Draft analysis: Top 20 picks for 2022

With NRL SuperCoach Draft day fast approaching for many, we take a look at the top 20 ranked picks for 2022.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

As we get closer towards the first round, we start to really fine tune our draft rankings. Below are the top 20 picks for 2022.

The first 1-4 picks this year are pretty straight forward and I can’t see many people picking anyone outside the four blokes.

I also think everyone has similar 5-9 picks, but maybe in a slightly different order.

After pick 9 is where it starts to get interesting and it really opens up.

This year is all about chasing the high ceiling players and it’s reflected in the top 20 below.

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  1. Tom Trbojevic (FLB) – 2021 average: 143

Turbo is coming off a phenomenal year where he broke all the SuperCoach records.

Everyone is expecting some form of a regression, but even if he loses 30 PPG off his average, he is still the best player in SuperCoach.

You are mad not to have him first.

2. Nathan Cleary (HFB) – 2021 average: 108

Cleary is an elite player in a position that has shallow depth.

Clearly can create, support, score and he goal kicks, and will again finish as the number one halfback in 2022.

Another no-brainer.

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3. James Tedesco (FLB) – 2021 average: 87

Teddy has been one of the best players in SuperCoach for multiple years and with good reason.

He ‘only’ averaged 87 PPG last year, in 2020 he averaged 95 and in 2019 he averaged 84.

Mr James Reliable Tedesco just keeps getting it done every year and supporting a full-strength Roosters side will be an exciting watch as an owner.

4. Ryan Papenhuyzen (FLB) – 2021 average: 79

Papi averaged 116 PPG in the games he played 80 minutes last year and his lowest score was 71.

The issue he had was that he only played seven 80 minute games.

Papi with the goal-kicking in the Storm team is amazing.

There is an argument that he should be pick 3 due to his higher ceiling over Teddy and I wouldn’t argue with anyone that made that point.

We saw Papi miss an extended period of time last year due to a concussion. There is a risk he could cop another knock and be out for another extended period which is why I would prefer Teddy at pick 3.

He still is an amazing pickup at 4 and you will have fun watching his game breaking ability this year.

5. Latrell Mitchell (FLB) – 2021 average: 82

In 2022, it’s all about chasing upside players and Latrell has plenty of it.

In 2021 he scored over 100 PPG in 35% of his games, including games against the Roosters and the Storm.

In years gone by you could say that Latrell has a low floor, but last year his lowest score all season was 47 points and he will pickup the goal-kicking duties for Souths this year, further increasing his floor.

Whilst I don’t believe Souths will be as good as last year, they will still put plenty of points on the bottom half of the table and Latrell will be involved in everything.

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6. Cody Walker (5/8) – 2021 average: 84

Cody is another player that has great upside ever since he came into the game. The question on everyone’s mind is how he will go without Adam Reynolds?

In games that Reynolds didn’t play last year or had reduced minutes, Walker scored 57, 85, 16, 64 and 107.

There’s a real mix of scores there and I wouldn’t read anything into the small sample size.

I do expect Souths to regress against the better teams and I can’t see Walker scoring better than he did last year.

However, Walker will still be involved in all of Souths’ attack and will still be putting on big scores against anyone outside the top 6.

7. David Fifita (2RF) – 2021 average: 85

Fifita managed to average 85 PPG whilst playing off the bench for half the season.

NRL Physio did a deep dive into his stats on the SC Playbook podcast and it’s clear his rib cartilage injury was affecting his performances.

Given the Titans recruitment and structure for this year, I don’t see them going away from the tactic of ‘chuck it to the big kid’.

In the first ten games last year, before his move to the bench, he averaged 101 points per game…need I say more.

8. Harry Grant (HOK) – 2021 average: 74

Grant is a great footballer, but until Brandon Smith leaves next year I don’t see a big increase in his  SuperCoach scores.

I know a lot of people are expecting him to play more minutes and Smith to spend more time at lock.

I’m just not as convinced the Storm will go away from the split hooking system that worked so well for them last year.

I am not expecting too many high ceiling scores from him.

Having said that, he is the clear number one HOK this year in a shallow position.

The 74 PPG average he scored last year is his floor and if he can get his hamstrings sorted and get more minutes he will get a nice bump in his average.

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9. Cameron Munster (5/8) – 2021 average: 74

Munster is rock solid and will never let you down with his high floor for a five-eighth.

We all push him up our draft rankings each year based on potential and I was salivating at the thought of him in a team without Cameron Smith last year.

We see what he can do in the open field and in broken down plays and get rightly excited.

I just don’t think he is going to embrace that side of his game as much as we all want him to in a well structured Storm side.

He is also very unpredictable and can often get his better scores against the better sides, which makes it hard to predict the best time to captain him.

He’s a great pick in a team that will be scoring plenty of points this year, but don’t expect too many high ceiling scores.

10. Reuben Garrick (CTW) – 2021 average: 84

If I told you I was drafting a CTW in the first round of a draft two years ago, I think most people would have laughed me out of the building.

As stated in the 2022 Draft Strategy article, the game has changed and I am all about chasing those high ceiling scores early in Draft and Garrick is the perfect candidate of someone that can win you any game.

