Both Darian Kinnard and Chris Rodriguez appear to have at the very least maintained their 2022 NFL Draft stock four weeks into the 2021 season.
In Mel Kiper’s latest position rankings at ESPN, both Kinnard and Rodriguez rank among the top 10 at their respective positions.
Kinnard is ranked as the seventh-best offensive tackle on Kiper’s big board. The senior is the only offensive tackle in the country with a grade of 85 or higher in run and pass-blocking so far this season.
The Knoxville (TN) native was named First-Team All-SEC in 2020 and was expected by many to leave the Wildcats for the NFL after last season. Most outlets project him as a second or third-round draft choice, but if he continues to dominate and puts together a strong NFL combine next February, he could work himself into first-round consideration.
Rodriguez ranks tied for Kiper’s No. 10 running back. Through just four games, the junior has run for 513 yards on 83 attempts with three touchdowns placing him first in the conference by nearly 100 yards over second-place Tyler Badie of Missouri.
Last season in just nine games (missed two due to COVID-19), Rodriguez ran for 785 yards and 11 touchdowns on 119 attempts. The only problem for Rodriguez has been holding onto the ball, as he has fumbled four times this season. If he can improve his ability to protect the ball, he also could see his ranking surge.
Mel Kiper’s 2022 NFL Draft Offensive Tackle Rankings
- Evan Neal, Alabama Crimson Tide
- Charles Cross, Mississippi State Bulldogs
- Trevor Penning, North Iowa Panthers
- Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State Buckeyes
- Daniel Faalele, Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Jaxson Kirkland, Washington Huskies
- Darian Kinnard, Kentucky Wildcats
- Kellen Diesch, Arizona State Wildcats
- Abraham Lucas, Washington State Cougars
- Andrew Stueber, Michigan Wolverines
Mel Kiper’s 2022 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings
- Breece Hall, Iowa State Cyclones
- Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M Aggies
- Kyren Williams, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Tyler Goodson, Iowa Hawkeyes
- Zach Charbonnet, UCLA Bruins
- Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State Jackrabbits
- Zamir White, Georgia Bulldogs
- Rachaad White, Arizona State Sun Devils
- Chris Rodriguez, Kentucky Wildcats and Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State Spartans