• DI Bryan Bresee ranks 14th on Feldman's 2022 Freaks List. The Clemson product could legitimately challenge Will Anderson Jr. for the first defensive player selected if he has a big bounce-back season from a torn ACL.
• Army's Andre Carter, who sits at 11th on PFF's draft board, is ranked 13th on Feldman's Freaks List. Carter tied Aidan Hutchinson for the top pass-rushing grade in college football last season (93.4).
Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List is seminal reading for any college football or draft fan. Even if you don’t completely buy the pumped-up numbers programs often put out, it’s still a peak behind the curtain at the best athletes in college football.
This year, 18 of PFF's top 100 prospects on PFF’s initial draft board made the cut.
1. EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
PFF Board Rank: 5 | Freaks List Rank: 3
Murphy’s positioning on the PFF draft board correlates to his position on the Freaks List — because there’s no position on a football field where physical tools matter more.
It also helps that he's so explosive an athlete that you don’t need combine drills or weight-lifting numbers to know he’s special. That shows up play after play on the football field. He’s not a polished product by any means, but he’ll be in that Travon Walker/Rashan Gary territory of athlete where it won’t take too many pass-rushing moves for them to dominate.
2. DI Bryan Bresee, Clemson
PFF Board Rank: 6 | Freaks List Rank: 14
I keep going back to Bresee's weight rather than his workout numbers, as I can’t recall any rising junior holding 310 pounds on his frame with such ease.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) September 18, 2021
That low body fat for a defensive tackle is likely what makes him such a special athlete for the position. When he wants to penetrate, opposing offensive linemen have little recourse. He’s the type of athlete who could legitimately challenge Will Anderson Jr. for the first defensive player selected if he has a big bounce-back season from a torn ACL.
3. CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
PFF Board Rank: 8 | Freaks List Rank: 6
Being bigger and faster than nearly every wide receiver you’ll go against — even in the NFL — is a great starting point for a cornerback prospect.
With the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Ringo, you see that show up on the vertical tree. He saw 14 deep targets in his first season as a starter, and he caught as many of those passes as opposing receivers did (two). He’s not a complete corner yet, but certain schemes will love his skill set.
4. EDGE Andre Carter, Army
PFF Board Rank: 11 | Freaks List Rank: 13
Carter wasn’t always a “freak.” He showed up to Army as a 230-pound tight end. Now, he’s a nimble 260-pound defensive end.
Carter looks like a windmill coming at opposing offensive tackles with how quickly he moves his 6-foot-10 wingspan. He tied Aidan Hutchinson for the top pass-rushing grade in college football last season (93.4), and there’s a good chance he pushes that even higher in 2022.
5. WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
PFF Board Rank: 21 | Freaks List Rank: 23
Watching the 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver get off the line of scrimmage for the first time made me sit up in my seat. It’s usually far more difficult for taller receivers to explode out of their stance than those in the 6-foot range.
That is unless you have a 42-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump — like Johnston. Can we get him a quarterback who can find him more than the 33 times they did last season?
6. DI Gervon Dexter, Florida
PFF Board Rank: 26 | Freaks List Rank: 83
Dexter is nearly a pound-for-pound Javon Kinlaw clone. At nearly 6-foot-6, 313 pounds, Dexter can do things at that size that few have ever been able to do.
He earned a 75.8 pass-rushing grade as a sophomore last season without much in the way of a refined move set. And that’s already a good way ahead of where Kinlaw was as a second-year player.
7. LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
PFF Board Rank: 28 | Freaks List Rank: 29
After playing in the 220s last season, Simpson is up to 240 pounds, according to Feldman, and he hasn’t lost that elite athleticism. The craziest measurable from the article: he’s only 6% body fat. It’s why he flies around the field like a slot cornerback at that size. Last year, he allowed only six first downs while primarily playing the slot.
PFF Board Rank: 29 | Freaks List Rank: 62
Branch is the single best tackling defensive back in college football. That’s why it’s unsurprising to know that despite being only 194 pounds, he’s still strong as an ox. For his career, he’s missed only one tackle on 82 attempts.
9. LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
PFF Board Rank: 30 | Freaks List Rank: 42
Sewell is a bully, just like his older brother. It’s easy to be one when you're one of the biggest off-ball linebackers in college football at 260 pounds. When he hits people, they go backward. That showed as a pass-rusher, where he earned an 88.6 pass-rushing grade last season.
10. IOL Andrew Vorhees, USC
PFF Board Rank: 39 | Freaks List Rank: 99
The current IOL2 on PFF’s draft board is an elder statesman of college football. He’s been starting since 2017 and has 2,771 snaps to his name. He broke out last season with a 90.1 overall grade. His reported 40 bench press reps show up on tape with how easily he manhandles the opposition.
11. RB Devon Achane, TCU
PFF Board Rank: 42 | Freaks List Rank: 35
You don’t need track numbers to know Achane is fast. His career 7.2 yards per carry and 24 carries of 15-plus yards on 173 attempts show that well. His ability to play through contact is what separates him from most speed backs. He’s broken 53 tackles on those 173 attempts in his career.
12. QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
PFF Board Rank: 62 | Freaks List Rank: 50
I knew Richardson would be a shoo-in for this list after watching him outrun defensive backs last season at nearly 240 pounds. Combine that with the ability to throw a football 75 yards, and you have the single most intriguing quarterback prospect heading into 2022.
13. LB Justin Flowe, Oregon
PFF Board Rank: 72 | Freaks List Rank: 76
Flowe has played one full game in his two-year collegiate career. The athlete I saw on tape was impressive enough to earn a top-100 spot on that draft board. Bruce Feldman agreed.
Being able to hit nearly 22 m.p.h. on the GPS at 245 pounds is rare at the position. We can’t wait to see what the former five-star does in a full season.
PFF Board Rank: 86 | Freaks List Rank: 57
How does one survive as a 5-foot-9, 180-pound cornerback on the outside? By being a freak athlete. You won’t find a cornerback in college football who can stay in hip pockets better. I’m already looking forward to watching him in some one-on-ones in a postseason showcase bowl.
15. EDGE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
PFF Board Rank: 88 | Freaks List Rank: 5
After a couple of seasons as solely a sub-package rusher, McDonald broke out with 45 pressures — including 13 sacks — in a full-time role last year. He’s one of the best pure edge winners in the draft class already.
16. WR Rakim Jarrett, Maryland
PFF Board Rank: 92 | Freaks List Rank: 61
Jarrett is twitched up as can be. You see that with the ball in his hands, where he’s averaged 7.6 yards after the catch for his career. Now, Maryland just needs to use it more down the field. He caught 10 of his 17 deep targets last season with two drops. That’s a ridiculous rate of getting open down the field.
17. RB DeWayne McBride, UAB
PFF Board Rank: 93 | Freaks List Rank: 93
Flipping on McBride’s tape dating back to his freshman year in 2020, all I could think was, “how the heck did he end up at UAB?” Despite being the relative youngster as a true sophomore last season, he's a man among boys on tape. On 217 career carries, he’s averaged 5.2 yards after contact.
18. WR Tyler Harrell, Alabama
PFF Board Rank: 94 | Freaks List Rank: 43
One doesn’t average 28.1 yards per reception for a career without some high-end speed. Harrell quite obviously has that. Now, is he a complete receiver? Not yet. Why did he only have 561 receiving yards in four years at Louisville before Alabama? See the answer to the first question. Harrell went to the right place to develop as a receiver and should fill Jameson Williams‘s role in the offense.
19. TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
PFF Board Rank: N/R | Freaks List Rank: 27
Hand up here — I hadn’t got to Musgrave’s tape before the last big board release. Just know that when the official pre-season top-100 is released before the season kicks off, Musgrave will be considerably higher on this list.
I was late to his tape because he was an afterthought for Oregon State last season, with 22 catches for 304 yards. Watching him run away from linebackers routinely, it’s hard to see him not being a focal point this season.
20. LB Payton Wilson, N.C. State
PFF Board Rank: N/R | Freaks List Rank: 48
Wilson didn’t make the PFF top-100 because of an extensive injury history that will scare off many — even if he gets through 2022 healthy. He is an enforcer at only 230 pounds, and it’s not surprising to learn that he has a wrestling background. Wilson should have N.C. State in contention for one of the best defenses in the ACC.