The Heisman Trophy is college football’s biggest honor, but will the winner be a future first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Every year the Heisman Trophy is given out to the best player in college football. The award is voted on by 870 media members, split evenly between six regions of the country – Far West, Mid Atlantic, Mid West, North East, South, South West.
In addition to the media voters, every living winner of the Heisman Trophy is entitled to a vote. The only exception is Reggie Bush, who was stripped of the honor and lost voting rights as a result. The one remaining vote is cast by the fans based on public balloting.
Each voter chooses the player they feel has been the best, the second-best, and the third-best and those players are given three, two, and one point respectively. The player with the highest number of points once all votes have been cast is the winner.
As expected, the Heisman Trophy winner is often taken early in the draft. Despite the differences between college football and pro football, it’s rare that a player who was the best in the country as an amateur isn’t at least competent once they reach the NFL. Since 2000, just two winners haven’t started a game in the NFL and both (Eric Crouch and Jason White) had serious injury concerns.
Since 2000, 16 of the 21 winners have been drafted in the first round. Three of the first four winners since that point weren’t drafted in the first round but 15 of the last 17 have been. The two that weren’t were Troy Smith, the undersized Ohio State quarterback taken in the fifth round, and Derrick Henry, who has since made 31 general managers regret letting him fall to the second round.
Who will win the 2021 Heisman Trophy?
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is the current favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Unfortunately for any teams looking for a QB in the 2022 NFL Draft, Young isn’t draft-eligible for another year. He looks certain to hear his name called early in the 2023 NFL Draft, though.
C.J. Stroud, the Ohio State quarterback, is currently rated by bookmakers as the second most likely player to win the award. As a redshirt freshman, he is also unable to enter this year but will be in the conversation near the top of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Kenneth Walker III, the Michigan State running back, is third-favorite at the moment and is in contention to be the top running back selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. The last time that a running back wasn’t drafted in the first round was 2014 when the Tennessee Titans made Bishop Sankey the highest-drafted with a second-round selection. If Walker can win the Heisman Trophy then he’d likely hear his name called on day one.
The final player to mention is currently the fourth most likely to win the Heisman Trophy and that’s Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Corral is enjoying his best season yet and has been a top 10 pick in the two most recent mock drafts on With The First Pick, both from myself and Garrett Ballard.
As you can see, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner may not be a part of the 2022 NFL Draft class, but whoever he is will likely hear his name called in the first round when he does choose to turn pro.