Home » NFL Rookies » 2021 vs 2022 Rookie Draft Class (Dynasty Fantasy Football)

2021 vs 2022 Rookie Draft Class (Dynasty Fantasy Football)


One of the most important things any dynasty manager can do during the NFL offseason is to evaluate the upcoming rookie class and compare it to future classes. This is critical because,, without this evaluation, you could blindly make trades involving future picks that could come back to haunt you for years to come. With that in mind, we will rank the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks from the 2021 and 2022 NFL Draft classes. 

Check out our latest consensus dynasty rankings here >>

Running Backs

The 2020 running back class was set to be historic in terms of raw talent, but the surprise decisions of four running backs ranked in the top-10 (with at least two in the top five) to return for the 2020 college season sapped the class of talent. The 2020 class’s loss was the 2021 class’s gain as all four of those running backs declared for the 2021 NFL Draft (despite COVID granting them an extra season of eligibility). Najee Harris and Travis Etienne are widely considered in a tier of their own in this draft class, and they may indeed be the only running backs with a first round grade, but there are others who may well turn out to be just as, if not more successful, when all is said and done. Here are the top-10 running backs from the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
Chuba Hubbard (RB – Oklahoma State)
Jaret Patterson (RB – Buffalo)
Michael Carter (RB – North Carolina)
Kylin Hill (RB – Mississippi State)
Jermar Jefferson (RB – Oregon State)
Trey Sermon (RB – Ohio State)

2021 vs. 2022
Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
Breece Hall (RB – Iowa State)
Isaiah Spiller (RB – Texas A&M)
Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina)
Zamir White (RB – Georgia)
Trey Sanders (RB – Alabama)
Chuba Hubbard (RB – Oklahoma State)
Jerrion Ealy (RB – Ole Miss)
Master Teague (RB – Ohio State)
Jarret Patterson (RB – Buffalo)
George Holani (RB – Boise State)
Michael Carter (RB – North Carolina)
Kylin Hill (RB – Mississippi State)

If there is one player that could end up as the most valuable on this list that is not currently in the top five, it is Javonte Williams. Williams is extremely talented, and if he is drafted to start and avoids blue-chip competition in the future, he can be an RB1 for the majority of his first two contracts. Depth chart will be key, as whether or not he is forced into a committee or allowed to compete for a workhorse job will determine his upside. Every single running back on this list has RB1 or elite level RB2 upside, but only Harris and Etienne figure to be assured of starting jobs regardless of where they are drafted. 

The 2022 class has talent, but the prospects of players like Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller, Zamir White, Trey Sanders, and more will be determined by landing spots and depth charts. All of the 2022 running backs listed have lead back potential with workhorse upside but will need a little luck to avoid landing on a team with a superior talent. Other names to know include Kyren Williams (Notre Dame), Kevin Harris (South Carolina), Keontay Ingram (USC), Cam’Ron Harris (Miami), Tyler Goodson (Iowa), and Mohamed Ibrahim (Minnesota).

Wide Receivers

Much like the running back class from the 2020 NFL Draft. What was supposed to be a historic wide receiver class suffered from a number of Day 1 and Day 2 talents, including eventual Heisman winner Devonta Smith, deciding to go back to school for one more season. 2021 is a special class with no consensus outside of the top four prospects. Ja’Marr Chase is the player everyone has pegged as a player who could become the best receiver in football, but Jaylen Waddle, Rashod Bateman, Devonta Smith, and even Rondale Moore could all work their way into the top-10 in time. 

Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
Tamorrion Terry (WR – Florida State)
Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State)
Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina)
D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan)
Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU)
Seth Williams (WR – Auburn)
Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)
Brennan Eagles (WR – Texas)

To illustrate the strength of the 2021 wide receiver class, creating a hypothetical top 20 that includes 2020, and 2021 classes can help us visualize. It is important to note that this theoretical draft board could change after the 2021 college season, both due to new entrants and the play of the players already on the list.

