NFL Draft: Former GM Randy Mueller Reveals Final 2022 Position Rankings

Randy Mueller

Getty Washington CB Trent McDuffie (left) & former NFL GM Randy Mueller (right)

Randy Mueller, the 2000 NFL Executive of the Year, brings over 30 years of experience in the football business, including stints as the general manager of Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. With Heavy, Mueller breaks down the NFL from a front office perspective. You can follow Randy on Twitter @RandyMueller_

Most over-rated prospect: Liberty QB Malik Willis — Has skills but lacking in pocket feel and anticipation from a just over a 6-foot frame.

Most under-rated prospect: Washington CB Trent McDuffie — Didn’t run fast in his 40-time so people are sleeping on him.

Riskiest pick: Cincinnati CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner — Breaks the mold as a 6-foot-3 corner?

Favorite player evaluation: Tie: Utah LB Devin Lloyd and Boston College G/C Zion Johnson — Complete skill sets for their positions and guys I’d love to have on my team.

Team most likely to make noise: New Orleans Saints — Two first-round picks and an aggressive front office.

Team with most to gain: New York Jets — Year four for the front office, they still lack top-level talent and should get plenty in the first two rounds this year.

Team with most to lose: Carolina Panthers — Will they have consensus on a QB or take the best player available at No. 6?

Top-10 Overall Prospects in the 2022 Class

1. DE Travon Walker, Georgia

  • Most complete skill set of all front-7 players
  • Weighs 265 pounds but has feet and agility of smaller and power and strength of bigger

2. OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

  • Fits any scheme as an outside linebacker
  • Best pure pass rusher in the 2022 draft

3. DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

  • Relentless and consistent motor and drive to go with quickness and technique
  • Will build and change the culture in any locker room

4. OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State

  • The best athlete of the OTs: Top-notch bend and recovery balance
  • Technique can be raw at times but has untapped potential because of it

5. OT Evan Neal, Alabama

  • Size, power and strength to engulf defenders
  • Has played both OT spots and could probably play OG as well

6. LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

  • Versatile player with positional flexibility and very good football instincts
  • Explosive athlete with unrefined pass rush potential

7. WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

  • Very smooth and polished player who plays at a pro level already
  • High football IQ who is always open

8. WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

  • More explosive but not as refined with ball skills and routes as Olave
  • Lots of upside and can really run

9. QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

  • Productive, consistent and has run a pro offense at Pitt
  • Checks all the boxes for size, arm strength, accuracy and anticipation

10. CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

  • Has a complete tool box of technique and athletic ability
  • His reactions and timing to play the ball are consistent/best in the 2022 group


Top 5 Quarterback Prospects

1. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (6032)

  • Checks the boxes for height, weight and speed
  • Most accurate in and out of the pocket 
  • Very good anticipation and instincts

2. Bailey Zappe, Western Carolina (6004)

  • Processes information and manipulates coverage from the pocket
  • Accurate with a quick release
  • Has arm strength to make all the throws
  • Lacks ideal height

3. Malik Willis, Liberty (6004)

  • Has the strongest arm of the group, from inside and out of the pocket
  • Dynamic athlete for the position
  • Inconsistent accuracy
  • Will hold the ball and lacks NFL anticipation

4. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (6033)

  • Checks size and experience (50 starts) boxes
  • Can make “wow” throws but very inconsistent accuracy
  • Has patience and can anticipate
  • Will need refinement in fundamentals but has starter upside

5. Matt Corral, Mississippi (6015)

  • Has poise, anticipation and excels under pressure
  • RPO-dink and dunk offense in college
  • Can avoid rush but inconsistent accuracy on the run
  • Deep throws are non-existent 


Top 5 Running Back Prospects

1. Zamir White, Georgia

  • Difference-making burst and home run speed
  • Legit three-down player who can catch and block in passing game
  • Risk is two ACL injuries already

2. James Cook, Georgia

  • Slashing, one-cut style with very good vision
  • Hits hole with explosive burst (6.4 YPC)
  • Upright running style might limit his power between the tackles

3. Breece Hall, Iowa State

  • Ran fast on the clock (4.39) but doesn’t always equate on tape
  • Has natural body control and vision for the position
  • Has soft hands and can adjust to catch outside his frame

4. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

  • Very sudden and makes defenders miss
  • Not a big guy: Prefers to bounce outside the tackles when possible
  • Going to need the right scheme at the next level

5. Brian Robinson, Alabama

  • Has size, is tough and shows a willingness to pass block
  • Longer frame, more one-cut style
  • Very good on third downs as route runner and receiver


Top 5 Wide Receiver Prospects

1. Chris Olave, Ohio State

  • Most polished combination of ball skills and route running
  • Has natural feel for coverage and getting separation
  • Advanced skill set with production that transfers to NFL easy

2. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

  • Eats up a cushion of defender fast-explosive athlete
  • Plays to the 4.38 40-speed and should be a deep threat
  • Slightly more raw as route runner than Olave, but that’s splitting hairs

3. Treylon Burks, Arkansas

  • Plays faster than his timed 40 and plays “big” (6020 / 220)
  • Limited route tree at Arkansas should equate to big upside in NFL
  • Attacks contested balls: Compares to AJ Brown or Mike Evans in style

4. Jameson Williams, Alabama

  • Ohio State transfer where he played behind Olave and Wilson
  • Has explosive straight line speed but raw in routes and ball skills
  • Injured ACL in Championship game- likely to miss much of 2022

