The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, but there are still plenty of highly talented players available. This article will feature my top 20 remaining players as we head into Day 2. For my full big board on the Draft Network, click here. Check out my grades for each team involved in the first-round action as well!
#1: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
My Big Board: 18, CB4 overall
I was surprised that Andrew Booth Jr. didn’t go in the first round, given the positional value of the cornerback position and the cornerback-needy teams at the back of the first round. Booth is a former five-star recruit with excellent size, length, and range. He’s a physical run defender who flies to the football, as well. I believe he fell out of the first round due to his lack of elite athletic traits, inconsistent tackling, and limited ball production at Clemson. Still, he’s a refined man and zone coverage corner who can instantly raise the floor of any defense.
ANDREW BOOTH JUNIOR.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) April 28, 2022
#2: OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
My Big Board: 25, OT5 overall
I’m higher on Raimann than most – the Athletic’s media consensus big board had him as the 39th-ranked player overall. I understand the limitations of his lack of arm length at 32 7/8” and older age at 24. However, his technique is incredibly well-refined for a player who’s only been manning the tackle spot for a couple of years, and he didn’t allow a single pressure in his final six career games per PFF. Raimann may not be the physical road-grading blocker some teams covet, but his movement ability and finesse game are tailor-made for the starting right tackle in a West Coast, zone-running offense.
#3: DE Drake Jackson, USC
My Big Board: 29, DE6 overall
Drake Jackson has steadily risen up my big board over the last couple of months, and any edge-needy team at the top of Day 2 should have their eyes on him. Jackson just turned 21 years old this month and already has a high floor as a designated pass-rusher right away. He bends around the edge with ease with his excellent lateral agility and flexibility, and I love his overall athletic profile. Jackson needs to add more of a strength element to his game to hold up in run defense and be an every-down player, but he’s still early in his developmental trajectory. He has the upside to become the best edge defender in this entire draft.
There's nothing like a Drake Jackson sack. 👊
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) April 27, 2022
#4: WR George Pickens, Georgia
My Big Board: 30, WR5 overall
With the massive run on receivers in the first round, I’m surprised a team didn’t take the plunge on George Pickens. I’m especially surprised the Packers didn’t do so with one of their two picks in the 20s, given their need at the position. According to anonymous executives, Pickens reportedly has some off-field character concerns and didn’t interview well. He was suspended for violating team rules at one point and was kicked out of a game for fighting as a freshman. He’s also recovering from an ACL injury, so perhaps those factors were too much for teams. However, I’d be willing to look past those concerns with his ideal frame for an X receiver, contested-catch dominance, natural hands, smooth route-running, and elite athleticism. Pickens is one of the few receivers in this draft with true alpha potential in the NFL if he can sort out the off-field stuff.
#5: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
My Big Board: 31, QB2 overall
I haven’t been as high as some on Malik Willis, but I was surprised to see him fall out of the first round entirely. With his electric open-field athleticism, Willis is adept at making defenders miss – he had 12 or more broken tackles in four of his 13 games last year, per PFF. Willis also has a cannon for an arm with the ability to make touch passes of 60+ yards downfield effortlessly. However, his performance under pressure suffered immensely, he struggled to make full-field reads, and his accuracy let him down at times. Overall, the upside is worth taking a shot on early on Day 2.
— Liberty Football (@LibertyFootball) April 26, 2022
#6: DT Travis Jones, Connecticut
My Big Board: 34, DT3 overall
I could be convinced that Travis Jones is a better prospect than Devonte Wyatt if not for the difference in competition level. Jones is 22 years old, while Wyatt is 24. Jones also has none of the off-field concerns that Wyatt presents. With his massive 6’4”, 325-lb frame, Jones is a space-eating monster who dominates in the run game with power and length. He also possesses a surprisingly elite athletic profile, and he had a whopping five pressures against Clemson in 2021. Jones can play across the defensive front in several roles and has the all-around game teams will covet at the top of Day 2.
#7: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
My Big Board: 35, LB2 overall
I’m not surprised Nakobe Dean fell out of Day 1 after he didn’t test at the combine – as an undersized linebacker (6’0”, 225 lbs), you have to be a top-tier athlete to make it in the NFL, and he didn’t prove to be at the combine. Dean was protected by the best defensive front in the country and has limited range overall. All that said, Dean’s instincts and downhill explosiveness are impressive, and he has the footwork and agility to be adept in coverage in space. Dean should be one of the top players off the board today.
