What Mel Kiper’s top 10 draft prospects were like as recruits
- Senior National Recruiting Analyst for ESPN.com
- Coached in four professional football leagues
- Graduated from Eastern Kentucky and Marshall
The 2022 NFL draft begins Thursday, with the final boards stacked and mock drafts being finished up before the clock starts ticking (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App).
While there are many names on Mel Kiper Jr.’s big board that are familiar to recruiting fans, such as former No. 1 overall prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux, not all of his top projections had an accurate NFL forecast. We talk often about physical development and the unknown variables when evaluating high school prospects off pure film and combine results. That inexact science comes to fruition when looking back on this draft class.
In fact, the first two prospects, Aidan Hutchinson and Ikem Ekwonu, were both outside the top 20 in their high school position rankings. Ekwonu, who is projected as a top-three pick, was a consensus three-star on the top recruiting sites with minimal Power 5 offers.
Here is what Kiper’s top 10 were like as high school prospects.
DE Aidan Hutchinson
2018 ESPN 300 ranking: No. 193 (No. 22 DE)
Kiper’s ranking: No. 1
Hutchinson was a prospect who played better than he tested and timed. He ran a 5.09 40-yard dash as a senior but produced all over the field for Divine Child High School (Michigan). He had an excellent frame with long arms and great strength to collapse the pocket as a pass-rusher and to blow up the run at the point of attack.
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