By R.L. Bynum

Mel Kiper Jr. released his updated Big Board projection of top 25 2022 NFL draft prospects this week, and he projects Carolina’s Sam Howell to go No. 7 overall and Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler to be picked No. 2.

Kiper has Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux as the No. 1 overall pick.

Kiper puts LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. at No. 3, Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal at No. 4, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 5 and Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal at No. 6.

This doesn’t appear to a draft deep in coveted quarterback prospects considering that the only other QB in Kiper’s top 25 is Liberty’s Malik Willis at No. 15.

The Chicago Bears made Mitch Trubisky the first quarterback selected in the the 2017 draft when he went No. 2 after the Cleveland Browns took Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett at No. 1.

Howell fares better in Kiper’s projection than he does in Las Vegas odds for Heisman Trophy contenders. Most books list four players have better odds than Howell: Rattler, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Georgia’s J.T. Daniels and either Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.

CBS and Sports Illustrated each have all five of those quarterbacks ahead of Howell in their Heisman odds.

Howell has an entire season to improve his Heisman chances and his draft stock.

ACC pool photo

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