Nakobe Dean is a HUMAN MISSILE 🚀
LB1️⃣ on PFF’s 2022 Draft Boardpic.twitter.com/10TRlNLTjh
— PFF (@PFF) January 1, 2022
#8: RB Breece Hall, Iowa State
My Big Board: 36, RB1 overall
I don’t typically advocate for using premium draft picks on running backs, but Breece Hall is worthy of a top selection. Hall was insanely durable at Iowa State with high-level productivity through his three starting seasons – his 5.8 YPC was impressive given the team’s bad offensive line and poor quarterback play. Hall’s contact balance and agility led to him having the most broken tackles in FBS over the last three seasons per PFF. He possesses a three-down skillset with his receiving and pass-protection, and he’s an elite athlete with a RAS of 9.96.
#9: WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
My Big Board: 37, WR6 overall
I had Skyy Moore ranked higher than Treylon Burks and Jahan Dotson, so I believe he will be an excellent value for whoever scoops him up on Day 2. Moore may be undersized at 5’9”, 195 lbs, but he plays with a brand of physicality that belies that smaller stature. He’s incredibly elusive in the open field, with 26 missed tackles forced tied for the most in the country per PFF. His release package is refined, and when he had the opportunity to play top competition in Pittsburgh and Michigan, he still held up.
Skyy Moore: 91.6 PFF Grade in 2021…
Highest by a G5 WR since 2016 🐴pic.twitter.com/8Sf9Td8fEY
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 6, 2022
#10: DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
My Big Board: 38, DE7 overall
Ebiketie is only ranked one spot below Drake Jackson in my edge rankings, but they have very different profiles. Ebiketie is much more refined as a pass-rusher, but he also was a late breakout as he didn’t start an entire season until his fifth year. Ebiketie’s hand usage, footwork, and overall technical mastery will help him win off the edge right away despite some lingering concerns about his lack of strength and a first step that lacks consistent explosiveness.
#11 DE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
My Big Board: 39, DE8 overall
Nik Bonitto is yet another undersized edge rusher in this class at 6’3”, 248 lbs, and he might be used as an off-ball linebacker depending on the scheme fit. He’ll be able to make a significant impact with his lightning-quick first step and quick reaction time wherever he lines up. Bonitto had an elite 29% pass-rush win rate last year per PFF – Aidan Hutchinson came in at 25% for comparison – and he will constantly create problems for opposing offenses in the NFL. The only reason he’s not ranked higher is he’s not a scheme fit for every team.
#12: DE Boye Mafe, Minnesota
My Big Board: 41, DE9 overall
The four edge rushers in my top 12 here shuffled around quite a bit as I watched more film and saw their athletic scores come in, and Boye Mafe landed as the fourth in the group. Mafe is a redshirt senior, meaning he’ll turn 24 years old during his upcoming rookie season, and he didn’t have the same refined pass-rushing skillset as the similarly seasoned Ebiketie. Mafe’s 9.91 RAS was second to only Travon Walker in the class, but he lacks an anchor in the run game, and his pass-rush plan, instincts, and footwork need refinement.
Minnesota edge Boye Mafe at the Senior Bowl (per @PFF):
Practice: 92.6 pass-rush grade, 45% win rate
Game: 94.5 pass-rush grade, 41% win rate
now that's seizing the opportunity 💰💰💰 pic.twitter.com/ySsTjW49rp
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 8, 2022
#13: LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
My Big Board: 42, LB3 overall
Leo Chenal is an absolute menace in the middle of the defense as he plays like he was shot out of a cannon at 6’3”, 250 lbs. He pushes offensive linemen backward when he makes contact, and his downhill aggression will make him a fan favorite for whichever team drafts him. Chenal didn’t have an expansive coverage role at Wisconsin, and his range is limited compared to some of his peers in this class, so he’s not for everyone. However, I love his aggressive nature and his 9.99 RAS led the linebacker class this year.
