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2022 NFL Draft: The highest-graded player in 90 different categories

Mobile, Alabama, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis (7) rolls out to pass against the Eastern Michigan Eagles in the third quarter during the 2021 LendingTree Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert McDuffie-USA TODAY Sports

Every unique positional trait presents a football identity that quantifies the professional upside of an NFL draft prospect.

Whether they're a dual-threat signal-caller with a surreal athletic upside or a relentless edge rusher with an undying motor, individual labels present a substance evaluation that helps franchises mold their ideal draft boards.

To help prepare you for draft night, here is the highest-graded NFL draft prospect in 90 different categories.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK

Highest PFF Grade: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Pickett already looks the part of a future NFL star signal-caller. The former Pittsburgh Panther's 92.2 PFF grade is by far the highest in this year’s quarterback class. As noted in his draft profile, he nearly tripled his big-time throws from the 2020 season to last year, propelling Pitt to national prominence and a New Year’s Six bowl berth. 

Highest-graded Quick Passer: Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana

Kelley, the 6-foot-7 senior from Southeastern Louisiana, earned a 90.1 passing grade when he got rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds or less. He totaled 2,946 yards and 31 touchdowns across 347 attempts.

Highest-graded Deep Passer: Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky

Zappe managed to complete 51 deep passes for 1,805 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also received a 97.6 grade on his deep passes, first among FBS signal-callers.

Highest-graded Passer in Rhythm: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

The Pitt product went 214-of-290 for 3,200 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions when he was able to reach the top of his drop and let the ball go on time, good for a class-leading 95.9 PFF passing grade.

Highest-graded Runner: Malik Willis, Liberty

Not only did Willis outgain the second-best rushing quarterback on PFF's big board — North Carolina’s Sam Howell — by more than 250 yards, but his 94.5 rushing grade was 3.5 grading points higher than the Tarheel QB's. Scrambling QBs can electrify NFL offenses, and Willis’ 8.1 yards per carry helped his Flames move the sticks for a first down 73 times in 2021.

Best Outside the Pocket: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Sometimes, a quarterback’s pocket collapses, necessitating that he flees to make the best of what he’s given. Pickett is on the list, once again, as the top player in these scenarios. On his 155 dropbacks that went outside the pocket, the former Pitt Panther went 44-for-97 for nearly 600 yards and 14 touchdowns. While he did have three turnover-worthy plays, only one resulted in an interception. His performance outside of the pocket earned a 74.4 PFF grade.

Best Inside the Pocket: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Inside the pocket, Pickett completed 290 of his 402 attempts for 3,711 yards and 28 touchdowns, resulting in a 117.7 passer rating and an 81.2% adjusted completion percentage.

Best From a Clean Pocket: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Pickett's 94.1 clean-pocket passing grade tops a list of over 170 Division I draft-eligible quarterbacks. He gained 3,738 yards, 32 touchdowns and 185 first downs.

Best Under Pressure: Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana

NFL defensive linemen are nasty — if a team’s offensive line isn’t blocking well for the quarterback, they are toast. Kelley earned a 66.6 passing grade under pressure last season, completing 77-of-130 passes for 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns. While he was sacked 32 times when under pressure, it was spread across 187 dropbacks.

Best Into Tight Windows: CARSON STRONG NEVADA

The Nevada signal-caller earned a 70.7 PFF passing grade throwing into tight coverage in 2021 — and he was the only passer who broke the 70.0 mark. Strong went 78-of-158 for 892 yards, 16 scores and just six picks against tight coverage, good for a class-leading 84.7 passer rating.


RUNNING BACK

Highest PFF Grade: DAMEON PIERCE, FLORIDA

Pierce earned a 92.0 PFF overall grade across 324 offensive snaps in 2021, notably putting up a 93.5 grade as a rusher and an 83.7 grade as a receiver.

Most missed tackles forced per attempt: DAMEON PIERCE, FLORIDA

The Florida product forced 39 missed tackles on 100 rushing attempts last season, good for a class-leading 0.39 missed tackles forced per attempt. Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III took the crown for most missed tackles forced in total, with a whopping 89.

Most runs of 10-plus yards: Pierre Strong, South Dakota State

Strong broke off 47 runs of 10 or more yards last season, with nine of those runs ending with a touchdown. The South Dakota State product averaged a class-leading 7.1 yards per carry a season ago.

Highest-graded Man/gap Runner: Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

For most of the season, Walker was one of the presumptive finalists for the Heisman Trophy. While he ended up not getting an invitation to New York City, he still proved to be one of the best running backs in this class. Walker averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 4.1 yards after contact per carry across his 84 man/gap attempts. He racked up 506 yards, six touchdowns and 27 first downs, good for a 91.8 rushing grade.

Highest-graded Zone Runner: Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State

Strong's 92.1 rushing grade on inside and outside zone attempts leads draft-eligible Division I rushers. He took 144 zone attempts for 1,267 yards and 622 yards after contact in 2021, finding the end zone 10 times.

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