2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Kyle Hamilton, Kayvon Thibodeaux sit atop the best 100 players in the class

After months of analysis and thousands of hours of tape watching, we unveil and examine the top 100 prospects on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board

After months of analysis and thousands of hours of film grinding, our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board is complete. Like proud parents, we’ve watched our children (the draft prospects) blossom, and they’re about to fly the nest for the big wide world (the NFL). With just hours until Roger Goodell puts the Jacksonville Jaguars on the clock, these are our top 100 players in the 2022 NFL Draft class.

2022 NFL Draft Big Board | 1-25

Although the murkiness of the quarterback class has led people to deride this year’s crops of prospects, our final 2022 NFL Draft Big Board reveals the depth of talent on both sides of the ball. Notably, the EDGE class should be prominent early in the first round. Below, you’ll find our top prospects in the class, with their ranking across the individual big boards of our four NFL Draft analysts.

1) Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Tony Pauline: 13 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 1 | Ian Cummings: 6 | Cam Mellor: 2

Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton is a unicorn-like prospect who covers the field with exceptional range for a 6’4″, 220-pound safety. With intelligence, physicality, ball skills, and exceptional athleticism for his size, Hamilton has precious few holes in his game and can be an instant game-changer for any defense in the NFL. While he’s the top player on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board, positional value may see Hamilton slip into the mid-first round.

2) Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

Tony Pauline: 11 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 7 | Ian Cummings: 1 | Cam Mellor: 1

Jermaine Johnson II has been the most significant late riser in the class. The FSU EDGE transferred from Georgia and absolutely tore up the ACC, earning Defensive Player of the Year honors. Then, he went to the Senior Bowl and bulldozed every single offensive tackle he faced. Johnson is powerful, fast, refined as a pass rusher, and sets the edge in the ground game better than any other prospect on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board.

3) Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Tony Pauline: 1 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 2 | Ian Cummings: 7 | Cam Mellor: 5

An excellent athlete with impressive functional length, explosion, and ability to bend the edge, Kayvon Thibodeaux has a distinct advantage regardless of the opponent. Additionally, he’s as equally adept at stopping the run as he is getting to the quarterback. While several reports have questioned his love of football and work ethic on the field, those opinions certainly aren’t evidenced by an actual study of the tape during his Oregon career.

4) Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Tony Pauline: 4 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 3 | Ian Cummings: 2 | Cam Mellor: 7

Evan Neal ends the cycle as the OT1 on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. The 6’7″, 360-pound behemoth glides into his pass set with remarkable athleticism for his size. His footwork is superb, and his power generation is devastating. Neal stands up to the test both in pass protection and run blocking. The Alabama tackle also provides remarkable versatility, with significant experience at guard and both bookends.

5) Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

Tony Pauline: 5 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 5 | Ian Cummings: 9 | Cam Mellor: 3

In making the full-time transition to offensive tackle, Ikem Ekwonu has improved as a technician in pass protection while maintaining the savage disposition that made him such a devastating run blocker from the guard spot. Alongside dominating power, he has the athleticism to mirror even the most twitchy pass rushers. Play him at guard, play him at tackle — just play him and let your offensive line thrive.

6) Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Tony Pauline: 7 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 6 | Ian Cummings: 10 | Cam Mellor: 8

A lean, mean, offensive tackle machine, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross might not have the bulky appearance of an Evan Neal. However, he’s impressively powerful, athletic, and a gifted technician. Don’t mistake his slender appearance for weakness. Cross is as nasty as they come. One of the top left tackle prospects in the class, Cross also worked out at right tackle at the Mississippi State Pro Day, showcasing his versatility and willingness to adapt.

7) Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Tony Pauline: 6 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 16 | Ian Cummings: 14 | Cam Mellor: 4

Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner is a tall, long, athletic corner with excellent play speed, and he’s able to use that quickness with devastating impact as a blitzer. A snazzy nickname does not make an elite corner, but “Sauce” definitely has the goods to back it up. With minor concerns over some of the other CB prospects in this class, Gardner lands as the top cornerback on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board and could be in play very early on Thursday evening.

8) Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Tony Pauline: 9 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 8 | Ian Cummings: 13 | Cam Mellor: 16

Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson is the epitome of a three-level threat. He creates easy separation with savvy route running, fueled by impressive throttle control and the ability to deceive with an effortless change of direction. He excels at the catch point but also adds after-the-catch value, too. In a deeply talented pass-catching group, Wilson sits right at the top and could be a top-10 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

9) Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Tony Pauline: 10 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 9 | Ian Cummings: 5 | Cam Mellor: 28

After a clean bill of health at the LSU Pro Day, where his impressive testing times were secondary to the fluidity of movement he showed in on-field drills, Derek Stingley Jr. has overcome one of the main question marks on his scouting report. At his best, the LSU cornerback showcases an exceptional athletic ability to mirror even the most impressive wide receivers, an innate understanding of route concepts, and ludicrous ball skills.

10) Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Tony Pauline: 2 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 10 | Ian Cummings: 29 | Cam Mellor: 11

Many consider Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson a lock for the first overall pick, so his positioning as the 10th-ranked prospect on our final 2022 NFL Draft Big Board may surprise a few people. There’s no doubting that Hutchinson possesses some alluring traits, including an explosive first step and the power to be dominant. However, there are some holes that should pause the hype. Furthermore, has he already reached the peak of his game?

11) Drake London, WR, USC

Tony Pauline: 14 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 13 | Ian Cummings: 16 | Cam Mellor: 15

USC WR Drake London has the frame and physicality of a big-bodied possession receiver. However, he has the athleticism of a smaller, shiftier pass catcher. As a result, London is a unique threat who adds after-the-catch ability to his jump-ball skill set. Frankenstein. Unicorn. Uncommon. Call him what you want — just call him on Day 1.

12) David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Tony Pauline: 16 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 19 | Ian Cummings: 17 | Cam Mellor: 9

David Ojabo is one of the most intriguing prospects ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. How much will the Achilles injury he suffered at the Michigan Pro Day impact his stock? Relatively inexperienced, how much will teams trust the projection? That said, Ojabo showed this season that the athletic upside is off the charts, as are some of the pass-rush nuances he already possesses. An NFL team likely lands a bargain with Ojabo over the next few days.

13) Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Tony Pauline: 3 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 18 | Ian Cummings: 19 | Cam Mellor: 19

Travon Walker might well be the most polarizing player in the process. He’s garnering first overall consideration, and his allure lies in his out-of-this-world athleticism, positional versatility, and extreme power at the point of attack. Walker is a projection-over-production pass rusher whose versatility doubles as uncertainty regarding his NFL role. However, if a team can coach in some pass-rush nuance, he’ll be dangerous at the next level.

14) Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Tony Pauline: 17 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 14 | Ian Cummings: 25 | Cam Mellor: 6

Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd finishes at the pinnacle of his position on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. His ludicrous 22 tackles for loss in the last year alone are a testament to his ability to ambush the backfield with speed and remarkable hit strength. Lloyd’s athleticism was on full display as he teleported all over the field. He’s a threat in the passing game and a downfield thumper who leaves a trail of havoc in his wake.

15) George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Tony Pauline: 19 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 12 | Ian Cummings: 21 | Cam Mellor: 13

Purdue pass rusher George Karlaftis has the size, strength, and schematic versatility to make him a valuable commodity in the 2022 NFL Draft. The “Grecian Goliath” can be dominant, although that isn’t always reflected in the box score. Furthermore, he showcases surprising athletic tendencies for a man of his sheer size, with impressive ankle flexion and the ability to eat up ground both in pursuit downfield and on his way into the backfield.

16) Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Tony Pauline: 12 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 22 | Ian Cummings: 15 | Cam Mellor: 17

If speed kills, Jameson Williams may just be the most dangerous player on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board. On pure talent alone, Williams has the speed, route running, and catch-point ability to be one of the best receivers in the class. As he continues to recover from an ACL tear in the national championship, it seems less and less likely that uncertainty over his recovery timescale will impact his stock at all.

17) Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Tony Pauline: 40 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 4 | Ian Cummings: 4 | Cam Mellor: 20

Although there’s a split in opinion between our four draft analysts, Andrew Booth Jr. has one of the most impressive athletic profiles of any cornerback in this class. Fast, fluid, and full of energy, he flies around the field, proving combative in run support. Meanwhile, he possesses elite catch-point skills with a dizzying array of acrobatic pass breakups. Injury concerns may limit his stock, but Booth ends up as the CB3 on our NFL Draft Big Board.

18) Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Tony Pauline: 33 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 11 | Ian Cummings: 20 | Cam Mellor: 11

While considered undersized for the NFL level, Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum is an athletic and strong prospect who thrives in the run game. That’s not to say he’s deficient as a pass protector. Linderbaum’s high school wrestling pedigree means he can use leverage against his opponent to win in all phases of the game. Scarily for opposing defensive coordinators, the former defensive lineman hasn’t reached the peak of his potential at the position.

19) Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Tony Pauline: 28 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 25 | Ian Cummings: 8 | Cam Mellor: 14

A versatile playmaker with the size, length, athletic ability, and processing to man all spots in the secondary, Daxton Hill has been steadily ascending in this class. He plays the game with aggression and physicality, and he demonstrated a noticeable improvement in the mental aspect of the game this last season. As the S2 on our big board, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

20) Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Tony Pauline: 30 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 23 | Ian Cummings: 11 | Cam Mellor: 12

At 6’1 1/2″ and 191 pounds, Florida CB Kaiir Elam has the size and functional length to be a genuinely disruptive threat at the NFL level. He demonstrates excellent ball skills and is a force in the ground game while possessing an impressive athletic profile for his size. An injury-addled campaign didn’t help him develop into his game as expected in his final season with the Gators. Despite this, he still maintains first-round potential.

21) Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Tony Pauline: 26 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 15 | Ian Cummings: 3 | Cam Mellor: 34

More famous for his bone-shaking hit on Kyle Pitts than anything else before this season, Lewis Cine has established himself as one of the top safeties in the nation. A player with bruising physicality, Cine also demonstrated his off-the-charts athleticism at the Combine. Don’t be fooled into thinking he’s just a high-level athlete with a penchant for punishing. Cine reads the game as well as anybody. “Diagnose and destroy” should be his motto.

22) Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

Tony Pauline: 20 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 20 | Ian Cummings: 18 | Cam Mellor: 23

We’ve been high on the versatile offensive lineman since the start of the season, but Zion Johnson established himself as a true first-round talent as the process has unfolded. Schematically and positionally versatile, Johnson is an excellent athlete who smoothly gets into his pass sets. A guard with LT experience, he also took reps at center at the Senior Bowl, endearing himself to NFL scouts. Johnson is strong, athletic, and technically refined.

23) Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Tony Pauline: 25 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 17 | Ian Cummings: 27 | Cam Mellor: 24

There’s no doubting Nakobe Dean’s insane athletic profile. Furthermore, his football intelligence to diagnose as a run stopper, coverage man, and blitzing backer is second to none. He’s a team leader responsible for calling plays on a defense that was the best in college football this year. The potential to be considered undersized by the NFL is the key area that limits his ceiling at the LB2 spot of our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board.

24) Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Tony Pauline: 8 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 24 | Ian Cummings: 43 | Cam Mellor: 22

While opinion is split on behemoth Georgia prospect Jordan Davis, he’s an imposing figure at the heart of the defensive front. His sheer size means that he’s an impenetrable chess piece in the run game. His power at the point of attack makes him the ideal roadblock. Furthermore, his ability to eat up double-teams frees up his teammates to go to work. If he can harness his athleticism into pass-rush production, Davis could be a dangerous weapon.

25) Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Tony Pauline: 15 | Oliver Hodgkinson: 21 | Ian Cummings: 41 | Cam Mellor: 25

Chris Olave’s impressive track speed and route-running ability are sure to make him an alluring prospect with first-round potential next month. Additionally, the Ohio State wide receiver demonstrates excellent ball tracking and body control to make highlight-reel catches while possessing the spacial awareness and football intelligence to ghost into holes in coverage. Olave finishes as the WR4 on our 2022 NFL Draft Big Board.

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