Here’s an early look at the 2022 NFL mock draft top five picks, guaranteed to be selected on day one of the NFL draft. We are almost at the finish line and heading into the college football playoffs, so some of the top prospects will have major decisions to make about their playing careers = risking injury, or sitting out games down the stretch. We’ve seen players scrutinized for putting their financial freedom and professional careers over collegiate athletics. The fact is, in a physical and brutal sport where one minor injury can ruin your career. the players have every right to turn pro after a few games – ultimately making the best decision for their livelihoods.
Here’s my Top 5 NFL draft prospects going into the 2022 NFL Draft.
1.Kayvon Thibodeux (Oregon, DE, 6’5, 258 lbs.)
Kayvon Thibodeux has been considered the number 1 pick in the 2022 NFL draft since the 2021 season ended. Despite injuring his ankle earlier in the season, the Chuck Bednarik award finalist (which honors the top overall defensive player in all of college football), is the first player since the 2007 season to record 9 tackles and 2 sacks in a game. In 25 career games Kayvon has 31 sacks for a loss, including 16 sacks. His agility is second to none, which gives him the ability to drop back in coverage and wreck havoc against the run.
2. Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU, CB, 6’1, 190 lbs.)
There’s no doubt about shutdown corner, Derek Stingley Jr., coming off the board here at number two. Injuries have kept the top corner off the field this season, but his tape and skill-set sets him apart from any other skill position on the defensive side of the ball. Can he stay healthy is the question. Pro-days, NFL combine and individual team workouts will be pivotal for Derek due to his inability to stay healthy and on the field/. Durability is the main issue for teams considering investing millions into a prospect that’s missed a numerous amount of games in his collegiate career.
3. Evan Neal (Alabama, 6’7, 350 lbs.)
Standing 6’7 and 350 pounds, this agile and athletic specimen has played left guard and right and left tackle for the Crimson Tide, which not only demonstrates his willingness to be versatile, but gives teams options at playing him in different schemes/ formations. During 206 pass attempts this season, he’s allowed one sack. Evan could slide to number two depending on how desperate teams are willing to trade up for his services.
4. Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame, 6’4, 220 lbs.)
The All-American safety hurt his knee earlier in the season versus USC, which has hindered his availability. Hamilton has been on record stating this injury won’t end his career for the Fighting Irish, but some have already speculated that he will shut himself down for the remainder of the season – not taking the risk of losing out on millions in the draft. Kyle is a ball-hawk, who can cover side line to side line in a glimpse. His size gives him the ability to lay the boom on bruising backs. Hamilton has shown he is not afraid to make contact when Brian Kelly (Notre Dame head coach) has played him at linebacker. His game resembles Jamal Adams/ Minkah Fitzpatrick.
5. Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan, 6’6, 260 lbs.)
2022 is the draft for defensive players and Wolverine edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson is ranked top-5 in the country, according to PFF power index. Already surpassing his sack total from a year ago, Aidan has six sacks on the year with five games left on the schedule. Hutchinson is very athletic competitor who wants to get to the quarterback at all cost. He’s the main reason Michigan’s defense has made a complete 360 this season. Don’t be surprised to see him slide into the top three.