The Falcons will have to nail the 2022 NFL Draft, just like they had to nail the 2021 Draft. We’ve seen the Falcons take an interesting approach in the draft under this new regime, targeting high-character and older players who fit the scheme they want to run.
However, this isn’t a ranking for the Falcons; this is my ranking for the entire NFL. About halfway through the college football season, I figured I’d take a stab at ranking some of these players that I have my eye on early in the process. I’ll probably do one of these after the season, then before the draft after the combine, Senior Bowl, and my film study ends. I’ll do the defense early next week, so be on the lookout for that.
QB1 Matt Corral, Ole Miss
QB2 Carson Strong, Nevada
QB3 Malik Willis, Liberty
QB4 Sam Howell, North Carolina
QB5 Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
QB6 JT Daniels, Georgia
QB7 Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
QB8 Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
QB9 Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
QB10 Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
Outside of the top three, I’m not a big fan of this quarterback class. Corral and Strong have unique arms, and Corral has some solid athleticism that reminds me of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Malik Willis has a strong arm and is an electric athlete. I see the upside in the rest of these guys, but they need some work.
Sam Howell reminds me of a toned-down Baker Mayfield, and Desmond Ridder is loaded with potential. If JT Daniels can stay healthy, he has high upside as a pocket passer — same for Kenny Pickett. Spencer Rattler throws a tight spiral, but he could benefit from another year in college. I like the upside of Grayson McCall and Jayden Daniels as project quarterbacks.
The Falcons need a future quarterback at some point, but I’m not sure how many of these guys will end up being top-ten picks.
RB1 Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
RB2 Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
RB3 Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
RB4 Breece Hall, Iowa State
RB5 Eric Gray, Oklahoma
RB6 Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
Isaiah Spiller is so dynamic, and I think he’ll be the easy wire-to-wire RB1. The following five guys are tough, physical runners that can become feature backs in an NFL offense. You can cut RB2-RB6 any way at this point, and I wouldn’t have many disagreements. The Falcons could scoop one of these guys with one of their second-round picks, but they have more pressing roster needs to fill.
WR1 Treylon Burks, Arkansas
WR2 Chris Olave, Ohio State
WR3 Jameson Williams, Alabama
WR4 Jahan Dotson, Penn State
WR5 John Metchie, Alabama
WR6 Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
WR7 George Pickens, Georgia
WR8 Drake London, USC
Like with the running backs, Treylon Burks is the only guy I have firmly in the top spot. The rest are all splitting hairs at this point, and I don’t think there’s much separation. I do believe Jameson Williams will fly up draft boards before long, along with Jahan Dotson. George Pickens is the wild card; he could easily sneak into the top three if he comes back from injury and plays well for Georgia.
TE1 Jahleel Billingsly, Alabama
TE2 Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
TE3 Jalen Wydermeyer, Texas A&M
TE4 Josh Whyle, Cincinnati
TE5 Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State
TE6 Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
There’s no Kyle Pitts in this class, and nobody has separated themselves from the pack yet. Jahleel Billingsly has been the most dynamic thus far, but Jalen Wydermeyer probably has the most potential.
OT1 Evan Neal, Alabama
OT2 Trevor Pinning, Northern Iowa
OT3 Jaxson Kirkland, Washington
OT4 Charles Cross, Mississippi State
OT5 Thayer Munford, Ohio State
Big Evan Neal has a chance to be the first pick in the draft. He is a ferocious blocker in the run game and can clean up the best of them in pass sets. Watch out for Trevor Pinning; I think he could sneak his way into the top ten as well. His former teammate and a guy I liked in the 2021 Draft, Spencer Brown, is already starting for the Bills.
Interior Offensive Linemen
IOL1 Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
IOl2 Darrian Kennard, Kentucky
IOL3 Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
IOL4 Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
IOL5 Zion Johnson, Boston College
IOL6 Alec Lindstrom, Boston College
This is a talented group, and with Kaleb McGary and Jalen Mayfield looking shaky to start the season, the Falcons could target someone here — especially with Green and Kennard having tackle flexibility. Both will likely be better guards in the NFL. Tyler Linderbaum is a plug-and-play starter at center, and he looks to be the “safest” player in the draft. I’m a big fan of Ikem Ekwonu as a plug-and-play starter as well. Chris Lindstrom’s little brother, Alec, could rise up draft boards, along with his teammate Zion Johnson.