tier edge rusher, and NFL offenses won’t know what to do.
Unfortunately, Ojabo tore his Achilles at Michigan’s pro day. The injury potentially knocks him out of Round 1, and however, he still has apparent top-20 talent.
19. Chris Olave (WR – Ohio State)
Chris Olave can separate from defenders at an elite level downfield. The former Buckeye wrapped up his 2021 season in the 96th percentile in separation versus single coverage and caught seven touchdowns on throws of 20-plus air yards.
Olave cemented himself as a top-20 selection by blazing a 4.39 40-yard dash (90th percentile) at the NFL Combine.
He parallels Calvin Ridley’s (WR – ATL) route running ability.
20. Malik Willis (QB – Liberty)
After an impressive week at the Senior Bowl, the Liberty signal-caller did wonders to his draft stock. His 91.7 PFF passing grade throughout the Senior Bowl practices was the highest of the week.
Willis averaged almost 100 rushing yards per game over the last two seasons, putting him in elite company with some of college football’s best rushers. His ability to add value with his legs will grant him extra time to develop as a passer at the NFL level.
Combining his mobility with a robust downfield arm – fourth in PFF passing grade on throws of 20-plus air yards – is a recipe for fantasy football success.
21. Tyler Linderbaum (C – Iowa)
An NFL team can lock up their long-term option at the center position with Tyler Linderbaum. He has graded out as PFF’s No. 1 center in the nation over the last two seasons.
Linderbaum also owns the second-highest run grade among all OL globally, which bodes well in a run-heavy system. The dude is a mauler.
22. Zion Johnson (G – Boston College)
Zion Johnson is a solid starting guard from Day 1 and would be an immediate plug-in-play option for any team. Johnson allowed just two quarterback hits and six total pressures in his final season at school.
The BC Eagle tested exceptionally well at the NFL Combine, posting top marks in the shuttle (4.46, 93rd percentile), 3-cone (7.38, 92nd percentile), bench press (38, 97th percentile) and vertical jump (32″, 91st percentile).
23. Kenyon Green (G – Texas A&M)
Kenyon Green can start from day one at left guard after finishing 2021 as the highest-graded SEC guard in his draft class.
But what separates Green is his versatility. The Texas A&M Aggie has experience playing every position across the offensive line outside the center position, and that experience will make him a highly-coveted target in the first round.
Jordan Davis’ 4.78 40-time at 341 pounds is the best weight-adjusted time among 487 interior defenders to run at the combine. It generated an astounding 130.64-speed score. For perspective, DK Metcalf‘s 133.3-speed score ranks in the 100th percentile, which he ran at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds.
At worst, Davis can be an elite run-stuffer at the next level. But his uber-athleticism clearly shows he is an absolute game-wrecker in his range of outcomes.
He wrapped up 2021 third in the class in defensive run-stop rate.
At 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, cornerback Kaiir Elam is the perfect target for any CB-needy franchise. The Florida Gator allowed the nation’s third-lowest passer rating when targeted (18.3) as a true freshman in 2019. Facing SEC wide receivers for three straight seasons will translate well into the NFL.
26. Andrew Booth Jr. (CB – Clemson)
Andrew Booth Jr. doesn’t have a signature calling card to his game because he is so well-rounded. He’s a scheme-diverse enough to contribute to any defense, but his best fit would be zone coverage.
The Clemson cornerback has spent most of his career in a zone coverage scheme while generating an elite sub-40 passer rating when targeted.
Booth Jr. recently underwent sports hernia surgery, which could cause him to fall to the back end of the first round after being pegged as a top 25-player throughout the pre-draft process.
27. Bernhard Raimann (OT – Central Michigan)
6-foot-7 tackle Bernhard Raimann went from playing tight end two years ago to PFF’s third-highest graded tackle in 2021 (94.6). His short-area quickness and burst – 91st percentile 20-yard shuttle, 85th percentile 3-cone drill, 97th percentile broad jump – will go a long way to ensure the Central Michigan product is selected in Round 1.
28. George Karlaftis (Edge – Purdue)
Purdue’s George Karlaftis fits the mold in a 3-4 scheme. As a freshman in 2019, Karlaftis generated the tenth-most pressures in the FBS. And after a truncated 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Boilermaker edge rusher finished 2021 11th in the nation in pressures per game (4.5).
Devonte Wyatt finished the 2021 season as PFF’s highest-graded interior defensive lineman as the central force of the No. 1 defense in the nation. He’s been overshadowed by all the other talent for the Bulldogs entering the draft – most notably fellow DT Jordan Davis – but it’s undeniable that Wyatt was the better pass-rusher at Georgia.
Wyatt is the only interior defensive lineman in the class to rank top-6 in PFF run and pass-rush grades last season, and his actual pass-rush grade ranked first on the Georgia defense.
With 4.77 40-yard dash wheels (97th percentile) and 111″ broad jump (82nd percentile) to boot, an NFL team is going to get an immediate impact player by drafting Wyatt.
No linebacker epitomizes speed more than Nakobe Dean.
The Georgia Bulldog finished as PFF’s highest-graded linebacker on college football’s No. 1 defense in 2021. And although he is undersized at 6-feet and 225 pounds, he more than makes up for it with his sideline-to-sideline range. His speed also shows up when he rushes the passer, evidenced by his eight sacks and top-4 PFF pass-rush grade (91.3).
Tyler Smith can be a future franchise left tackle.
The Tulsa product has played over 1,700 snaps from the left side in his college career and finished 2021 as PFF’s fourth-highest graded tackle.
The Georgia Bulldog WR broke out as a true 18-year old freshman, finishing 2019 as PFF’s the 17th-highest-graded receiver in the nation (88.0) – ahead of future NFL wideouts like Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN), Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN), DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI), and Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA).
His 2.64 yards per route run were identical to Jefferson’s. George Pickens’ unbelievable first year generated a 27% dominator rating – the No. 1 age-adjusted mark among the WRs in this draft class.
And it’s so clear that Pickens plays with a dog mentality. Part of his highlight tape is him putting opposing cornerbacks on the ground in the run game.
Injuries plagued Pickens’ draft stock during the college season, but he looks fully healthy based on his testing at the NFL Combine. I will be drafting a lot of Pickens in my dynasty rookie drafts.
33. Boye Mafe (Edge – Minnesota)
The Minnesota Golden Gopher didn’t post monster numbers rushing the passer in the Big Ten – 38th in the class in pressures generated – but he graded extremely well in PFF’s PRP formula, which combines sacks, hits, and hurries relative to how many times a defender rushes the passer. Mafe’s 10.2 PRP ranked seventh in the class behind projected top-5 picks Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux.
