NFL 2023 Draft: Preseason Top 50 College Football Prospects

Contents

With college football and NFL starting soon, it is a good time to take a look at the 2023 NFL Draft class with a preseason Top 50. The 2023 NFL draft class is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and NFL teams will certainly be looking at these top 50 prospects.

2023 NFL Draft Preseason Top 50

Rankings will change throughout the season, pre-draft athletic testing, and pro days, but I ranked the 50 players who I have the highest in the upcoming class. I also added a section under each player breakdown highlighting the biggest area of improvement for each player. Let’s dive in.

#1: ED Will Anderson Jr., Alabama (Junior)

As a 19-year-old sophomore, Will Anderson Jr. racked up 17.5 sacks and 82 pressures, both the most in the country, despite facing elite offensive linemen in the SEC. Anderson also finished second in the Power Five conferences with 33 run stops per PFF. While he’s not a massive body on the line of scrimmage, Anderson overcomes any size deficiencies with remarkable explosiveness, flexibility, and a well-developed toolbox of pass-rush moves and counters. Anderson Jr. has nothing left to prove this season and is a surefire top-five pick, regardless of his performance this season.

What to Look for in 2022: Sit back and enjoy the most dominant player in college football.

#2: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (Junior)

After working through an early-season shoulder injury, C.J. Stroud exploded down the stretch last year. He showcased elite accuracy, arm strength and elasticity, and pocket poise that will translate to the NFL. Stroud also showed his ability to work through progressions and consistently make good decisions with the ball. While not an elite athlete by any means, Stroud has underrated mobility and evasiveness against pressure.

What to Look for in 2022: With Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave off to the NFL, Stroud will likely be targeting receivers with less separation to work with. It should be illuminating to see how he fits the ball into tighter windows.

#3: QB Bryce Young, Alabama (Junior)

The reigning Heisman winner was narrowly beaten out by C.J. Stroud in my rankings, but there’s plenty to love about Bryce Young’s game. Young throws an incredibly catchable ball with accuracy at all three levels, and there are no concerns with his decision-making, poise, or leadership. However, his frame will be dissected as he will check in at under 6’0” and likely played last year at under 200 pounds. Can he hold up in the NFL at that size without elite athleticism or arm strength?

What to Look for in 2022: The Alabama offensive line was already in rough shape, and the loss of Evan Neal doesn’t help. Let’s see how Bryce Young holds up in the pocket as he’s an easier quarterback to sack with his smaller stature.

#4: DL Jalen Carter, Georgia (Junior)

Remarkably, the Georgia defense that had five first-round picks in the NFL returned its best player, Jalen Carter. With his long arms, powerful frame, and explosive first step, Carter is an excellent pass-rusher – PFF logged him with the highest pass-rush grade of any interior defensive lineman in the country. He should be able to highlight more of his run-stopping ability this season, as well.

What to Look for in 2022: With the losses of elite talent from the front seven, Carter will face plenty more double and triple-teams this season. He was inconsistent in those situations last year, and it will be compelling to see how he fares in 2022.

#5: ED Myles Murphy, Clemson (Junior)

At 6’5”, 275 pounds, and with a well-built frame, Myles Murphy packs a punch with rare power for a defensive end. Murphy has violent hands that allow him to sustain on the edge, and he has a full toolbox of counters to use after his potent first step. As an elite run defender and pass-rusher, he’s an easy plug-and-play starter at 4-3 edge in the NFL.

What to Look for in 2022: Can Murphy convert his elite physical tools into more pass-rush productivity? He finished with just 36 pressures in 2021, which tied for 37th in the Power Five conferences, per PFF.

#6: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State (Junior)

It’s rare for a receiver to be drafted in the top ten without true top-end speed or size, but it’s rarer still for a player to be as polished a route-runner and receiver as Jaxon Smith-Njigba. His 90% contested-catch rate per PFF is absurd, and he makes frequent grabs away from his body. Smith-Njigba’s production profile is through the roof, and he’s still only 20 years old. He won’t wow you in the “Underwear Olympics,” but his superb technical refinement gives him an incredibly high floor.

