With the college football season now at its halfway point, it’s finally time to start looking ahead to the 2022 NFL Draft and the most promising prospects in this year’s class. Even though it lacks some caliber quarterbacks, the 2022 class is expected to be full of generational defensive talent, especially in the likes of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Kyle Hamilton, in what could be one of the most intriguing recruitment in recent years.
The 2022 Draft will be the 87th edition of the recruitment and is scheduled to be held in Paradise, Nevada, at Allegiant Stadium, on April 28-30, 2022. The league awarded the upcoming draft to the city of Las Vegas as a form of compensation, since the 2020 Draft, which was originally scheduled to be held there, was forced to take place via video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NFL fans can start placing wagers on the upcoming No. 1 pick – and even claim special offers at https://betoclock.com/betrivers-affiliate-code/ to do so – as sportsbooks have started offering odds for the 2022 NFL Draft. Ahead of the second half of the college football season, Kayvon Thibodeaux is the favorite to be selected as the No. 1 pick, at -110 odds, with Kyle Hamilton, Aidan Hutchinson, and Evan Neal also among the favorites.
Kayvon Thibodeaux – Defensive End – Oregon
A Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, with All-Pac-12 first-team honors and the MVP of the 2020 Pac-12 Football Championship Game, Kayvon Thibodeaux is a force to be reckoned with in this year’s class. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end has been showing a lot of potential in his first draft-eligible year, with one of the best pass-rush grades in the country, and is poised to be the first non-quarterback No. 1 pick since Myles Garrett in 2017.
In three seasons with the Oregon Ducks, Thibodeaux recorded 86 total tackles, 14 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He can play at both right and left defensive end, combining power and acceleration as an unstoppable pass-rusher. With good coaching, Thibodeaux can certainly be a playmaker in the NFL.
Evan Neal – Offensive Tackle – Alabama
A starting member of the team that won the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship, Evan Neal is one of the biggest offensive talents in the Crimson Tide squad. On almost 500 snaps this season, the 6-foot-7, 370-pound right tackle has only allowed eight total pressures and not a single sack.
With a rare blend of size and athleticism – which is not that common for the position – Neal has excelled at different positions in the offensive line, even though he doesn’t fill up stat sheets. A dominant player in the making, Neal is projected by many analysts and specialists to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft.
Kyle Hamilton – Safety – Notre Dame
Named an Associated Press Mid-Season All-American, Kyle Hamilton has been turning heads this season and is projected to be a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. Through Notre Dame’s first six games of 2021, Hamilton recorded 32 total tackles, 18 solo, and three interceptions, as a versatile safety who can play anywhere in the field.
So far in the 2021 season, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound safety has played 88 snaps in the box, 232 at slot corner, six at outside corner and 118 at free safety. With this kind of defensive prowess, Hamilton will definitely be an immediate upgrade to any defensive unit who selects him come April 28.
Derek Stingley Jr. – Cornerback – LSU
Even though he’ll probably miss the remainder of the season due to a surgery on his injured foot, Derek Stingley Jr. is projected to be a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. He won a national championship in his freshman year, leading the Southeastern Conference with six interceptions and 15 passes defended, while being honored as a consensus All-American.
A prolific playmaker, he is regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the 2022 class, combining the skill, speed, and length to play in press-man coverage. Stingley Jr. is also a versatile defender, who can play outside, in the slot, and occasionally at safety.
Aidan Hutchinson – Defensive End – Michigan
One of the biggest strengths in the upcoming draft is the edge rusher class, and Aidan Hutchinson certainly contributes a lot to that. This 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior for the Wolverines has been unstoppable this season, with 24 total tackles, 17 solo, 6 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble through six weeks.
His productivity this season made him rise from a fringe top-50 player to one of the best prospects in this year’s class. Combining size and athleticism, with strong hands and above-average footwork, Hutchinson can wreak havoc as a run defender, while still having good pass-rushing skills.