Top Betting Picks to Go First Overall in the 2022 NFL Draft

By Dan Vasta in NFL
| August 17, 2021 10:56 am PDT

The 2022 NFL Draft is several months away, but it is never too early to discuss the top players.

Accurately projecting the first selection in the NFL Draft is often a chore. Six of the last seven number one overall selections played the quarterback position. Defensive end Myles Garrett in 2017 was the last non-quarterback to go first overall.

There is a season worth of games in college football first, but there is no time better than the present to project the future top draft pick.

Here are your best bets for the first selection of the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.

Malik Willis (+750)

There is value with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis at the top of the draft.

Many do not even know who he is, but he ranks #1 in my most explosive college football players for 2021 for a reason.

If you think a Liberty passer cannot go in the first round, think again. Do I need to remind you of the latest first-round selections in recent memory?

We have seen several players from the Group of Five become top draft picks.

Recent Non-Power 5 to Go in 1st Round
Player Josh Allen Jordan Love Trey Lance Zach Wilson, BYU
Year/Pick 2018, Seventh 2020, No. 26 2021, Third 2021, Second

Willis is a beast of a runner when he escapes the pocket. He runs over opposing defenders but can also fly by them with his quickness and speed. The Cure Bowl against Coastal Carolina was one of the better games ever between non-Power Five squads.

Willis needs to take care of the ball better in the pocket. He is such a spectacular athlete with the ball in his hands. The Liberty Flames will have an opportunity to play in another spotlight bowl, and they even head to Oxford to take on a Top 25 squad, the Ole Miss Rebels.

Willis has opportunities to shine, and he brings a ton of upside to the gridiron this season.

JT Daniels (+1000)

The Georgia Bulldogs are capable of putting together one of their best seasons in decades. The quarterback play has always been one of the concerns for the program. But winning often cures everything, and JT Daniels could be their best signal-caller in years.

In fact, he enters the new year as one of the top 10 college football players for 2021.

Daniels brings a plus-arm with a great feel to the huddle. He is one of the best players in the country this season.

The Detroit Lions and Houston Texans will need a new player under center to help save their franchise. Matthew Stafford left the motor city in the offseason. Deshaun Watson should be on his way out as well. The franchises in the basement are often the most desperate to reach for certain positions.

Daniels won’t be a reach as the top pick if he leads Georgia back to a New Year Six bowl or the College Football Playoff.

His accuracy and poise are wise beyond his years, and he will be playing against the top competition in the mighty SEC.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (+450)

The Oregon Ducks have had a first-round draft the last two seasons, and Kayvon Thibodeaux, the ferocious pass-rusher will make it a third.

He comes into the new year ranking among the top 5 players in the Pac-12 in 2021.

The Ducks have lacked consistent superstar talents on the defensive side of the ball, but that should all change this season. The current Duck pass-rusher should be their top defensive prospect, seemingly ever.

Oregon has had some nasty defensive enforcers picked early, of course.

  • 2017: DeForest Buckner – 7th overall
  • 2013: Dion Jordan – 3rd overall
  • 2006: Naloti Ngata – 12th overall

There is no denying Thibodeaux when he comes off the edge. He commands the attention of three players, and his quickness and strength make him a nightmare matchup.

Tank for Thibodeaux could be a statement that many bottom-feeding NFL franchises use towards the end of their season. The Duck’s defensive end has the skills to be number one and impact the game right away.

I wish for better value, but he is a near-lock to be towards the top of the NFL Draft.

If he can post gaudy numbers and flash in a few of his spotlight games, he could be atop the entire draft.

He has a rare athleticism that only elite prospects possess. He has Jadeveon Clowney and Julius Peppers type of freakish skills, which means the future will shine bright for him when he comes to the NFL.

Spencer Rattler (+300)

There isn’t a better selection on many folks’ preseason draft boards than this current Sooner superstar quarterback. Rattler is the preseason Heisman favorite, which is nothing new for passers in Norman.

Head coach Lincoln Riley has turned quarterbacks into first-round picks before, and Rattler could be one of the better ones yet. We have seen two recent Heisman winners become the top pick in the NFL Draft, and three are starters at the next level.

  • Kyler Murray – 1st overall in 2019
  • Baker Mayfield – 1st overall in 2018
  • Jalen Hurts – 53rd overall in 2020

Rattler is a lock to be selected early in the 2020 NFL Draft, but will he be the third Sooners passer to go first overall?

I think it is nearly a 50-50 coin flip whether he goes first or slides towards the top five. Rattler is a solid athlete that has improved as a pocket passer. He may not have the quick feet in the pocket as Murray or Mayfield did, but he can still dazzle defenders.

Both Murray and Mayfield have appeared in a College Football Playoff and went a combined 0-3 in the College Football Playoff. There is a chance Rattler can pick up the first-ever CFP victory for the Sooners.

If he picks up a lot of the accolades and shines in January like he did last season, it could be difficult for him to avoid going number one overall.

I envision two quarterbacks going one and two in the NFL Draft. Rattler and the Sooners are favored to win every regular-season game. The benefit of playing for Oklahoma could propel him to the first pick, even if they lose in the CFP for a fifth straight time.

While the odds say he’s a great bet, bettors should always consider the other side of things. Here are a few reasons why Spencer Rattler won’t be picked first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Why Spencer Rattler Won’t Go #1 in the 2022 NFL Draft

There is no denying that Oklahoma Sooners star quarterback Spencer Rattler is special. He put up 28 touchdowns in his first full year as a starter, and has watched Lincoln Riley turn guys like Baker Mayfield, Kyle Murray, and Jalen Hurts into stars. Rattler...

Read More

My Top Bet for 1st Pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Both Rattler and Howell are not as tall as some number one picks, but they sure have the talent to win the Heisman and lead their team towards the CFP.

These odds are splitting hairs for who will go first. Taking a shot on both is recommended, but I prefer Howell. Howell is playing in one of the better offenses in the country, but their team does not have the defense that Rattler and Oklahoma have.

The numbers and ability to shine in terms of production may not be there for Rattler. Howell and the Tar Heels are going to need every point scored.

A potential meeting with Clemson could be epic, but they must get through Miami first. A trip to South Bend against the Fighting Irish would be a primetime game that could set Howell on top of the world.

Winning on the road against Notre Dame has ascended players into the Heisman conversation before, but the scouts will be drooling over Howell even more in 2021.

His ability to drop the ball in the bucket on deep passes is remarkable.

Rattler is a stud in his own right, but Howell is the better pocket passer of the two. He has completed more passes in more games and hasn’t had the benefit of having an all-world offensive coach in the system like Rattler has.

Howell has done most of his production by his lonesome. The Tar Heels are an explosive offense and will get into shootouts. The ability to hit open targets with the flick of a wrist has enamored teams, scouts, coaches, and opposing players. Rattler could be sitting in the fourth quarter, and Howell may shine bright in the clutch.

The season opener in Blacksburg could come down to the wire, and it will require the heroics of the UNC quarterback to save the day. Howell will be a star this season and should hear his name called first in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Pick
  • Sam Howell
    +225

With me on Howell or want to target one of my other best bets for the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft? Head over to the best NFL betting apps now!

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