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USATSI

The college football season is officially underway, and that means early-season predictions. I gathered NFL Draft analysts Chris Trapasso and Ryan Wilson for a roundtable discussing some of the biggest questions. Here are our answers:

Who will end up as the No. 1 overall pick?

Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

Ryan Wilson: "Will Anderson. Quarterbacks almost always find their way to the top of the draft (the '22 class was an obvious exception), but Anderson is special, even by the standards Nick Saban has created at Alabama. Two years ago, Chase Young was the presumptive No. 1 pick and then Joe Burrow came out of nowhere. And even with Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert in that same class, Young went second. Anderson is better than Young and Young was a really, really good college player."

Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

Chris Trapasso: "Ohio State is, of course, loaded once again, and Stroud looked like a poised pocket passer in his first season as the Buckeyes starter in 2021. He's doesn't quite stack up athletically to some of the game's elite young arms, but he's not stiff in the pocket and has all the tools to be exceptional in the NFL in a hurry. Stroud is in for a monstrous year, which will catapult him into the No. 1 spot in April."

Josh Edwards: "He showed improvement over the course of last season. As a young player, it could be expected that the growth continues and he shows out this weekend against Notre Dame. The choice was easy given his age, size and athletic profile."

Who's the under-the-radar QB that everyone will be talking about entering draft season?

Nebraska QB Casey Thompson

Wilson: "I'm going way-under-the-radar while also admitting some recency bias. I have no idea where Casey Thompson will end up as a draft prospect, but he did a lot of things well as the Nebraska quarterback in that otherwise forgettable Week 0 loss to Northwestern. He transferred from Texas where, in parts of three seasons, he completed 64% of his throws with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He's undersized but mobile, has a lively arm and consistently threw the ball accurately and on time vs. Northwestern. I'm not saying he's the next coming of Kyler Murray, but there's a place in today's NFL for such players."

N.C. State QB Devin Leary

Trapasso: "I loved the moxie and needle-threading ability Leary showcased in 2021 when he threw 35 touchdowns to just five picks. There's a sprinkle of athleticism to his game as well, and the big-time throws will garner plenty of attention for Will Brinson's guy."

Washington State QB Cam Ward

Edwards: "The buzz out of Pullman supporting the Incarnate Word transfer is difficult to ignore. He has good athleticism for the position and now has a chance to prove himself on a larger stage. He is more off-the-radar than the other two quarterbacks who I believe will rise over the course of the year: Purdue's Aidan O'Connell and Utah's Cam Rising."

Who's the prospect you're most excited to watch? 

South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler

Wilson: "I'll be honest, after last season I don't know what to expect, but I want to see what Spencer Rattler looks like in new surroundings. He'll be playing in the toughest conference in the country, so he'll have an opportunity to redeem whatever that was we all witnessed in 2021. Will it be enough to get back into the conversation? That's a huge question and one he can answer by balling out for the Gamecocks."

Clemson LB Trenton Simpson

Trapasso: "I got serious Micah Parsons vibes watching him on film, and Parsons is fresh off one of the most impactful rookie seasons we've seen at the outside pass-rusher spot in NFL history. Like Parsons, Simpson was an enormous recruit and has that linebacker/edge hybrid element to his game."

North Carolina CB Tony Grimes

Edwards: "I have gone out on a limb by propping up Grimes. He has great size and speed for the position. The upside of being a lockdown man coverage cornerback exists, so I might as well dig in and either ride the rising tides or sink with the ship."

Who's the prospect with the most to gain? 

Kentucky QB Will Levis

Wilson: "Will Levis is the name a lot of folks are talking about. He's not yet mentioned in the same breath as C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young, at least when it comes to elevating his team to the national title, but that could change in the coming weeks. Levis looks like he was built in a lab, and the former Penn State transfer has the athleticism and arm strength to not only be a first-rounder, but maybe even the first QB drafted."

Trapasso: "With games at Florida, at Ole Miss and home against Georgia, Levis can enter the QB1 conversation if he builds on his breakout 2021 season."

Oregon LB Justin Flowe

Edwards: "Levis is a great choice, but I will add some alternative options. I think everyone knows that Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert is a size, speed and athleticism outlier, because the hype has already resulted in him being in first-round projections. Flowe is the answer for me. He has suffered season-ending injuries in consecutive years. If he can stay healthy, his stock can soar high under the direction of new head coach Dan Lanning, who placed three linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft."

What's the strongest position in the draft?

Edge rusher

Wilson: "Edge rusher should again be a strength on Days 1 and 2 and, in fact, I had 10 edge rushers among my preseason top 50 players. It starts with Will Anderson Jr., but there's also Myles Murphy, Nolan Smith, Isaiah Foskey, Tyree Wilson, Andre Carter II and BJ Ojulari -- all of whom have the potential to work their way into the first round."

Quarterback

Trapasso: "I'm buying into the hype. With Stroud, Bryce Young, Levis and freak of nature Anthony Richardson -- along with Leary, Tanner McKee out at Stanford and Tyler Van Dyke down at Miami -- this is a quality, appointment-viewing quarterback class."

Tight end

Edwards: "The position I feel best about right now is tight end. Georgia's Arik Gilbert is being touted as a potentially elite prospect. Teams know what they would be getting from Notre Dame's Michael Mayer. Alabama's Cameron Latu should have a bigger season. I love Oregon State's Luke Musgrave and Iowa's Sam LaPorta. South Dakota State's Tucker Kraft, Stanford's Benjamin Yurosek, Utah's Dalton Kincaid, Georgia's Darnell Washington, South Carolina's Jaheim Bell and so many others add depth to that position."

Which NFL team will have the No. 1 overall pick?

Bears 

Wilson: "The Texans, Falcons and Seahawks all have longer odds to win the Super Bowl, but the Bears might be in the pole position once the season ends. And that's not a bad thing (other than the part about all the losing football over the next five months) because Justin Fields is a franchise QB in my mind, which means that the team could target Will Anderson Jr. No. 1 overall and then spend the rest of the draft stockpiling offensive linemen and wide receivers."

Falcons

Trapasso: "I love Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Grady Jarrett has been underrated for like 20 years now. A.J. Terrell was an All-Pro last year. The rest of the roster is basically barren."

Seahawks

Edwards: "Seattle is playing in a competitive division with the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers. Pete Carroll's team has the worst starting quarterback among that group. I think the Seahawks are playing out this season with the intention of having a top pick to start over."