What to Look for in 2022: With Wilson and Olave now in the NFL, Smith-Njigba will be the focal point for the opposing defense every week. His single-game college football record of 347 yards in the Rose Bowl came without either in the game, however, so we should have no concerns. I’m most intrigued to see how he performs with a steady diet of press coverage on the outside after playing most of last season out of the slot.

#7: WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU (Junior)

A former record-breaking track runner, Kayshon Boutte has elite game-breaking speed. He combines that high-end speed with quick twitch agility and high-end functional strength that makes him an incredible player in YAC situations. Boutte is a very smooth runner and gains separation effortlessly. Scouts hope to see him translate those physical gifts into more polished route running and a more diverse route tree this year.

What to Look for in 2022: Boutte has to do more in contested-catch situations. A career 9.9% drop rate and 28% contested-catch rate per PFF is not good enough, and he needs to show more consistency in actual receiving this year. In addition, keep an eye on his health after offseason ankle surgery.

#8: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina (Redshirt Junior)

Last season, Cam Smith earned PFF’s highest coverage grade in the country and allowed just a 36.5 passer rating, the lowest in the country. My favorite part of Smith’s game is his ability to initiate contact with receivers before and during the catch without drawing a flag. He has ideal length for the position and parlays that into great ball skills and consistent tackling.

What to Look for in 2022: Assuming his production doesn’t fall off a cliff, my perception of Cam Smith isn’t likely to change much during the upcoming season. However, for a player whose athleticism (or lack thereof) has raised some concerns, the combine could be critical for his draft stock.

#9: ED Andre Carter II, Army (Senior)

There hasn’t been a first-round pick from a service academy school since 1947, but Andre Carter II is set to buck that trend. A former two-star tight end recruit, Carter has bulked up to 6’7”, 265 pounds, and tied Aidan Hutchinson for PFF’s highest pass-rush grade in the country last year. While the competition level is lower, Carter still faced three Power 5 schools in 2021 and fared quite well.

What to Look for in 2022: Carter is still very early in his developmental trajectory as an edge rusher, but it would be good to see further progress in his technique, most notably his hand usage and pad level.

#10: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia (Redshirt Sophomore)

Kelee Ringo was built in a lab to play press corner in the NFL with a 6’2”, 205-pound frame and 4.35-second 40-yard dash speed. He’s such a physical and aggressive cornerback, which can be a detriment at times, but at his best Ringo is incredibly difficult to achieve separation against.

What to Look for in 2022: I’ll mostly be looking for Ringo to learn to tone down his aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage, as he got beat off the line from time to time. Ringo will likely end up as my CB1 in this class, but Cam Smith is the more refined player right now.

#11: S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M (Junior)

It’s not every day that you see a 6’3”, 200-pound slot cornerback, but that’s exactly what Antonio Johnson was in the Aggies’ defense last season. Johnson has a massive wingspan and tons of strength to be an enforcer in the box. Questions will persist about his change-of-direction ability given his frame, but his elite closing speed helps overcome issues that come from a lack of fluidity.

What to Look for in 2022: Johnson will be playing more of a true safety role this season, and it will be intriguing to see how he fills in there as his true home position in the NFL is still a question mark.

#12: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame (Junior)

With buttery smooth hands, eagle-eye ball-tracking, and body control like a ballerina, Michael Mayer made the highlight-reel catch look routine in 2021 on his way to school-record receiving production. Mayer’s route-running is polished, and he’s a proven blocker as an in-line tight end with great awareness, strength, and hand usage.

What to Look for in 2022: Mayer has reportedly dropped five pounds of weight, and he feels it will make him more nimble and faster. Regardless, his draft stock is unlikely to change very much between now and April.

