Is it 2022 NFL draft season already? Well, sort of. To kick off Week 1 of the college football slate, ESPN senior draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay talk you through all of the teams and prospects you should be watching this week and this fall, because draft season never stops for them.
You should have already studied up on their preseason rankings -- here's Kiper's Big Board and McShay's top 50 prospects -- but they're here to answer 10 big questions for every football fan. Could a non-quarterback be the No. 1 pick? Which quarterbacks after Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell do you need to know? Who are the under-the-radar prospects who could rise? And what's the deepest position in the class of 2022? We have you covered.
Kiper & McShay will update their rankings and check in on the biggest topics often throughout the season. Be honest: How many of you knew who Zach Wilson was at this time last year? Things change quickly when you're scouting college prospects. And finally, McShay's next mock draft is set for mid-December, with the ESPN Football Power Index projecting the Texans to pick No. 1 next April. Let's get into the questions.
Is there a clear No. 1 overall prospect in the 2022 class?
Kiper: There's no Trevor Lawrence in this class, no surefire top guy. My highest-graded prospect -- right now -- is Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. He's the prototype NFL teams want from their pass-rushers, a 6-foot-5 defensive end in the mold of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, who both were No. 1 picks. Where do you have Thibodeaux, Todd?
McShay: He's No. 4 in my early rankings, and he's a phenomenal pass-rusher. But I would actually lean toward Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler at No. 1 right now. He has all the tools to be a franchise QB, from his mobility in the pocket to his big arm and quick release to his ability to make off-platform throws on the move.
Kiper: I'm a big fan of Rattler's game -- he's No. 2 on my Big Board. His arm talent is elite. Really excited to see him in Year 2 as a starter.