There’s reason to believe Mafe could translate to a first-round-worthy pass-rusher at the NFL level based on his uber-athleticism.
At the NFL combine, Mafe ran a 4.53 40-yard dash (98th percentile), jumped 38″ in the vertical (90th percentile), and leaped 125″ in the broad jump (90th percentile). All while measuring in at 6-foot-4 and 261 pounds. His profile bears a striking resemblance to Jadeveon Clowney when he came out of South Carolina.
He also showed out at the Senior Bowl, posting the highest defensive grade in the all-star game (92.0).
34. Matt Corral (QB – Ole Miss)
Matt Corral rallied the Rebels to a 10-2 record while finishing third in the SEC in passing yards (3,343) and 11th in the nation in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (91.6).
He also rushed for nearly 750 yards and 11 scores. It’s that exact dual-threat ability that fantasy football dynasty managers should be looking to invest in for years down the line.
Sam Howell earned the starting quarterback job at North Carolina as a 19-year old true freshman and never looked back. He finished fourth in the FBS with 38 touchdown passes in his first season, cementing himself on the NFL radar.
He followed up an impressive introduction with an even more dominant performance as a passer in 2020, finishing as the nation’s sixth-highest-graded quarterback (92.3) and fourth-best deep passer (98.0) in an offense littered with future NFL talent.
Unsurprisingly, Howell took a bit of a step back in his final season without the likes of Javonte Williams (RB – DEN), Michael Carter (RB – NYJ), Dyami Brown (WR – WAS), and Dazz Newsome (WR – CHI) at his disposal. The UNC product was PFF’s 37th-graded passer (80.3) – 15th among his 2022 draft class.
Howell turned up the dial on his rushing production to compensate for the lack of passing efficiency. After posting just 600 yards on the ground through two seasons, Howell rushed for 1,106 yards as PFF’s second-highest-graded rusher (91.0) in 2021.
Howell was looking to create yards with his legs if the first read wasn’t there. This presents problems for the real-life NFL but shouldn’t be considered negatively for fantasy.
Howell’s escapability lends itself to rushing success at the NFL level if he doesn’t have a lot of talent around him. Conversely, his first two years of college show he will take full advantage when he does have weapons around him.
It’s hard to label Howell as a “situation-proof” quarterback – a rookie quarterback’s team context plays an integral part in their growth – but it’s hard to overlook his versatility as far as how he can rack up fantasy points in the years to come based on which team selects him.
A quarterback emerges from the woodwork every college season into the top-quarterback prospect conversation. In the past two drafts, Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) and Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ) were that QB riser, and this season it’s Kenny Pickett. The Pittsburgh Panther threw more touchdowns (42) than the previous three seasons combined as the entrenched starter (38).
Pickett finished third in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (94.3) and first in his class in adjusted completion percentage (79%). His overall experience and breakout season make him the most NFL-ready quarterback in this class, but he is far from flawless.
His petite hand size of -8 1/2 inches, 1st percentile, raises some concern, as betting on outliers generates sub-optimal results over time.
Also, Pickett doesn’t offer the same type of rushing other QBs in this class offer. He tends to go slowly through progressions and hold the ball too long, as evidenced by a 3.19-second average time to throw – the second-slowest in the draft class (Malik Willis, 3.33)
37. Daxton Hill (S – Michigan)
Michigan safety Daxton Hill can line up all over the field. He played slot cornerback in 2021 after spending more time in the box and free safety as a sophomore.
38. Christian Watson (WR – North Dakota State)
Christian Watson was the talk of the town as a standout in the 2022 Senior Bowl. The North Dakota State prospect showed that his 35% dominator rating and No. 1-ranked 4.33 yards per route run were no fluke, even if they came against an easy schedule of opponents.
And he continued on his draft stock ascension with a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash (91st percentile) during on-field testing. That speed at Watson’s size – 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds – is ludicrous.
Combine that with his 38.5 vertical (84th percentile) and 136 broad jump (98th percentile) – all that’s left is calling the dude a certified stud that has a chance to see Round 1 draft capital.
39. Skyy Moore (WR – Western Michigan)
Skyy Moore first played wide receiver in college after playing quarterback and defensive back in high school. In hindsight, the transition couldn’t have worked out better, considering the Western Michigan Bronco has entered the Day 2 NFL Draft conversation after a highly productive college career.
Moore broke out as a true freshman with a 20% dominator rating, catching 51 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns. He took a backseat in his sophomore season to Seattle Seahawks second-rounder D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – SEA) in 2020, but he still posted a modest 20% dominator rating amid the stiff competition.
He would more than make up for a so-so second year in his final season at Western Michigan, finishing as PFF’s third-highest graded wide receiver in the FBS (91.6) with a 41% dominator rating to boot.
His 3.40 yards per route run ranked in the 99th percentile among 2022 draft-eligible wide receivers over the past three seasons. The slippery playmaker – tied for first with 26 forced missed tackles in 2021 – should hear his name in the second round after an impressive combine outing.
Moore ran a 4.41 40-yard dash (82nd percentile) at 195 pounds. He also jumped 125? in the broad jump (77th percentile) and 34.5? (38th percentile) in the vertical jump.
His athletic numbers were better than expected.
Desmond Ridder made a strong push around NFL circles during his senior season, leading Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff against Alabama. PFF’s seventh-highest-graded 2022 draft-eligible quarterback then turned heads at the 2022 Senior Bowl, showcasing accuracy and polish.
Ridder also offers juice with his legs, having rushed for over 2,700 yards during his four-year career (58 per game). His athleticism was at the forefront of his testing at the NFL combine.
The Bearcats quarterback ran a 4.52 40-yard dash (96th percentile) and jumped a 36 vertical (92nd percentile) and 127 broad jump (98th percentile).
From speed to predictive passing metrics working in his favor – 97th percentile passer on early downs per PFF (91.0) – the Cincinnati product possesses all the ingredients to become a fantasy-friendly quarterback at the next level.
Safety Jalen Pitre has spent most of the last two seasons in coverage from the slot – capped off by a 2021 campaign that saw him finish first in PFF run defense among all defensive backs in the nation.
His dual-threat ability as a box safety that can cover and make stops in the run game is rare in an undersized safety at 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds. The smaller size does raise concerns about whether Pitre can keep up his tenacious play – man on a mission mentality – against larger NFL players. But at least he offers a floor as slot coverage defender.
His 6.74 3-cone time (88th percentile) illustrates his short-area quickness.
42. Daniel Faalele (OT – Minnesota)
It’s only a matter of time before Daniel Faalele coins the nickname “Monster from Minnesota.” The Golden Gopher offensive tackle weighs 384 pounds and measures a towering 6-foot-8. He’s the “immovable object” meeting the “unstoppable force” John Madden preached about all these years.
