The 2022 NFL Draft class wasn’t particularly strong, but these four players have the potential to be the best in the league at their respective positions.
Every NFL Draft has players who prove to be cornerstones to many teams in the league. However, not every draft includes players who turn out to be the best in the league at their respective position. To find this is pretty rare.
The 2022 NFL Draft class wasn’t exactly the most talented group we have seen in years, and next year’s class actually projects as a stronger group of prospects overall. However, there are a few players from the draft this past April who will have a chance to be the very best in the league at their respective positions:
CB Ahmad Gardner
Apart from being a little on the slim side, Ahmad Gardner possesses every tool you could ask for in a cornerback. One if his most impressive traits (and something that can’t be objectively measured) is his confidence.
Combining his swagger with a nearly 6’3” frame, great athletic traits, and the ability to lock receivers down in man coverage could make Gardner the best cornerback in the NFL in just a few short years.
EDGE Aidan Hutchinson
In a league stacked with high-end talent at the edge defender position, it doesn’t seem likely that Aidan Hutchinson is going to become the best in the league at his position, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. Hutchinson was a beast at Michigan, and he strung together an electrifying season as a senior in 2021.
It’s going to be quite the uphill battle trying to dethrone elite players like T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, and the Bosa brothers to become the best edge defender in the league. However, Hutchinson is so young, that he could be entering his NFL prime as some of these guys hit a downward turn. Perhaps 4-5 years from now, we could be viewing Hutchinson as the best edge in the league.
S Kyle Hamilton
The battle for the best overall safety in the NFL right now is pretty wide open. Minkah Fitzpatrick has been a two-time First-Team All-Pro early in his NFL career, but he didn’t have his best season in 2021. Meanwhile, other high-end safeties like Kevin Byard, Marcus Williams, Derwin James, Jessie Bates, and Justin Simmons have each had their ups and downs.
Kyle Hamilton slipped a bit in the NFL Draft because of his relatively slow 40-yard dash number (4.59), but he tested pretty good everywhere else and has elite size and length for the position. The 6’4”, 220-pound safety was considered by many to be the top safety prospect in years prior to the NFL Combine. Hamilton landed with a great organization in Baltimore and I wouldn’t be shocked if he looks like the best in the game a few years from now.
C Tyler Linderbaum
The Ravens stole the draft with two players from this class who could potentially be the best in the NFL at their respective positions. The second is former All-American center from Iowa, Tyler Linderbaum. Like Hamilton, Linderbaum slipped in the draft. However, the reason for his slide was due to his severe lack of size when he weighed in at the NFL Combine.
Though this could prove to be an issue for him at the next level, it’s not guaranteed to be. Linderbaum was one of the best center prospects we have ever seen. There are some quality centers in the NFL right now — especially with the emergence of Creed Humphrey last season — but Linderbaum will have a chance to be the best of them all.
Obviously, there’s a better chance than not that these four players are just very good talents at the next level who could soon be Pro Bowl bound. However, I wouldn’t put it past one of these four to become the best in the league at their position someday.