He scored over 100 points in ten games last year and one was against the Storm.

His scores are very much dependent on Turbo staying healthy, but playing alongside Turbo, having the goal-kicking duties and with Manly’s relatively unchanged squad he is a great 10th pick.

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11. Daly Cherry-Evans (HFB) – 2021 average: 79

Excluding last year, DCE’s average was 62 PPG for four years in a row, proving to be one of the most consistent players.

DCE started 2021 slow with a 58 PPG average for the first 10 rounds. From round 19-25 he was averaging 108 PPG and managed to carry a few people to a Draft championship.

He has the ability to score massive in a full-strength Manly side this year.

12. Brian To’o (CTW) – 2021 average: 84

Another CTW that will have some high ceilings this year in a star-studded Panthers team.

I am chasing To’o for his upside, but it doesn’t hurt that he averaged 42 PPG in base stats alone last year!

The Panthers team also have a decent finals draw, taking on the Warriors in round 24 and Cowboys in round 25.

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13. Jahrome Hughes (HFB) – 2021 average: 73

As you may have noticed, there is a theme to the best SuperCoach players and top Draft picks.

Jahrome Hughes is playing in a top 4 NRL side who can put 40+ points on most NRL teams which is SuperCoach gold.

The persistent calf issues are a little bit of a worry, but for the ceiling you can get with him and his running game, he is worth a 13th pick.

14. Clint Gutherson (FLB) – 2021 average: 75

Gutho isn’t up there with the top tier fullbacks, but he has shown he can get the job done against the poorer NRL sides.

Last year he averaged over 90 against anyone outside the top 5 NRL sides!

He consistently scores well against the mediocre NRL sides and scores quite poor against the good sides.

From a SuperCoach perspective, that consistency and predictability is great as you know when to captain him.

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15. Nicho Hynes (HFB/FLB) – 2021 average: 78

Picking Hynes here is going against the rule of not drafting players after they leave the Storm system.

There is not much point diving into the stats of Hynes from last year, playing in a different side and in a different position.

I’m picking Hynes at 15th based on talent. He will be the main go-to man at the Sharks and the side will be an improved team with a great draw for Draft finals.

From rounds 21 to 25, the Sharks play the Dragons, Tigers, Manly, Dogs and the Knights.

He has the ability for high ceiling scores and should get the goal-kicking duties. Just don’t expect the same scores as last year.

16. Angus Crichton (2RF) – 2021 average: 75

Angus is a bit of an ‘old school’ pick as a solid early 2RF option.

He definitely isn’t the ceiling guy and I wouldn’t argue against anyone that takes him later.

I can see him improving that 75 PPG average in a full-strength Roosters side.

He will get plenty of work tackling on the inside of Sam Walker and have more scoring opportunities.

Just don’t expect too many scores over a 100.

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17. Kalyn Ponga (FLB) – 2021 average: 68

Ponga slides all the way down the list to pick 16.

I’m not the only one worried about the Knights in general this year and think they will struggle.

Last year’s 68 PPG average is propped up slightly by having the goal-kicking duties at the beginning of the year. He only averaged 60 PPG in the final six rounds of the year.

I do expect most of the attack will go through Ponga and the Knights first trial supports this.

He is also one of the most talented players in the NRL and there comes a point where you just have to take him on talent alone and I think that’s pick 16.

There are games where he is just going to be breaking ankles for fun, just don’t expect too many in the Knights team.

18. Cameron Murray (2RF) – 2021 average: 70

Murray is another solid 2RF choice, having averaged 68 or above for the last three seasons.

His average last year was affected by injury where he left the field early for scores of 20 and 37.

There are whispers he will play more minutes this year, but I wouldn’t let unsubstantiated rumours influence your Draft picks…(guilty!)

I do think Souths will need his ball playing and attacking ability more this year than previously and with the speed of the game a 70 PPG average will be his minimum.

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19. Damien Cook (HOK) – 2021 average: 66

Cook is starting to slide down the Draft order. Since his breakout year in 2018 where he averaged 78 he has averaged less every year.

He still is an 80 minute hooker who has the ability to get those high ceiling scores, it’s just happening less frequently.

Last year he managed to score over 100 points only four times.

Still the clear 2nd hooker in my eyes and a solid pick in a position lacking depth this year.

20. Ben Hunt (HFB) – 2021 average: 67

Hunt at pick 20 may surprise many people coming off an average of 67 PPG, his second best score behind his breakout year in 2014 where he averaged 71 PPG.

He was only able to get through 15 games last year with injury and went over 100 points twice. In one game he scored an impressive 132 points without scoring a try.

He will thrive this year with all the attack going through him and a young half (likely Amone) next to him.

I expect Hunt to play both sides of the field where he has Moses Suli on his left, Lomax on the right and the great running threat of Sloan out the back.

I am by no means high on the Dragons and I don’t expect them to make the eight, but I do think Hunt is the main guy to get their points and will always test the line with his running game.

The Dragons also have a great Draft finals run, taking on the Sharks, Raiders, Titans, Tigers and Broncos in the final rounds.

He will go much later than pick 20 in most leagues and most people will be looking at Luke Keary and Sam Walker before him, but he is definitely one I will be targeting.

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