The traits are there for Faalele to be a franchise tackle in the NFL, but it might take some seasoning. After all, he’s only been playing football since 2016 after spending most of his life in Australia.
But the progression and growth Faalele has displayed – improved PFF blocking grade all three years at school – suggests he is just scratching the surface of his potential. Also, with his limited playing experience, Faalele is best suited to continue playing at right tackle to start as he did at the college level.
43. Arnold Ebiketie (Edge – Penn State)
After combining for just 32 pressures and six sacks during a three-year stint at Temple, Arnold Ebiketie was unleashed by Penn State in 2021. He converted his explosiveness – 38″ vertical jump (91st percentile), 128″ broad jump (95th percentile) – into 52 pressures, which ranked 12th in the class.
As PFF’s sixth-highest graded pass-rusher among his draft-eligible edge rushers on true pass sets, Ebiketie won’t last outside the second round.
44. Jaquan Brisker (S – Penn State)
Versatility is the name of the game with Jaquan Brisker. The Penn State safety led the 2022 draft class in snaps from the box while boasting PFF’s third-highest coverage grade (89.5). With a hybrid linebacker-safety skill set, defensive coordinators will want Brisker close to the ball on every down.
Smells like a future IDP fantasy star.
Lewis Cine has been rising up Big Boards across the media, supplanting Daxton Hill as the consensus No. 2 safety per Grindingthemocks.com – with some mock drafts putting him in the back of the 1st Round.
There’s no doubt that Cine’s impressive combine performance – 95th percentile 40-yard dash, 96th percentile broad jump – jackrabbited his draft stock. Still, there’s reason to believe the well-rounded Georgia Bulldog should have been in top-tier consideration the entire time.
He’s such a refined tackler that he could easily carve out a role as box-stuffing safety. Keep tabs on his landing spot for your fantasy football IDP leagues.
46. Breece Hall (RB – Iowa State)
Running back, Breece Hall was my No.1-ranked rookie in non-Superflex formats heading into the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, and his elite showing solidified his status atop the rookie rankings. The Iowa State product measured in at 5-foot-11 and 217 pounds, slightly different from his listed playing size in school (6-foot-1, 210 pounds).
But his slightly stockier build did nothing to impede the Iowa State Cyclones’ on-field performance because he lit the testing drills ablaze: 4.39 40-yard dash (93rd percentile), 40 vertical jump (94th percentile), and 126? broad jump (91st percentile).
Hall’s 116.85 size-adjusted speed score was nearly identical to former Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray.
Pairing Hall’s athleticism with an off-the-charts college production profile – over 4,500 yards from scrimmage and 50 touchdowns – makes him my 1.01 in dynasty rookie drafts.
Consider his abilities as a slick receiver out of the backfield – 82 catches over three seasons, just two drops in his last two seasons – and Hall provides immediate fantasy football appeal. He has the requisite size and tools to be a three-down running back who never leaves the field.
47. Roger McCreary (CB – Auburn)
Roger McCreary graded out as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation per PFF in 2021 – forcing 13 incomplete passes while in coverage. And although he excels in press coverage, the rumor is that NFL teams view him more as a slot cornerback with sub-29″ arms (0th percentile).
That might knock him down in the draft based on teams that need a slot cornerback. But make no mistake that he will bring his top-tier coverage skills when aligned inside.
On 26 slot coverage snaps in 2021, he allowed just one catch. It’s a small sample size, but McCreary’s work foreshadows a smooth transition to the slot.
48. Kingsley Enagbare (Edge – South Carolina)
Only two edge players – Aidan Hutchinson and Nik Bonitto – earned a higher PFF pass-rush grade than Kingsley Enagbare in 2021. The South Carolina product’s pressure didn’t necessarily translate to many sacks (4). Still, his ability to win one-one matchups – third-highest ranked pressure win % – suggests he has a pass-rush ceiling at the next level.
Especially considering he has been a top-tier rusher in the SEC for the past two seasons.
Logan Hall has defensive tackle recognition across many publications, but he’s much more of a defensive end due to his pass-rushing skills. He has graded out as a top-5 interior rusher among his draft-eligible classmates the last two seasons per PFF.
NFL teams looking to generate pass-rush up the middle would be wise to invest in the 283-pounder and lengthy 6-foot-6 Houston Cougar. Just don’t line him up over the center and expect him to be a true difference-maker in the run game.
50. Kyler Gordon (CB – Washington)
Trent McDuffie has generated the most buzz out of Washington, but don’t overlook his teammate, Kyler Gordon. Gordon’s PFF coverage grade ranked fourth in FBS in 2021 (89.6) and was superior to McDuffie (89.3).
He was also elite in man coverage, allowing the nation’s second-lowest passer rating (12.8).
Expect Gordon’s draft stock to rise after Washington’s pro day on March 29th. His lackluster 4.52 40-yard dash time doesn’t accurately depict Gordon’s true athleticism.
51. DeMarvin Leal (DE/DT – Texas A&M)
At six-foot-four and 283 pounds, DeMarvin Leal isn’t your prototypical defensive lineman. His tweener size makes him too small to be used strictly in the interior and too big to be a strict edge defender. Especially considering his testing numbers – 5.0 seconds (13th percentile), 27.5 vertical (4th percentile), 106 broad jump (7th percentile), and 4.49 shuttle (32nd percentile) – look mediocre when compared to the majority of NFL defensive ends.
The testing numbers look better when compared to 300-pound defensive tackles, but that doesn’t necessarily project to be Leal at the next level. With such a unique build, Leal’s projection will heavily depend on what team he is drafted by.
Ideally, he continues to rush the passer at an impressive size to overwhelm opposing offensive linemen as he did in college.
52. Travis Jones (DT – Connecticut)
Defensive tackles aren’t valued as much nowadays as in the past, with more emphasis on stopping the pass versus the run. However, there’s a point in every draft when adding an elite run stuffer like Travis Jones does make sense.
The burly UConn Huskie defensive tackle finished as PFF’s third-highest graded interior player in 2021. Jones looks like the league’s next A-gap run-stuffing nose tackle with an impressive speed and size at 326 pounds – 88th percentile 40-time.
53. Christian Harris (LB – ALA)
Linebacker-needy teams looking to add speed and a well-rounded skill set would be wise to invest a Day 2 selection in Christian Harris. The Crimson Tide linebacker blazed a 4.44 40-yard dash (97th percentile) and jumped 132″ in the broad jump (98th percentile) at the NFL combine to add to his draft stock.
Harris’ 1.5 average depth of tackle – 7th-lowest in the class – showcases his explosiveness and ability as a blitzer, which are just a few of the several skills the versatile linebacker can offer to a professional team.
