- Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.
With most college football teams playing three games so far, we’ve gotten a decent look at what’s real and what’s a mirage after an offseason of evaluating the top prospects in the 2022 NFL draft. We know that Alabama is the best team in the country — again — and that its roster is loaded with NFL talent. Clemson and Ohio State, on the other hand, are off to rocky starts after seeing their first-round quarterbacks get drafted.
So I was asked this week: “Mel, which prospects have surprised you most this season?”And well, it’s a long answer. I still don’t quite know what to make of the 2022 quarterback class. There have been some inconsistent performances in the first month. I still have some questions about how the edge rusher and wide receiver classes will shake out, and the running back class is deep and always shuffling.
I picked a few of my early-season surprises, starting with a quarterback who was on my preseason Big Board and looks like the real deal. I also picked a prospect who is rising after Saturday’s games, along with an under-the-radar prospect to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the season:
Biggest surprises of the season so far
QB Malik Willis is no one-year wonder
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