Quick look at the top 20 college football players eligible for the NFL Draft on the field in 2022

The deadline for college football players to declare themselves for the 2022 NFL Draft has passed, meaning anyone who hasn’t declared themselves back for at least one more season before possibly making the leap. next year.

But what about the players who weren’t eligible to declare themselves for the 2022 draft but will have the opportunity next year? Some of the biggest names in college football last season were ineligible for the draft due to the NFL rule that you must be at least three years out of high school before declaring yourself. With players more physically ready to compete at an earlier age than in the past, we’re seeing more early declarations each season, and today we’re ranking the top 20 players in college football who will be eligible for the draft for the first time after the 2022 season.

Keep in mind that these rankings are not scientific. They’re not based on how NFL teams will view them as prospects, or who is necessarily better. All 20 are great. That’s why they will be faced with a difficult decision in a year.

1. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama: Everything Young did in his freshman year as the Alabama starting quarterback won a Heisman Trophy and led the Crimson Tide to an SEC championship, passing for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns in the process. He will enter the 2022 season as a favorite to win as the Heisman winner while leading the favorite team to win the national title. Oh, and he will also be considered as a possible No. 1 overall pick.

2. CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State: Stroud will stand with Young when it comes to NFL Draft analysts as they debate between which is the better future pro. Although Stroud did not win the Heisman or the Big Ten, he was second nationally in passing efficiency while throwing for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns. He will once again lead one of the most prolific offenses in the country next season and should continue to post monster numbers.

3. Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama: Although he was not selected as a defensive lineman to be Heisman’s finalist – it was Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson – many will tell you that Anderson was the best defensive player in the country. Some might tell you that, if eligible, he would be the first pick in the 2022 draft. No matter what anyone tells you, though, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with, finishing as the national leader. for sacks (17.5) and tackles for loss (34.5) while completing 102 total tackles. He will be in the conversation as the first pick in the 2023 draft.

Will Anderson could make his case as the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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4. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State: If the Rose Bowl was your introduction to Smith-Njigba — welcome! He’s not going to catch 15 passes for 347 yards every game, but the fact that he did it on New Year’s Day didn’t come as a huge surprise to those who had seen him before. In a team full of NFL wide receivers — both Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave could make the first round this spring — JSN was the most talented. He led the team in reception and will be the favorite to win the Biletnikoff award next season. He will be considered the best receiver on the board by many NFL teams.

5. Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia: The national champions had more talent on their defensive line than would reasonably be allowed. Jordan Davis received Heisman votes for his ability to clear an opponent’s rushing offense, but he probably wasn’t even Georgia’s best defensive lineman. That honor belongs to Carter, who will be one of the few survivors of Georgia’s victorious defense of the national title.

6. Kelee Ringo, BC, Georgia: Ringo is another vestige of this Georgian defense. You might remember him as the guy who made the sixth title pick against Alabama, showing us just how much vertical Georgia coach Kirby Smart has. It’s the game that will be remembered the most, but Ringo was fantastic throughout the game – and the season – for the Dawgs. Corners like Ringo get bigger every year, and any defense that has one is off to a great start.

7. Eli Ricks, BC, Alabama: The rich get richer. Ricks was one of the most talented corners in the country last season, and now he’s transferred to Alabama after starting his career at LSU. Adding a near-out-of-the-box future pro to your depth chart should be nice. Ricks has missed LSU’s last seven games but has had a great 2020 season and is extremely talented.

8. Bijan Robinson, RB, TX: If a running back wins the Heisman in 2022, it will be Robinson. The former five-star rookie earned those five stars for all the reasons he showed on the field, as he rushed for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games last season. He’s also a threat in the passing game, catching 26 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns.

9. Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss: Evans is well traveled and extremely talented. Evans played for TCU in 2021, rushing for 648 yards and five touchdowns in six games. He is now bringing his talents to the SEC, where he will play for Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss. He’s the kind of big-play threat that should thrive on the Rebels’ offense.

10. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame: Every offense in the country wants a tight end game nightmare — someone who can block in the running game but is also quick and athletic enough to beat linebackers, safeties and corners in the passing game. Meet Mayer. He’s been label-hit Baby Gronk, as are so many young tight ends, but Mayer has the potential to live up to it. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound giant caught 71 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Michael Mayer would be a welcome addition to any NFL offense looking for a tight end point guard.

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11. Clark Phillips III, BC, Utah: The former four-star recruit was a big win for Coach Kyle Whittingham and the Utes on the recruiting trail, and he’s paid big since. Phillips’ ability to cover and assist against the run has been a big part of Utah’s overall success, and it will continue to be a reason NFL teams consider him a possible No. next level.

12. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama: Gibbs is the fourth Alabama player on this list, and he is the second not to have played for the Crimson Tide last season! Gibbs was one of Geoff Collins’ big early recruiting wins at Georgia Tech, but he decided that moving to Alabama to replace Brian Robinson was the smart thing to do. I don’t blame him. Gibbs will provide Alabama with another useful offensive weapon for at least one more season, and he’s poised to explode into national prominence next year.

13. Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson: Brent Venables may have left Clemson, but some of the monsters he helped create on the defensive line remain. Murphy was a bright spot in a tough year for the Tigers in 2021, finishing with seven sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick. He’s a disruptive force that will be a first-round pick next year.

14. Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson: From a pure talent standpoint, I would have Bresee ranked above teammate Myles Murphy and much closer to the top five on this list. There’s a reason Bresee was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. Unfortunately, Bresee only played four games this year before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. While I’m confident he’ll return to full strength and live in the opposition’s backfield again in 2022, I’m taking a more conservative approach to this injury-based ranking. But, seriously, he’s a monster and one of my favorite players to watch.

15. Jordan Addison, WR, Pitt: Kenny Pickett is gone, but Addison will return to the Panthers next season. That’s great news for Pitt, as Addison has felt like the team’s entire offense in 2021 at times. Not only did he lead the team with 1,593 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns, but he’s also a threat in running play and special teams. Addison is the kind of jack-of-all-trades that you know will one way or another end up with the Kansas City Chiefs.

16. Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami: Van Dyke was a latecomer to the 2021 season, as he didn’t take the starting position in Miami until the end of September. But he took the job and ran with it, finishing with 2,931 passing yards and 25 touchdowns while improving as he became more comfortable on offense. Although he’ll have to learn a new offense in 2022, Van Dyke is one of the many reasons Miami fans will step into confidence next season, and he could fight his way into the No. 1 draft pick.

17. Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M: Achane is one of those players that most casual college football fans don’t know, but if you know, you know. He’s not tall, which could hamper his future in the NFL, but he’s a lot of fun. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Achane is a scoring threat every time he touches the ball — whether as running back, lined up at receiver, or on special teams. You don’t often see defenders gaining ground on him.

18. Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon: Sewell’s brother, Penei Sewell, was a top first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and it could become a family tradition in 2023. Sewell led the Oregon defense with 114 tackles with four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Sewell and a healthy Justin Flowe in 2022 will give the Ducks a set of linebackers that will be the envy of the rest of college football.

Noah Sewell will be looking to follow in his brother’s footsteps as the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick.

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19. Will Rogers, QB, Mississippi State: It’s gotten a little too easy to dismiss Mike Leach’s quarterbacks as system players because of the offense they play in and the number of short, easy pitches, but don’t let that put you off from Rogers’ ability. Although he may not have a howitzer strapped to his right shoulder, he has enough arm strength to perform the throws demanded of him and a softer touch than most of his larger arm counterparts. strong.

20. Josh Downs, WR, NC: Much of North Carolina’s 2021 season has been a disappointment, but not Downs. He continued to be everything you could ask of a receiver, leading the team with 101 receptions for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns. Downs also assists on special teams, and few others match his abilities with the ball in his hands.

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