Welcome to my new blog series, where I project the top-5 players at each position, the top-5 defenses, and special teams units in the league for 2022 (Not on 2021 stats, but on how I think they will perform). This blog will be on the top quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers (note: No Deebo Samuel, as he is a RB/WR hybrid now), and tight ends.
#1 - Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
After another offseason of drama, A-Rod is still with the Pack. That is a good thing for Green Bay, as he can make throws that nobody else can make. After winning his 2nd straight MVP in his third year with Matt LaFleur, expect the duo to do extremely well again. But will Rodgers be able to win in the playoffs will be the biggest question. I say yes.
Photo: Wally Skalij / LA Times
#2 - Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Herbo is a beast. He has one of the strongest arms in the league, makes good decisions, has good accuracy, and with Khalil Mack in town, finally has a good defense to make the playoffs. With wideout Mike Williams back for another 3 years, Justin and the Chargers will be a division front runner.
#3 - Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
With all his legal troubles behind him, the Texans will be able to ship the dual-threat QB out of H-Town. Watson has crazy athleticism which helps him escape from any broken pocket, and he can make any throw on the run. Whoever gets him will be a playoff contender for years.
Photo: Jeffery T. Barnes / AP
#4 - Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen had an electric postseason, putting up 47, and 36 points, in 2 dominant games. He had a very interesting regular season, though, as he was very inconsistent, but very dominant as well. His postseason was a sigh of things to come, and don’t be surprised if he wins MVP.
#5 - Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes choked big time in the 2nd half of the AFC Championship game, but he has 2 of the best weapons in the league in Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, and one of the best offensive masterminds in Andy Reid. Expect big things from him in his 6th year.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Stafford (Rams), Lamar Jackson (Ravens), Russell Wilson (Broncos), Joe Burrow (Bengals)
#1 - Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
They call him the King for a reason. He’s the best in the game. Henry would have broken the rushing record if he didn’t get hurt in October, as he had nearly 1,000 yards and 10 TD’s in only 8 games. With D’Onta Foreman emerging, he should get more rest, but he’ll still post dominant numbers.
#2 - Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
The pairing of him and Kareem Hunt is deadly, and Kevin Stefanski has to run the offense through them. Chubb is a monster, as defenders bounce off of him. He can carry an offense, and rarely fumbles, which is a perfect combination. If he is used right, he is the 2nd best in the league.
#3 - Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Cook is the most elusive back in the league. He can get away from defenders by using his ankle-breaking jukes, and he has crazy change of direction. If he is healthy, he will contend for another rushing title.
Photo: Justin Casterline / Getty Images
#4 - Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
JT’s 2021 campaign was eerily similar to the King’s 2018, where he almost carried his team to the playoffs. He has breakaway speed even better than Henry’s as well, and can catch the ball well. He is a true 3-down back, and will get better as his career goes on.
#5 - Damien Harris, New England Patriots
Those of you that know me, know that I am high on Harris. He has all the skills to be the next Chubb, he just needs to stay healthy. He is great for fantasy, as he gets lots of touchdowns. If he doesn't get hurt, he should get 1,000 yards for the first time, and around 18 TD’s.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Mixon (Bengals), Najee Harris (Steelers), Josh Jacobs (Raiders)
#1 - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Kupp this, Kupp that. Talk about Coop all you want, but Tae Adams is the best route runner in the league, and the best receiver for 2022. With Rodgers back, they should continue their dominance of the NFC North. I think Adams will have a season that rivals Kupp’s 2021.
Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images
#2 - Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp just had the best season ever for a receiver, and won Super Bowl MVP. So why is he 2nd? Well, LA will miss Robert Woods for half of the year, and if OBJ gets re-signed, he’ll be out for the year. Coop will get keyed on, and his numbers will decrease. Nevertheless, he is still one of the most dominant receivers in the league.
#3 - Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
JJetas has a blend of speed and explosiveness that the league has rarely seen. He can get open whenever he wants, and has insane YAC. Kirk Cousins has a history of being inconsistent, but Jefferson won’t ever have that.
#4 - Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
The Allen-Diggs connection was even better in its second year, and it should get better in year 3. Diggs has explosive downfield speed, and Allen’s big arm makes it a very dangerous combo. Though he only had 3 grabs for just 7 yards in the divisional loss to KC, he has the skills to be the best receiver in the league.
Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports
#5 - AJ Brown, Tennessee Titans
All my bias aside, Arthur Juan is primed for big things next year. New passing game coordinator Tim Kelly should help Ryan Tannehill bounce back, and should make the offense run through the 4th year wideout, even with Henry back. Expect a big breakout season from AJ.
Honorable Mentions: Tyreek Hill (Chiefs), Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals), DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals), Julio Jones (Titans)
Photo: Denny Medley / USA TODAY Sports
#1 - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce is a monster. He is very strong, and has great hands and route-running ability, which makes it easy to find soft spots in the defense to get open for 10-15 yards. He is Mahomes’ best friend, and go-to target when he needs a completion.
#2 - George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
This could have gone to Mark Andrews, but Kittle finished the season strong, and is the best run-blocking tight end in the league. He can block a defensive end without help, and win the battle. He will play a crucial part in Trey Lance’s development as a starter, and should have a big year as the go-to 3rd down guy.
#3 - Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews was the Ravens' only consistent target last year, and the return of Lamar Jackson will make their connection even better. The numbers will go down, as the run game should go up again, but he will be their leading receiver, and he may even break the record of the most receiving yards by a TE in a year.
Photo: Atlanta Falcons 2021
#4 - Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
Pitts is a tight end with wideout speed. He had 1,000 yards in his first season, and with Calvin Ridley out for next year, he should be even more involved in their offense. He has the skills to be the best tight end ever, and don’t be surprised if he makes the leap to the best in the league next year.
#5 - Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
Waller is a tall long-armed tight end - a perfect target for a QB. Though he had a down year last year, with the Raiders desperately needing pass-catchers, Waller should be a big part of their 2022 plans.
Honorable Mentions: C.J. Uzomah (Bengals), Tyler Higbee (Rams), Hunter Henry (Patriots)
That's it for my skill position player rankings for next year. There were some players that just missed the top-5, like Tyreek Hill, Joe Mixon, and Joe Burrow. Stay tuned for the defensive side of the ball next week!