As the 2021 season begins, those of us with dynasty squads that are perhaps long shots to contend this season might already have one eye looking ahead to 2022.
As rebuilding dynasty teams try to position their rosters for future success during this 2021 season, it is important to know what is coming in terms of incoming talent in 2022, so that we can make smart positional decisions in how we are building our rosters.
Even those with win-now dynasty rosters will want to be aware of what to expect with next year’s rookie class.
It’s way too early, but here is my 2022 Superflex Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft:
1.01 – QB Malik Willis – LibertyEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Houston Texans, No. 1 Overall
While many experts have had UNC’s Sam Howell or OU’s Spencer Rattler penciled in as the top two picks in 2022 for some time now, I predict Willis, with his superior physical gifts, to rise all the way up to the top by the time the 2022 NFL Draft rolls around as NFL teams usually bet on raw talent and high ceilings.
The word scouts use to describe Willis is “explosive.” Whether we’re talking about his rocket launcher of an arm or his insane burst and change-of-direction skills when he’s on the run, Willis is an exciting athlete to watch. He will need to work on his decision-making as a quarterback as well as his accuracy and ability to read defenses, but whichever NFL team drafts him will undoubtedly take the gamble that they can coach those things into his game.
In this mock, Houston takes Willis with the first overall pick, where he will have the likes of Brandin Cooks (assuming they can rework his contract) and Nico Collins to throw to — in addition to his own rushing upside for fantasy — which will elevate Willis to the 1.01 in Superflex rookie drafts.
1.02 – QB Spencer Rattler – OklahomaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: New York Giants, No. 2 Overall
Rattler, at 6-1, 205, doesn’t have the physique of a typical NFL pocket passer, and he isn’t the dual-threat athlete that Willis is, but Rattler shines when he gets outside of the pocket where he displays great ability to throw on the run, something he will need to do plenty of playing for the New York Giants.
Possessing plus arm strength and the improvisational skills we’ve mentioned, many consider Rattler to be the top QB prospect in the class. I predict he will put up big numbers at Oklahoma this season with a loaded offense going up against Big 12 defenses.
The Giants are picking No. 2 in this dynasty rookie mock draft, in large part, due to my lack of confidence in Joe Judge as a head coach. Additionally, stars like Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay — who both had injury-riddled 2020 seasons — have already missed significant time this preseason. And after those players, the Giants aren’t exactly bursting at the seams with top end talent.
Looking for in-depth info on Rattler? Check out our Spencer Rattler Scouting Report.
1.03 – QB Sam Howell – North CarolinaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Detroit Lions, No. 3 Overall
Howell is another popular candidate to go first overall based on his production at UNC, but I have him sliding a bit based on the fact that he was surrounded by NFL talent on offense in running backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter and wide receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome.
UNC’s offense was said to be pretty simplistic as well, and so there will be questions about how NFL-ready Howell really is despite the narrative based on his production in college. That being said, Howell has very good downfield accuracy, and while he is never going to be mistaken for Lamar Jackson, Howell does possess enough mobility to get outside the pocket and can throw pretty well on the run once he’s there, much like Rattler.
Outside of T.J. Hockenson and maybe D’Andre Swift, there isn’t a lot of high end talent for Howell to throw to yet (unless Amon-Ra St. Brown impresses as a rookie), so Howell slides to 1.03 in this mock.
Looking for a more in-depth scouting report on Howell? Our Ben Perrin has you covered.
1.04 – RB Isaiah Spiller – Texas A&MEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Arizona Cardinals, Early Second Round
At 6-1, 225, Spiller has the size and power that dynasty owners and NFL front offices drool over at running back. The list of his exciting attributes doesn’t end there, however, as Spiller has the vision and ability to pass protect, which will help him avoid that dreaded “two-down-thumper” label that many bigger backs are faced with.
Landing in Arizona — where both Chase Edmonds and James Conner are unrestricted free agents after the 2021 season — will make Spiller a wildly sought-after commodity in rookie drafts as the likely 1.01 in non-Superflex leagues.
