We’ve spent the last week and a half previewing the 2022 NFL Draft position-by-position, with a feature story on a key player at each position and list of the top prospects. We’ve compiled all the scouting reports into one index for easy review as the draft approaches and plays out this week.
Click to jump to a position:
Listed with name, college, height, weight, and projected round.
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati, 6-3, 211, 1-2
Coming off an impressive two-year run in which he threw for more than 5,600 yards and 49 touchdowns and ran for another 18. Well-built athlete with a strong arm, Ridder plays with confidence. Led Bearcats to the BCS playoffs last season. Leadership skills also shined through during Senior Bowl week. Will need to work on his timing and mechanics — his accuracy comes and goes — but could end up as the best pro in this class.
Malik Willis, Liberty, 6-0, 219, 1-2
After serving as Jarrett Stidham’s understudy for two seasons at Auburn, Willis transferred to Liberty and threw for 5,000 yards and 48 TDs in 23 games. He also rushed for 2,131 yards and another 29 scores. A dynamic athlete with a powerful arm, he makes up for his comparative lack of height with mobility as he can stretch the pocket and make accurate throws on the run. Might need a year of seasoning (though he could contribute in some packages) before he makes a big impact.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh, 6-3, 217, 1-2
Four-year starter threw for 12,303 yards and 81 TDs for the Panthers. Comes from an athletic family; his father was a linebacker at Shippensburg and his mother played soccer at Kutztown. Shows poise in the pocket with nice footwork and a strong, accurate arm. Wore gloves on both hands, and his comparatively small hands (8.5 inches) were a bugaboo for some scouts, but it didn’t seem to affect his throws during the season or during Senior Bowl week. Might be the most NFL-ready field general of this class.
Matt Corral, Mississippi, 6-2, 215, 2-3
Highly competitive leader who would run through a brick wall for his teammates — and they’d follow him. Underrated athlete with a live arm and excellent instincts. Threw for 8,287 yards and 57 touchdowns in 37 games (27 starts) for Lane Kiffin’s offensive juggernauts. Also rushed for 1,338 yards and 18 TDs. Suffered an ankle injury early in the Sugar Bowl but should be good to go for minicamp.
Carson Strong, Nevada, 6-3, 226, 3-4
Tall, strong pocket passer with a live arm. Can zip passes into the tightest windows but also puts a nice touch on the ball when he has to. Threw a school-record 299 consecutive passes without an interception. Finished his career with more than 9,000 yards passing and 74 TDs in 31 games. Not a threat to run at all; he has minus-305 yards in that category.
Best of the rest: Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky (6-0, 215); Sam Howell, North Carolina (6-0, 218); Jack Coan, Notre Dame (6-3, 218); E.J. Perry, Brown (6-2, 211); Brock Purdy, Iowa State (6-1, 212).
Trey McBride, Colorado State, 6-4, 246, 2
Strong and athletic, he is the most pro-ready tight end in this class, displaying strong blocking and receiving skills. Extremely reliable, he had just six drops and one fumble in four seasons (40 games). Acquitted himself well against excellent competition during Senior Bowl week. Collected 140 passes for 2,100 yards for his career despite playing in a run-first offense.
Greg Dulcich, UCLA, 6-4, 243, 2-3
Superb athlete with good speed and hands. His deceptive acceleration often surprises defenders and leaves them flat-footed. Flashes nifty shiftiness to make defenders miss; he’ll rack up a ton of yards after catch. Is a marginal in-line blocker and likely will need to add bulk and refine his techniques to help out in the run game and pass protection.
Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, 6-5, 252, 3
Stats are deceiving with this large man. He had just 54 catches in 47 games, but with the wide receiver talent in Columbus, he was rarely the primary target. Ruckert can catch, though, and could be a better in the pros, where his route tree will be expanded. A very willing and aggressive blocker, he can rag-doll opponents but will sometimes get caught leaning and lose his matchup. Missed the Senior Bowl and Combine with plantar fasciitis.
Charlie Kolar, Iowa State, 6-6, 252, 3-4
Huge target had 168 catches for 2,181 yards and 23 TDs with just 5 drops in 49 career games for the Cyclones. He’s a demon on contested catches, where his height, strength, and concentration allow him to win most battles. Should excel in the red zone. Must work on his run-game blocking to become a reliable every-down contributor. Already earned a mechanical engineering degree and is working on a finance degree.
