As many prospects were able to make a significant leap in 2022 and propel their draft stock in a big way, on the other side, there were some players who weren’t able to take an additional step forward, ending up hurting their stock.
As a reminder, you can find my top 10 rankings for every position here:
- Running Back
- Wide Receiver
- Tight Ends
- Interior OL
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive Tackle
Running Back, Ole Miss
During the summer, Evans decided to transfer from TCU, where Kendre Miller was also rising as a 2023 prospect, opting to join Ole Miss. It was assumed that Evans would become the focal point of Lane Kiffin’s creative offense. However, true freshman running back Quinshon Judkins ended up being the most trusted and productive player in the backfield, and ended up with the much better season both statistically and from the eye test.
Evans was still able to display his best traits throughout the season, but he didn’t have many “secured” touches at his disposal on a weekly basis. Evans, in my eyes, is still a clear top-5 running back in the upcoming draft class, but instead of having a Jahmyr Gibbs-caliber season that could have push him into late day 1, early day 2 conversation, he will probably be a mid-to-late day 2 selection.
Wide Receiver, Ohio State
Smith-Njigba was considered a surefire top-10 pick (wrongly, in my opinion) at the end of an historic 2021 season in which he set all-time Ohio State records, now, after sitting out for basically the whole 2022 season, he’s considered a borderline round 1 prospect. Smith-Njigba couldn’t do much to improve his situation though, as he was sidelined with multiple hamstring injuries.
Even though some teams will be lower on the Ohio State product and maybe don’t consider him first round material, I’m still expecting him to hear his name called in the first round, probably in the mid to late range. But even with a slightly above average season, Smith-Njigba would have been a top-10 selection next April.
Andre Carter II
Edge Rusher, Army
Over the summer, Carter was considered by most a borderline top-10 prospect for the 2023 draft, coming off a 15.5 sacks season in 2021. Unfortunately for him, 2022 saw a dip in production for the 6'7" senior against relatively mediocre competition.
After last season, I wasn’t particularly high on Carter, as I saw him as a quite raw prospect, a one-trick pony who mainly relies on athleticism. After this season, he confirmed my previous thoughts. It’s kind of a wild-card predicting where he will be selected, but I’m still expecting some teams to fall in love with his tools and invest a rather significant pick on him.
Ringo entered the season with some doubts about his consistency and technique, and the 2022 has done nothing but confirm both of those doubts. Ringo wasn’t tested much during the season, but when he was tested by opposing passing attacks, he wasn’t consistent at all.
The 6'2", 210 lb. corner has impressive physical and athletic tools that will probably still make him a top-10 pick, but instead of locking down the race to be the best cornerback prospect, he kept it wide open with players like Joey Porter Jr. and Christian Gonzalez moving into the mix. Ringo has great upside but his future team will need to work on him.
Defensive back, Alabama
Moore started off his college career with a big-time true freshman season in 2020, then proceeded to take a step back in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. By the end of this season, he had moved down the depth chart enough that he was just a rotational player.
Moore hasn’t been able to go back to his old form this season and I’m now expecting him to get selected somewhere on day 2. He has solid tools and technique and could easily become a productive NFL player, but his draft stock has decreased every season after his true freshman campaign.