With Georgia's big win in the College Football Playoff, the 2021 college football season has come to a close. But it's never too soon to look ahead to next season. We're into the beginning stages of the pre-draft process for 2022, and Monday saw the deadline for underclassmen to declare for this year's draft pass. That leaves us with a clear picture of who will be returning to school for another season.
Following that Georgia-Alabama title game, ESPN's Mark Schlabach released his way-too-early top 25 teams for the 2022 season. The top school isn't a new one, as Alabama leads the way at this point. Likewise, the top names on that roster won't surprise either. We've all seen what Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr. can do on a football field.
But beyond that, the top NFL prospects aren't necessarily as clear for every top-25 team. Who are the prospects who could lead each team through the 2022 season and then occupy high spots on 2023 NFL draft boards? Let's take a closer look at some players who could be key contributors on those top-25 teams while also improving their draft stock for the 2023 cycle.
Quarterback Bryce Young
After one of the best quarterback seasons in recent history, the Heisman Trophy winner will be among the leaders to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft. His 87.6 Total QBR ranked second in the nation in 2021, and he threw 47 touchdown passes while leading the Crimson Tide to the national championship game.
Edge defender Will Anderson Jr.
If he were draft eligible this year, Anderson would have been the clear-cut top prospect in this 2022 class. But he'll have to wait a year. Anderson had 17.5 sacks last season and joins Young as prospects who will be in contention for the top overall selection in 2023.
Others to watch: The Crimson Tide once again took full advantage of the transfer portal, adding former LSU cornerback Eli Ricks and Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs to their roster. Both have the potential to finish atop their respective positional draft rankings next year.