2022 NFL Draft Thoughts
Reddit helps introduce us to more 2022 prospects
2022 NFL Draft
Here’s a top-10 CB post from Reddit by a random guy named “twist” and I wanted to share it word for word because it’s good and I don’t think that ‘stealing a click away from reddit’ is an actual thing. The most interesting aspect of this list is that Derek Stingley is ranked fifth because ‘twist’ doesn’t think he’s turned his elite tools into elite play yet. I don’t hate dissenting opinions! Here’s what else ‘twist’ had to say:
CBs are one of my favorite positions to watch and it's definitely a really interesting class with a lot of guys who have quite a bit of potential. These ranks are all based off my own tape evaluation, I try to watch 2-3 full games of snaps for each prospect. I've scouted about 25 corners for this class so far, so if there's a guy I left off the list you want to know my take on, let me know in the comments.
1. Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
When it comes to a combination of athletic talent, intelligence, and skill, I don't think I've seen a corner in this class who is close to Andrew Booth yet. Booth is fluid, long, and explosive, and can guard pretty much anyone he's put on. He's physical and tough in press, and has fairly good zone instincts in the limited snaps I saw there. He needs to get more reps and experience at corner; Clemson rotates their DBs a lot which means he wasn't a full-time starter last year, but he should be the #1 guy this year. He also allows a bit too much separation and needs to be more sticky in coverage.
2. Mykael Wright, Oregon
Wright is probably one of the lesser known names in the CB class right now (though he has quite the fanbase in the Discord), but I think he can be one of the top taken in next year's draft. Wright is a good athlete who moves fluidly and confidently, with the skills to be a high-quality defender in both man and zone. He's tough and physical at the catch point and isn't afraid to get his hands on guys. I think the one thing that could limit him is his size, he's not especially long or big and could be exploited by bigger and stronger WRs.
3. Tiawan Mullen, Indiana
Tiawan, whose brother Trayvon also plays CB in the NFL for the Raiders, is one of the more interesting CBs in this class. Mullen is fluid, athletic, and explosive; he has the hips and feet to play man coverage and the backpedal and closing speed to play zone coverage. He's also got good ball skills to contest passes, and has excellent ability to mirror and anticipate routes. Unfortunately, at 5'10 and 175 lbs, Mullen is probably limited to playing the slot in the NFL. His smaller frame and weight would be a mismatch against tall WRs, and he can even be exploited over the middle in contested catch situations.
4. Matt Hankins, Iowa
Hankins is my sleeper favorite CB of this class; he's not really on anyone's radar yet but I think he's as talented as a lot of the top guys. Hankins is an intelligent and confident player in zone coverage who could start day 1 for a C3-heavy team. He's got good instincts and vision with great closing speed to fit perfectly in that scheme. Hankins is also an aggressive tackler who is consistently able to wrap guys up. I don't think he's a top tier athlete like Booth or Stingley but in the right situation I see him being a very productive starter.
5. Derek Stingley, LSU
Stingley is definitely the hardest CB in this class to peg. He's got the best "tools" of any CB I've seen so far; he's long, tall, strong, fast and explosive. If you had to build a CB1 in a lab, it would come out looking like Stingley. The problem for Stingley is that he's not even close to being there as a football player yet. He's totally mismatched against good route runners because he lacks to ability to mirror guys, his zone instincts are generally poor, and while he has the potential to have great ball skills, he's a poor deep ball tracker and is often caught out of position. If he can develop more skill in coverage he's a first round pick, but for now, I'd be worried to put him on the field in a NFL game.
6. Roger McCreary, Auburn
In contrast to Stingley, McCreary is a totally "safe" prospect. He's tough and physical, and is rarely caught out of position. McCreary would probably be good in both a press-man or zone scheme. I think his upside is probably limited though, he's not really a plus athlete and doesn't make the explosive big plays you want to see out of a top CB pick.
7. Kaiir Elam, Florida
Elam is another enigmatic CB in this class. He's got all the athletic talent in the world, but he often seems like he has no clue how to play the position. Elam is constantly out of place and has just awful footwork, he doesn't seem confident in coverage, and he has bad zone ability that leads to miscommunications and big plays. He has good ball skills and has the length, speed, and size that you want from a corner, but he has to develop a lot in coverage to go in the first round.
8. Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
Gardner is maybe the most physical CB in the entire class. The first thing that stands out is his length, which he uses excellently to control corners and disrupt routes. He's got a good jam move and has a nice backpedal and mirror to fit as a good press man corner. I do think his physicality burns him at times; he's way too grabby and will lead to penalties in the NFL. He's not a great runner or mover and if he doesn't get his hands on guys early he can get burned deep. Gardner is also not a great ball tracker and hasn't learned how to turn his head when playing the ball. I think he's got a future as a solid press corner but he could be a PI machine early on.