Visions of teaming up with Kyler Murray in the same backfield will surely vault Spiller into the elite stratosphere of young dynasty assets right off the bat. We will see whether or not the Cardinals elect to pair Spiller with a smaller satellite-type back, perhaps in the form of bringing Chase Edmonds back for 2022. If not, the sky is the limit for Spiller in Kliff Kingbury’s offense.
Looking to get in-depth info on Spiller? We’ve got a detailed scouting report available for you.
1.05 – RB Breece Hall – Iowa StateEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Miami Dolphins, Mid-Second Round
The Dolphins reportedly were going to select RB Javonte Williams with the 36th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft before the Denver Broncos leapfrogged them with a draft night trade to take the former UNC runner. This year, Miami gets their guy to anchor their backfield and give QB Tua Tagovailoa the support he needs. A talent like Hall landing in a spot like Miami will result in him going very high in rookie drafts, I predict.
On the field, Hall is probably the most well-rounded back in this class, displaying good athleticism, long speed, contact balance, vision and instincts on his way to a mammoth 2020 season, scoring 20 touchdowns and leading the nation in yardage.
The 6-1, 215 Hall is undoubtedly going to be in contention to go 1.01 in non-Superflex rookie drafts in 2022. I predict Spiller narrowly edges him out for that honor, but there will likely be much debate between those two players, even as their NFL careers officially unfold next year.
We’ve got our Breece Hall Scouting Report for you as well.
1.06 – QB Carson Strong – NevadaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Washington Football Team, Mid-First Round
Strong is more of a traditional 6-4 pocket passer with a quick release and very good arm talent as well as impeccable mechanics. For the QB purists out there, Strong is your guy. Additionally, Strong has demonstrated that he is well-versed in handling pre-snap reads, making protection calls and changing plays at the line, all things that bode well for NFL success.
The small-school label as well as the tendency to force throws into coverage and questionable pocket awareness at times might ding Strong’s draft value in the eyes of some. And while he can move around a little bit within the pocket, he will not offer the same rushing upside as Willis or even Rattler or Howell.
Washington, however, provides a very nice landing spot towards the back half of the first round with the likes of Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown as weapons. The Football Team, after relying on Ryan Fitzpatrick to care-take for a season, finally grab their franchise quarterback, and in Superflex leagues, I expect managers to pull the trigger on Strong right after those top two running backs are off the board.
Check out the Carson Strong Scouting Report here!
1.07 – WR Garrett Wilson – Ohio StateEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: New Orleans Saints, Mid-First Round
The first wide receiver off the board, both in the real life NFL Draft and typical dynasty rookie drafts will be Wilson, the 6-foot, 188-pound Buckeye.
Wilson just jumps off the screen when you watch him because of his “suddenness.” He changes direction incredibly fast and without much deceleration in his route breaks, and he is talented with the ball in his hands as well. His production as a freshman and breakout as a sophomore bode well for his NFL success as well.
The Saints badly need help at the position, especially if Michael Thomas’ future in New Orleans is in doubt. Despite the uncertainty at quarterback, Sean Payton’s name brand seems to help with the fantasy values of all Saints players.
Be sure to check out the Garrett Wilson Scouting Report, too!
1.08 – RB Zonovan Knight – N.C. StateEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Late Third Round
Knight will be a lot of experts’ darkhorse to be the top rookie running back in 2022, and there’s good reason why. Knight blends good size (5-11, 210) and a physical running style with good instincts and vision to find the correct holes, and he explodes through daylight when he does find those lanes.
One of the more complete backs in this draft, late-third round draft capital is all that is keeping his dynasty stock lower than Spiller and Hall.
Landing with the Bucs — where both Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette are free agents after 2021 — will help Knight’s draft stock stay secure in the first round.
1.09 – RB Zamir White – GeorgiaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: New York Jets, Mid-Third Round
White, a former 5-star recruit who was ranked the No. 1 running back in the nation coming out of high school, has prototypical size at 5-11, 215, and has shown the ability to play with workhorse physicality and decisiveness.
