Author Archives: Mitchell Wolfe

About Mitchell Wolfe

Scouting Academy Graduate, 2020 Boston College, 2017 Temple University (Master of Sport Business), 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 Draft Grades

Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL Draft
Photo Credit: David Becker/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers begin a new chapter in 2022. Not only are they moving on from franchise quarterback and future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger, but the 2022 NFL Draft was also the final one for general manager Kevin Colbert. As one of the best general managers in the NFL for the last two decades, it seems only fitting that Colbert received the honor of shepherding Pittsburgh into a new era. Therefore, let’s dive into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 draft grades.

Round 1, #20: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Many expected the Pittsburgh Steelers to use their first selection on a quarterback. The question was which ones would be available at #20 overall. However, an unpredicted situation occurred when the Steelers came on the clock. No quarterbacks had been taken, and Pittsburgh could take whichever one they pleased. Keeping with the theme of surprises, they selected Kenny Pickett. 

At face value, Pickett seems like a natural fit for the Steelers. He is obviously very familiar with the city and the team. Many regarded Pickett as one of the more pro-ready quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. However, his biggest drawback was his perceived lack of upside. In an ideal world, Pickett ends up somewhere in the Kirk Cousins/Ryan Tannehill range.

This begs the following question: is that player worth a first-round pick? Furthermore, when the next quarterback was not selected for more than 50 picks, could the Steelers have gotten their quarterback, or a quarterback, in the second or third rounds?

Nevertheless, I will be rooting for Pickett. Regardless of what you think of the value of the pick or his standing in the quarterback class, it is exceptionally cool that Pickett will be staying in Pittsburgh. As Mike Tomlin said, the Steelers scoured the country looking at quarterback prospects; but at the end of the day, they went with the guy from next door. They made significant efforts to surround him with an improved offensive line and a diverse arsenal of weapons.

If Pickett beats out Mitch Trubisky for the starting gig, he should be able to pilot this offense more effectively than the reanimated corpse of Ben Roethlisberger that was under center the last two years. 

Grade: B

Round 2, #52: George Pickens, WR, Georgia

From an on-field talent and team fit perspective, this might be the best pick in the entire 2022 NFL Draft. George Pickens was on a trajectory toward being an early first-round pick after a stellar true freshman season in 2019. But injuries and poor quarterback play robbed him of his 2020 and 2021 seasons.

When he was healthy and on the field for the Dawgs, Pickens was an absolute monster. His best ability was getting vertical and making spectacular catches downfield and in the air. He only had two drops on 139 career targets and improved as a contested-catch receiver. 

The Steelers have spent multiple second-round picks on wide receivers they wanted to use as vertical threats. But James Washington struggled to develop chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger and find a role in the offense. Chase Claypool started off hot but cooled off significantly in 2021; the offense sputtered around him, but Claypool also struggled to win in contested-catch situations. Pittsburgh has not had a true vertical receiving threat since Martavis Bryant, someone who Pickens compares relatively favorably to in terms of skill set and play style. 

Obviously, the Steelers are famous for their ability to identify talented wide receivers on the second and third days of the NFL Draft. Claypool, Washington, and Bryant are among their more recent finds. But Diontae Johnson, Juju Smith-Schuster, Sammie Coates, and Markus Wheaton are also among their more recent finds.

While not all of these players became superstars — some of them even failing to complete their second contracts — they were at least competent NFL receivers, something the Steelers desperately needed. Furthermore, a receiver that makes contested catches outside his frame is something that can help a young quarterback who lacks great arm strength. 

Grade: A+

Round 3, #84: DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M

When healthy, the Steelers have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Of course, the issue during the 2021 season was staying healthy. Stephon Tuitt missed the entire season after rehabbing his knee injury was delayed by his brother’s untimely demise. Tyson Alualu missed almost the entire season with a broken ankle. This forced the Steelers to turn to free agents off the street and practice squad players on the defensive line.

Even with Alualu and Tuitt returning to the lineup this season, some predicted that the Steelers would use an early pick on a new nose tackle. Therefore, selecting a hybrid defensive end / outside linebacker in the third round came as a surprise. 