54. Kenneth Walker III (RB – Michigan State)
Kenneth Walker III made a massive splash upon transferring to Michigan State in 2021, leading his class in rushing yards (1,634), missed forced tackles (89), and explosive runs (46) en route to winning the Doak Walker Award – an honor bestowed upon college football’s best running back.
His success earned him a 34% dominator rating, which considers the number of touchdowns and receiving yards a player commands within their offense.
The number is solid considering Walker commanded just a 4% target share in his junior year, catching 13 passes for 80 receiving yards.
His massive accomplishments this past season were inevitable after he rushed for 13 touchdowns as PFF’s 15th-best graded running back in 2020 as a sophomore at Wake.
Walker possesses the groundwork to be an effective rusher at the next level, with the second-most missed tackles forced over the past two seasons – trailing only Iowa State’s Breece Hall – and third-most rushing yards after contact. Breaking tackles and creating after contact in college translates to the pros exceptionally well, as seen most recently by Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams.
Williams led the nation in missed tackle rate (48%) in his final season at North Carolina and would go on to lead the NFL in the same metric after his stellar rookie season.
Elusiveness is just one trait Walker has in common with Williams, as both skipped their senior years to enter the draft. Declaring early is a positive sign for a running back in dynasty formats, as they save themselves from another year of wear and tear.
The lack of work in the passing game is the only major blemish on Walker’s prospect profile because his testing at the NFL scouting combine was also exceptional. He weighed 211 pounds and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash (96th percentile).
55. Kerby Joseph (S – Illinois)
Kerby Joseph earned PFF’s highest defensive grade at the safety position this past year due to his outstanding coverage skills. He allowed less than a 50% completion percentage when targeted and racked up nine defensive plays – five interceptions, four pass break-ups – on balls thrown in his direction.
His top-tier jumping athleticism fueled his ball-hawking ability, which was on full display during the 2022 NFL scouting combine. His 38.5-inch vertical jump ranks in the 89th percentile among free safeties.
The guy simply can make plays on the ball when it’s in the air – and that no doubt comes from his experience playing wide receiver under former Illinois head coach and current Texans head coach Lovie Smith. Perhaps a reunion is on the horizon.
Nakobe Dean’s speed is polarizing, but don’t forget about Georgia’s other starting linebacker Quay Walker. The dude was born to tackle. His 4.3% missed tackle rate ranked fourth-best in the FBS and was superior to his teammates Dean (12.2%) and Channing Tindall (7.4%).
At 6-foot-4 and 241 pounds, Walker’s days of bulldozing offenses are far from over.
57. Darian Kinnard (OL – Kentucky)
It’s tough to find another tackle that has been as solid as Darian Kinnard has been over the past three seasons. In 2019, the Wildcat offensive tackle graded top-10 per PFF at the position, and he would follow that up with back-to-back top-5 grades the last two seasons.
Kinnard’s aggressive run-blocking will put teams on notice with three straight top-11 finishes since 2019 among all offensive linemen in the FBS.
He will likely move full-time inside to guard at the next level.
58. Troy Andersen (LB – Montana State)
Remember the name Troy Andersen. The linebacker from Montana State blazed the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine – 4.42, 98th percentile – and will no doubt earn a role on special teams to start his professional career.
As a converted running back and quarterback – among other positions – Andersen finished with the second-most tackles in all of college football in 2021. Swiss-army knife is an understatement for what this guy can offer for an NFL franchise.
59. Trey McBride (TE – Colorado State)
Trey McBride posted eye-popping numbers in 2021. The Colorado State Ram compiled 1,125 receiving yards, which comprised 37% of the team’s total passing yardage production. His sheer dominance and command for the football – second-highest target rate per route run (30%) – elevated him to a 94.7 PFF overall grade – the best among tight ends in the nation – and the John Mackey Award.
However, his senior year breakout wasn’t too surprising based on what he did in a truncated 2020 season. McBride commanded an absurd 71% dominator rating – which considers the number of touchdowns and receiving yards a player commands within their offense – operating as the engine of the Rams’ offense in the four games played.
He even possesses under-the-radar upside because he can win downfield. McBride finished third in catches and fourth in yards on targets of 20-plus air yards. If he ends up armed with a big-armed quarterback – watch out.
Because McBride impressed at the Senior Bowl, he has a great chance to be the first tight end drafted. McBride looks the part of a high-floor inline tight end who can start from Day 1 with his well-rounded skill set.
I don’t believe McBride will ever become super dynamic with the ball in his hands, but he can easily carve out a role as a solid PPR fantasy tight end because he commands targets. Owen Daniels is an appropriate NFL comparison.
60. Leo Chenal (LB – Wisconsin)
There’s not much that Leo Chenal can’t do to disrupt an opposing offense. He finished first in PFF run defense and second in PFF pass-rush grade among all linebackers in the FBS. Micah Parsons (LB – DAL) finished first in those two categories in 2019.
Stick the off-ball linebacker in the box and watch him make plays. Just don’t rely on him in coverage.
61. Jahan Dotson (WR – Penn State)
While slightly undersized – 5-foot-10 and sub-180 pounds – Jahan Dotson packs a serious punch, as the Penn State product was a mega-producer in his final college season, earning an absurd 43% dominator rating.
He easily saved his best for last, finishing ninth in PFF receiving grade (87.2) and eighth in receptions among his 2022 draft-eligible classmates. Dotson’s sure-hands – 94th percentile career drop rate (2%) – will help him vacuum up targets at the next level, especially if he carves out a role as a team’s primary slot receiver.
However, Dotson’s draft stock did not rise after testing results. These Penn State guys tend to be athletic freaks, but Dotson was underwhelming. He was vastly underweight and failed to pop in the drills despite being so much smaller.
4.43 40-yard dash (74th percentile), sub-60th percentile jumps, and an abysmal 7.28 3-cone drill (9th percentile).
Dotson’s a solid route runner and reliable receiver, but his ultimate upside doesn’t seem to be more than real-life WR2. Becoming Emmanuel Sanders (WR – BUF) might be his best-case scenario.
It didn’t take long for David Bell to produce at the collegiate level. Bell broke out as an 18-year-old true freshman with a 26% dominator rating, 1,035 receiving yards, and 86 receptions. The Indianapolis native made the most of his opportunity with future second-round pick Rondale Moore (WR – ARI) sidelined with injury.
The same script played out the following year, with Moore limited to just three games in a truncated COVID-19 season, as Bell posted a 44% dominator rating with a 32% target share in 2020.
His first two years at Purdue were utterly impressive, so it comes as no surprise that he blew up his junior year as the bonafide No. 1 in the Boilermakers’ offense. Bell finished third in the FBS in receiving yards on the outside (1,097), second in total forced missed tackles (25), and 10th in PFF receiving grade (86.9) among his draft class.
