Previewing the top 2022 NFL Draft prospects

By Will Pembroke

With the 2022 NFL Draft set to occur on April 28, it’s time to preview some of the top prospects on which teams are focusing to bolster their chances to compete for Super Bowl LVII.

Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

While there is not a unanimous No.1 pick prospect in this year’s draft, Aidan Hutchinson is the closest thing to it. Michigan’s elite senior pass-rusher was nothing short of a disrupter for the Wolverines in his last  college season, helping lead the program to its first ever appearance in the College Football Playoff. Hutchinson has the size (6’7”, 260 pounds), and athleticism to dominate opposing tackles at the line of scrimmage for years to come.

Projected Teams Interested: Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans 

Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson had a great year leading the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff. Hutchinson will look to parlay that into a top-three selection in the 2022 NFL Draft

Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibedeaux

Since being widely regarded as the prospect with the most upside in this year’s draft class before the season, Thibedeaux’s value has declined steadily. Questions of his motor and passion for the game of football have riddled the uber-talented Oregon star. His one-of-a-kind athletic ability and knack for getting after the passer are still well intact, so don’t expect Thibedeaux to fall too far on draft night.

Projected Teams Interested: Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans

Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner 

The University of Cincinnati made history this past season by winding up in the College Football Playoff for the first time in American Athletic Conference history, in no small part thanks to elite cornerback play from Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Pegged by many as the top corner in his class, Gardner projects to be a shutdown corner in the NFL for years to come.

Projected Teams Interested: New York Jets, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons

Alabama OL Evan Neal

Neal is arguably the best football athlete available in this year’s draft. Standing 6’7” and 337 pounds, Neal has both the athletic prowess and O-line skills to be the starting left tackle for any team who picks him for the next decade. It is hard to find an offensive prospect on the draft board with more All-Pro upside than Neal.

Projected Teams Interested: New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans

Liberty QB Malik Willis

 In a weak 2022 quarterback class, Malik Willis out of Liberty University is the best option available. On the shorter side for a QB at 6’1”, Willis projects as a mobile quarterback who has the arm talent to make tough throws down the field: as a comparison, think Russell Wilson if he were to maximize his potential. 

There is a long way to go for Willis in terms of his throwing mechanics and consistent accuracy on short-medium range throws, but there is no doubt some upside for him to develop into a very competent starting NFL quarterback.

Projected Teams Interested: Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and Pittsburgh Steelers