DeMarvin Leal came into the 2021 season with a massive amount of hype, considered a first-round lock, and arguably the best interior defensive lineman in the class. But his play took a significant drop relative to his 2020 performance. He struggled to consistently defend the run and couldn’t settle into a positional role. Leal also tested quite poorly at Texas A&M’s pro day, although so did every other player at the pro day, so there may have been a confounding factor at play. 

Nevertheless, getting Leal in the mid-late third round is excellent value. Leal still needs to develop as a player and round out his skill set. On the Steelers’ defensive line, he can be brought along slowly as an apprentice to Cam Heyward.

If everyone on the roster is healthy and available, Leal would be the fourth or fifth option, which indicates excellent depth. He can be used as a dynamic matchup nightmare in specific situations. By the end of his rookie deal, Leal should be able to receive the torch from Cam Heyward as a leader along the defensive line. 

Grade: A

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Draft Live Tracker, Analysis, Grades
Round 4, #138: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis

Typically, the Steelers like to double-dip at one position in any given draft. Last year, they selected offensive linemen in consecutive rounds. In 2019, they picked an inside linebacker in the first and sixth rounds.

Going into the 2022 draft, many expected the Steelers to take a wide receiver, but not many predicted they would double-dip at the position. But the board fell tremendously for the Steelers at their compensatory selection in the fourth round, landing them Memphis wide receiver and return specialist, Calvin Austin III. 

Calvin Austin III exploded onto the scene with his performance at the Senior Bowl, consistently getting open during practices and making spectacular catches downfield. He then followed it up with an outstanding Scouting Combine performance, with elite testing numbers across the board.

But Austin is more than just a practice phenom or workout warrior. He put up over 1000 receiving yards each of the last two seasons for Memphis, helping him finish in the top-five across most career receiving categories for the Tigers. 

Furthermore, the stories emerging post-draft concerning Austin have validated the Steelers’ selection. Firstly, according to Peter King, Pittsburgh stole Austin from their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, who would have taken Austin had the Steelers not. Secondly, the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Sauce Gardner, name-dropped Austin as one of his most difficult match-ups in an interview with Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk.

These two stories indicate how valuable this selection was. While Austin will most likely not be an immediate starter, he can make an immediate impact on special teams and carve out a niche role on offense. 

Grade: A+

Round 6, #208: Connor Heyward, FB/TE, Michigan State

This pick was more of a meme than anything. I’m sure thousands of Steelers fans thought they were geniuses for mocking Connor Heyward to the team with one of these final three picks. Call Kevin Colbert Dom Toretto because for the Steelers, family is everything.

This gives Pittsburgh four sets of brothers on their roster. Interestingly, only one of those pairs are on the same side of the ball (Carlos and Khalil Davis are both defensive tackles). Connor Heyward is a fun pick, as he a former running back that switched to fullback and eventually tight end. He was also an All-Big Ten kick returner earlier in his career before bulking up. 

Even though most picks after 200 don’t matter very much, I don’t love this selection. Even though Heyward will be listed as a tight end, at 5’11” and 233 pounds, he is essentially a fullback. The Steelers already have a fullback who is the brother of a star defensive player in Derek Watt. Watt is entering a contract year and will turn 30 by next season. But I have to imagine the Steelers will be one of the few, if not the only, teams to keep two fullbacks on the active roster.

Even though Heyward is very versatile, I just don’t see the point of drafting and rostering a second fullback. I’m sure he will make the team and will have some fun plays; I just don’t love the process behind it. 

Grade: C

Round 7, #225: Mark Robinson, ILB, Mississippi

The Pittsburgh Steelers love drafting linebackers. They have drafted at least one linebacker every year since 2009. Granted, this covers off-ball linebackers and edge defenders, but they still value spending draft capital on inside linebackers.

Mark Robinson was a late visit for Pittsburgh, and these kinds of visits should set off alarm bells for fans. Robinson is essentially Vince Williams’ brain/spirit in Devin Bush’s body. He’s a converted running back who walked on at Ole Miss and earned a starting role quickly, despite switching positions. 