But there are elements to Bell’s game that might limit him at the next level. His 28% career contest-target percentage ranks seventh in the FBS over the past three seasons, which is concerning given his tweener size.
It also reflects poorly on Bell’s separation skills, which have not been great. His 44% separation percentage against single coverage ranks 76th out of 97 qualifying wide receivers (22nd percentile) since 2019.
His lack of athleticism is to blame for the red flags on his profile. At the combine, Bell posted a 33-inch vertical (21st percentile), 118 broad jump (32nd percentile), 4.65 40-yard dash time (10th percentile), 7.14 3-cone drill (19th percentile), and 4.57 20-yard shuttle (2nd percentile).
Not ideal for a wide receiver pegged to potentially sneak into the back-end of Day 1 or top of Day 2.
It’s not too surprising that at 6-foot-1 and 212, Bell wasn’t a burner by any means, but the lack of explosiveness in the jumping drills and short-area quickness isn’t ideal.
63. Nik Bonitto (DE – Oklahoma)
Nik Bonitto put together back-to-back seasons of elite pass-rushing production. In 2020, the Oklahoma Sooner finished first in PFF pass-rush grade and fourth in total pressures.
In 2021, Bonitto ranked third in PFF pass-rush grade and fourth in pass-rush win rate (29%).
64. Dylan Parham (OL – Memphis)
Right guard Dylan Parham finished his senior year as the sixth-highest graded pass-blocker in the 2022 class. But 2021 wasn’t even Parham’s best season as the year before graded out as a top-5 offensive lineman while operating at right tackle.
The dual-threat ability will keep Parham in the Day 2 discussion, but he needs to maintain his new weight. He weighed in at 311 pounds at the NFL combine, which was 25 pounds heavier than his 285 listed playing weight at Memphis.
The extra pounds did not impact his testing; Parham blazed a 4.93 40-yard dash (95th percentile).
65. Nicholas Petit-Frere (OT – Ohio State)
A season ago, Nicholas Petit-Frere’s protection upfront could use some work after the Ohio State tackle finished outside the top-50 in PFF pass-block grading. The final game against Michigan was particularly bad, with Petit-Frere allowing eight pressures against a defense filled with NFL-caliber talent.
However, NPF’s impressive run-blocking – 15th in the nation PFF run-block grade – will ensure he doesn’t fall outside of Day 2.
66. Abraham Lucas (OL – Washington St.)
Abraham Lucas allowed zero sacks in his final season at Washington State while aligned at right tackle. The 6-foot-6 Cougar has over 2,100 pass-play snaps on his college resume and has allowed just six quarterback hits.
He’s an experienced tackle that won’t feel out of place in today’s pass-happy NFL. Lucas’ shorts-area quickness – 98th percentile 3-cone, 97th percentile short shuttle – showcase his readiness for the next level.
67. Isaiah Likely (TE – Coastal Carolina)
Turn on any Coastal Carolina game over the last four years, and you’re likely to see a tight end haul in a touchdown. Isaiah Likely hauled in 27 receiving touchdowns since 2018 – more than any other tight end in college football.
Likely’s nose for the end zone fueled his 24% career dominator rating – the highest in the class and a mark matched only by Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT) from 2021’s tight end class.
Touchdown equity is not the only part of his profile that is alluring. He’s not just falling in the end zone. He’s a terrific wide receiver playing tight end, as evidenced by his 95.2 PFF receiving grade (third), 1,513 receiving yards (first), and 2.87 yards per route run (sixth) since 2020.
Only McBride and Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL) have a higher PFF receiving grade over that span.
At 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, Likely fits the archetype as a pass-catching tight end at the next level – which is exactly what fantasy footballers should gravitate toward. It’s rare to find tight ends who come into the league with this kind of receiving profile and mismatch potential against slower linebackers/safeties.
However, be wary that his tweener size does create some inherent risk if he ends up on a team that doesn’t know how to use him properly. He is too small to be a legitimate in-line tight end but too big to be a traditional wideout-the essence of Julius Thomas and Ricky Seals-Jones (TE – NYG).
Likely also won’t be much of a factor in the blocking game unless he puts on substantial weight. If that does happen, be confident that Likely can fill an every-down tight end role after finishing in the 91st percentile in a positively graded run-blocking rate in 2021.
68. Justyn Ross (WR – Clemson)
Justyn Ross looked the part of college football’s next superstar after a breakout freshman season. At 18 years old, Ross led the Clemson Tigers in receiving yards despite playing alongside older teammates Tee Higgins (WR – CIN), Amari Rodgers (WR – GB), and Hunter Renfrow (WR – LV), who were future pros. He was PFF’s second-highest-graded WR in his first season (91.2).
The 6-foot-4 and 205-pound wideout followed up with an impressive sophomore campaign, leading the team in receptions (66) as Trevor Lawrence’s (QB – JAC) most heavily targeted receiver.
Ross was well on his way to being a locked-and-loaded Round 1 selection for the 2021 NFL Draft, but a rare condition affecting his neck and spine forced him to miss the entire 2020 season.
He came back in 2021 to show that he was fully healthy, but an anemic Clemson offense that ranked 87th in PFF’s grading torpedoed his numbers. Only 64% of his targets were deemed catchable, which ranked in the 28th percentile.
If Ross can recapture his playmaking ability from 2018, he will be a steal for a team on Day 2.
He’s an underrated route runner at his size but not a contested-catch fiend. It reminds me a lot of Corey Davis (WR – NYJ) because Ross is not particularly explosive.
Over the past few weeks, no tight end has moved up my board more than Greg Dulcich. The UCLA tight end weighed in at 6-4 and 243 pounds at the NFL combine and tested exceptionally well: 122 broad jump (88th percentile), 4.69 40-time (70th percentile), 34? vertical (63rd percentile) and 7.05 3-cone (75th percentile).
Per Next Gen Stats, Dulcich averaged 18.0 yards per reception over his four-year career at UCLA, the third-most by a tight end invited to the combine since 2003. In 2021 alone, he ranked fourth in yards per reception (17.3).
It’s hard to watch Dulcich’s tape and not see hints of Dawson Knox (TE – BUF).
70. Cameron Thomas (DE – San Diego St.)
Want to generate pressure? Enter San Diego State edge defender Cameron Thomas. The former Aztec led his class with 77 total pressures and 21 quarterback hits with 12 sacks (sixth).
71. Phidarian Mathis (DT – ALA)
Phidarian Mathis has operated the interior defensive line for the Crimson Tide for the past four seasons, capping off his Alabama career with a career-high seven sacks.