#13: DL Bryan Breese, Clemson (Sophomore)

Sadly, a torn ACL cut Bryan Breese’s season short in 2021, but he’s set to be back with a vengeance this season. Breese has no physical limitations as he possesses elite burst, agility, and strength. Likely best used as a penetrating three-technique, Breese has alignment versatility and is used to playing through traffic and anchoring.

What to Look for in 2022: All eyes will be on Breese’s ability to recover from the torn ACL, but he should be okay given it happened last September, almost a year ago from the start of the season. If he’s healthy, he’s a surefire first-round pick.

#14: ED Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State (Junior)

One of the most fun defensive players to watch in this class, Felix Anudike-Uzomah possesses an elite combination of burst and bend to beat offensive tackles to the corner. He’ll likely put up elite time in the 10-yard split with his speed off the line of scrimmage, and he could put up even more than his 13 sacks in 2022.

What to Look for in 2022: Anudike-Uzomah can lack discipline in the run game, which is problematic for a player who has such a limited strength element. Further growth against the run would help solidify his standing in the first round.

#15: QB Tanner McKee, Stanford (Junior)

Tanner McKee’s career trajectory has been unique, to say the least, and his throwing motion is even more so. However, he showcased smooth mechanics last season with some of the ball placement in the country. McKee’s footwork in the pocket was also often perfect, and he rarely made unforced errors.

What to Look for in 2022: The receiving corps is still very weak at Stanford, and the offensive line still isn’t any good. McKee’s raw numbers won’t be impressive, as a result, but further improvements in consistent accuracy and passing under pressure will help boost his draft stock.

#16: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (Junior)

The fundamentals are so polished in Peter Skoronski’s game, and he consistently shows his understanding of hand usage, footwork, and body control on film. Some scouts will wonder about his fit at tackle or guard in the NFL due to his lack of length, but he’s a Day 1 starter regardless of position.

What to Look for in 2022: Keep an eye out for when Skoronski faces long-arm power rushers on his schedule as he has struggled against that type of player in the past.

#17: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU (Junior)

Quentin Johnston has a 6’4”, 212 lbs frame that he uses to bully smaller defenders at the catch point where he makes the spectacular look routine. Johnston is also a phenom after the catch with a 4.4 40-yard dash speed. I’m looking forward to seeing if his ability to beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage improves this season.

What to Look for in 2022: New head coach Sonny Dyke’s offense should feature Quentin Johnston, even more, this season, and he will likely put up career numbers in 2022. The missing piece in his evaluation is high-level production.

#18: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson (Junior)

Versatility is king at linebacker in the modern NFL, and Trenton Simpson fits the bill with his ability to play all over the formation. With prototypical size and blue-chip explosiveness, Simpson makes highlight-reel plays look easy in every phase of the game.

What to Look for in 2022: With Baylon Spector and James Skalski off to the NFL, Simpson will likely be asked to play more of a traditional stack linebacker role. The strength is there, but can he use it to beat blocks more consistently?

#19: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas (Junior)

There hasn’t been a running back drafted in the top ten since Saquon Barkley, but that might change this season as Bijan Robinson checks every possible box for the position. His elite athleticism, vision, contact balance, and instincts make him a dynamic runner, and his versatile receiving skill set gives him the true ability to be an offensive hub for an NFL team.

What to Look for in 2022: Robinson is possibly getting a significant quarterback upgrade with Quinn Ewers in Texas, and it will be fun to see him deployed even more as a receiver this season.

#20: CB Eli Ricks, Alabama (Junior)

Eli Ricks had more interceptions and pass breakups (eight combined) than completions allowed (six) in press coverage last year, and he has elite ball production capabilities. Ricks shows an incredible understanding of route concepts to make a play on the ball.

What to Look for in 2022: With some likely athletic deficiencies in his game, Ricks will be a player to watch through athletic testing drills next spring. For now, enjoy his ball production ability for another year in the SEC.

