NFL Draft News & Analysis

Sikkema: Final 2022 NFL Draft Top-100 Big Board

Draft week — or “finals” week for NFL media, as it could be called — is finally here. This is the week you’ll read final positional rankings, mock drafts and big boards from media members all across the country, myself included.

The 2022 NFL Draft class has been a lot of fun to scout because there is such a difference in opinion on so many players — from the top 10 to the top 50, the mid-rounds and beyond.

The fatal flaw with national big boards is that they aren’t team-specific. In team war rooms, their big boards are ranked according to which players will best fit their organization, scheme, coaching staff and long-term goals. My rankings are aligned more on general talent and how I see these players panning out at the pro level.

The Top 20

Big Board Rank Name Position Pos. Rank
1 Derek Stingley Jr. CB 1
2 Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE 1
3 Charles Cross OT 1
4 Kyle Hamilton S 1
5 Evan Neal OT 2
6 Ikem Ekownu OT 3
7 Aidan Hutchinson EDGE 2
8 Jameson Williams WR 1
9 Ahmad Gardner CB 2
10 Devonte Wyatt DI 1
11 Jordan Davis DI 2
12 George Karlaftis EDGE 3
13 Drake London WR 2
14 Jermaine Johnson II EDGE 4
15 Travon Walker EDGE 5
16 George Pickens WR 3
17 Daxton Hill S 2
18 Trent McDuffie CB 3
19 Chris Olave WR 4
20 Tyler Linderbaum IOL 1

At No. 1 on my board, I have Derek Stingley Jr. — the extremely talented cornerback out of LSU. Going back to 2019, Stingley not only earned a starting spot on that legendary LSU team as a true freshman, but he was also in the conversation to be the best player not named Joe Burrow. And that really is saying something.

If Stingley could have declared for the draft after that 2019 season, he would have been a top-five pick. Injuries have limited what he’s been able to show these past two years, but that 2019 ability didn’t disappear. As long as he’s healthy enough to show it again, he’s worthy of this title as the top player.

As for the rest of the group, I have Charles Cross as my top offensive tackle, with Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu not far behind. While I have faith that each of these players can be a starting offensive tackle in the league, Cross was so smooth and smothering with how he approached pass blocking. He came to MSU at just 270 pounds three years ago, so there is reason to believe that the “strength profile” people worry about will get better as his pass-protecting ability continues to thrive.

There are five edge rushers in my top 15, and I consider that position group to be the strongest of the class. I’m a tad lower on Hutchinson than most because of how important arm length tends to be for pass-rushers, but even though he falls outside of my top five, he is still a very good football player who will play for a long time in the NFL. I am also very high on guys like Dax Hill and George Pickens for their combination of size, speed and athleticism. 

No. 21 – No. 50

Big Board Rank Name Position Pos. Rank
21 Garrett Wilson WR 5
22 Devin Lloyd LB 1
23 Zion Johnson IOL 2
24 Nakobe Dean LB 2
25 Lewis Cine S 3
26 Roger McCreary CB 4
27 David Ojabo EDGE 6
28 Andrew Booth CB 5
29 Drake Jackson EDGE 7
30 Arnold Ebiketie EDGE 8
31 Treylon Burks WR 6
32 Skyy Moore WR 7
33 Travis Jones DI 3
34 Kenyon Green IOL 3
35 Logan Hall DI 4
36 Chad Muma LB 3
37 Boye Mafe EDGE 9
38 Breece Hall RB 1
39 Jaquan Brisker S 4
40 Bernhard Raimann OT 4
41 Jahan Dotson WR 8
42 Kaiir Elam CB 6
43 Desmond Ridder QB 1
44 Tyler Smith OT 5
45 Kyler Gordon CB 7
46 Trevor Penning OT 6
47 Malik Willis QB 2
48 Leo Chenal LB 4
49 Kenneth Walker III RB 2
50 Sam Howell QB 3

Even if it isn’t as “special” at the top with a ton of first-round grades, I think there are a lot of good football players in the top-50.

The first notable observation is the three quarterbacks in the top 50: Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis and Sam Howell. Willis presents teams with the highest ceiling in this class, but he’s a long way away from being consistent at that ceiling. Meanwhile, Ridder has grown into such a solid, high-floor prospect with a good ceiling that he takes my QB1 title. Howell comes in at No. 50 and QB3 on the big board as a player who has good production as a deep-ball passer and good mobility to groom as a potential starter at the next level.

Early in the 20s of my rankings, there are a handful of players who might not have the desirable measurables but have fantastic game, namely Garrett Wilson, Nakobe Dean and Roger McCreary.

Wilson brought truth to the cliché of “playing bigger than his size.” Dean was the heart, soul and conductor in the middle of Georgia's historically good defense. McCreary was one of the top shutdown players in the SEC in just his fourth year of playing the position. This is also where we get the top two running backs in the class on the board, Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III, who I believe are a full tier above the next best in this class.