2021 vs. 2022
Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
George Pickens (WR – Georgia)
Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
Garrett Wilson (WR – Ohio State)
Justyn Ross (WR – Clemson)
Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
Tamorrion Terry (WR – Florida State)
Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State)
Theo Wease (WR – Oklahoma)
Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan)
Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU)
Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina)
Chris Olave (WR – Ohio State)
Seth Williams (WR – Auburn)
Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss)

While only four receivers from the 2022 class made it to the top-20, here are some other names to learn. John Metchie (WR – Alabama), CJ Johnson (East Carolina), Treylon Burks (WR – Arkansas), Wandale Robinson (WR – Kentucky), Joe Ngata (WR – Clemson), Jadon Hasselwood (WR – Oklahoma), David Bell (WR – Purdue), Drake London (WR – USC), and Bru McCoy (USC).

Quarterback 

The 2021 NFL Draft quarterback class is a strong, top-heavy class that features no less than five prospects expected to be taken some time in the first round. The 2022 class, on the other hand, has four names vying to be first round picks. Sam Howell, Kedon Slovis, and Jayden Daniels all looked like future Day 1 selections after their freshman seasons, but each of them still has some work to do to make that projection a reality. Spencer Rattler, who was highly touted as a recruit exploded onto the scene with Jalen Hurts in the NFL and has joined the conversation as a first round, and potential number one overall pick. Let’s take a look at how the 2021 class stacks up with the 2022 class. 

Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
Kyle Trask (QB – Florida)
Sam Ehlinger (QB – Texas)
Kellen Mond (QB – Texas A&M)
Jamie Newman (QB – Georgia)

2021 vs. 2022
Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota Stae)
Sam Howell (QB – North Carolina)
Spencer Rattler (QB – Oklahoma)
Kedon Slovis (QB – USC)
Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
Jayden Daniels (QB – Arizona State)
Kyle Trask (QB – Florida)

This is an impressive group of quarterbacks, but it should be noted that Kyle Trask and Jayden Daniels may both slip out of the first round. Daniels has Day 1 talent, but an uneven (regression as a passer without Brandon Aiyuk) and shortened sophomore season means he is still more projection than someone who could start immediately. Trask has talent but is negatively affected by the sheer amount of quarterback talent in the NFL, as well as in this draft class and upcoming draft classes. Both players have starters upside. 

The perceived gap between Sam Howell, Spencer Rattler, and Kedon Slovis has closed considerably. All three should be considered in the running to be the first quarterback drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, the 2022 quarterback class is set to be one of the weakest in recent memory. This is something dynasty managers (especially superflex managers) should take into account if they are not set at the quarterback position. This may be the year to go all in to acquire a rookie pick high enough to land a desired target. 

Strategy

If you play in a single QB league and do not believe you will have a top-five pick next year, consider packaging your 2022 first round pick to move up in this year’s draft. Unlike last year when we suggested making a move for a 2021 pick, the 2022 class projects to have a steep drop off after the first five or six picks. This means contenders should do what they can to cash in on these assets sooner than later, as it is only a matter of time before the researched dynasty manager recognizes that the 2022 class is more 2019 than 2020 or 2021.

If you plan to acquire a pick, the price needs to be right. George Pickens and Garrett Wilson are the two players you should be targeting, but identifying which team may end up with a top two pick may be difficult. Projecting a bottom five team is less daunting, so if you are comfortable with ending up with one of the running backs listed above, if both Pickens and Wilson are off the board, try packaging a veteran with value with a second to acquire a 2022 first. 

If you play in a superflex league, the suggestion is to use your 2022 first to improve your team now. If you need a quarterback, consider packaging it for a signal-caller. If you need a running back, you should target a top-four pick. If you need a receiver, a pick from five on should suffice unless you have your heart set on Ja’Marr Chase. 

If you plan to acquire a 2022 pick, target a rival team who projects to be a bottom five team even after their current draft assets (as well as the assets they would receive in the trade) are added to their roster. This becomes easier to project if your rookie draft takes place after the NFL Draft. The second round could have some sneaky value, so if you can pry a second round pick from a team that projects to be near the bottom of the standings, a deal should be considered.

Check out our latest consensus dynasty rankings here >>


Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his profile and follow him @FantasyContext.



[

Read more.

Leave your vote

About

Disclaimer

This demo site is only for demonstration purposes. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited is derived from their respective sources.

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.