With all that being said, this pick comes off as redundant and unnecessary. The Steelers currently have seven inside linebackers on their roster, several of whom have very similar skill-sets to Johnson. At least three of those players are already significant contributors on special teams, along with safety-linebacker hybrid Miles Killebrew.

It seems unlikely that Robinson will even make the roster, leading to the question: why use a draft pick on a practice squad player? They could have used more depth at cornerback, running back, tight end, or outside linebacker. Again, seventh-round picks are almost equivalent to throwaways, so it’s not an awful pick, but it could have been better. 

Grade: C

Round 7, #241: Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State

Like Robinson, Chris Oladokun visited the Steelers in the pre-draft process and stuck out like a relatively sore thumb. As with most of their late-round picks, Pittsburgh reached on a guy they had a personal connection with. This was also telegraphed by Kevin Colbert’s and Mike Tomlin’s comments in the pre-draft process, indicating that they carry four quarterbacks into training camp.

As for the player, Chris Oladokun is a productive, yet undersized, FCS quarterback with a strong arm and good athleticism. He will be their practice squad or scout team version of divisional rivals Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. 

Regardless, I can’t look positively on this pick because it wastes scarce resources. Granted, seventh-round picks, especially late ones, generally do not matter. But using one on a fourth quarterback whose entire role will be a scout team replica on a practice squad is ridiculous in my opinion.

This is only made worse by the fact that the quarterback finished his career at his second FCS school and third overall. There were still plenty of valuable players on the board who would be able to help this team in a much more meaningful way than a fourth quarterback who will only get a helmet on game day if two of the other quarterbacks are injured.

Even if the Steelers felt that Oladokun would not be available or acquirable as an undrafted free agent, his skill set is not special enough to warrant using a draft pick on him, no matter how late. 

Grade: D

Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 Draft Grades: Overall

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2022 NFL Draft seeking a franchise quarterback, offensive weapons to surround him with, and depth pieces on defense. From a bird’s eye view, they accomplished these goals. They added two dynamic receivers to the offense, found some developmental players on defense, and added a quarterback with their first-round pick.

However, they left a significant amount of value on the board. One could write an entirely separate article on whether Kenny Pickett was the right quarterback to take in the first round; another perhaps on whether they should have taken one in the first round at all. Finally, they squandered their late-round picks on redundant or unnecessary positions.

However, at the end of the day, they solved their primary needs. Even though Pickett may be relatively uninspiring, he has a high floor and should make the offense competent. Furthermore, the picks where they reached were not especially valuable. Therefore, Kevin Colbert’s final draft grades out as good, but not great.

Overall Grade: B

2022 NFL Mock Draft

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Mitchell Wolfe’s Predictive Final Mock

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We are now less than a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft. By this time, the number of 2022 NFL mock drafts is reaching critical mass. But with such little time until Roger Goodell takes the podium and declares the draft officially open, too many mocks focus on what the writer would do. Now is this the time for more predictive 2022 NFL mock drafts.

This 2022 NFL Mock Draft is more focused on the predictive aspect of mock drafts, as opposed to my personal feelings or seamless team fits. In the coming days before the actual draft, there will most likely be a significant uptick in rumors surrounding certain draft picks and players. Generally, smoke coming out during draft week is just that.

One more note: this 2022 NFL Mock Draft will not try to predict any trades. While there will certainly be several major moves made on draft night, it is simply too difficult to predict the exact moves or terms of the deal. Therefore, the order reflects the standings as of April 25th.

Mitchell Wolfe’s Predictive 2022 NFL Mock Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

At this point, just over a week before the 2022 NFL Draft, the #1 overall pick seems pretty set. Entering the 2021 season, some expected Hutchinson to be a first-round pick, returning to his 2019 form when he was healthy. But even with rumors of dominant testing, most would have been surprised to learn that come April, Hutchinson had all but locked himself into being the first pick in the draft. 

Hutchinson’s ascension is partially due to a weak quarterback class and multiple teams in the top five. He is a dominant run defender with significant pass-rushing upside. He may not have the elite ceiling of other edge defenders, but his floor is exceptionally high. Hutchinson should also take a major leadership role for Jacksonville’s defense. 

2. Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux, OLB, Oregon

The Kayvon Thibodeaux “nose dive” is starting to level out as we approach draft day. Thibodeaux may have earned excessive hype due to his recruiting process and early success. Injuries and unwarranted concerns about his attitude and motivation caused him to slip down the board in mock draft and edge defender rankings. However, the cycle of non-sensical draft takes might be turning the corner at the perfect time for Thibodeaux, as those issues are making increasingly fewer appearances. 

While Thibodeaux is not the elite edge prospect of years past (e.g., Young, Bosa, Garrett), he is still one of the premier players in this class. He is a game wrecker in all aspects of defense such that offenses will have to gameplan around him. Thibodeaux has apparently met with the Lions multiple times this draft cycle. There’s a decent chance that he and head coach Dan Campbell hit it off, especially since the Lions desperately need a premier pass rusher. 

3. Houston Texans – Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux have ridden opposite trajectories during the draft process. Where Thibodeaux has been slowly falling, Walker has been rising rapidly. He has tested like an athletic marvel and is a unique physical specimen. When it comes to edge defenders, teams are willing to bet on insane traits, even if the player does not have great production. The Texans need talent across their entire roster. Luckily, they have been successful at drafting edge defenders. Walker fits seamlessly into two archetypes that Houston’s decision-makers want in an edge defender. There’s a decent chance that Walker will be the best player in this class. 

4. New York Jets – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

This mock draft is meant to be predictive instead of what I would do if I ran each team. Therefore, I do not necessarily agree with this pick. I do not think tackle is among the Jets’ most pressing needs, especially with the players remaining on the board. But George Fant is certainly upgradeable, and there seem to be some issues with Mekhi Becton. Furthermore, I do not believe Ekwonu is the best offensive tackle on the board. Nevertheless, I think Joe Douglas will flex his decision-making muscles and use this pick to help rebuild the trenches and protect Zach Wilson. 

5. New York Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Moving onto my top offensive tackle and my top offensive lineman overall, the Giants dip into the SEC well again to continue rebuilding their offensive line. Evan Neal is nearly the platonic ideal of an NFL right tackle. He played left tackle this past year but also played right tackle and left guard for the Crimson Tide. He is not a perfect tackle prospect, as he has some consistency and technical issues to fix. But he’s still young and has excellent physical tools. 

Predictively, I could see this being a prime trade-down spot. Even though this quarterback class is not as strong as previous ones, teams will always be greedy for them. The Panthers have been at the forefront of investigating the quarterbacks in this class. Therefore, jumping in front of the Panthers would allow that team to steal their preferred quarterback.

6. Carolina Panthers – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The Panthers have been putting some smoke out into the world about their interest in the other quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, namely Malik Willis and Matt Corral. At the end of the day, however, I’m not buying it. Matt Rhule and Kenny Pickett have a very long relationship, and the Panthers’ brass was heavily involved during Pickett’s pro day. While he does not have the highest upside among the quarterbacks this year, Pickett would bring an immediate level of competency to Carolina’s quarterback room. 

Obviously, most teams want a little something more than “competency” from a top-10 selection, especially for a quarterback. One might argue that investing in one of the quarterbacks with higher upside might buy Rhule more time, as most consider him to be on the hot seat this season. However, that strategy did not save Matt Nagy last year, and he even had a competent backup in Andy Dalton. Rhule needs to get this team out of the basement and make them competitive this season; Pickett offers them the best opportunity to do that. 

7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears) – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

With their second first-round pick, the New York Giants find their lockdown corner of the future. Ahmad Gardner is one of the best press corners to come down the draft pipeline in many years. With that being said, if any of the top three edge rushers fall to this spot, New York could select one of them instead. 

Due to his cap hit, James Bradberry will most likely be on the move soon, whether by trade or cut. Therefore, the Giants will need a new number one lockdown corner; even if they retain Bradberry, pairing him and Gardner would make an incredible duo. Regardless of Bradberry’s status, Gardner is an excellent fit in Don “Wink” Martindale’s scheme. Wink relies heavily on blitzes with man coverage behind it, perfectly matching Gardner’s skillset. 

8. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Atlanta secures the steal of the draft, acquiring my #1 overall player with the eighth pick. The Falcons are generally devoid of talent, especially on defense. For this reason, they can adhere closely to the “best player available” strategy, as they need help everywhere. Luckily, they also have a dire need at safety; two career special teamers (Erik Harris and Dean Marlowe) are the projected starters, with young players (Jaylinn Hawkins and Richie Grant) backing them up.

Hamilton would bring an immediate impact to Atlanta’s defense. The regime in Atlanta is young, but this pick meshes with Atlanta’s strategy from last year. Despite perhaps more pressing needs at more valuable positions, the Falcons took Kyle Pitts, an uber-athletic freakish hybrid player. That description fits Hamilton as well, despite what his testing numbers indicate.

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft – Hussam Patel 
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Even though Seattle seems interested in giving Drew Lock a fair shake at quarterback, they still need to look towards the future in finding their franchise QB. Luckily, with Lock and Geno Smith on the roster, Malik Willis would not need to play in his first year with Seattle. Additionally, given the Russell Wilson trade, it seems clear that the Seahawks’ ownership is comfortable letting John Schneider and Pete Carroll manage the rebuilding process. 

Willis should work well with Carroll and the Seahawks in terms of fit. He brings a lot of the same physical and mental characteristics that Wilson brought. Willis obviously needs significant polishing and refinement. But Seattle is well-positioned to give Willis enough time to marinate while rebuilding the rest of the roster around him. Therefore, when he is ready to ascend to the starting quarterback position, he will inherit a well-rounded team. 

10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Once again, the New York Jets make a selection at a position that they don’t direly need. However, based on recent news, the Jets may be looking for a speed threat to help Zach Wilson. New York lost the Tyreek Hill trade sweepstakes, but had they been successful, one has to imagine that this pick was part of the trade deal. Therefore, securing the most dangerous speed threat at wide receiver makes sense for the Jets.

An ACL tear notwithstanding, Jameson Williams is still my WR1 in this class. He is a one-year wonder, but that one year was truly…wonderful. Williams possesses foot speed unlike any other receiver in this class. He was able to consistently separate from SEC defenders with speed alone but also has good hands, surprisingly good route running, and excellent toughness. Even if he misses the first few weeks of the season, Williams will be a major asset to Zach Wilson’s development. 

11. Washington Commanders – Drake London, WR, Southern California

Frankly, the Washington Commanders are in a bit of a pickle here. One could argue that they’ve been brining in one for years, but I digress. Regarding the draft, the Commanders do not have many immediate pressing needs; where they do have needs, their positioning in the first round and the distribution of talent among the class do not align very well. Furthermore, the Washington brass is, shall we say, relatively unpredictable, making this prediction somewhat tricky. 

With all that being said, Washington grabs a big, deep ball, contested-catch specialist for Carson Wentz. This season, after serving as a dynamic “big slot” matchup nightmare for USC, Drake London transitioned into an outside deep threat, routinely Mossing defenders up and down the field. Carson Wentz likes these big targets because he can throw up deep balls to them, hoping for chunk plays. There is no better receiver in this class more perfectly situated for that role. 

12. Minnesota Vikings – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Louisiana State

Another massive steal at the defensive back position. By now, everyone knows Derek Stingley’s story. If not for injuries and illness the past two seasons, Stingley would most likely have continued the trajectory established by his spectacular 2019 season. While the past two seasons have raised some questions and concerns about Stingley, he’s still a great athlete with a year of some of the best cornerback tape in the last decade. Furthermore, he would be able to learn directly from his LSU brethren, Patrick Peterson, in Minnesota, a team that desperately needs cornerback help. 

13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

As previously mentioned, the Texans need help across almost their entire roster. There was some smoke that the Texans could take an offensive tackle with their earlier first-round pick. However, I think the upside of going edge, then tackle, is higher than the inverse. Furthermore, Charles Cross can fill in at multiple positions along the offensive line. His future at left tackle could materialize soon, as Laremy Tunsil’s contract becomes unsustainable very soon. Therefore, selecting Cross here fills needs in the short and the long term. 

14. Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Johnson, OLB, Florida State

As a Steelers fan, I hate making this pick, mainly because it just makes so much sense. But Jermaine Johnson is a fantastic prospect, and his slide ends here. He’s a great run defender with pass-rush upside defined by strength and technique. Johnson is a perfect complement to athletic freakazoid Odafe Oweh, who wins with elite burst, bend, and athleticism. But Johnson is no slouch of an athlete himself and should fit well as an outside linebacker in Baltimore’s 3-4 defense.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Even though the Eagles may have a more pressing need at cornerback, and they have another pick coming up very soon, they need to take a #2 WR here to pair with Devonta Smith. Both the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers would be interested in taking a wide receiver in the next two picks. Therefore, the Eagles need to get their guy here instead of waiting until 18.

Olave gives the Eagles a serious deep-speed threat that should help open up their offense. Few teams will be equipped well enough in the secondary to cover both Smith and Olave, the latter of which has met with the Eagles multiple times in the pre-draft process. 

16. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts) – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

As previously mentioned, the New Orleans Saints will most likely be very interested in drafting a wide receiver. Their trade with the Eagles could be interpreted as a move to ensure they get one of the top four or five WRs. Luckily, one of them falls to 16. Like I said with the Eagles, they would need to prioritize receiver here, so their target does not get sniped by the Chargers or the Eagles. 

New Orleans would likely prefer Chris Olave, but Garrett Wilson is more than an adequate consolation prize. He might be an even better complement to Michael Thomas. Whereas Thomas wins with route running and physicality, Wilson wins body control and after-the-catch skills. The Saints love their Buckeyes, so pairing Wilson with another one should be fruitful. 

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Daniel Garrett
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Moving into the second half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the board did not fall particularly well for the Chargers. After going on a spending spree on defense, they most likely planned to use the draft to help build the offense for Justin Herbert. However, Jordan Davis is one of the most dominant prospects in this entire draft class. He also fits the defense that Brandon Staley wants to run.

I think this selection is less likely given that LA signed Sebastian Joseph-Day, who fills a similar role. But with how poor the Chargers defended the run last year, extreme measures might have to be taken. Lining Davis up next to SJD would allow the Chargers’ edge defenders and linebackers much more freedom to make plays with those two behemoths eating up multiple blockers. 

18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints) – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

The Philadelphia Eagles put up some very specific guardrails for their first-round picks, not only for certain positions but ones that exclude others entirely. While the Eagles have dire needs at linebacker and safety, do not expect the Eagles to use premium selections at these positions. Conversely, corner is a position where they have been willing to invest. Plus, they also have a pressing need there. 

Andrew Booth has had a wild ride this season. Going into the year, some draft pundits ranked Booth as their top corner in the class. He had a solid season, despite Clemson struggling. But injuries in the postseason, which prevented him from working out, have seemingly tanked his draft stock. There’s a possibility that Booth falls out of the first round altogether. But the Eagles have not shied away from injured prospects before, specifically at the corner position. 

19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles) – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

New Orleans assuages their other most pressing need at left tackle. Trevor Penning is far from a finished product. But surrounded by veteran talent on the line with an experienced coaching staff, they should be able to get him up to speed quickly. His rookie season could be a bit bumpy due to penalties and just adjusting to the speed of the NFL. But by the end of his rookie contract, Penning could very likely turn into a long-term starter for New Orleans. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

With only one of the top group of wide receivers remaining, I would expect this pick to be traded. While the Steelers could use receiver help, Treylon Burks is a bit of an asymmetric fit. Furthermore, several teams in the 20s might be willing to part with significant assets to jump ahead of each other.

While I hope the Steelers would end up trading down with this pick, that is something they rarely do. There is also the distinct possibility they choose a quarterback. In this scenario, two quarterbacks are gone, but I could still see the Steelers picking Ridder. I would be pleased if they traded down and then decided to take Ridder. 

