2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 50 prospect rankings after Week 5 of the 2021 CFB season

In our latest Top 50 2022 NFL Draft Big Board update, we examine the best prospects following Week 5 of the college football season.

Week 5 of the college football season is behind us, and before we know it, the 2022 NFL Draft will be here. Soon enough, Roger Goodell will be putting teams on the clock in Las Vegas. Until then, we’ll be updating our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board weekly, showcasing the best players in the nation as the season shapes their draft stock.

2022 NFL Draft Top 50 Big Board | 1-25

With a murky quarterback situation compared to last season, the front end of our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board is loaded with dominant defensive playmakers and outstanding offensive line prospects.

1) Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton continues to be the No. 1 player on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. The 6’4″, 214-pound defensive playmaker defies logic with his exceptional athleticism and insane playmaking ability. Hamilton possesses elite length, exceptional football intelligence, and ferociousness as a tackler. Additionally, his 3 interceptions have helped ensure that Notre Dame has just one loss through Week 5 despite otherwise giving up big plays on defense.

2) Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has all the attributes required to be a star in the NFL. He possesses phenomenal size, speed, explosion, and agility. While he is lean at 250 pounds with a 6’5″ frame, he isn’t lacking in strength as demonstrated multiple times this season. Labeling him as a pass rusher is somewhat unfair, however. Thibodeaux is equally as aggressive and successful against the run.

3) Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

If Bryce Young ends the season with the Heisman Trophy in his cabinet, he should consider making a replica and presenting it to his left tackle. At 6’7″ and 360 pounds, it isn’t difficult to notice Evan Neal on the football field. Yet, it’s his performances that are catching the eye rather than his imposing physical appearance. Versatile, strong, and as nasty as they come, Neal cements his stock as the OT1 of our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board week in, week out.

4) DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

Athletic, versatile, and strong, DeMarvin Leal has all the attributes of a first-round selection. Furthermore, his ability to play across the defensive line makes him a highly valuable prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class. There’s a reason why the Texas A&M DL makes the top 10 of our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board — he’s that good. Leal has been a dominant force for a poor Aggies team to start the season.

5) Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Ever since his incredible freshman campaign, Derek Stingley Jr. has been tabbed as the CB1 of the 2022 class. There is no doubting his ridiculous ball skills, remarkable athleticism, and physical ability in all phases of the game. While those aspects of his game are alluring, and he remains the CB1 on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board, injury and some eye-catching lapses this season mean he can’t be inked into the spot just yet.

6) Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

While Clemson has faltered and fallen out of the AP Top 25, Andrew Booth Jr. continues to consolidate his credentials as one of the best cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Fast, fluid, and full of energy, he’s as athletic as any player on the field. Booth also possesses incredible ball skills and is responsible for some of the most insane interceptions and pass breakups in college football in the past couple of years. So far this season, he’s improved the mental aspect of his game — one of the negative elements of his summer scouting report.

7) Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

Kenyon Green has all the attributes of an elite guard and possesses versatility that will prove valuable at the next level. Green’s played at multiple spots on the line for Texas A&M, opening this season at right tackle before shifting back inside. He has impressive power and a ridiculous anchor in pass protection. Meanwhile, Green has the vicious mauler mentality that makes him a dangerous run blocker. From stance to snap and beyond, Green is a phenomenal prospect.

8) George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

The Purdue pass rusher puts the “big” in big defensive end. At 6’4″ and 270 pounds, George Karlaftis is one of the more physically imposing presences in college football. He has the size, strength, and schematic versatility that should make him a valuable commodity in the 2022 NFL Draft class. The “Grecian Goliath” may not dominate the box score. Nevertheless, believe us when we say he’s been dominant to start the year.

9) Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

In a competitive CB class, Florida’s Kaiir Elam has the skill set to be one of the best.  At 6’2″ and 196 pounds, he has exceptional size. But Elam combines that with impressive functional length and exceptional athletic ability. Although he was caught wrong-footed in the Alabama game, he’s been impressive so far in the SEC and has the ball skills to be a lockdown corner at the next level.

10) Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa

Although it’s ill-advised to speak in absolutes, there isn’t a better center prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class than Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum. As Iowa has emerged as one of the top teams in the nation, Linderbaum has been the centerpiece of their success. Strong and speedy out of his stance and onto the second level, Linderbaum has football intelligence to keep his head on a swivel while being a reliable snapper of the ball.

11) Drake Jackson, OLB, USC

A 275-pound DE as a freshman, Drake Jackson played as a 255-pound OLB last season. At both positions (and at both weights), the USC pass rusher has demonstrated exceptional athleticism and play speed. Jackson has shown the ability to rush the passer both from the inside and around the outside track. If he can improve his tackling technique, Jackson should put up a monster statistical season on his way to being one of the first pass rushers selected. He already has 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble through Week 5.

12) Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The WR position is the most contentious on our consensus 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. While my friend, colleague, and fellow Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings favors Garrett Wilson, I’m firmly in the Chris Olave camp. There’s no denying that the Ohio State wide receivers are the cream of the crop in the class. However, for me, Olave’s game-changing speed gives him an advantage in the race for WR1.

13) Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

Through five games of the 2021 season, Aidan Hutchinson already has more sacks than the rest of his Michigan career combined. Allow that to sink in for a second. Then consider that some of the more disruptive elements of his game don’t show up in the box score. Hutchinson has been phenomenal, with the ability to disrupt from any alignment given his length, strength, and flexibility. Furthermore, that disruption comes both as a pass rusher and against the run. He continues to be the biggest riser on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board.

14) Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

There truly is little to separate Garrett Wilson from his Ohio State teammate. In truth, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the two WRs selected with consecutive picks next spring. While Olave’s track speed gives him the advantage for me, there’s no doubting that Wilson is a superior contested-catch connoisseur. Wilson is also able to create separation with crisp route-running ability.

15) Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Liberty QB Malik Willis continues to be the QB1 on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. The dangerous dual-threat has all the attributes that you look for in a modern-day QB. Willis possesses an absolute cannon for an arm, and he’s arguably the best running QB in all of college football. While some prospects have confirmed the negative elements of their summer scouting report, Willis has shown improved accuracy and decision-making so far this season.

16) Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

There aren’t many defensive backs in the nation that have allowed 0 touchdowns this season. And yet, Ahmad Gardner hasn’t given up a TD in his entire career. A lengthy, athletic playmaker, the Cincinnati cornerback has an explosiveness that is only matched by his football intelligence and competitive ferocity. A snazzy nickname does not make an elite corner, but “Sauce” definitely has the goods to back it up.

17) Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

UCLA offensive tackle Sean Rhyan continues to soar up our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. It’s difficult to argue against the Bruins having one of the best offensive lines in the nation right now, and Rhyan is the cornerstone of it. Possessing exceptional size, strength, and a savage disposition that often results with his opponent in the dirt, Rhyan has the makings of a first-round prospect.

18) Ikem Ekwonu, OG, NC State

The epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Ikem Ekwonu‘s smiling bespectacled exterior belies a violent and deadly offensive lineman. An old-school mauler, he does his best work in the phone booth that is the interior OL. His high school wrestling experience allows him to dominate in the run game. While NC State has committed to playing him at left tackle, increasing his versatility, he should be considered an elite guard prospect.

19) Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

A summer scouting favorite, Charles Cross leaps up our consensus 2022 NFL Draft Big Board following his successful start. A lean, mean, OT machine, Cross plays the game with the necessary nastiness to succeed in the NFL. Pass protection isn’t passive, and Cross can’t be accused of passiveness in his game. The Mississippi State OT is as athletic as he is aggressive — a combination that should see him be one of the first offensive tackles selected in April.

20) Drake London, WR, USC

There is no other word to describe Drake London than “uncommon.” The USC WR has ridiculous size at 6’5″, which gives him a natural advantage as a red-zone or boundary threat. However, he also has comes with deceptive athleticism that he uses to be a dangerous after-the-catch threat. Through Week 5, London leads the nation in receiving yards, with the second-most receiving yards per game.

21) Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

There’s a reason why Ole Miss QB Matt Corral is in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy this season. Put simply, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, and by proxy, one of the best in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Corral possesses incredible arm talent — note talent, not strength — and is as good at creating outside the pocket as anyone whose surname isn’t Willis. One of the big areas for development ahead of the season was cutting down on turnover-worthy plays. Corral has 0 interceptions through Week 5.

22) Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

If you want the perfect example of what Treylon Burks brings to the football field, turn on the game tape from the Texas A&M and Georgia Southern game, and prepare to be amazed. A physical mismatch at 6’3″ and 225 pounds, Burks has deceptive speed and athleticism that allows him to create yardage out of nowhere (in addition to being a contested-catch nightmare). He needs to display more concentration as a catcher, with several concerning drops for a man with ridiculous hand size and strength.

23) Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

Athletic, strong, and equally adept in pass protection and run blocking, Nicholas Petit-Frere is quickly becoming one of the best offensive tackles in the nation. Having switched from right tackle to left tackle this season, he offers valuable versatility, which puts another tick in his NFL Draft stock box. Yet, it’s the seamless nature of that switch that has impressed us. There’s no reason to believe that the Ohio State tackle can’t be a first-round selection next spring.

24) Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Jordan Davis continues his ascent up our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. The Georgia defensive tackle has been a monster this season. The 6’6″, 340-pound nose tackle eats up double teams for breakfast, leaving his teammates to feast through the gaps created on the offensive line. He epitomizes the phrase “two on me, somebody’s free.” Furthermore, Davis continues to demonstrate the pass-rush production that had been absent from his summer scouting report.

25) Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

Isaiah Spiller continues to be the RB1 on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. His combination of toughness, exceptional vision, contact balance, and quick feet allow him to be dominant between both the tackles and outside. Through Week 5, he’s averaging 6.5 yards per carry — more than any previous season in his career. Despite the dismal nature of the Aggies’ passing game, Spiller has been able to flash the ability as a receiver that was my main concern from his summer scouting report.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter @ojhodgkinson.

RELATED ARTICLES




FEATURED