- Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.
After a nice summer spent in hibernation while I studied up on the best prospects in the 2022 NFL draft, I’m back with a new batch of rankings. My updated Big Board features my list of the top 25 prospects overall, and I also included my top 10 prospects at every position at the bottom. You’ll notice lots of movement from my way-too-early rankings from May, but my No. 1 prospect remains the same.
I really like the depth of the 2022 quarterback class, but my pal Todd McShay is a little higher on a few of the top guys than I am. It will be nice to get a full college football season in 2021, because much of last season’s tape feels incomplete. A few of the prospects on my Big Board played fewer than five games, and so I’m excited to see some of these underclassmen play more snaps.
Before you dive in, here are a couple of notes on my rankings:
There is a lot of projection involved, particularly for my top 25. Many of these prospects have started only a handful of games, and so I’m not yet writing up detailed scouting reports. I expect many of them to be stronger, faster and better in 2021, so I’ll adjust my rankings as the season moves on.
Heights and weights are based on what we have from schools; we don’t get official numbers until the 2022 combine next March.
1. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
HT: 6-5 | WT: 250 | Class: Junior
First game: vs. Fresno State on Saturday
Could 2022 be a year in which a non-quarterback goes No. 1? It hasn’t happened since 2017, when the Browns took Myles Garrett. (And they had the No. 1 pick the following year, too.) Thibodeaux, who was the No. 1-ranked high school recruit in 2019, is an elite pass-rushing talent with the quickness and bend to get double-digit sacks annually at the next level. He had nine sacks as a true freshman in 2019, and he had three sacks and 9.5 total tackles for loss in seven games last season.
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