Jelani Woods, Virginia, 6-7, 253, 3-4
A four-year starter at quarterback in high school, he switched positions during a red-shirt season at Oklahoma State in 2017. Played three seasons with the Cowboys (31 catches) before transferring and catching 44 passes for 598 yards and 8 TDs for the Cavaliers in 2021. Has long arms and good acceleration, making him a tough one-on-one matchup. A willing blocker in the run game, he’ll need to be coached up on pass protection.
Best of the rest: Cade Otton, Washington (6-5, 247); pounds); Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State (6-5, 253); Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M (6-4, 255); Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina (6-4, 245); James Mitchell, Virginia Tech (6-4, 249); Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland (6-2, 238); Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin (6-5, 250); Cole Turner, Nevada (6-6, 249).
Kenneth Walker III, Michigan St., 5-9, 211, 1-2
Was a solid contributor for two seasons before really breaking out in 2021 with 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns on 263 carries. Walker has an explosive first step and runs with the agility to make defenders miss and the power to run them over. Was tops in FBS with 1,168 yards after first contact. Will need to refine his receiving and blocking skills to become an every-down back.
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M, 6-0, 217, 2-3
Possesses the size of a power back and the nimbleness of a speed back. Spiller has good pre-snap recognition and rarely misses a lane. Very durable player, he played 35 straight games for the Aggies, finishing his career just shy of 3,000 rushing yards with 25 TDs. Also had 74 catches for 585 yards. Runs a bit upright, leaving him susceptible to big hits, but he’ll be able to shake that habit.
Tyler Allgeier, BYU, 5-11, 224, 3
Solidly built runner put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, including a 1,601-yard campaign in 2021. He has excellent vision and will string multiple moves together to avoid would-be tacklers. Collected 37 total TDs in 32 career games for the Cougars. Didn’t have a ton of catches (46) but is a natural pass catcher and will get plenty of reps on checkdowns and designed screens.
Breece Hall, Iowa St., 5-11, 217, 3
The two-time consensus All-American rushed for 3,941 yards and a school-record 50 TDs in 36 games for the Cyclones. Has a patient running style somewhat reminiscent of Le’Veon Bell. Will dip his shoulder and drive through defenders and always falls forward. Might be No. 1 on this list if he hadn’t put on so many miles on the tires the last three years (800 touches). Needs to get better at pass protection.
James Cook, Georgia, 5-11, 199, 3
The younger brother of Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook, James is another patient runner who lets his blocks set up and blasts through the openings. Had nearly 300 touches in college and fumbled only twice. Good receiver out of the backfield with 67 catches for 730 yards (10.9-yard average) and 6 TDs. Wasn’t asked to block much and will need to learn that skill.
Best of the rest: Brian Robinson, Alabama (6-2, 225); Zamir White, Georgia (6-0, 214); Kyren Williams, Notre Dame (5-9, 194); Dameon Pierce, Florida (5-10, 218); Tyrion Davis-Price, LSU (6-0, 211); Abram Smith, Baylor (6-0, 213); Snoop Conner, Ole Miss (5-10, 222); Pierre Strong, South Dakota St. (5-11, 207); Keaontay Ingram, Southern Cal (6-0, 221).
Ikem Ekwonu (T), North Carolina State, 6-4, 310, 1
If you’re not familiar with ee-KEHM eck-WAHN-ew, now is a good time to start, because he’s going to be somebody’s left tackle for the next decade or so. Exceptionally light on his feet for a behemoth his size (his backpedal is sublimely smooth), with long arms and active hands that keep defenders at bay. Can maul like an interior lineman, but his athleticism is best suited for tackle. Quarterbacks love him for keeping them safe and running backs adore him for clearing paths. His twin, Osita, is a linebacker at Notre Dame.
Evan Neal (T), Alabama, 6-7, 337, 1
The most versatile player in this group, Neal started at left guard as a freshman, right tackle as a junior (when Mac Jones was his QB), and left tackle last season. Looks like he was crafted in an offensive tackle laboratory with his enviable mix of length, power, and quickness. Consistently lands a violent initial punch, and it’s easier to negotiate the Southeast Expressway than it is to get around him. Detractors (and there’s not many) say he will lean too much, but his balance and technique will be refined at the NFL level.