#21: DL Siaki Ika, Baylor (Junior)

I’m a sucker for a massive nose tackle who can excel as a pass-rusher, and Siaki Ika fits the bill as he carries around his 350 pounds effortlessly. Ika has surprising range and a quick first step, and he translated it to 23 pressures, eight of which came against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl.

What to Look for in 2022: Can Ika anchor against the run? He flashed exciting pass-rushing upside last year, but there will be lingering questions about his impact in run defense as well as conditioning and ability to be a true three-down player.

#22: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State (Junior)

One of the biggest potential risers on this list, Paris Johnson Jr. is finally getting his shot at left tackle for Ohio State. The former five-star recruit is an elite athlete with exceptional range and fluidity, and he’s a well-respected player off the field.

What to Look for in 2022: After playing solely right guard last year, Johnson switched to left tackle to replace the recently drafted Nicholas Petit-Frere. How he fares in the Big Ten this season will dictate his draft stock.

#23: WR Jordan Addison, USC (Junior)

The reigning Biletnikoff Award winner, Jordan Addison, transferred to USC to play in Lincoln Riley’s offense with Caleb Williams at quarterback. His production should remain elite with his dynamic route running, impressive catch radius, and creativity after the catch.

What to Look for in 2022: Can his ball skills improve? The 11 drops in 2021 were concerning, and he’s scarcely shown the ability to make contested catches with his smaller stature. That might not change in the Pac-12 with how good the USC offense figures to be.

#24: DL Jaquelin Roy, LSU (Junior)

As a true sophomore, Jaquelin Roy was ranked behind only Jalen Carter in PFF’s pass-rush grade among Power Five interior defensive linemen last season. Roy explodes off the line and has excellent lateral agility along with the play strength of a five-year veteran.

What to Look for in 2022: I’d love to see him improve as a run defender this season, particularly with gap integrity and hand usage to control offensive linemen. It would also be great to see his pass-rush repertoire improve with more counters to his game.

#25: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia (Redshirt Sophomore)

As a 2020 five-star recruit, Broderick Jones has been on the radar for this draft for a while, but he has only started four games in his career with tons of offensive line talent at Georgia. Jones has elite physical attributes for the position.

What to Look for in 2022: Jones has been great when on the field, including some impressive reps against Will Anderson Jr. in the national championship. Finally a full-time starter, we’re about to learn a lot about his game. Don’t be shocked if he ends up as OT1 in this class.

#26: ED Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame (Senior)

Isaiah Foskey has a prototypical 6’5”, 260-pound frame and explodes off the line of scrimmage – he reportedly ran a 1.58-second 10-yard split last spring which would have ranked third among edge rushers in this most recent draft class.

What to Look for in 2022: Foskey knows how to use his hands and he has a relentless motor, but his lack of play strength lets him down. I’d love to see him convert his natural strength to pop at the line more often, and adding more of a bull rush element to his game would go a long way.

#27: IOL Cooper Beebe, Kansas State (Junior)

Cooper Beebe is a very fundamentally sound player with excellent hand and eye coordination to utilize his thick frame that’s full of power. He’s also light on his feet and can mirror quite well on the outside, although his best fit in the NFL might be at guard rather than tackle due to his lack of length.

What to Look for in 2022: Beebe has only played 134 career snaps on the interior, so we don’t have a big sample size of his productivity in that role. Will he play more inside this year?

#28: RB Sean Tucker, Syracuse (Sophomore)

There are plenty of talented running backs in this class, but Sean Tucker is the total package as a runner. His track background lends itself to breakaway speed, and his frame is filled out with excellent power to fight through contact. Tucker shows a strong understanding of tempo and displays good vision as he makes the right read much more often than not.

What to Look for in 2022: The next step for Sean Tucker is developing more of a three-down skill set as he can be robotic as a pass-catcher at times, but he should have all of the strength and athleticism to excel as a receiver and blocker.

