NFL Draft Big Board 1.0

NFL Draft season is in full swing with this weekend’s combine, and Big Boards are coming into focus. This year’s prospect pool is understandably deeper than most cycles as a result of the shortened 2020 season affording prospects an extra year of college eligibility. With that in mind, this draft class is as interchangeable from 1 through 75 as any in recent memory.

Without further ado, here’s my debut Big Board of the 2022 draft season (rankings will be updated throughout the weekend):

1. Kayvon Thibideaux, EDGE, Oregon

The skinny: A freak athlete with a body tailored to rush the passer. How he tests will be important, but for now this shouldn’t be over-thought.

Best trait: Athleticism

Why he could fall: If he doesn’t test out of this world at the combine/pro day then knit-pick concerns will rule the day.

2. Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The skinny: Most scout’s EDGE1 and arguably the safest pick in the class. Elite length, lateral quickness, refined technique, and a relentless motor make for a can’t-miss prospect.

Best trait: Motor, hand-usage

Why he could fall: He likely won’t.

3. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The skinny: A massive athlete with smooth moves and a mean-streak in the run game.

Best trait: Size/athleticism combo

Why he could fall: Still growing in pass protection, though the tools are all there

4. Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

The skinny: Checks every box at corner—size, quick feet, loose hips, natural instincts.

Best trait: Fluidity

Why he could fall: Injury concerns

5. Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

The skinny: Nasty, dominating run-blocker with still-growing but ever-present pass blocking tools.

Best trait: Putting run defenders in their grave

Why he could fall: May always be more valuable at guard than tackle

6. Charles Cross, OT, Miss. St.

The skinny: Elite pass blocking tools and refined technique make him a plug-and-play prospect at LT.

Best trait: Pass protection

Why he could fall: Likely won’t, but run-oriented offenses will prefer Neal/Ekwonu

7. George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

The skinny: Uber-athletic EDGE with a lunch-pail mindset and plenty of room to grow.

Best trait: Speed-to-power

Why he could fall: Scouts vary on his value in a loaded EDGE class.

8. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The skinny: Size and speed freak with the jets to go 0-60 in a blink; get the ball in his hands and figure out the rest later.

Best trait: Size/accelerator combo

Why he could fall: A variety of skillsets & lack of consensus in the WR class makes the board unpredictable.

9. Kyle Hamilton, SS, Notre Dame

The skinny: An instant-impact chess piece for smart defenses, this level of athleticism and skill normally doesn’t come in a 6’3” 220 lb. package.

Best trait: Size/thump

Why he could fall: Lacks single-high versatility (likely a high-end SS/sub-LB in the pros).

10. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The skinny: Listed as CB1 by some scouts, he also possesses the “full package” at corner, and has potential to lock down receivers from day one.

Best trait: Length/instincts

Why he could fall: Despite proven reps against a few top-tier wideouts, that may not be enough to shake off competition concerns at Cincinnati.

11. Drake London, WR, USC

The skinny: A big-bodied, contested-catch nightmare for opposing defenses; has the savvy separate out of breaks, and is a hungry hippo after the catch.

Best trait: Ball skills

Why he could fall: Some teams will prefer another flavor of receiver

12. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The skinny: A fleet-footed, sticky corner with loose hips and the physicality to make a difference in the run game.

Best trait: Motor, instincts

Why he could fall: Lack of length

13. Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

The skinny: A well-rounded DE prospect with untapped potential to rush the passer. Dominant against the run with the versatility/strength to kick inside.

Best trait: Powerful

Why he could fall: Somewhat of a tweener depending on scheme

14. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The skinny: A proven resume and bankable skillset of deep speed and route-running chops.

Best trait: Getting open

Why he could fall: Possible size concerns (though he likely won’t fall)

15. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The skinny: A well-rounded linebacker with natural instincts, he can sift through the muck, run sideline-to-sideline, or drop into coverage adequately.