5. George Pickens, Georgia

  • Production limited in 2021 because of ACL last March, but healthy now
  • Long framed but still very sudden in flashes
  • Somewhat raw, but big upside at the pro level


Top 5 Tight End Prospects

1. Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina

  • Checks all the boxes for size, speed, hands, etc
  • Versatile alignment, a legit matchup nightmare-under radar blocker
  • Body control and play speed, much better than his pro day 40-time

2. Trey McBride, Colorado State

  • Steady and consistent production: Six 100-yard receiving games in 2021
  • Makes all the catches he should in the passing game
  • Average athlete for position and scheme will have to free him up at times

3. Jelani Woods, Virginia

  • Graduate transfer from Oklahoma St. whose most productive year was 2021
  • Rare size (6071 / 253), length and catch radius
  • Must improve on release and separating in tight areas

4. Greg Dulcich, UCLA

  • High football IQ and awareness to coverage
  • Willing as a blocker and consistently competes
  • Might lack top-notch athletic ability to start at NFL level

5. Cade Otton, Washington

  • Better receiver than blocker, but can go outside frame to catch
  • Longer strides do eat up cushion vertically to stretch defenders
  • Limited by offensive struggles at UW, but should be a better pro


Top 5 Offensive Line Prospects

1. OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State (6040 / 310 / 34″ arm length)

  • Best athlete of the tackles and lateral movement to handle the edge in pass pro
  • Size to cover up second-level defenders in run game
  • Nasty finisher but sometimes can be off balance because he’s too aggressive
  • Natural knee bender who is seldom on the ground

2. OT Evan Neal, Alabama (6074 / 337 / 34″ arm length)

  • Size and power on impact top the charts
  • Physical and hard to shed in run game, covers defenders up on impact
  • Can get off balance and lacks ideal lateral agility on an island
  • Not many 6-foot-7 offensive tackles playing in the league

3. OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State (6046 / 307 / 34 1/2″ arm length)

  • Plays bigger than measurables, but size is not ideal
  • Very good athlete who can pull and adjust in space (could play OG in right scheme)
  • Light on his feet and has the balance to recover quickly
  • Good football instincts and IQ: See’s and reacts well to stunts, games, etc.

4. OG/C Zion Johnson, Boston College (6025 / 312 / 34″ arm length)

  • Great frame/well-defined tone and really loves the weight room (intangibles +)
  • Powerful dude who knocks defenders back on impact with nastiness
  • Plays with excellent power angles and engages his lower body consistently
  • Can adjust laterally in pass pro and reacts quickly to stunts and games, smart player

5. OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (6037 / 323 / 34 1/8 arm length)

  • Has very good strength, power and heavy hands-on impact
  • Plays with consistently good pad level and knee bend
  • Has OT experience and could get you through an NFL game there if need be
  • Inconsistent vs. blitz and pass rush games


Top 5 Defensive Front-7 Prospects

1. DE Travon Walker, Georgia

  • Scheme proof skill set gives him alignment in any defense
  • Rare combination of power at the point of attack and speed in pursuit
  • Not an edge rusher in college, but has bend and explosive up-field burst
  • Should be even a better pro player once he settles in a role

2. OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

  • Fits in any scheme as a standup backer who rushes in sub-packages
  • Polished pass rusher with great get-off and natural bend and dip/balance
  • Has strength to set the edge vs. run game and speed to close in pursuit
  • Injury Inconsistent motor at times led to production on paper in 2021

3. DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

  • Fits best as a DE in a 4-man front (LB is a stretch)
  • Gets results as a rusher with quickness and motor
  • Intangibles and work ethic are off the charts
  • Very tall and sometimes leggy in space so pad level is questionable at times

4. LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

  • Production in all aspects of the game and versatility will be huge in the NFL
  • Has instincts and really good nose for the ball
  • Range from sideline to sideline vs the run
  • Underused as a blitzer or edge rusher even though his 8.0 sacks led Pac 12

5. DE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

  • A bit of a scheme fit so probably not for everyone (undersized DE)
  • Has a complete package of pass rush moves when used as edge rusher
  • Consistent motor and speed in pursuit in run game
  • Will have to add some bulk and strength to play on 1st and 2nd downs


Top 5 Secondary Prospects

1. CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

  • Most complete DB for me: Plays all techniques and coverage at NFL level
  • Very smart, reads and reacts like a pro already, consistency +
  • Has fluidity in pedal, transitions and hips that don’t restrict him in any scheme
  • Plays faster than his timed 40 (4.53) because of his anticipation and first-step burst

2. CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

  • Very athletic and has straight-line speed, checks physical boxes
  • Body of work is inconsistent
  • Positive traits come in flashes but he has complete skill set
  • Reactions to routes and in playing the ball are feast or famine

3. CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati

  • Has the best press man-for-man skill set in this group
  • Rare length (6027) and ability to play the ball changes angles
  • Lacks experience in playing other coverage techniques
  • Inconsistent as a tackler and in his transitions

4. S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

  • Rare size and athletic ability for the position
  • Has range from center field and is not stiff in movements
  • Very physical and will be a solid third-down nickel LB if needed
  • Need a leap of faith to see him cover in deep part of the field?

5. CB Andrew Booth, Clemson

  • Has size-speed and can close
  • Tough kid who will tackle and force the run
  • Easy mover in transitions in spite of being high cut in his frame
  • Plays multiple techniques so transition should be easy to next level


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