However, don’t expect Mathis to carry over his pass-rushing numbers from his final season. His poor testing numbers – 4th percentile vertical jump, 6th percentile 20-yard shuttle – don’t inspire confidence Mathis will be a difference-maker against the pass.
He’s a seasoned interior tackle that can line up all over the defensive line and mainly contribute to stopping the run.
72. Perrion Winfrey (DT – Oklahoma)
Don’t be fooled by Perrion Winfrey’s defensive tackle designation. At 290 pounds – 13th percentile – he is not a run-stuffing space eater that will stop the run game. However, he can wreak havoc on the interior versus slower guards.
Winfrey finished with the 13th-best PFF pass-rush grade among his 2022 draft class.
73. Kellen Diesch (OL – Arizona St.)
It took Kellen Diesch some time – six college seasons – to show NFL scouts what he could achieve at the tackle position. The Arizona State offensive lineman finished as PFF’s third-highest graded pass-blocker in the FBS.
Equipped with an elite athletic profile – 97th percentile 40-yard dash, 95th percentile short shuttle – and enormous size at 6-foot-7, Diesch is the prototypical swing tackle. Not likely a long-term answer at his position because of how skinny he is at 301 pounds, but good enough to carve out a long career as a depth piece.
74. Jalen Tolbert (WR – S.ALA)
South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert was a mega-producer in the small school college ranks.
The 6-foot-1 and 194-pound deep-ball specialist earned a career 31% dominator rating – top-three in the class – factoring in a redshirt freshman season. Tolbert posted dominator ratings of 35%, 42%, and 42% from his sophomore year onward. He torched defenses downfield as the nation’s leader in targets (99), catches (38), and receiving yards (1,402) on targets of 20-plus air yards.
Tolbert also boasts a 19-year-old breakout age – his player profile stacks up with some top wideouts from his class.
And although Tolbert doesn’t possess elite speed – 57th percentile 40-yard dash time – he still understands how to get open deep. He’s similar to Adam Thielen (WR – MIN) in that fashion.
Brandon Smith earned a bottom-20 PFF grade in run defense in 2021 but a top-10 grade in coverage among his draft-eligible classmates.
He needs some fine-tuning, but he possesses the requisite athleticism that will allow him to be a gliding force all over the field. The Penn State product has scary speed and burst at his 6-foot-3 and 250-pound size.
Chad Muma led the nation in tackles from the linebacker position in 2021 to finishing at PFF’s third-highest graded linebacker. His tenacious and aggressive play led to 68 stops on defense – tackles that constitute a failed played on offense – which also ranked first.
With explosiveness to boot – 94th percentile broad and vertical jumps – he’s a heat-seeking missile ready to start for an NFL defense. He’s solid across all fronts of the game.
77. Jeremy Ruckert (TE – Ohio State)
Jeremy Ruckert posted just a 9% dominator rating and averaged three targets per game at Ohio State. Primarily heralded as a blocking tight end, Ruckert won’t have much juice for fantasy without any worthwhile receiving chops.
Be mindful that Ruckert was playing alongside an elite group of wide receivers, so it’s not due to a lack of effort that his receiving numbers were so poor. He could climb the target pecking order if he lands on an NFL team without many proven pass-catchers. Just don’t expect him to hit the ground running in Year 1, like most rookie tight ends.
78. Isaiah Spiller (RB – Texas A&M)
Age-adjusted production is a critical metric for dynasty managers, and no running back is better than Isaiah Spiller. Since Day 1 at Texas A&M, Spiller has been the lead dog for the Aggies. As a true freshman in 2019, he scored 10 rushing touchdowns and finished 16th in the nation in yards after contact per attempt en route to a 22% dominator rating.
The power running back capped off his first year in impressive fashion with back-to-back seasons of 1,000 rushing yards and 100 missed tackles. Spiller also displayed receiving
prowess, commanding at least an 8% target share and an average of 25 receptions per season.
With an all-encompassing skill set and desirable size – 6-feet and 217 pounds – Spiller should be a solid producer at the next level, although his lack of top-notch speed could keep him from being elite. He had only eight carries of 20-plus yards in 2021.
The testing numbers at the NFL combine also did no favors to his draft stock. He elected not to run the 40-yard dash on Indy’s fast track and laid an egg in the jumping drills. The 7th percentile vertical jump and 22nd percentile broad jump will make it more challenging for him to demand high Day 2 draft capital.
Spiller reportedly went through drills with an injury, explaining the poor showing. Either way, he will get an opportunity to boost his numbers at Texas A&M’s pro day on March 22nd.
Spiller tested below average at the pro day with a 4.27-second short shuttle, 4.63 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical, and a 9-foot-6 broad jump, rating in the 62nd, 44th, 42nd, and 34th percentiles, respectively. Not ideal for his long-term outlook that he possesses underwhelming athleticism.
79. Rachaad White (RB – Arizona State)
The premier pass-catching specialist in the 2022 NFL Draft Class is Rachaad White. The Arizona State product ranked first in his class in receiving yards, No. 1 in yards per route run (2.24), and second in receptions (43).
His 16% target share is bonkers for a running back at the college level, and it will do wonders for his draft capital.
The same sentiment can be made for White’s 31% dominator rating and 3.33 offensive yards per snap over the past two seasons. Both would have ranked in the top three in last year’s class.
His yards per snap and PFF receiving grade also rank first among the class. White’s career receiving grade was superior to anybody from last year’s class.
White is soaring up the dynasty rookie rankings after a strong showing at Senior Bowl week – PFF’s highest-graded rusher (74.9) – and at the NFL combine. The Sun Devil flaunted his explosiveness with a 38-inch vertical jump (86th percentile) and a 125-inch broad jump (87th percentile).
Watch any clip of White from college, and you will immediately be overwhelmed by shades of Arian Foster and Le’Veon Bell. White’s got great vision at the line of scrimmage to go along with extremely light feet.
80. Dameon Pierce (RB – Florida)
Dameon Pierce took the title as PFF’s highest-graded running back in the FBS (92.0) despite seeing just 100 carries. The senior’s 39% missed tackle rate ranked second among the 2022 draft class.
There’s no doubt Pierce’s freakish athleticism aided in his colossal rise in 2021. Bruce Feldman listed Pierce at No. 21 on his annual “College Football Freaks” list, highlighting the most athletically gifted players around the country. According to Feldman, Pierce squats 705 pounds, benches 390 pounds, has a 37-inch vertical jump, and has been clocked at 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
However, the fact that Pierce never entirely took over Florida’s backfield does raise red flags. His 12% career dominator rating is eerily similar to Trey Sermon’s (RB – SF) (12%) from last season, and Sermon struggled to separate himself from the pack in his rookie campaign.