Nevertheless, I have the Steelers taking Lewis Cine here. Cine checks lots of boxes the Steelers have for first-round picks: Power-Five (ideally SEC) school, incredible athleticism, and experienced but young. He also fits a very pressing need for Pittsburgh as they currently do not have a legitimate Week 1 starter at strong safety. They still have time to sign Tyrann Mathieu or bring Terrell Edmunds back. But they could be interested in deploying more three-safety packages this season. 

21. New England Patriots – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The New England Patriots are traditionally challenging to mock draft for. They primarily draft for value, but Bill Belichick is obviously a tough nut to crack. Given that the Patriots have a few apparent needs (CB, WR, OG), I would expect multiple teams to try to trade up in front of 21 to secure certain players. Therefore, while I’m not predicting a specific trade, I’m operating somewhat under the assumption that one will be made. 

Devin Lloyd is slowly falling down draft boards as people continue to sour on the positional value of linebackers. However, I think this is due in part to unrealistic expectations. I have seen comparisons where Lloyd is held up against Fred Warner and Micah Parsons. He is neither of these players, either as NFL players or as draft prospects.

With that being said, I still really love Lloyd’s game. He offers exceptional versatility, something Belichick covets. Lloyd doesn’t have the size or strength to perfectly replicate D’onta Hightower. But he could be a Jamie Collins type.  

22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders) – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas 

Stop me when you’ve heard this before: the Green Bay Packers need to draft a wide receiver early in the draft. We’ve been saying this for years, yet the Packers have avoided it for as long as possible. Now their primary receivers are Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins. By acquiring so much capital in the Davante Adams trade, Green Bay could trade up to secure a receiver of their choice instead of waiting to see who falls to them.

Nevertheless, Treylon Burks is a perfect scheme fit for the Packers and is an excellent value selection here. The Packers essentially require that their receivers weigh more than 200 pounds. Burks might be the heaviest wide receiver in the draft class, but he has excellent speed for his size and great run-after-catch ability. This comparison is rapidly becoming overused, but Burks could become the Packers’ version of Deebo Samuel. 

23. Arizona Cardinals – Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

Despite desperately needing cornerback help, I expect the Cardinals to target offensive prospects early in the 2022 NFL Draft. They seemingly need to placate Kyler Murray; even though he would probably enjoy a receiver more, reinforcing the offensive line should also make him happy.

Zion Johnson would be an ideal fit with the Cardinals. He is powerful and technically refined. He’s also a pretty good athlete, which fits nicely in the Cardinals’ running game that is primarily Zone-based. Even though Johnson doesn’t have the ceiling of previous elite guard prospects (e.g., Zack Martin and Quenton Nelson), he should be a good starter in the league for the next decade, something Arizona desperately needs. 

24. Dallas Cowboys – Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

The Dallas Cowboys let two of their primary starters walk in free agency, and thus need help rebuilding their once-vaunted offensive line. They have reportedly been very interested in both of the top guards in this year’s draft class. Both Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green have met with Dallas multiple times.

With Johnson off the board, Green is the logical selection. He is bigger than Johnson and could legitimately play offensive tackle in the NFL. But for now, Green can slide right into the left guard position. Assuming Tyron Smith stays healthy (a dubious assumption), Green could be the final piece of the Cowboys’ offensive line puzzle.

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft with Comparisons – Scott Carasik
25. Buffalo Bills – Devonte Wyatt, DT, Buffalo

We now enter the home stretch of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. This final group of teams has few needs and might be looking to trade out of the first round, exchanging talent for value and depth. The Buffalo Bills have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. One of their few holes is at defensive tackle, especially regarding a run-stuffing 1T.

Luckily, the board fell perfectly for Buffalo, as arguably the best defensive tackle in the class fell right in their lap. Due to his pass-rushing ability, some prefer Devonte Wyatt to his Georgia teammate, Jordan Davis. But he is truly a complete player and will be a three-down defender for the Bills. His power and strength will most likely command double teams, opening up more opportunities for Ed Oliver and the other young defensive linemen. 