Trevor Penning (T), Northern Iowa, 6-7, 325, 1
Get this man a deal with IHOP ASAP, because he’s a pancake machine. Possesses superior physical traits and a junkyard dog mentality — just the kind of makeup NFL coaches and NFL QBs love. Didn’t receive a lot of recruitment love out of high school but worked to become a likely first-rounder. It was hard not to notice him at Senior Bowl practices, where he was determined to outwork everybody and made it clear he could play with the big boys. He’s a fluid knee bender who can mirror defensive ends and keep his QB out of harm’s way and can also crash down the line and open running lanes.
Zion Johnson (G), Boston College, 6-3, 312, 1
The latest in a long line of standout big uglies from The Heights. A mobile mauler with excellent size and power, Johnson can stun the initial defender and get to the second level consistently. An incredibly durable player, he saw action in 58 straight games (22 at Davidson and 36 at BC). Worked at center during Senior Bowl week and looked completely at home there. Scouts say he aced his interviews in Mobile, as well.
Charles Cross (T), Mississippi State, 6-5, 307, 1
A superior pass protector who shined in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Sets up quickly and stays square to defenders, relentlessly jabbing and exhausting them into submission. Can shed his initial block and attack at the second level. Once he adds some muscle and bulk and refines his run-blocking skills, he will be a Pro Bowler.
Bernhard Raimann (T), Central Michigan, 6-6, 303, 1-2
A very athletic fella who can pull, trap, and smoothly execute combination blocks. Raimann is very flexible and can mirror defenders flawlessly, acting like a mobile wall as he seals them off. Has the power to be an effective run blocker but will need to add some bulk at the next level.
Kenyon Green (G), Texas A&M, 6-4, 323, 1-2
Another versatile hombre, Green started 35 consecutive games for the Aggies: 17 at left guard (where he projects at the next level), 15 at right guard, 2 at right tackle, and 1 at left tackle. Blessed with quickness, strong hands, and an ornery on-field disposition, he’ll punish defenders at the snap and drive them into submission.
Tyler Linderbaum (C), Iowa, 6-2, 296, 1-2
Started his career in Iowa City as a defensive tackle before switching sides and starting the last 35 games at center for Kirk Ferentz. Linderbaum (that name just sounds like an O-lineman) is smooth and smart. A tad undersized, he’ll put on some size soon. Explodes out of his stance and will engage and redirect defenders. Outstanding on combination blocks where he often delivers a finishing death blow on linebackers.
BEST OF THE REST
Tackles: Daniel Faalele, Minnesota (6-8, 390); pounds); Tyler Smith, Tulsa (6-5, 324); Abraham Lucas, Washington State (6-6, 315); Rasheed Walker, Penn State (6-6, 315); Matt Waletzko, North Dakota (6-8, 312).
Guards: Darian Kinnard, Kentucky (6-5, 322); Sean Rhyan, UCLA (6-5, 321); Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma (6-5, 318); Jamaree Salyer, Georgia (6-3, 321); Lecitus Smith, Virginia Tech (6-3, 314).
Centers: Cam Jurgens, Nebraska (6-3, 303); Luke Fortner, Kentucky (6-4, 307); Dylan Parham, Memphis (6-3, 311); Cole Strange, Chattanooga (6-5, 307); Alec Lindstrom, BC (6-3, 296).
Drake London, Southern Cal, 6-4, 219, 1
Love the Drake. London possesses exceptional length and athleticism, and he actually earned a spot on the Trojan basketball team, though he only played only one season. Naturally, he’s gifted at high pointing the ball, and few can outjump him for contested passes. Caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and 7 TDs last season despite missing the final four games (ankle). London is tough and physical and will block unprepared defenders into submission.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State, 6-0, 183, 1
Explosive release allows him to beat corners from the get-go, and few have the chops or speed to make up for the separation he creates. He has the versatility teams covet. Played out of the slot in 2020 and on the outside in 2021. Finished Buckeye days with 143 catches for 2,213 yards and 23 TDs. Wilson has exquisite body control. Will need to put on a few pounds of muscle, but that won’t be a problem.
Chris Olave, Ohio State, 6-0, 187, 1
Tremendously productive player caught 176 passes for 2,711 yards (a 15.4-yard average, ho hum!) and 35 TDs in 47 games in Columbus. Is a smooth runner with impressive acceleration, route-running skills, and reliable hands. Has the speed and twitchiness to blow the top off defenses. He’s muscular but he’ll get bigger and that will lead to more effective downfield blocking.
Jameson Williams, Alabama, 6-1, 179, 1
Would be at the top of this list if not for a torn ACL suffered in the national championship game. Is on track for a full recovery. Started his career at Ohio State and it’s no wonder why he left. Caught 79 balls for 1,572 yards and 15 TDs at Alabama in his only season as a starter. Blazing speed and uncanny body control allow him to adjust and make all the catches. Dangerous at all three levels and could develop into a Tyreek Hill-like weapon.