#29: QB Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (Redshirt Sophomore)

Tyler Van Dyke has a prototypical NFL quarterback frame with a live arm that produces touch and accuracy at all three levels. His touch and anticipation on outside throws are excellent, and he seems to process the field well as he moves through his reads with confidence.

What to Look for in 2022: Van Dyke doesn’t always make the best decisions with the football, and his low interception total in 2021 was padded by defender drops. Let’s see if he can take care of the ball while maintaining high-volume numbers this season.

#30: WR Parker Washington, Penn State (Sophomore)

Among the slot-heavy receivers in this draft class, Parker Washington is perhaps my favorite. He’s built like a running back at 5’10”, 207 lbs, and puts that bowling ball frame to good use in the open field with elusiveness to break tackles. He also has elite hands with only five drops on 105 career catchable targets per PFF.

What to Look for in 2022: With Jahan Dotson off to the NFL, Washington will likely run more routes on the outside. I’m excited to see how he acclimates to more press coverage, and how he produces with an uptick in target volume.

#31: TE Arik Gilbert, Georgia (Redshirt Sophomore)

A former five-star recruit and the fifth-ranked prospect overall in 2020, Arik Gilbert is a superb athlete. He has the strength and physicality to outmuscle defensive backs along with the speed and agility of a wide receiver. Gilbert can line up all over the formation, and he flashes elite ball skills. However, his limited collegiate production is a major limiting factor right now.

What to Look for in 2022: This guy just needs to play football. With only 35 career receptions, we need more proof of concept, but that might be tough to accomplish in 2021 with a crowded Georgia tight end room and a low-volume passing offense.

#32: IOL Andrew Vorhees, USC (Redshirt Senior)

Andrew Vorhees likely could have been a fringe first-round pick in 2021 had he declared, but he likely returned for one last season to play with Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams on the best USC offense in years. With five years of starting experience at left guard and left tackle, Vorhees possesses incredible consistency and fundamentals to go with his leadership up front.

What to Look for in 2022: There’s nothing more we need to see from Vorhees on the field. Likely a better fit for the inside in the NFL, Vorhees is projected to be a full-time starting guard for USC this season.

#33: LB Noah Sewell, Oregon (Sophomore)

Noah Sewell has produced some of the most fun tape to watch in this draft class so far. He’s an absolute freight train in the open field as he takes on blocks with ease, and he displays excellent vision and instincts as a blitzer and in run defense.

What to Look for in 2022: Sewell is still very much a work in progress in coverage, and his ability to build consistency in that regard will dictate whether he makes his way into the first round next year.

#34: S Jordan Battle, Alabama (Senior)

At 6’1”, 215 pounds, Jordan Battle has the size and physicality to play as a box safety in the NFL with the explosiveness to close on receivers and make plays. After a career year as a junior in 2021, Battle returned with hopes to make his way into the first round next April.

What to Look for in 2022: Battle’s best fit in the NFL is likely as a box safety/linebacker hybrid, a position that is growing in usage and importance. For him to be successful in that role, I want to see more in his instincts and anticipation as his timing was inconsistent last season.

#35: QB Will Levis, Kentucky (Senior)

After transferring from Penn State, Will Levis became the starter at Kentucky and put himself firmly on the draft radar. Levis displayed excellent arm talent along with quick processing and good ball placement downfield. While he’ll be 24 before his first NFL training camp, he has attributes that teams look for in the first round.

What to Look for in 2022: At times, Levis bailed on his fundamentals and unnecessarily put the ball in harm’s way due to overconfidence in his arm talent. That won’t fly in the NFL, and he needs to clean it up this year.

#36: WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest (Redshirt Junior)

In Wake Forest’s pass-heavy offense, A.T. Perry put himself on the national radar with 1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021. His massive 6’5”, 205-pound frame makes him a prototypical X receiver, but he has more speed and agility than you’d expect for his size.