During his breakout senior season, the 5-foot-10 and 218-pound running back earned just a 22% dominator rating while sharing the backfield alongside fellow draft-eligible running back Malik Davis.
However, I am willing to offer some benefit of the doubt after Pierce never topped 106 carries in college. There may have been some underlying issue with former Gators head coach Dan Mullen that prevented Pierce from seeing a more featured role. Case in point: Pierce only had two games with double-digit carries in 2021, both of which came after Mullen was fired toward the end of the season.
Pierce’s lackluster dominator rating doesn’t capture his coach’s potential ineptitude. Pierce competed with NFL talents like Jordan Scarlett and La’Mical Perine (RB – NYJ) very early in his college career, painting a better picture of how his impact will be felt in years to come.
His running style and body type resemble Patriots running back Damien Harris (RB – NE).
Zamir White runs with strong intent and decisiveness at the line of scrimmage. He knows where to go and how to hit the hole. Solid explosiveness and burst; constantly get yardage after first contact. Elusive in space as a receiver.
The Georgia Bulldog is built like a three-down back at 6-feet and 214 pounds. Great testing measurables from the NFL Combine: 4.40 40-yard dash (93rd percentile) and 128? in the broad jump (94th percentile).
White’s overall counting stats are not particularly great, but he split work with James Cook and Kenny McIntosh, as many Georgia backs often do. What matters more is White’s career three yards per snap – a mark that stacks up with the likes of Michael Carter (RB – NYJ) from last year’s draft class.
As PFF’s third-highest graded running back in the SEC last season, White is in solid contention to earn Day 2 draft capital – a critical threshold to hit for fantasy.
NFL comp: Lamar Miller
82. Khalil Shakir (WR – Boise State)
Khalil Shakir’s electric Boise State career hit its peak during his 2020 season when he cultivated a whopping 46% dominator score – the second-highest single-season rating among the 2022 Draft Class. He finished that year as PFF’s ninth-graded WR (88.8), averaging over 100 receiving yards and 7.4 catches per game.
Shakir’s junior season was a strong follow-up to his 2019 breakout sophomore campaign when he hung a 22% dominator rating at age 19.
The Boise State slot wide receiver would end his college career on a high note as PFF’s third-highest-graded wide receiver (92.9) among his draft class.
As a strong favorite to etch out a role working inside for an NFL offense, Shakir could emerge as a Russell Gage-esque receiver that works well in fantasy PPR scoring.
83. John Metchie III (WR – ALA)
John Metchie III is the latest wide receiver talent to leave the Alabama Crimson Tide for the NFL after catching 96 balls for over 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his final junior season.
It’s been a long-time coming for Metchie because playing alongside future first-round picks Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Henry Ruggs made it nearly impossible for him to get playing time.
He got his first crack at legitimate playing time in 2020 after Waddle went down with an injury. However, he was lackluster at best, taking a massive backseat to DeVonta Smith.
All eyes were on Metchie when Smith and Waddle would move on – and for the most part, he delivered. Metchie led Bama with a 20% target share in 13 games before his injury. He just happened to be overshadowed by Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams.
Still, Metchie has a nice skillset that will translate well into the NFL. He’s a savvy route runner that understands how to get leverage and create separation from defenders. His game reminds me of Eddie Royal.
He probably won’t ever be a true No. 1, but being a rock-solid No. 2 or slot option is very much in his range of outcomes.
84. Drake Jackson (Edge – USC)
In his final season at USC, Drake Jackson didn’t post monster counting stats, but he was an efficient pass rusher. He finished 17th in PFF pass-rush grade among his classmates.
He’s a non-factor in the run game but still has room to grow at just 20 years old. Jackson has the tools to be a difference-making edge defender but needs some grooming first.
The best landing spot would be on a team where he is worked in rotational on the defensive line. The guy was quoted saying he likes to “kill the quarterback” at the combine, so I’m sure his fellow defensive teammates will embrace him.
I wasn’t expecting much from Alec Pierce at the NFL Combine, so I was pleasantly surprised when he impressed me during the testing drills. A 4.41 40-yard dash and the No. 1 vertical jump (40.5, 93rd percentile) in the class imply that Pierce has the requisite athleticism to be a factor at the NFL level.
With projected Day 2 draft capital per Grindingthemocks.com, Pierce needs to be on your fantasy radar. His 19-year old breakout age is also a factor that fantasy drafters should gravitate towards.
He helped take the top off the ball for the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2021, evidenced by his 17.1 aDOT – the highest aDOT of any player in his class with at least 80 targets. Pierce averaged just over 100 air yards per game in his final season at Cincinnati.
86. Martin Emerson (CB – Miss. St.)
Martin Emerson fits the profile of a lengthy cornerback due to his 96th percentile wingspan and 97th percentile arm length. He can get by with size on the outside against bigger-bodied wide receivers, but his lack of long speed – 36th percentile 40-yard time – creates cause for concern against NFL speed demons.
But even so, three-plus-years against the best wide receivers in the SEC will have Emerson up to the challenge.
87. Marcus Jones (CB – Houston)
Houston’s Marcus Jones looks like a potential plug-in-play inside option from the draft.
The undersized cornerback excelled playing in the slot – allowed a 0.0 passer rating from the inside in 2021 – and offers kick return ability. Jones finished the 2021 season as PFF’s highest-graded returner in the country.
88. Jamaree Salyer (OL – Georgia)
Jamaree Salyer allowed just four pressures on 577 snaps in 2021, cementing his status as the most efficient tackle in the Power 5 on a per snap basis. With experience playing every position on the offensive line, Salyer’s versatility will be highly-coveted by the NFL.
89. Wan’dale Robinson (WR – Kentucky)
Robinson owns PFF’s No. 1 career receiving grade (93.4) in the 2022 draft class. Remember that Robinson’s elite final junior season would have never come to fruition had he not transferred from Nebraska before the 2021 season. As a Cornhusker for two years, Robinson often took snaps in the backfield as a running back. And yet he still was able to command 18% and 30% dominator ratings.
While the dual-threat ability highlights his versatility, it may have prevented him from unlocking his true potential at the wide receiver position. In his first season playing wide receiver, he finished second in the FBS in a yards-per-route run (3.56).
Robinson will get the chance to further tap into his receiving ceiling at the professional level. Just be wary that his fantasy upside might be capped due to his size. The Nebraska transfer came in at 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds (sub-6% percentile size). It’s not ideal to have a wide receiver shave three inches off his height upon being officially measured.
The closest player comps of recent note include Greg Dortch (WR – ARI), Braxton Berrios (WR – NYJ), and Keke Coutee (WR – HOU). Robinson offers speed – a 4.44 40-yard dash – but it is somewhat expected at his more diminutive stature.