Treylon Burks, Arkansas, 6-2, 225, 1
A big-bodied, big-time playmaker, Burks played 32 games for the Razorbacks, collecting 146 catches for 2,399 yards and 18 TDs. He’s a wide receiver thriving in a tight end’s body. Burks has a nice first step, nifty acceleration, and excellent vision and moves after the catch. Most of his college snaps came out of the slot, but he can play anywhere. He plays with power and will fight through would-be tacklers and is a downfield blocking beast.
Best of the rest: Christian Watson, North Dakota State (6-4, 208); pounds); Jahan Dotson, Penn State (5-11, 178); John Metchie, Alabama (5-11, 187); George Pickens, Georgia (6-3, 195); Skyy Moore, Western Michigan (5-10, 195); Alec Pierce, Cincinnati (6-3, 211); Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky (5-8, 178); Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama (6-1, 194); David Bell, Purdue (6-0, 212); Bo Melton, Rutgers (5-11, 189); Romeo Doubs, Nevada (6-2, 201).
Aidan Hutchinson (DE), Michigan, 6-6, 260, 1
Terrorizes offensive tackles with a lethal first step and violent bull rush that would make most matadors run for shelter. Has incredible strength and balance to get low and around blockers. Had a breakout 2021 season, in which he collected 14 sacks. and led Michigan to the national title game. Great bloodlines: His father, Chris, also was a Wolverine lineman. Majority of mock drafts have Hutchinson going No. 1 overall.
Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE), Oregon, 6-4, 254, 1
Another guy with a lightning first step that allows him to employ a plethora of pass-rush moves (the rip, the swipe, the stab, to name a few). Has boundless energy, and it rubs off on his teammates. His feet are always moving. Thibodeaux has strong hands and will rag-doll bigger opponents. Piled up 19 sacks and 35.5 tackles for losses as a Duck.
Travon Walker (DE), Georgia, 6-5, 272, 1
The term “freak athlete” is overused, though it is an apt description of this chiseled, muscular, and multidimensional playmaker. Walker lined up in multiple positions for the nation’s best defense and likely could duplicate that at the next level, where he could be slotted as an edge defender or an inside threat. Flashes power and closing burst whether he’s pressuring the pocket or chasing down runners across the field.
Jordan Davis (DT), Georgia, 6-6, 341, 1-2
A massive mountain of a man, Davis looks the part of an old-school, tough-to-move nose tackle but possesses uncanny quickness and athleticism for a man of his size. He can clog the A-gaps, forcing runners to detour — often into the arms of Davis’s teammates. He is strong like a bull, and once he gets his mitts on a ball carrier, it’s good night Irene.
Devonte Wyatt (DT), Georgia, 6-3, 304, 1-2
Shocker! Another Bulldog makes this list. Wyatt is versatile and powerful beast with exceptional lateral quickness that allows him to fill gaps up and down the line. He can anchor (go ahead, and try to move him) and he can move. Wyatt is a violent striker whether he’s knocking offensive linemen backward or knocking the stuffing out of backs.
George Karlaftis (DE), Purdue, 6-4, 266, 1
Spent his early years in Greece, where he was a standout on the country’s national 16-and-under water polo team. Attributes that training to giving him the discipline to be successful in football after moving to the US when he was 13. Stuns blockers with a powerful punch; his hands are like cinder blocks. Primarily an edge player, he could slide inside at the next level where his quickness could give guards fits. Had 30.5 tackles for losses in 27 games for the Boilermakers.
Jermaine Johnson (DE), Florida State, 6-5, 254, 1
Really came into his own in his lone year in Tallahassee, registering 70 tackles and a dozen sacks to claim ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Started his career at Independence CC (you may remember him from the Netflix series “Last Chance U”) before enrolling at Georgia. Had two nondescript years with the Bulldogs before taking advantage of the extra “COVID” year. Always takes the most direct route to the ball and will land some teeth-loosening hits.
Travis Jones (DT), Connecticut, 6-4, 325, 1-2
A big-bodied bruiser who used to be even bigger; he shed 30 pounds after arriving in Storrs to be a more streamlined and effective defender after playing offensive line in high school. Another throwback nose tackle, Jones is a classic stack-and-shed guy but will surprise with his speed and athleticism. The Huskies haven’t been relevant in a while, but Jones really turned heads during Senior Bowl week.