Best trait: Versatility

Why he could fall: There is a debate that he’s not necessarily elite at any one responsibility, clouding both fit and upside.

16. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

The skinny: A downhill linebacker with explosive athleticism and a knack for the football. His ability to cover running backs and blitz at a high level make for an exciting prospect.

Best trait: Explosiveness

Why he could fall: Some scouts will have fair concern over size, as well as the fact that he feasted behind a generational D-line (not his fault, of course).

17. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The skinny: A true burner with the route-running prowess, ball skills, and competitive fire to demand double-teams on every snap (health permitting).

Best trait: Speed

Why he could fall: A torn ACL in the National Championship makes for a wide range of outcomes.

18. Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

The skinny: A road-grading athlete with the versatility to play tackle in a pinch. A strong anchor, low center of gravity, and long arms allow him to consistently out-leverage his man.

Best trait: Run blocking

Why he could fall: IOL are always at risk of sliding as a result of position value.

19. Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

The skinny: The widely-regarded top center prospect in a few years—we can debate the positional value of center/IOL, but his mettle as a prospect is undeniable.

Best trait: Smart & nasty

Why he could fall: Positional value

20. David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

The skinny: An explosive athlete with every trait a pass rusher could ask for, if he develops the finer points of the position he’ll be a generational talent.

Best trait: Speed-to-power

Why he could fall: Raw, inexperienced

21. Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

The skinny: Pairs elite lateral quickness, burst, and fluidity to consistently win inside on all three downs.

Best trait: Explosiveness

Why he could fall: Lacks ideal length; still needs polish

22. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The skinny: Major upside as a sudden route-runner with deep speed and a wide catch-radius.

Best trait: Explosiveness

Why he could fall: Still a little technically raw; concerns over his release, physicality, and concentration drops.

23. Jahan Dotson, WR, PSU

The skinny: Polished route-running, twitchy athleticism, and ridiculous hands make up for size and durability concerns.

Best trait: Ball skills

Why he could fall: Size concerns

24. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The skinny: A twitched-up runner with a stocky build and a rocket for an arm. Still developing as a passer.

Best trait: Mobility/velocity combo

Why he could fall: Will need real time to develop.

25. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The skinny: A pocket passer with decent mobility, pro-progression chops, and a knack for playmaking.

Best trait: Accuracy/ball placement

Why he could fall: Some team’s will prefer another flavor of quarterback in an unremarkable yet diverse class.

26. Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

The skinny: A violent, nasty blocker in an athletic, fluid frame; he’s as raw as any prospect in the class but possesses ridiculous upside.

Best trait: Power/athleticism combo

Why he could fall: Very raw

27. Jordan Davis, NT, Georgia

The skinny: An explosive and immovable object in the middle of the trenches, he commands double teams and has the wiggle to make you pay for trying otherwise.

Best trait: Size/athleticism combo

Why he could fall: Not an every down player by virtue of position/size

28. Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida St.

The skinny: An all-around natural EDGE with an ideal build, he may not have the upside of his peers but his floor is bankable.

Best trait: Feel for the position

Why he could fall: Lacks high-end athleticism

29. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The skinny: A well-rounded passer with average size, decent mobility, and a plus-arm; he’s tailor-made for RPO-heavy schemes.

Best trait: Accuracy, feel

Why he could fall: Lacks an elite trait to hang his hat on.

30. Roger Mcreary, CB, Auburn

Skinny: A jack-of-all trades corner with plus athleticism, instincts, and movement skills. An overall high-floor prospect at a premium position.

Best trait: Battle tested

Why he could fall: Merely average size and length have some scouts doubting his potential to lock down the outside against bigger wideouts.

31. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The skinny: A long press corner with fluid hips and quick feet, he’ll fit in some schemes better than others, but should be valued by all.

Best trait: Physicality, length

Why he could fall: Can be a liability against quicker, more explosive wideouts.