Durability, injury history and questions about his ability to play on third down drop him down below the elite tier of this RB class, but landing in New York will interest many dynasty managers because I predict we will learn in 2021 that Michael Carter is best used as a secondary weapon out of the backfield as opposed to a true workhorse, and with mere fourth round draft capital invested in Carter, the Jets won’t be scared to use another 2022 pick on a guy like White to handle early downs.
1.10 – WR Treylon Burks – ArkansasEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Kansas City Chiefs, Late First Round
As more and more teams seem to gravitate towards smaller, quicker route-running technicians at wide receiver nowadays, a player like Burks becomes even more of a unicorn. At 6-3, 225, Burks is an absolute unit. Possessing hands so big, he had to have gloves custom made while starring at Arkansas, he is able to pluck balls out of the air with ease.
In addition to being big and physical, Burks also runs with impressive fluidity and speed for someone of his size. Watch his tape, and there will be plenty of times he catches the ball and you expect defenders to converge upon him, but he simply runs by them, apparently surprising them with his deceptive speed.
He lands in a dream scenario in Kansas City, as the Chiefs elect to add some size to their receiving corps. I have him as the third receiver drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft, but landing with Patrick Mahomes will see him rise up dynasty draft boards.
1.11 – WR Drake London – USCEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Detroit Lions, Late First Round
With one of the draft picks the Lions got in exchange for Matthew Stafford from the Rams, Detroit elects to give their new rookie quarterback a big-bodied target to throw to on the outside. T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift are a nice start, but moving forward, the likes of Tyrell Williams (though underrated as a fantasy asset in 2021), Breshad Perriman and Amon-Ra St. Brown at receiver are not going to cut it.
London is 6-5, and boasts the sort of high-pointing, contested catch ability you would expect from someone of that size, but the USC product is also very shifty and elusive to boot, making for an incredibly exciting player profile whether you’re a Lions fan or a fantasy footballer.
I predict London and Burks will be very closely ranked and hotly debated leading up to rookie drafts, but Burks finishes with slightly higher ADP due to the Kansas City/Mahomes effect. Lions fans won’t be disappointed, however, as I believe London profiles as a true No. 1 receiver.
1.12 – WR George Pickens – GeorgiaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Indianapolis Colts, Mid-Second Round
George Pickens is a first round talent, but a recent ACL tear in March clouds his draft status.
When healthy, Pickens — the son of former Bengals receiver Carl Pickens — is extremely fun to watch in contested catch situation, routinely contorting his body or “Mossing” a defender by high-pointing the football in traffic.
Obviously, the ACL is likely to derail Pickens’ 2021 season, and there’s no telling what that will ultimately do to Pickens’ draft stock, but I predict Indy won’t be able to pass him up in the second round. Pickens and Michael Pittman on the outside with Paris Campbell inside would be an exciting young trio of targets for Carson Wentz.
2.01 – RB Kyren Williams – Notre DameEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Houston Texans, Early Fourth Round
Williams does not have a workhorse physique at 5-9, 195, but he does play running back, and dynasty drafters will always reach for running backs because of the scarcity at the position, especially when the landing spot is an ambiguous one like Houston.
David Johnson, Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsey are all unrestricted free agents after 2021, so Houston could very well be one of the juiciest RB landing spots by 2022.
Williams is very dynamic with exceptional short-area burst and agility. In space, he is even better, using his vision and long speed to turn small openings into huge chunks of yardage.
2.02 – QB Kedon Slovis – USCEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Pittsburgh Steelers, Late First Round
I’m predicting something of a bounce back season for Big Ben in 2021, and so in this mock, he’s back for one more season with Pittsburgh taking Slovis with the intention of sitting him for a season.
Teams will love Slovis’ intangibles, leadership and football IQ, and the Steelers fit the profile of a franchise that would value those attributes. His ball placement and mechanics are also very clean.
There are some questions about his arm strength, and the fact that the plan would be to sit him for a full season, Slovis falls to the top of the second round in Superflex drafts.
2.03 – TE Jalen Wydermyer – Texas A&MEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Jacksonville Jaguars, Early Second Round
We’re all hoping Tim Tebow will eventually just go away. Please… please, just go away.
Wydermyer, at 6-5, 255, is a physically imposing prospect, and he uses his body very effectively as both a receiver and a blocker. His versatility should earn him early playing time with very few situations in which he would need to come off the field.