In his three-year stint at UCLA, Sean Rhyan allowed just two sacks, but NFL teams may covet his strengths as a run-blocker more at the professional level. His PFF run-blocking grade ranked 11th best in the class last season.
His best fit would be with a team that runs gap concepts more frequently than zone. He probably will switch to guard based on his 14th percentile arm length.
91. Cole Strange (OG – Chattanooga)
Cole Strange was PFF’s highest-graded run-blocking guard in the FCS, operating heavily from a zone-running scheme. With impressive measurables – 90th percentile short-shuttle, 99th percentile broad jump – he could turn heads in the NFL if he plays up to the increased competition.
He didn’t look out of place at the Senior Bowl and reportedly will move to center if his draft team requires so.
92. Channing Tindall (LB – Georgia)
The 2021 Georgia defense is no stranger to filling the draft with NFL talent, but Channing Tindall seems to be flying more under the radar than he should. The linebacker finished as PFF’s eighth-highest graded linebacker in 2021 and tested off-the-charts at the combine.
His 40-time and jumps are all ranked in the 95th percentile or better. A team will get a steal with Tindall’s sure-tackling and imposing presence.
93. Carson Strong (QB – Nevada)
With a name like Coby Bryant, you are bound to be battle-tested. The Bearcats cornerback saw plenty of targets come his way over his four-year college career (270), with 75 coming this past season.
But give Bryant credit for showing up when teams “tried” to pick on him with Ahmad Gardner locking down the other side of the field. His PFF coverage grade ranked 8th (85.0) – just one spot behind Gardner.
Obviously, Bryant was facing the team’s inferior receivers more often. But it at least showed he could be a solid No. 2 cornerback option for an NFL team with a No. 1 already entrenched.
His well-rounded skill set – top-12 run defense and tackle grade – awards Bryant the “jack of all trades, master of none” mantra among his cornerback class.
Tariq Woolen will command decent draft capital because of his elite speed, not his college tape.
The UTSA Roadrunner amassed a 4.26 40-yard dash (99th percentile) at the NFL combine, and that’s a speed that coaches cannot teach. Woolen is currently raw as a cornerback but boasts sky-high upside with his unmatched speed.
96. Calvin Austin III (WR – Memphis)
Tyler Allgeier has been a monster over the past two seasons, ranking first in rushing yards after contact (1,847), second in rushing touchdowns (36), and third in PFF rushing grade (94.8) among FBS players with at least 150 carries.
The high-end production helped the BYU running back post a 28% dominator rating since the start of 2020, capped off by an astounding 36% rating in his final season with the Cougars. That mark is the class’s best “true” single-season dominator rating.
Allgeier credits a lot of his backfield success to his experience playing linebacker, a trait that definitely aided Javonte Williams in his progression as an NFL running back.
Allgeier also displayed an ability to overcome adversity in 2021 after the team lost so many key components – from future New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson to the entire starting offensive line. That hardly slowed down the former walk-on, though, as he finished sixth in his class in yards after contact per attempt (4.16) and first in touchdowns (23).
He also set career highs in receptions (32) and target share (8%).
Although my concerns with Allgeier were realized by his lack of explosiveness in the testing drills. 4.60 40-yard dash (42nd percentile) and sub-65th percentile jumps don’t suggest he will be blowing past NFL defenders. He will have to win by embracing contact, which could shorten his shelf life as a runner.
My NFL comp for Allgeier is James Conner (RB – ARI), who fantasy players know has dealt with a flurry of injuries due to his physical style of play.
98. Brian Robinson Jr. (RB – ALA)
As is the case for many Alabama running backs, Brian Robinson had to bide his time for an opportunity to see a steady workload. Sharing the highly coveted backfield with Najee Harris (RB – PIT), Josh Jacobs (RB – LV), and Damien Harris (RB – NE) over the past four years didn’t lend itself to Robinson seeing much of the field.
To his credit, the 225-pound behemoth bulldozed over the competition when given work in 2020, ranking 10th in yards after contact per attempt (4.05) in the FBS. After the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Harris, Robinson delivered a worthwhile senior season to put him firmly on the NFL radar.
The big back finished third in missed tackles and seventh in PFF rushing grade (90.4) while also flashing his chops in the passing game. He caught 35 of 38 targets for 296 receiving yards.
Robinson is far from a can’t-miss prospect but offers the physicality and size to be a thumper at the next level. The bruiser-back significantly improved his draft stock by showcasing 4.53 speed at the NFL combine (61st percentile).
99. James Cook (RB – UGA)
There’s fantasy football juice to squeeze with running backs who possess top-tier pass-catching ability, and Georgia’s James Cook fits that mold to a tee. The younger brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN) finished with the fifth-highest PFF receiving grade at the position in 2021 among his draft class.
He hauled in 27 of 30 targets for 274 receiving yards, including 112 in the College Football Playoff game against Michigan.
His overall counting stats are not particularly great, but that’s because he split work with Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh, as many Georgia backs often do. What matters more is Cook’s career three yards per snap – a mark that is a strong indicator of future production at the position.
If Cook added 10-plus pounds of muscle to his frame, he’d look highly similar to his brother. At his current build, he just looks like a smaller, faster version of Dalvin – Andre Ellington-esque.
100. Max Mitchell (OT – LA-Lafayette)
Right tackle Max Mitchell was PFF’s highest-graded tackle in 2021 due to his impressive No.1-ranked grade as a run-blocker (95.0). He’s a bit on the smaller size – 34th percentile weight at 307 pounds – so it’s possible an NFL team kicks him inside to guard.
The former Ragin’ Cajun is a great addition for any team looking for depth on their offensive line in a zone running scheme
101. Pierre Strong Jr. (RB – South Dakota State)
For any small-school running back to make a living in the NFL, they need to dominate their competition in college. That’s what gives South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong Jr. a chance to make a splash at the next level.
Strong finished with a top-10 career and single-season dominator rating while grading out as PFF’s highest rusher (95.6). His 3.3 yards per play also ranks second among running backs in his class, which is a great indicator of future success. Last year’s late-round standouts in that category included Elijah Mitchell (RB – SF) and Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE).
The 5-foot-11 and 207-pound back also blazed a 4.37 40-yard dash (95th percentile), tying him with Rutgers’ Isiah Pacheco for the fastest running back time.
Strong jumped 36? in the vertical (71st percentile) and 124? in the broad jump (84th percentile).
Strong’s “strong” outing will almost certainly boost his draft stock for both the real-life NFL and fantasy rookie drafts. High-end college RB producers who display above-average athleticism tend to hit the next level.
The South Dakota State running back gives off strong Darren McFadden vibes (in a good way).
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