Perrion Winfrey (DT), Oklahoma, 6-4, 290, 2
This dude’s arms go on for days, and that wingspan allows him to wrap up tacklers up and down the line. Underrated explosiveness out of his stance with a powerful first strike, he can leave blockers shell-shocked. Had 17 tackles for losses in two seasons for the Sooners. Was a standout during Senior Bowl week practices and then earned game MVP honors.
Phidarian Mathis (DT), Alabama, 6-4, 310, 2-3
Hard-working interior bull can be very disruptive with his blend of size, speed, and strength. Excellent discipline, he rarely let a ball carrier off the hook. Played in 55 career games for Nick Saban and registered 24.5 tackles for losses, 10.5 sacks, and 6 passes defensed.
BEST OF THE REST
Defensive ends: Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State (6-2, 250); pounds); Logan Hall, Houston (6-6, 283); Boye Mafe, Minnesota (6-4, 261); Drake Jackson, Southern Cal (6-3, 273); David Ojabo, Michigan (6-4, 250).
Defensive tackles: DeMarvin Demarvin Leal, Texas A&M (6-4, 283); John Ridgeway, Arkansas (6-5, 321); Otito Otto Ogbonnia, UCLA (6-4, 324); Kalia Davis, Central Florida (6-1, 302); Matthew Butler, Tennessee (6-4, 297).
Kyle Hamilton (S), Notre Dame, 6-4, 220, 1
Perhaps the best safety prospect in the last five years, Hamilton is a game changer. Blessed with enviable physical traits (he has length, long arms, and closing speed) and superb smarts (he reads and reacts like a veteran), Hamilton makes plays from sideline to sideline. He has tremendous range in coverage and can also fill the box in the run game. Hamilton did miss the final five games of the season with a knee injury.
Ahmad Gardner (CB), Cincinnati, 6-3, 190, 1
Better known by the nickname “Sauce,” Gardner possesses the ideal combination of size, speed, and strength. Poised to be the Bearcats’ first first-round pick since 1971, Gardner will be an immediate starter as a perimeter corner. His bump-and-run style and ability to be sticky throughout the route will allow him to thrive with clubs that employ a lot of man-to-man coverages. “Sauce Island” will not be a fun place for receivers to visit.
Trent McDuffie (CB), Washington, 5-11, 193, 1
The best hitter to come from Saint John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif., since Nomar Garciaparra. McDuffie is smart, studious, and savvy. He will thrive as a boundary man-to-man corner but can also slip inside as a slot man or into the box in run support. An excellent communicator, his teammates feed off his confidence. Critics will point to his stats (just two interceptions) but that’s deceiving, as quarterbacks often avoided throwing his way.
Daxton Hill (S), Michigan, 6-0, 191, 1
One of the best pure athletes in the class, Hill has incredible range on the back end, allowing him to close quickly and lower the boom on ball carriers. Has enough quicks that some teams may consider him at corner — likely as a slot defender. Can sometimes get lost in the wash when helping out in run support, though he’ll likely add muscle soon, and that should solve that.
Derek Stingley Jr. (CB), LSU, 6-0, 190, 1
Darryl Stingley’s grandson is a speed demon, the latest evidence being his 4.3-ish 40-yard dash at LSU’s pro day. Health is a concern with Stingley, who played in just 10 games the last two seasons after starting 15 as a freshman, when he led the SEC in picks (6) and passes defensed (21). Is very light on his feet and is physical enough to play man-to-man on either side. He has covered some of the best receivers in the country.
Lewis Cine (S), Georgia, 6-0, 199, 1-2
One of the hardest hitters, regardless of position, available in this draft, Cine specializes in landing tone-setting shots. Cine was the 2017 Gatorade Massachusetts Defensive Player of the Year at Everett High. He moved to Dallas for his senior season, where he was tutored, in part, by Deion Sanders at Trinity Christian. An excellent overall athlete, Cine could play multiple roles at the next level (think Patrick Chung).
Jalen Pitre (S), Baylor, 5-11, 198, 2
Played linebacker for three seasons before switching to safety for his final two seasons in Waco. A very active and aware player who finds the ball quickly and will bully and punish ball carriers just because, well, he can. An effective blitzer, he’ll come off the edge or slip into between cracks in the interior to affect the quarterback. Pitre is a takeaway machine; he had three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions last season. He’s a special teams monster.