9. Al Blades, Miami
Al Blades is another guy who's not on a ton of radars at the moment but could be by season's end. He's a sticky cover CB who's not afraid to get physical and has the athleticism to cover most guys. Blades has a good mirror and has the ability to anticipate routes and get good breaks on the ball. He does have a few major flaws: his handwork is bad and experienced WRs take advantage of it to get early separation. He also is fooled by good releases and needs to develop better footwork.
10. Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
Taylor-Britt is another guy who probably doesn't have a ton of upside but is very solid and won't hurt your defense. He's a physical and intelligent corner with good zone instincts and reaction time who doesn't allow big plays and keeps guys in front of him. He'll be limited by his fluidity and speed; if he takes one bad step he can get totally burned and doesn't have recovery speed.
Elam and Gardner are also ranked much lower here than by most other people. It will be interesting to see how next season plays out and if Stingley, Elam, and Gardner have matched their on-field play to their physical gifts, at least according to ‘twist’.
Roger McCreary as a ‘safe’ corner prospect. Let’s see if he goes in the top-two rounds in a year.
Lets add some videos for these corners.
Al Blades (Brian Blades is his uncle):
As a prospect, Howell displays a calm presence and tremendous footwork inside the pocket. When you watch him, it is clear that he loves the game of football and gives it his all on every down. He is a true gamer that brings an element of toughness to his team. His arm is not elite like a Mahomes or Allen, but he has a solid arm and does a good job putting decent velocity on his passes. My favorite part of Howell’s game as a passer is his accuracy. He times his passes perfectly and puts good touch on throws down the field. He is a decent athlete who can move the chains with his legs, and his ability to escape pressure inside the pocket helps him keep drives alive.
NFL Comparison: Baker Mayfield
Whether it be size, looks, or playing styles, Howell is very similar to Baker Mayfield as a prospect. Howell does not bring the occasional controversy on and off the field like Baker does, but both players are true competitors that display their toughness week in and week out. They are both around the 6’0”-6’1” range, and they both have enough mobility to make plays with their feet. They are not going to be mistaken for Lamar Jackson when they are running the ball, but they have more than sufficient mobility. Baker ran a lot of spread and RPO concepts at Oklahoma but was able to adapt to the NFL game quickly. I expect the same for Howell, who plays in an offense that uses a lot of spread concepts as well. Both have solid arms and good footwork, and we are beginning to see Baker develop into the quarterback the Browns expected him to be when they took him first overall. I am not sure Howell goes first overall like Baker did, but as of now, I view him as a top five pick and a top ten player in the 2022 class.
Natural throwing talent.
Accurate to all areas of the field.
Aggressive in attacking defenses deep.
Middling athleticism (4.80 40-yard dash at 196 pounds as a recruit).
Undersized (6-foot-1, 205 pounds).
Stat-inflating offensive system.
Gunslinging mentality that results in turnovers (14 interceptions in 10 games last year).
Without No. 1 receiver Elijah Moore (NFL) in 2021.
Matt Corral Stats
2020 (10 games): 326-3,337-29-14 passing | 70.9% completion rate
2019 (10 games): 178-1,362-6-3 passing | 59.0% completion rate
2018 (4 games): 22-239-2-1 passing | 72.7% completion rate
If you see this article — “History shows high-priced running backs may not be formula to winning Super Bowl” — run the other way. This is the cherrypick of all cherrypicks. Far be it from me to point out how many of those Super Bowl champions are among those that most emphasize a) running the football and b) finding talented running backs. Or that this article somehow listed Percy Harvin as Seattle’s leading rusher in 2013, while saying he made “$2 million” without mentioning that Harvin was a) a receiver, b) not Marshawn Lynch?, or c) a rich man after signing a huge fucking contract that year.
Reddit again: Notes on the 2022 NFL Draft from “killtec7” I am copy/pasting and cutting out the useless (to me) parts:
Quarterback Watch List
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma: Best arm talent
Sam Howell, North Carolina
JT Daniels, Georgia
Keep an eye out for Slovis (USC) and Corral (Ole Miss); probably see a bit of hype around Willis (Liberty) and Daniels (Arizona State).
Running Back Watch List
Breece Hall, Iowa State (6-0, 215)
No verifiable athletic measures available. Speculation seems to point to an average athlete (no shame), suspect he runs in the 4.50-4.55 range, and leaps around 34-36"
Listed at 6-1, but his last confirmed measure was 5-11.2 3 years ago, so we'll go with 6-0 for now.
If he replicates his 2020 campaign, he will undoubtedly have the best production profile in the class and doesn't project to have any competition for targets. Finished the season 6th in Heisman voting.
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M (6-0.5, 220)
11.25 100m, posted a 4.58 and 33" vertical in high school so it would not be a shock to see him come in as an average average athlete.
Listed at 6-1 225, but I suspect he might come into the combine a hair bit smaller than that.