No. 51 – No. 75

Big Board Rank Name Position Pos. Rank
51 Darian Kinnard OT 7
52 Quay Walker LB 5
53 Trey McBride TE 1
54 Jalen Pitre S 5
55 Demarvin Leal DI 5
56 Kenny Pickett QB 4
57 Greg Dulcich TE 2
58 Christian Watson WR 9
59 Perrion Winfrey DI 6
60 Nik Bonnito EDGE 10
61 Cam Jurgens IOL 4
62 Daniel Faalele OT 8
63 Matt Corral QB 5
64 Tyler Allgeier RB 3
65 Dylan Parham IOL 5
66 Josh Pascal EDGE 11
67 Jeremy Ruckert TE 3
68 John Metchie III WR 10
69 Brian Asamoah II LB 6
70 Marcus Jones CB 8
71 Jamaree Sayler OT 9
72 Jalen Tolbert WR 11
73 Cole Strange IOL 6
74 Christian Harris LB 7
75 Isaiah Spiller RB 4

In the top-75, you’ll find all three of my top tight ends in this class: Trey McBride, Greg Dulcich and Jeremy Ruckert. It feels as though I am lower on McBride than most but higher on Dulcich and Ruckert. With most teams wanting at least two usable tight ends each week, I believe the overall ability of all three of these guys will play at the next level. McBride gives you the top combination of blocking and receiving. Dulchich gives you that field-stretching ability from the middle. Ruckert’s best ball should be in front of him, as he won’t be stuck behind Ohio State’s elite receivers in the passing pecking order. 

I also want to give a shoutout to Darian Kinnard, Josh Paschal and Dylan Parham. Kinnard’s versatility feels like it’s worked against him, as people have debated whether he’s a tackle or guard and forgotten just how good a football player he is. Paschal doesn’t have the pass-rush flash of some of his edge rush classmates, but he’s so good against the run and is a backbone type of defensive lineman who can help elevate the mid-tier of a depth chart. Parham is a former tight end who moves like one now at over 300 pounds. He’s a great interior option for a team that will utilize his athleticism.

Two players who might stick out in this group are Tyler Allgeier and John Metchie III. I’m a sucker for Allgeier’s journey to the pros: how much desire and hard work it has taken him to get to this point. Lateral agility won’t be his calling card, but he has some of the best power and balance in the class with good feet, good vision and a mentality for extra yards.

As for Metchie, he had some struggles with drops this past season before his ACL tear, but I think he’s an all-around receiver who brings you plus traits as a blocker. You don’t get to play as an underclassman at Alabama unless you’re smart, detailed, willing and hard working. I love how Metchie approaches the position as a route-runner and how instinctually he finds space.

No. 76 – No. 100

Big Board Rank Name Position Pos. Rank
76 Kingsley Enagbare EDGE 12
77 James Cook RB 5
78 Joshua Williams CB 9
79 Calvin Austin III WR 12
80 Khalil Shakir WR 13
81 Coby Bryant CB 10
82 Phidarian Mathis DI 7
83 Channing Tindall LB 8
84 Damien Pierce RB 6
85 Max Mitchell OT 10
86 Carson Strong QB 6
87 Abraham Lucas OT 11
88 Tariq Woolen CB 11
89 Cade Otton TE 4
90 Luke Fortner IOL 6
91 Darrian Beavers LB 9
92 Kerby Joseph S 6
93 Alec Pierce WR 14
94 Bailey Zappe QB 7
95 Wan'Dale Robinson WR 15
96 Kyren Williams RB 7
97 David Bell WR 16
98 Jelani Woods TE 5
99 Brandon Smith LB 10
100 Myjai Sanders EDGE 13

Rounding out my top-100 you’ll find some of my favorite preferences in this draft class.

For starters, I have both James Cook and Dameon Pierce in this part of the list. Both have strong third-down-back appeal for different reasons: Cook as one of the quickest, most polished route-runners of the running back class, and Pierce for his unmatched determination when the ball is in his hands and in pass protection.

You’ll also find some players with a unique ability I would take a chance on in the mid-rounds of this draft. Joshua Williams comes from Fayetteville State, an HBCU program, and presents an NFL team with some of the class' best traits at that position. Not only did he stand out at the Senior Bowl at almost 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, but the confidence he plays with was evident from Day 1 of practice.

Max Mitchell is another name on the list that I seem to be a lot higher on. He needs to play with more strength, and that might take a year or two to really get up to par in the NFL, but I really liked how quickly he was able to move, whether on the hoof or when redirecting and readjusting during pass-blocking sets. Give me the developmental athlete at offensive tackle.

That rounds out my top 100 players in this class. Now, all that’s left is the best part: to see where these players end up and watch their pro careers blossom. 

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