What to Look for in 2022: Perry didn’t face a ton of press coverage last year and he surprisingly struggled in contested-catch situations despite his frame. Defenses will play Wake Forest differently this year with Sam Hartman out indefinitely, and it will provide Perry an opportunity to prove he wasn’t just a product of the system.

#37: ED Nolan Smith, Georgia (Senior)

Nolan Smith has a superb athletic background as a former five-star recruit, and it shows up on the football field with his elite closing speed. He’s also a physical run defender with violent hands and excellent lower body strength, and his run defense grade was the third-highest of all Power Five edges last season.

What to Look for in 2022: Smith returned to Georgia for his senior season due to his lack of polished pass-rushing moves. You can’t survive in the NFL as simply a speed rusher, and he needs to display a more diverse pass-rush plan this year to find himself in the first round.

#38: CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse (Redshirt Sophomore)

As a former sprinter in high school, Williams has elite movement skills and an alpha mentality with physicality in pass defense and run support. His short-area burst, change of direction skills, and eye discipline all help him excel in zone coverage.

What to Look for in 2022: A majority of Williams’s coverage snaps have come in zone defense, and it would be great to see him get more experience in the press this season. There are some concerns over his aggressiveness getting the better of him with a lack of control in man-coverage situations.

#39: S Brandon Joseph, Notre Dame (Senior)

Notre Dame scooped up Brandon Joseph in the transfer portal to replace Kyle Hamilton, and they might have back-to-back first-round safeties on their hands. Joseph is excellent in coverage with versatility across different alignments thanks to his excellent instincts and football IQ. His ball production is elite with nine interceptions on 56 targets over the last two seasons.

What to Look for in 2022: Joseph seemed to take a step back athletically from his breakthrough 2020 season as he looked a step slower in 2021, so that’s something to keep an eye on. It impacted his tackling considerably, and if that aspect of his game doesn’t bounce back he might be destined to be solely a single-high roaming safety in the NFL.

#40: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama (Junior)

Still just 20 years old, Jahmyr Gibbs transferred to Alabama from Georgia Tech where he landed despite offers from big-name programs, including the Crimson Tide. Gibbs is dynamic in every phase of the game – rushing, receiving, and returning – with elite vision, speed, and agility. He’ll be a consistent piece of the receiving game for whichever NFL team he lands on.

What to Look for in 2022: A consistent problem at Georgia Tech was Gibbs cutting back and trying to force the big play too often rather than taking the yards in front of him. Now that he’s in an offense where he’s far from the only weapon, he should show more patience.

#41: OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State (Senior)

Dawand Jones has a gargantuan frame at 6’8.5”, 370 pounds, and he’ll be perhaps the largest player in the upcoming draft class. As you’d expect, he’s a mauler in the run game with powerful hands and an aggressive mindset as he bullies defenders in the open field. His lack of range and flexibility will limit his draft stock, however.

What to Look for in 2022: The issues in stiffness and a lack of balance that result from Jones’s massive frame won’t go away overnight, but it would be great to see him progress more as an instinctual player rather than simply reacting to the play in front of him.

#42: S Brian Branch, Alabama (Junior)

Brian Branch is the type of defensive back coaches love with his tenacity and fearless mindset as he seems to love contact despite his smaller stature. Branch closes to the ball very quickly and is such a surefire tackler – he only has one career missed tackle on 82 attempts over two years manning the slot for Alabama.

What to Look for in 2022: Branch is an exciting talent, but consistency in coverage hasn’t been there yet. For NFL teams to buy in on him as their future starting slot corner, he needs to prove to be more capable in that regard this season.

#43: WR Josh Downs, UNC (Junior)

Downs had 1,202 receiving yards in the slot last season, the most among any Power Five receiver, and he highlighted excellent acceleration, change of direction, and nuanced route running. He’s a very high IQ player who picks apart zone defenses and consistently finds open space for the quarterback to get him the ball.