Andrew Booth Jr. (CB), Clemson, 6-0, 194, 1-2
He and Mario Goodrich formed one of the best corner tandems in the country. Excelled as a zone corner who flashed exceptional closing speed and ball skills. Has the muscle and toughness to land solid blows. Booth is a gambler by nature, so naturally he gets burned from time to time when trying to jump routes. Good NFL quarterbacks will make him pay for that.
Kaiir Elam (CB), Florida, 6-1, 191, 2-3
The son of former NFLer Abe Elam, Kaiir is an excellent athlete who played corner and receiver in high school. Has the versatility to play in the slot and in man and zone schemes and specializes in jolting opponents at the line of scrimmage. Desirable mix of size, speed, and toughness for the position. Had six interceptions and 26 passes defensed in 35 career games.
Gregory Junior (CB), Ouachita Baptist, 6-0, 203, 3-4
Took the Kyle Dugger route — outstanding Division 2 career and a nice Senior Bowl week — to get on NFL scouts’ radars. Displayed the strength to reroute receivers and the mirror skills to stick with them throughout their routes. Has great body control and balance. Could be a special teams contributor right away while polishing his cover skills.
BEST OF THE REST
Cornerbacks: Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska (5-11, 196); Roger McCreary, Auburn (5-11, 190); Kyler Gordon, Washington (5-11, 194); Coby Bryant, Cincinnati (6-1, 193); Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State (6-2, 199); Marcus Jones, Houston (5-8, 174); Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama (6-0, 197); Josh Jobe, Alabama (5-11, 182); Tariq Woolen, Texas-San Antonio (6-4, 205); Mario Goodrich, Clemson (6-0, 176).
Safeties: Jaquan Brisker, Penn State (6-1, 206); Bryan Cook, Cincinnati (6-1, 206); Nick Cross, Maryland (6-0, 212); Kerby Joseph, Illinois (6-1, 203); Verone McKinley III, Oregon (5-10, 192); Smoke Monday, Auburn (6-2, 207); Yusuf Corker, Kentucky (6-0, 203).
Devin Lloyd, Utah, 6-3, 237, 1
He’s wicked smart and will read and react quickly. Lloyd has violent hands and will jolt blockers and punish ball carriers. He moves well laterally and will explode through gaps and can also backpedal and excel in coverage. Two-time team captain with a voracious appetite for film study. Might be a better pro than collegian, and he was a darn good collegian.
Nakobe Dean, Georgia, 5-11, 229, 1
An exceptionally athletic player who runs like a track star, hits like a Mack truck, and could be the best blitzer in this class. Dean (first name is pronounced Nu-KO-bee) has the skillset to be a three-down player as he can pressure the pocket, stack the run, and drop into coverage. Won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top high school linebacker and then won the college version of the award three years later.
Chad Muma, Wyoming, 6-3, 239, 1-2
A real hit machine, Muma (MOO-muh) is a very fluid and explosive athlete who processes information in a flash and gets into opponents’ mugs quickly. Moves well laterally and is a smooth backpedaler, allowing him to make plays against the run and in coverage. He plays with a ton of energy and rarely loses at the point of attack. A Type 1 diabetic, he is an advocate/inspiration for those with the disease.
Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma, 6-3, 248, 2
Smooth operator who is stout in the box and nifty in coverage. Displays great strength and balance, and won’t easily be knocked out of the picture by mobile blockers. His burst and ability to get low and around offensive tackles will allow him to thrive with teams that employ myriad schemes. Started 30 games for Sooners and was an All-American in 2020.
Troy Andersen, Montana State, 6-3, 243, 2-3
Yes, Montana State. One of the most intriguing prospects/athletes in this class, Andersen started 40 games for the Bobcats — 25 at linebacker, 11 at quarterback, and 4 at running back. Earned FCS All-America honors at QB before switching to defense full time. So he’s still a bit raw, but in the right spot (say, Foxborough?), he could be an impact player on defense, offense, and special teams.
Best of the rest: Channing Tindall, Georgia (6-2, 230 pounds); Quay Walker, Georgia (6-4, 241); Christian Harris, Alabama (6-0, 226); Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma (6-0, 226); Terrel Bernard, Baylor (6-1, 224); Aaron Hansford, Texas A&M (6-2, 240); Leo Chenal, Wisconsin (6-3, 250); Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati (6-4, 243); JoJo Domann, Nebraska (6-1, 228); Micah McFadden, Indiana (6-1, 234).