32. Jaquan Brisker, Safety, PSU

The skinny: A balanced safety who makes plays against the run and pass, he’s an instant impact starter who can fill multiple responsibilities on defense.

Best trait: Length, physicality

Why he could fall: Though versatile, he projects better playing near the LOS than in deep looks

33. Dax Hill, Safety, Michigan

The skinny: An elite athlete with coverage instincts and willingness in the run game; a tiny frame might limit an otherwise enticing skillset to nickel.

Best trait: Speed

Why he could fall: Size concerns

34. George Pickens, WR, Georgia

The skinny: A contested-catch threat with the speed and fluidity to make scouts drool.

Best trait: Ball skills

Why he could fall: Injury history

35. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

The skinny: An elite athlete with all the coverage/versatility chops of his Washington peer.

Best trait: Athleticism

Why he could fall: Inconsistent college career

36. Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

The skinny: A lengthy, fluid corner with elite high-upside.

Best trait: Length

Why he could fall: Inexperienced and raw compared to his peers

37. Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

The skinny: A toolsy developmental piece with the versatility to rush the passer and play in space, odd-front teams will covet his upside.

Best trait: Versatility

Why he could fall: Scheme-specific, a little raw

38. Demarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

The skinny: An interior pass rusher who thinks he’s a true EDGE; has elite potential as a base-end that kicks inside on passing downs (if he’s willing to buy-in).

Best trait: Versatility

Why he could fall: Possible tweener (versatility is often a double-edged sword)

39. Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky

The skinny: An experienced, elite run-blocker who can play all across the line at a high-level.

Best trait: Nasty, fluid

Why he could fall: A run-heavy scheme at Kentucky clouds his evaluation in pass sets.

40. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

The skinny: A toolsy passer with a blend of mobility, arm talent, and size; decision-making and accuracy concerns hold back an otherwise elite prospect.

Best trait: Size/mobility/arm combo

Why he could fall: Accuracy concerns

41. Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

The skinny: A true pocket passer with a big arm; would have been a first-round lock a decade ago.

Best trait: Howitzer arm

Why he could fall: Seasoned, yet still developing processing and accuracy.

42. Trevor Penning, OT, North. Iowa

The skinny: A powerful mauler in the run game with the length/anchor to handle pass protection; a low level of competition clouds his projection.

Best trait: Power

Why he could fall: Competition concerns

43. Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

The skinny: A penetrating interior lineman with an elite first step and plus length; a three-down, bankable skillset.

Best trait: Quickness

Why he could fall: His value somewhat depends on scheme.

44. Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

The skinny: A long, athletic, and experienced corner who excels in zone coverage

Best trait: Length, instincts

Why he could fall: Man coverage needs refinement

45. Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio St.

The skinny: A zone-blocking tackle with ideal size and plus athleticism, equally solid in the run and pass game.

Best trait: Feet

Why he could fall: Still developing the finer points of the position.

46. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

The skinny: An experienced linebacker who can mop up sideline-to-sideline and carry backs and tight ends in man coverage.

Best trait: Explosiveness

Why he could fall: Other similar skillsets in this range

47. Logan Hall, DL, Houston

The skinny: A long and strong lineman with versatility to slide across positions, he possesses impressive burst and quickness for his size.

Best trait: Versatility

Why he could fall: Could be viewed as a tweener.

48. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Mich.

The skinny: An explosive and twitchy route-runner with decent hands and YAC ability; if he wasn’t so small he’d be a first-round talent.

Best trait: Burst

Why he could fall: Size concerns

49. Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

The skinny: Physical run-blocker with a powerful frame and plenty of pop.

Best trait: Length, power

Why he could fall: Scouts vary on his evaluation

50. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

The skinny: An experienced passer tailor-made for an RPO offense, his quick release and fastball will play in the right system.

Best trait: Leadership

Why he could fall: Lacking elite traits and upside


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