This is a Jimbo Fisher led team so the opportunity is there as they lost their QB and the strength of this offense currently appears to be in that running back group around Spiller, Achane, and incoming freshman LJ Johnson who I am extremely high on. A good comp for Isaiah Spiller might be Joe Mixon, albeit Mixon was a little flashier of a player.
It is way too early to know--we won't know until coaches start talking in the fall, but the reason I brought up the competition in that backfield is a banged up Spiller or any slip in production could lead to the bottom falling out and a guy like LJ Johnson taking over and either way Achane has filled-in in spots already.
Zach Charbonnet, UCLA (6-1, 220)
11.29 100m, otherwise few verifiable athletic measures.
Widely touted recruit. Struggled to stay healthy as a freshman, Michigan went away from him and he transferred to UCLA. This is a pure upside pick here--the opportunity is there at UCLA--but if Chip Kelly can't get anything going this entire program might end up flipped on it's head, Zach along with them.
Kevin Harris, South Carolina (5-11, 229)
4.55 40, 35" vertical; evidence of build up speed--I don't think he's slow, but I don't think he's quick. He's a bit on the thick side and I can't tell if it's body style or he might just be a bit heavy for his frame.
Might be looking at a Samaje Perine (great college back) or Royce Freeman type here but he is a key component of that South Carolina attack and is poised to keep racking up the yards.
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame (5-9, 195)
Average to above average athlete with little verifiable athletic measures.
Electric in the ND system, carrying the load. It'll be curious how year 2 looks, but it's difficult to see how his body type will fit into the NFL mold. IMO if the names listed after this one don't step up in 2021, how high Kyren is will be an indicator of how this class looks.
Zamir White, Georgia (6-0, 215)
Freak athlete that started to show it off on the field. I'd like to see some versatility and I love the running back behind him (Kendall Milton), so we will see how the year unfolds. If he holds off true sophomore Kendall Milton, he probably goes up my board a bit.
Eric Gray, Oklahoma (5-9.5, 205)
Another potential riser, former top recruit now in an electric offense in a wide open conference--I have high expectations for him this year but do need to see it. I feel like Eric Gray is the epitome of this class. Upside--but a whole lot of question marks.
Trey Sanders, Alabama: Hasn't had a chance with an ACL tear and car accident.
Noah Cain, Penn State: Injury derailed a once promising profile.
Cam'Ron Harris, Miami: Another upside profile.
Wide Receiver Watch List
David Bell, Purdue
Rondale Moore who?
Treylon Burks, Arkansas
I love the "clean" Josh Gordon comp. This guy is just freaky. He trimmed down this off-season and is a very natural athlete and catcher of the football.
Justyn Ross, Clemson
Forgotten stud, let's be quite real, Ross was THE GUY just a couple of years ago before an injury derailed his career. Assuming my devy favorite Dacari Collins or someone in that very deep WR room at Clemson doesn't come and steal his thunder, I suspect people will quickly remember who Justyn Ross is.
George Pickens, Georgia
ACL tear makes him a likely non-declare. A very natural playmaker that I would have above Ross if instead of an ACL tear story we were hearing about how he was up to 205-215 and his GPS tracking were setting personal records.
Drake London, USC
A big junior year sets him up as an easy day 2 pick with upside.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Relevant as a freshman, a high-end to elite athlete with tremendous ball skills.
Chris Olave, Ohio State
Mark my words, if DeVonta Smith isn't an instant star, the story on Olave in 9 months will be "What DeVonta was supposed to be."
UR. Zay Flowers, Boston College
UR. Tayvion Robinson, West Virginia
UR. Theo Wease, Oklahoma
UR. John Metchie, Alabama
UR. Dante Wright, Colorado
Back to me, Kenneth, and I wanna thank Reddit for helping us add a lot more names to our watch list for the 2022 NFL Draft. Some of these names are repeats for us, many are brand new. And the last copy/paste there from Reddit was for fantasy purposes so that’s why you only see skill players. Every year there will be an over-emphasis on skill players. Real football also asks: Who will stop said skill players? And that’s just as important. As well as offensive linemen.
Quickly, here are some notes from the 2021 draft. Zach Wilson’s apparently off to a good start in Jets camp, as is Elijah Moore. The 34th overall pick, Moore has gotten early attention this summer for his elusiveness:
Moore is going to be worth watching in the coming weeks and months. It’s still so early, but you can tell he’s more dynamic than anyone the Jets have had in recent years. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were great, but Marshall was a physical freak and Decker a technician. Quincy Enunwa was athletic, but, like Marshall, more of a physical guy. Moore has more talent in his left leg than Jermaine Kearse, Jeremy Kerley, Chad Hansen, ArDarius Stewart and Devin Smith ever did.
What makes Moore different is his elusiveness. It’s fun to watch. He’s going to be one of those players where you just want the ball in his hands because, once it is, he’s going to put on a show.
We’ll be back with more draft stuff soon.