He would provide Trevor Lawrence that big-bodied presence over the middle of the field when his deep primaries aren’t open.
2.04 – WR Chris Olave – Ohio StateEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: New England Patriots, Mid-Second Round
Olave was a hot name in draft circles early last year, and it was surprising to many when he elected to return to Ohio State for the 2021 season after the success he and Justin Fields had for the Buckeyes together.
Olave has average size at 6-1, 190, and does not excel at any one particular area of the game but is the prototypical “does everything well” receiver. Coincidentally, Bill Belichik loves those types of players who aren’t flashy but can do everything asked of them and who play with high football IQs.
In dynasty rookie drafts, the more exciting athletes at the position like Burks, London and Pickens will rise above Olave in the rankings due to their more special skill sets, but at the end of the day, someone like Olave projects to be a dependable, consistent option for fantasy managers.
2.05 – Matt Corral – Ole MissEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Las Vegas Raiders, Early Second Round
Derek Carr is a solid NFL quarterback, but how many seasons can the Raiders struggle with him under center before they try to draft his replacement? Corral has the skill set and potential to have a Zach Wilson-like ascension this season to rise up draft boards.
Corral doesn’t have elite size at 6-1, 205, but more and more modern quarterbacks are excelling at that size these days. What Corral does possess is excellent touch on his passes as well as the ability to drive the ball into tight windows. He’s also more than capable as a runner, showing surprising suddenness and elusiveness on the ground.
Turnovers in college and good but not great arm talent are areas of concern, but overall, Corral reportedly is an intriguing name amongst NFL front office people as we head into 2021. I predict if Corral landed on the Raiders, there would be enough intrigue to push him up here in the early second round of rookie drafts.
2.06 – WR David Bell – PurdueEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Green Bay Packers, Late Second Round
A few years ago, an early draft pick spent by the Packers on a receiver would have resulted in way more hype and excitement. Now, in 2022, with QB Aaron Rodgers’ future beyond 2021 in doubt, David Bell’s stock as the new Packers No. 2 receiver is lukewarm at best.
Bell still has a bright future despite the questions surrounding the quarterback situation in Green Bay. Showing excellent body control and ball-tracking, Bell also has good long speed, making him someone who projects as a very good receiver at all three levels in the NFL. He is the type of receiver that a quarterback can simply put the ball in his vicinity, and there is a good chance Bell will come down with it.
2.07 – RB Jerrion Ealy – Ole MissEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Atlanta Falcons, Mid-Fourth Round
I am a believer in Mike Davis. I think he will succeed as the RB1 in Atlanta in 2021, and so I don’t believe Atlanta will be drafting a running back in the first two rounds in the 2022 NFL Draft. That being said, I think they need to improve their stable going forward since Mike Davis will be 29 years old heading into 2022.
The 5-9, 190-pound Ealy is an explosive athlete who excels once he gets into space, and he would team with Davis to make a very nice duo for the Falcons. Additionally, Ealy’s contact balance and ability to “get skinny” as he’s navigating holes between the tackles makes it possible that he could shoulder the load as a 1A option in a committee or even take on a larger role in the right offense.
Atlanta remains one of the landing spots dynasty managers have their eye on moving forward due to Davis’ age and the fact that many were surprised that the Falcons handed him the keys to their backfield unopposed leading up to 2021. Despite only having fourth round draft capital, I believe plenty of drafters will be excited to add him to their teams.
2.08 – WR John Metchie III – AlabamaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Chicago Bears, Mid-Third Round
A bit of a slide for the top Alabama wide receiver in the class, a distinction that usually brings with it early first round draft capital. Metchie is deserving of being picked early due to his speed and route running ability, but a relatively strong receiver class pushes him down to the third round, and thus, his dynasty value takes a bit of a hit here, especially with the expected development of Darnell Mooney and a long term extension for Allen Robinson.
Metchie will need to demonstrate he can win in contested catch situations more often in 2021 to shed the reputation that he’s too much of a finesse player, but with Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith gone, he will get the chance to be the centerpiece of that Crimson Tide passing game this year.
