football Edit

Comparing top 2022 prospects to college, NFL stars: Nos. 1-10

The class of 2022 player rankings were recently released and it got us interested in comparing these stars of tomorrow to college and NFL standouts of today. We have been breaking them down 10 at a time this week, and today we close out the series with the top 10.

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MORE 2022 COMPARISONS: Nos. 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

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No. 10 Kam Dewberry

Overview: Dewberry played left tackle during his sophomore season, and the 6-foot-4, 313-pound prospect dominated physically, especially in pass protection. He uses his hands well, he drives people to the ground and if he continues to develop over the next two years he could be even more dominant. LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Ohio State and others are involved.

Comparison: Jedrick Wills, Alabama

Farrell’s take: Dewberry is an agile offensive lineman who could play guard or tackle, and he has a similar reset and similar feet to Wills. His upside is that high, as Wills was one of the best in the country at the college football level.

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No. 9 Luther Burden 

Overview: Burden is a threat all over the field, whether on short passes and making people miss or stretching the field and winning with his size over smaller cornerbacks. He’s also a basketball player, and that athleticism should only benefit him more on the football field. Oklahoma, Ohio State and many others remain involved.

Comparison: Laquan Treadwell, Ole Miss

Farrell’s take: Burden is a thick and physical receiver with good hands and solid speed, just as Treadwell was out of high school. The first-rounder didn’t blossom as a pro, but he was very good in college.

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No. 8 Julian Armella  

Overview: The big 6-foot-6, 300-pound prospect played all across the offensive line in his sophomore year. He went from left tackle to left guard to right tackle, and he dominated along the way. He is excellent in pass protection, he can get to the second level to block and he’s trimmed up with not much bad weight on him at all. His father played at Florida State, but Miami and Alabama are also heavily in pursuit.

Comparison: Alex Boone, Ohio State

Farrell’s take: Boone didn’t pan out as well as many expected, but he was still a very good player and carved out a solid NFL career. Armella reminds me of Boone, because he’s so physical and nasty.

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No. 7 Travis Shaw  

Overview: Shaw is 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, but he’s not just a space eater. The five-star has a variety of moves to cause havoc in the backfield. First, Shaw is an excellent bull rusher who can just overpower interior offensive linemen. But he can also stand up and rush off the edge and his closing speed is surprising. Clemson and North Carolina are battling it out but Georgia, Tennessee and others will be involved.

Comparison: Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

Farrell’s take: This comparison is obvious because Shaw is a tall, athletic defensive tackle who plays with great leverage and hails from the same stage.

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No. 6 Quinn Ewers  

Overview: Texas landed a major commitment when it got Ewers, who not only put up huge statistics in his sophomore season but also has the complete package to be something really special in the Longhorns’ offense. He can throw the deep ball, he can drive the ball into tight spaces, he can throw on the run and he can keep plays alive without panicking. Ewers also can find open receivers downfield and put touch on the ball when needed. Ewers has a lot in his toolbox and as he gains weight the five-star could be even more special.

Comparison: Drew Lock, Missouri

Farrell’s take: Lock was very smooth and around the same size as Ewers (maybe a bit skinnier) at the same stage, and both see the field very well.

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No. 5 Jaheim Singletary  

Overview: The first thing that stands out about Singletary is his length and just how disruptive he can be for receivers. Much like Elias Ricks in the 2020 class, Singletary has long arms to poke balls away or pick them off, and he can run with receivers even though he’s not a blazer. Because of his physical ability, Singletary can close and make it tough on offenses. He can also turn around and make highlight plays at receiver because of his length. Florida is considered the frontrunner, and Georgia, LSU and others are involved.

Comparison: Al Blades, Miami

Farrell’s take: Blades is starting to come into his own now. His frame and ball skills are similar to Singletary's at the same stage of development.

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No. 4 CJ Hicks  

Overview: Hicks is such an athletic prospect that he stars at outside linebacker but he can play cornerback and special teams and he’s also used as a running back on offense. The Ohio State commit launches himself like a missile to tackle people, he packs a punch on defense and he’s so fast and so physical that he already looks like a college football player on a high school team.

Comparison: Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

Farrell’s take: I originally compared Hicks to Shaq Thompson as a safety who would likely grow into a linebacker but now it’s Smith, who was one of the best cover linebackers in Rivals.com history and a sure tackler.

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No. 3 Denver Harris  

Overview: An argument could be made that Harris is the best cornerback in this class because he has top-of-the-line feet and speed to run with any receiver, he comes up and hits in run support and he has tremendous hands to pick passes off or knock them down. The five-star also does an excellent job of diagnosing plays, trusting his eyes and then coming up to make the tackle. LSU and Texas are battling it out but others are involved, too.

Comparison: Stephone Gilmore, South Carolina

Farrell’s take: Gilmore is high praise, but Harris reminds me of him in many ways as a tall, angular corner coming out of high school with instincts.

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No. 2 Domani Jackson  

Overview: Big, strong and physical, Jackson loves to muscle receivers at the line of scrimmage and then stay right in their hip pocket throughout the route. The No. 1 cornerback in the class never backs down from a challenge. He actually seeks them out to prove he’s the better football player. It’s one of many reasons why USC, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas and many others remain involved. Jackson has said Michigan was his dream school growing up.

Comparison: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Farrell’s take: Fitzpatrick is like a Swiss Army Knife who can play all over the field, and Jackson is very similar. He also has that size and length you want.

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No. 1 Walter Nolen  

Overview: Nolen lines up inside and outside, sheds blockers with his violent hands, he’s super aggressive pursuing the ball carrier and the No. 1 player in the country has a non-stop motor to keep making plays and grind down offensive linemen. His high school coach is Marlon Walls, who played at Tennessee, so the Vols are going to remain in the picture throughout his recruitment. Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and others will be in the mix, too.

Comparison: Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

Farrell’s take: Richardson was one of the most athletic defensive tackles I’ve ever seen, and Nolen is right up there. He could easily play end, but he is so effective on the interior.