#14: S Jalen Pitre, Baylor
My Big Board: 43, S4 overall
Jalen Pitre was an All-American defensive back last season and was the most productive slot defender in the country. As a fifth-year senior, I’m not surprised he was selected behind Daxton Hill and Lewis Cine, but his versatile skillset isn’t too far behind those players. Pitre has elite short-area quickness with an 87th percentile 6.74-second 3-cone time, and he combines that burst with quick processing and excellent vision. He’s not quite fast enough to be a rangy free safety, but he’s a great fit for teams with base nickel defense and specific slot roles.
#15: CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
My Big Board: 44, CB6 overall
There’s plenty to love about Kyler Gordon’s profile, and there are some talent evaluators who have Gordon ranked over former Washington teammate Trent McDuffie who went in the first round. Gordon’s 9.69 RAS was the best in the cornerback class as he has an impressive blend of explosiveness and agility. Gordon’s discipline and instincts could use work, and his hip tightness is problematic in press coverage, but he explodes to the catch point and has excellent ball skills. He can also be a dynamic run defender from the slot.
Kyler Gordon is a CB prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.69 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 63 out of 2001 CB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/nOurBO7hYK #RAS pic.twitter.com/uq8p9l3Xud
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 26, 2022
#16: RB Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
My Big Board: 44, RB2 overall
Walker exploded last season to the tune of 262 carries for 1,634 yards (6.2 YPC) and a whopping 18 touchdowns in his first year with Michigan State. He has so many ways to win as a runner with power, agility, speed, and elusiveness. Walker’s athletic profile compared similarly to DeMarco Murray, a former 2,000-yard runner, and I see them as having similar profiles. Walker led the country last year in missed tackles forced and carries of 15+ yards per PFF while facing a tough Big Ten conference. Walker’s lack of pass-catching and pass-protection productivity is the big tiebreaker between him and Hall, but both are worthy of early second-round picks.
#17: DE David Ojabo, Michigan
My Big Board: 45, DE10 overall
If David Ojabo hadn’t torn his Achilles at the Michigan Pro Day, he might have been a top 20 pick last night. Alas, that injury has to factor into his evaluation, and it may be wishful thinking to expect him to be available this season in any fashion. For a player who is very new to football and is more of a traits-based evaluation, that’s especially problematic. With only 26 career snaps before 2021, Ojabo came from out of nowhere with 42 total pressures on just 297 pass-rushing snaps last year per PFF.
David Ojabo hitting the Maxx Crosby eurospin on a guy that I think will be a starter in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/OSQokxFaHg
— Mike (@bengals_sans) April 29, 2022
#18: S Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
My Big Board: 46, S5 overall
Another safety checking in here, Brisker had an intriguing background as he transferred from Lackawanna Community College in 2019 and immediately became a big-time playmaker for Penn State. Brisker stands out with an excellent blend of speed, strength, and physicality, and his downhill run defense is easily translatable to the NFL. Brisker is at his best in the box, and his coverage experience is somewhat limited, but it’s easy to see his explosiveness and tenacity projecting to a high-value role in the NFL.
#19: DT Logan Hall, Houston
My Big Board: 48, DT4 overall
Logan Hall already added about 20 pounds to his frame at the combine, and he played at around 260 lbs, so that’s important for the 6’6” defensive lineman. With a 9.39 RAS, Hall showed his elite athleticism, including a 92nd percentile 40-yard dash and 90th percentile 3-cone drill. Hall had an elite 16.5% pass-rush win rate which was among the best for the interior defensive line. There will be lingering questions about his ideal playing weight and role, especially given how high-cut he is. He’s also not proven against top competition. Nonetheless, his athletic traits will be coveted by teams.
#20: LB Troy Andersen, Montana State
My Big Board: 50, LB5 overall
Troy Andersen is one of the most unique prospects in this entire draft as he was an all-conference quarterback and linebacker at Montana State while also playing some running back. With his pristine 10.0 RAS, it’s easy to see why – his closest athletic comps on the RAS site include Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, and Isaiah Simmons. Andersen’s explosive downhill tackling and overall range flash a dynamic skillset for a weakside linebacker, and he has plenty of enticing athletic tools. His processing speed, instincts, and awareness are a work in progress, but his athletic potential could lead to him being a high-level player in several roles.
Couple plays that really highlight Montana State LB Troy Andersen's athletic ability: great closing burst, ability to move laterally, and use his length to wrap tackle. His ten out of ten RAS at the combine is evident on film. pic.twitter.com/MnA3GA5XYy
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) March 28, 2022