The 2022 rookie crop presents a fantastic conundrum at the moment. There will undoubtedly be some difference factors among this group of freshmen, but picking the right ones is a difficult task. After all, this is a class that didn’t include any top 15 picks at QB and any first-rounders at RB and TE. The WR crop is in the exact opposite state, as six players were called in the first round and seven more wides were tabbed in Rd. 2.
Let’s take a look at the 2022 All-Rookie Team clubhouse leaders.
Many tipsters would put Kenny Pickett in this spot, but I like Ridder’s potential to make a fantastic impact sooner rather than later. The Falcons open the season with Marcus Mariota under centre, but he is unlikely to be their answer to football’s most important job, and they are expected to give Ridder a chance by mid-season. Ridder has a pair of elite weapons in WR Drake London (more on him later) and TE Kyle Pittsand his best RB, Cordarelle Patterson, is such a dynamic threat in the passing game that he has spent much of his NFL career playing WR. And with 2,180 career NCAA rushing yards, Ridder has the speed to be a fantastic dual-threat QB.
Running back: Breece Hall, New York Jets
Hall has the most upside of any player in this article and could be selected in the first two rounds next year. The Iowa State alum can do it all, possessing enough rushing skills to be an intensive rusher, big enough to succeed on the goal line and enough receiving skills to stay on the court on third down. He will share the backfield with Michael Carter but should slowly slide this timeshare in his favor as the season progresses.
The biggest question mark around Hall is whether or not to QB Zach Wilson is ready to take its attack to the next level.
Running back: Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans
I narrowly chose Pierce Brian Robinson, which has been making its way up the editorial boards lately. Pierce was lucky to join a Texas backfield that lacks established veterans, with his biggest competition coming from Marlon Macwhich after a few productive seasons with the Foals totaled just 127 yards in two injury-plagued campaigns. Pierce has been impressive in training camp and has the potential to rush for 1,000 yards proving he’s superior to Mack at this point in their respective careers.
Wide Receiver: Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
One of six first-round WRs, Olave has perhaps the most potential to get out of the gate quickly. The 22-year-old joins a Saints side who are expected to pass the ball often, like RB Alvin Kamara is not a workaholic and the team has little depth behind him. The team also lacks a game breaker in TE and their two veteran receivers, Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, may be more chain movers than dynamic playmakers at this point in their careers. The guess here is that Olave is making big plays early and is the team’s best receiver mid-season.
Wide receiver: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
Drake was the top WR in the majority of draft rankings and the first WR to come off the board, No. 8 overall. And he joins a Falcons team with a superstar at TE (Kyle Pitts) but very little talent as WR. Marcus Mariota is unlikely to give the team a dynamic passing attack, but there should be plenty of targets available for London to catch 80 balls this year. And his cap could be higher if the club put Ridder under center by mid-season.
Tight end: Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants
The TE 2022 group is underwhelming, and no one in this class of draft can ever represent much in the fantasy scene. But Bellinger has a chance to make an immediate impact on a Giants team that’s revamping its passing offense. In fact, to get into the starting lineup, Bellinger only needs to pass Ricky Seals-Jones, who has rushed for just 1,044 yards since entering the NFL in 2017.
Kicker: Cade York, Cleveland Browns
Although kickers are mostly an afterthought in fantasy football drafts, Evan McPherson reminded us last year that talented recruits can have an impact on the job. Cleveland reached the fourth round to catch York, who completed 78.9% of his field goals from 50+ yards during his NCAA career. The Browns are unlikely to have a big offense this year and could rely on York to help them win tight, low-scoring games.