ESPN.com released its projection The 100 best NFL players in 2022 Monday, and Cal has more representatives on the list than any other Pac-12 school.
Three Golden Bears made ESPN’s top 100. Two of them have increased in last year’s rating, and the third one has remained unchanged.
Here are ESPN’s top 100 NFL quarterbacks from each Pac-12 school:
Cal – 3
Washington – 2
Oregon – 2
Oregon State – 1
Colorado – 1
Stanford – 1
Utah – 0
USC – 0
UCLA – 0
Arizona State – 0
Arizona – 0
Washington State – 0
Interestingly, Utah and USC have no representatives on this list.
Utah has finished first in its division in three of the last four seasons. It won the Pac-12 title last year and is the favorite to do it again in 2022. But the NFL has no outstanding players.
USC has been a breeding ground for NFL stars over the years, with countless former Trojans going on to become NFL stars. But no former USC player is currently ranked among the top 100 projected NFL players for 2022. That says something about the state of USC football.
That there are relatively few top-100 players from the Pac-12 says something about the conference.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has the top spot in ESPN’s rankings and Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is No. 2, but next is former Packers Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who finished the same No. 3 spot he did last year. ESPN projects that he’ll throw 33 touchdown passes with seven interceptions and loves challenges like the one he’s faced this season.
Two other former Golden Bears, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, are back in the top 100, both making significant jumps in the rankings. Allen moved up 16 spots from last year to No. 49, while Jordan moved up 18 spots to No. 76.c. That’s interesting considering both are at an age when a player’s skills typically decline. In fact, all three Cal representatives are at least 30 years old.
Alabama and Ohio have the most delegates, with seven each.
Here are the top 13 schools by number of top 100 players, and you’ll note that it correlates pretty well with the school’s typical national ranking, with the exception of Cal and Maryland.
Alabama – 7
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Ohio State – 7
Oklahoma – 5
Clemson – 5
Wisconsin – 4
LDU – 4
Florida State – 4
Mississippi State – 4
Cal – 3
Georgia – 3
Texas A&M – 3
Maryland – 3
Mississippi – 3
Here it is ESPN comments Of the three former Cal players on the list:
3. Aaron Rogers
2021 degree: 3
This could be Rodgers’ toughest season yet. He lost his favorite receiver, All-Pro Davante Adams, and his primary deep threat, Marquez Valdes-Scantlin. But anyone who understands what motivates Rodgers knows that he loves to be told he can’t do something. He took the chip-on-his-shoulder approach to four NFL MVPs. There was no noticeable decline in his abilities, and he expressed satisfaction with his personal and professional life.
Signature Stats: Over the past two seasons, Rodgers has thrown 85 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Among all QBs to throw at least 500 passes in that span, his 9.44 touchdown/catch ratio ranks first by a wide margin. That rate is the best over two seasons with at least 1,000 pass attempts. Rogers actually ranks 1-3 on the list.
What they say: “You guys have been here a long time [know] never lacks motivation. He is very unique in his ability to look at things and create problems for himself. I think he’s excited to take on the job.” — Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst
2022 forecast: 4,147 passing yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs (138 yards/2 TDs rushing)
49. Keenan Allen
2021 rank: 65
Entering his 10th NFL season and coming off a 1,138 receiving yard season with six touchdowns, Allen shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to lead by example and set the tone for his younger teammates. Allen is Herbert’s top target, and their relationship will only get stronger in season three (and second in coordinator Joe Lombardi’s offense).
Signature Stats: Allen had at least 90 receptions and 900 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons, one shy of tying the longest streak in NFL history shared by Antonio Brown (2013-2018) and Torry Holt (2002-2007). He is also the only player in the NFL to have at least 100 receptions in each of the last three seasons.
What they say: “Keenan Allen has always been one of the accepted standards in the NFL, but I think he continues to improve as a player. It’s just, ‘Oh, it’s the same old Keenan.’ No, it’s a better Keenan. he continued. I really appreciate the example he’s setting.” — Chargers coach Brandon Staley
2022 forecast: 93 receptions, 1,028 yards, 7 TDs
76. Cameron Jordan
2021 rank: 94
Jordan sat out Week 1 of 2021 (the first missed game of his career) due to COVID-19 protocols and then went on a tear to finish the season — 8.5 sacks and 12.5 points in the last four games. Jordan’s numbers dipped in 2020 after three years as an All-Pro with double-digit sacks, but his finish last season suggests he has more left in the tank at age 33.
Signature Stats: Jordan has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past five seasons and has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Since entering the NFL in 2011, his 107 sacks and 43 pass breakups rank third in the league during that span.
What they say: “He’s technically sound, you can tell by looking at him. … He’s basically a step ahead of everybody he’s going up against. He knows what he’s going to do if a shot goes one way or the other. Just his technique and everything he does. You you can. say he’s been really good at it for a while.” — The Saints waived tackle Trevor Penning.
2022 Forecast: 9 sacks, 54 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Cover photo of Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes by Danny Medley, USA TODAY Sports
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