What to Look for in 2022: Can Josh Downs play on the perimeter at all? 95% of his targets came in the slot last season, and with his lack of strength and physicality, there are concerns about his ability to consistently take contact over the middle of the field in the NFL.

#44: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida (Sophomore)

After taking over for Emory Jones midway through last season, Anthony Richardson highlighted attributes that have people buzzing. With a huge 6’4”, 230-pound frame, an incredibly powerful arm, and elite athletic tools, Richardson has incredible untapped potential as a quarterback.

What to Look for in 2022: The range of outcomes is massive for Richardson as he prepares for his first season as a full-time starter. With his physical tools, I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up my QB3 in this class, but he has a lot to prove this season.

#45: RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M (Junior)

In a deep class of running backs, Devon Achane stands out for his trump card of top-end speed that few in the NFL possess. Achane competes on the Texas A&M track teams, and he does a great job of hitting the hole and using shiftiness to create initial separation to utilize that elite speed.

What to Look for in 2022: Achane is far from a complete prospect. He needs to show more than just flashes as a receiver this season, and his slight frame hurts his pass-blocking potential. Achane will need to add muscle to his frame if he wants to be able to consistently break tackles in the NFL.

#46: DL Gervon Dexter, Florida (Sophomore)

Gervon Dexter has a stout 6’6”, 303-pound frame and athleticism to be an impact pass-rusher. His combination of natural strength and quickness of the line make him an alignment-versatile defensive lineman, and he has exceptional traits to build on.

What to Look for in 2022: Dexter’s impact in 2021 was incredibly inconsistent, and he simply hasn’t been able to take advantage of his natural gifts to the level that you’d want to see. He has incredible potential, though, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him solidify himself as a clear-cut first-round talent.

#47: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah (Senior)

A major part of Utah’s breakthrough Pac-12 championship season in 2021, Dalton Kincaid has a well-rounded pass-catching skill set with fluid athleticism, smooth route running, and consistent ball skills with surefire hands and excellent body control.

What to Look for in 2022: Kincaid is still relatively new to football as he only played one year of high school ball, and he still has room for technical refinement in route running. I’d also love to see him add some mass to be a higher-level in-line blocker.

#48: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State (Redshirt Sophomore)

The son of a former All-Pro and Super Bowl champion for the Steelers, Joey Porter Jr. has been working towards an NFL career for his entire life. He has elite length and physicality, and he could be a candidate to move to safety in the NFL. Porter Jr. was a rare player to have success against the Ohio State receivers last season as he held them to just two catches on four targets for 25 yards

What to Look for in 2022: If Porter Jr. is going to last at cornerback in the NFL, he needs to progress further in transitional quickness and anticipation this season, as he lacks the versatility to play off-man and zone coverage right now.

#49: WR Jermaine Burton, Alabama (Junior)

After registering just 901 yards through two seasons at Georgia, Jermaine Burton transferred to Alabama where he will benefit from catching passes from Bryce Young. Burton is consistently open on film and flashes ability as a high-level route runner, and it will be fascinating to see if his potential is realized in a much more pass-heavy offense.

What to Look for in 2022: There are plenty of questions left unanswered due to Burton’s sparse usage to this point, most notably his ability to separate downfield and create yards after the catch. This season will be crucial for his eventual draft stock.

#50: ED Zach Harrison, Ohio State (Senior)

The tools have always been there for Zach Harrison as a former five-star recruit and the 12th-rated player in the 2019 class. However, he’s back at Ohio State for his senior season due to his lack of consistent production to this point of his career. Harrison has an ideal 6’6”, 272-pound frame and reportedly runs a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, but it doesn’t show up on film nearly enough.

What to Look for in 2022: Can Harrison finally be consistently productive? After one or zero pressures in five of 12 games last season, NFL teams had legitimate concerns. Harrison typically has an adequate motor and solid play recognition, making his lack of consistency all the more puzzling. This is a make-or-break season.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

Hot NFL Draft Stories