We’ve officially hit Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season and there’s still a lot of football left to be played. With that being said, that hasn’t stopped fans from looking ahead to the 2022 NFL Draft. After all, several NFL teams have gotten off to poor starts, which means all they have to look forward to is the draft itself.
Back in July, Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler was BetOnline’s favorite to be selected first overall in 2022. That’s since chance because the sportsbook’s new favorite, at +170 odds, Oregon Ducks defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Coming off of a 2020 NCAAF season that saw him win the Morris Trophy as college football’s top defensive lineman, Thibodeaux has not disappointed this year. The 20-year-old has only played two games due to injury, however, he’s done a lot with his limited playing time. He’s recorded eight total tackles (two for loss), a sack and a forced fumble. Yes, those aren’t the most mind-blowing statistics, but when you take the injury situation into account, it makes sense why an NFL would still highly value him.
There’s also the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars would have the first overall pick at the 2022 NFL Draft if the season ended today. Considering how they just drafted Trevor Lawrence this year to be their quarterback of the future, it’d make sense for them to go after Thibodeaux rather than another gunslinger. Unless something drastic changes, expect the DE to remain in the first overall pick conversation.
First Overall Pick at the 2022 NFL Draft Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Tuesday, October 12
- Kayvon Thibodeaux (+170)
- Spencer Rattler (+200)
- Malik Willis (+500)
- Sam Howell (+600)
- Carson Strong (+600)
- Matt Corral (+800)
- Derek Stingley Jr. (+2000)
Rattler Falls Despite Draft Odds Improving
As mentioned earlier, Spencer Rattler was favored to go first overall at the 2022 NFL Draft a few months ago at +225 odds. His odds have since improved to +200, however, he’s taken a backseat to Thibodeaux, likely because of the Jaguars holding the first overall pick.
With that being said, Rattler has been decent for the Sooners this year. The Oklahoma signal-caller has helped his school to a perfect 6-0 start to the season. During that span, Rattler has completed a career-high 74.3% of his passes for 1,371 yards and 10 touchdowns to five interceptions. He’s been active on the ground, too, rushing the ball 40 times for 86 yards and a trio of TDs.
However, issues arose in Oklahoma’s game against Texas last week where Rattler was removed from the game after going 8-of-15 for 111 passing yards and an interception. He was replaced by Caleb Williams under center, who ultimately led the Sooners to victory. If Williams ends up stealing the No. 1 QB job in Oklahoma, there’s a good chance that Rattler’s 2022 NFL Draft odds could begin to plummet. That isn’t to say that he can’t be a good NFL QB one day. It just means that he has a lot of work to do to convince people that he’s good enough to go first overall.
Malik Willis 2022 NFL Draft Odds
Back in July, Liberty Flames QB Malik Willis owned the fourth-best odds (+750) to be selected No. 1 at the 2022 NFL Draft. Since then, his play in the 2021 college football season has improved his odds to +500, bringing him up to third place.
The Flames are 5-1 and Willis has been a big part of getting them to that mark. He’s completed 67.9% of his passes for 1,327 yards and 13 touchdowns to three interceptions. While he does a lot of damage through the air, Willis is at his most dangerous when he’s rushing the ball. He’s tallied 498 rushing yards and 7 TDs on 82 attempts through six games. Considering how important mobile quarterbacks are in today’s NFL, it’s no wonder his 2022 NFL Draft stock rose.
A lot can change before next year’s draft, but Willis’ improvement over the first six games of the season are promising. Only time will tell if he can continue his rise long enough to convince a team to select him first overall.