2.09 – WR Justyn Ross – ClemsonEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills, Late Fourth Round
Ross was on his way to being a lock as a first round draft pick, but a congenital fusion and bulging disc discovered after a spring practice collision put his football future in doubt. After spinal surgery, it remains to be seen how Ross responds and if he is indeed completely healthy.
Before the injury, Ross was a dynamic target for Clemson, and actually led the team in receiving even with Tee Higgins on the same field. His frame and catch radius are his best attributes, which helped him to record 25.5 yards per catch during Clemson’s most recent National Championship season.
I could foresee Ross going much earlier than this (both in the actual NFL Draft and in rookie drafts) if he makes a triumphant return in 2021, but for now, that’s obviously up in the air, and there will be plenty of dissecting and debating once NFL Pre-Draft time rolls around.
2.10 – TE Jahleel Billingsley – AlabamaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys, Late Second Round
Billingsley is an Irv Smith clone. Less than typical length and mass for the position, but a versatile pass catcher who can operate from multiple spots in the formation. At 6-4, 230, he will certainly create some mismatches as a receiver and will enjoy plenty of soft coverage with the likes of CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper drawing attention in the passing game.
Second round draft capital is very good for a tight end, and Dallas obviously has a very attractive offense to be a part of, but I think Billingsley’s dynasty draft stock will be capped by the fact that the Cowboys have so many mouths to feed. Perhaps the departure of Cooper or Michael Gallup, or both, would help Billingsley, but that all remains to be seen.
2.11 – QB J.T. Daniels – GeorgiaEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Atlanta Falcons, Mid-Third Round
Much like Houston did with Davis Mills in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Falcons throw a dart here and hope to catch lightning in a bottle, or whatever cliche you want to use. Contractually, Matt Ryan’s final season in Atlanta looks like 2022, and someone like Daniels could get the first crack at replacing him after sitting and learning for a year.
Daniels is a former 5-star recruit, and is proficient at the cerebral part of the game according to scouts. His arm isn’t elite, but it’s very good, and he has experience under center, which NFL teams like. There are questions about his pocket presence, and he takes way too many sacks, but perhaps a year under Ryan could help in some of those areas.
2.12 – RB C.J. Verdell – OregonEmbed from Getty Images
Projected NFL Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills, Late Fifth Round
Bills fans have to appreciate how the team is adding weapons to help out Josh Allen now that he’s signed a new contract. Verdell, with his stocky build and fearless running style, profiles into an NFL runner who probably isn’t going to be a 20-carry workhorse, but definitely someone who can succeed in Buffalo’s high-powered offense.
Assuming Zack Moss lives up the hype he is garnering in training camp, Verdell would come in to battle with Devin Singletary to complement Moss. Depending on how good of a season Moss has, the thought amongst dynasty managers might be that Verdell has an outside shot at the starting job. Verdell would need to improve his pass protection for that to happen.
3.01 – WR Jalen Tolbert – South Alabama
3.02 – QB Desmond Ridder – Cincinnati
3.03 – WR Romeo Doubs – Nevada
3.04 – RB Trey Sanders – Alabama
3.05 – WR Chris Autman-Bell – Minnesota
3.06 – WR Frank Ladson – Clemson
3.07 – RB Tyler Goodson – Iowa
3.08 – WR Jahan Dotson – Penn State
3.09 – TE Cade Otton – Washington
3.10 – WR Jadon Haselwood – Oklahoma
3.11 – WR Ty Fryfogle – Indiana
3.12 – RB Mohamed Ibrahim – Minnesota
Who do you have going first in 2022 rookie drafts? Let us know your top players! Join the conversation and drop a comment below!
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Your typical know-nothing wannabe who never played American football growing up, Andrew grew up playing the REAL football, dreaming of being the next Ronaldo (the Brazilian one).
One fateful day in 1998, Andrew was introduced to one, Randy Moss, who would almost singlehandedly vault American football to the forefront of a young twelve-year-old’s flimsy attention span.
Twenty-some years later, Andrew, now a father, coach and rabid Tottenham supporter, still loves both footballs.