2022 NFL Draft Odds: Will Breece Hall be the first running back drafted?

    One of the more tightly contested positional groups in the 2022 NFL Draft, what are the odds on Breece Hall being the first RB selected?

    2022 NFL Draft Odds: Will Breece Hall be the first running back drafted?

    With less than four weeks until the 2022 NFL Draft, player odds are sharpening into focus. While they’re not an exact science, sportsbooks can provide a window into projected outcomes for the NFL’s annual selection event. Running backs are one positional group that has seen a lot of discourse about its top prospect. Will Breece Hall be the first running back selected in the 2022 NFL Draft?

    2022 NFL Draft Odds: Will Breece Hall be the first running back drafted?

    Having seen two first-round running backs selected last year, the 2022 NFL Draft running back class is in for a rude awakening. Per the latest DraftKings Sportsbook NFL Draft odds, the over/under for first-round running backs is set at 0.5. Furthermore, the odds are firmly in favor of zero first-round running backs, with the under currently set at -190.

    NFL Draft analysts share this opinion. There’s very much a sense that no RB in this class will replicate Najee Harris and Travis Etienne going on Day 1 last year. That said, while Harris was an expected first-round pick, Etienne’s selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars was something of a surprise. You can never deal in absolutes when the NFL Draft is concerned.

    Such is the case with the RB positional rankings within the class. Opinion has fluctuated as to who is the best back in the class. It’s a pick-your-poison approach — there’s obvious talent, but it requires your personal flavor of what you’re looking for in the running back position.

    In many respects, opinion is still fluctuating. How people evaluate the position and weigh individual traits will dictate the RB1 of this class. Even as Roger Goodell puts the Jaguars on the clock on April 28, there is unlikely to be a consensus. However, the performances at the NFL Combine leave the DraftKings Sportsbook odds in no doubt as to who will be the first running back selected.

    Breece Hall, Iowa State (-250)

    Iowa State RB Breece Hall is the current favorite to be the first running back selected. DraftKings Sportsbook will offer you odds of -250 on Hall being the RB1 of the 2022 NFL Draft class. A statistical standout, the Iowa State running back has averaged 1,313 yards per season.

    He led the nation in rushing yards in 2020. Additionally, he scored 50 touchdowns in his college career, last failing to find the end zone in a regular-season game in 2019. From a scouting standpoint, Hall possesses speed, explosion, and elusiveness. His performance at the NFL Combine certainly attests to some of those tape observations.

    That performance helped solidify his status as the RB1 of the class for a lot of analysts. There are even rumors that Hall could break the first round. This was previously thought to be highly unlikely for a running back in this class. At present, he is the RB1 on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Consensus Big Board as the 37th overall prospect.

    Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State (+200)

    An under-the-radar prospect prior to his transfer from Wake Forest, Kenneth Walker III catapulted himself onto the NFL Draft landscape with a sensational junior season for the Michigan State Spartans. Averaging 6.2 yards per carry, Walker finished second in the nation with 1,636 rushing yards.

    He also added 18 touchdowns to the 17 he’d amassed through two seasons with the Demon Deacons. Walker is physical, showcases contact balance, cuts with explosion, and displays elusiveness in the open field. While he’s a work in progress with regard to other elements of the RB position at the NFL level, he’s showcased the natural pass-catching ability to inspire confidence in his ability to develop there.

    You can currently get odds of +200 for Walker to be the first running back selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. That concurs with the PFN Top 300 Big Board projection. Currently, our four draft analysts have Walker as the RB2 of the class. Furthermore, he’s the 44th overall prospect (second-round potential).

    Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M (+650)

    For most of the NFL Draft process, the RB group has been tight at the top. As we mentioned earlier, it’s very much a pick-your-poison approach to ranking the top playmakers at the position. That being said, the NFL Combine really has impacted the odds for some players being selected as the first running back in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Isaiah Spiller is the perfect example of that impact. At times considered the best running back in the class, his refusal to run a 40-yard dash in Indianapolis played into concerns about his long speed. Sure enough, when he ran a sluggish time at the Texas A&M Pro Day, the appropriate overreaction occurred with his draft stock.

    Speed isn’t the sole component of successful running back play. Spiller possesses exceptional vision and footwork to create in more ways than simply outrunning his opponent. He’s also physical, with improved ability as a blocker and pass catcher. However, with odds of +650 by DraftKings, he’s now considered a long shot to be the first RB selected.

    Kyren Williams, Notre Dame (+1800)

    A dismal performance at the NFL Combine sent scouts scurrying back to the tape for Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams. For some, it was enough to see the Fighting Irish star skittle down draft boards. However, it doesn’t appear to have harmed his odds of being the first running back taken in the 2022 NFL Draft — DraftKings still has him the fourth favorite to be the first RB selected.

    Despite the speed issues arising from his Combine performance, there are some elements to love about Williams’ game. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more combative blocker out of the backfield. He thrives in pass protection, a requisite for NFL success. Furthermore, he’s demonstrated excellent ability as a pass-catching option. Despite the 2022 NFL Draft odds, however, Williams is only the 12th running back on the PFN Top 300 Big Board.

    Dameon Pierce, Florida (+2000)

    While he hasn’t had a standout career from a statistical standpoint, Florida RB Dameon Pierce is rising up boards the closer we get to the NFL Draft. Although he’s averaged a respectable 5.5 yards per carry through his career, Pierce has a career-high season total of only 574 yards. That said, he found the end zone 13 times this season on the ground. Showcasing receiving ability, he added 3 receiving touchdowns at 11.4 yards per catch.

    Pierce will never be mistaken for an elite athlete. Additionally, he may be considered a little on the small side. However, he’s a solid specimen who runs the rock with an aggressive and physical style. As a result, he displays fantastic contact balance. The Florida RB also possesses enough athletic ability to provide creativity. An excellent receiver and sturdy blocker, his three-down potential at the NFL level is apparent.

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

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