Which prospect will hear their name called first in the 2022 NFL Draft?
We’re now a quarter of the way through the 2021 college football regular season, and a pair of signal callers lead the betting favorites to be the first overall pick in next April’s draft.
Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler has the best odds of being selected No. 1 overall at +200, according to our partner, PointsBet. Sam Howell of UNC is right behind with +300 odds. (In case you’re wondering, Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Bryce Young won’t be draft-eligible until 2023).
Both Rattler and Howell had shaky 2021 debuts, but have rebounded in the last two weeks. Rattler, a redshirt sophomore, passed for 214 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 35 yards and another score, in a win over Nebraska on Saturday. This season, he’s posted 761 passing yards with seven touchdowns, two interceptions and a 74.7 completion percentage for the No. 4 Sooners.
Meanwhile, Howell has put his three-interception Week 1 performance well behind him. The third-year Tar Heels starter has thrown for a combined 659 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception over the last two games. He already has a new single-season career high in rushing yards with 251 (third-most in the nation among QBs) thanks to consecutive 100-yard-plus games.
A non-quarterback prospect hasn’t gone first overall since Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett in 2017, but Kayvon Thibodeaux appears to have the best chance of anyone to end that drought in 2022. The Oregon defensive end trails Rattler and Howell with +450 odds. Thibodeaux recorded a sack and forced fumble in the Ducks’ season opener, but has since been sidelined due to a sprained ankle. If an NFL team without a need at quarterback is drafting first overall (looking at you, Jacksonville Jaguars), Thibodeaux could be the top choice.
There are two other players with odds shorter than +1000 -- quarterbacks Malik Willis of Liberty (+750) and Matt Corral of Ole Miss (+800) -- and both are putting together strong cases to be the top quarterback prospect.
Willis, who transferred from Auburn in 2019, tallied 3,204 yards from scrimmage and 34 total touchdowns in his first season as Liberty’s starter last year. The dual-threat redshirt junior is building upon that impressive campaign in 2021, racking up 613 yards and seven touchdowns through the air along with 225 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He’s even upped his completion percentage from 64.2 to 71.0 while throwing zero picks.
Corral hasn’t been picked off yet either, which is especially noteworthy considering he threw the second-most interceptions in the nation (14) as a sophomore in 2020. While not turning the ball over, Corral has continued to post impressive numbers in the other major passing categories (997 yards, nine touchdowns and a 68.8 completion percentage) in addition to being a threat as a runner (158 yards and five touchdowns). He’s coming off a seven-touchdown game (three passing and four rushing) against Tulane and is now favored to win the Heisman.
Corral and Willis will go head-to-head when Liberty visits No. 13 Ole Miss on Nov. 6.
LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has the next-best odds among non-quarterback prospects after Thibodeaux at +1200. It would be a historic feat for Stingley Jr. to come off the board first as Gary Glick, a safety drafted in 1956, is the only defensive back to ever be selected at No. 1.
Who is favored to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Here’s a full look at the top betting favorites to be the No. 1 pick:
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma: +200
Sam Howell, QB, UNC: +300
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon: +450
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty: +750
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss: +800
JT Daniels, QB, Georgia: +1000
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State: +1000
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU: +1200
Kedon Slovis, QB, USC: +1200
Emory Jones, QB, Florida: +1600
DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M: +1800
Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State: +1800
Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina: +2000
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama: +2000
Drake Jackson, DE, USC: +2000
D'Eriq King, QB, Miami: +2000
Zion Nelson, OT, Miami: +2500
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame: +2500
Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.