26. Tennessee Titans – Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

This is a pick that I’m sure will happen but will be one of the worst picks in the first round. The Titans desperately need a new right tackle. Tennessee looks for three qualities when drafting offensive linemen: big, strong, and angry. Tyler Smith is all of these things. He’s young and extremely raw, but the Titans’ scheme might be able to mask some of Smith’s most glaring flaws. In the long term, maybe he can even switch sides and take over for Taylor Lewan in a few years. 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have very few pressing needs. They also need players that can help their team immediately. Luckily, the Bucs are getting most of their cornerback room from injury this season. With that being said, you can never have enough good cornerbacks. Furthermore, two of their starters, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, are entering contract years. Kaiir Elam has a similar skillset to the three prominent Tampa Bay corners, making him a seamless fit with this team. He might not play a lot this year, but he will gain valuable experience if someone gets hurt. 

28. Green Bay Packers – Dax Hill, DB, Michigan

In some ways, Dax Hill is almost the defensive mirror of Treylon Burks. Hill is an undersized safety, recruited as a corner, that mainly played in the slot. But he can also play in the box and help stop the run. He certainly won’t be a Landon Collins or Johnathan Abram type, but he won’t be a significant liability against the run when appropriately used. He’s also excellent in coverage, especially from the slot, where so many teams play their best receiver.

Drafting Hill accomplishes two goals for the Packers: it allows them to keep Jaire Alexander on the outside instead of playing the slot. It also softens the possible blow of Adrian Amos’ departure at the end of next year. 

29. Kansas City Chiefs (from Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Many expect the Kansas City Chiefs to use one of their first-round picks on an offensive weapon for Patrick Mahomes, gained in the wake of trading Tyreek Hill. I’m not so sure. The Chiefs haven’t used a first-round pick on a receiver since 2011, when they selected Jonathan Baldwin.

The last receiver they used a premium selection (i.e., first three rounds) on was Mecole Hardman. They also signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Juju Smith-Schuster. While neither of those receivers is a genuine #1 threat, Patrick Mahomes should be able to elevate these weapons to a higher level. 

Furthermore, the Chiefs have significant needs on defense, especially now that they are in the throes of a deadly arms race in the AFC West. The depth charts at cornerback and defensive end are very concerning. Luckily, one of the best corners in the draft fell right into Kansas City’s lap.

Trent McDuffie is relatively undersized, but this is not something the Chiefs have cared about in the past. Furthermore, they previously had great success with a cornerback from Washington: Marcus Peters. McDuffie is an excellent technician and will not give the Chiefs any of the headaches that Peters provided. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs – George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

With all that being said about the Chiefs not taking an offensive player, they could always trade up for one. They have six picks in the first three rounds, so they have plenty of ammunition. Then again, this also means they have plenty of opportunities to pick a receiver in the next two rounds. Conversely, the chance to get a premier edge defender rarely comes along.

George Karlaftis is one such defender. While he is not an explosive speedy pass rusher, he is very powerful and will be a strong run defender. I would expect the Chiefs to draft another lighter edge rusher in the later rounds, allowing them to move Karlaftis inside on passing downs, where he is arguably at his most dangerous. 

31. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Thanks to a massive spending spree in free agency, the Bengals don’t necessarily need to take an offensive lineman in the first round anymore. They don’t have that many pressing needs, to begin with. Unfortunately, those needs don’t align with how the board fell to them. They do need an outside corner, but the top five are gone.

This might need to be a case where they reach for need instead of taking the best player available, as the BPA might not provide much value in terms of that player seeing the field.

Luckily, taking Kyler Gordon is a pretty solid solution. He tested below expectations at the Combine, but it was reportedly because he got very sick that week. Gordon is an excellent man coverage corner with great footwork, hand usage, and athleticism on the field. The Bengals like to mix up the coverages on the backend but getting a reliable, shutdown man corner would be very useful. 

32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) – Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

There was some smoke that the Lions could take a quarterback, most likely Malik Willis, at #2 overall. This always seemed a little far-fetched, given that Detroit is still pretty far away from legitimately competing. Even though Willis needs time to develop, Detroit would be better served by getting an elite, immediate impact starter.

With that being said, getting a QB with the final pick of the first round is a nice alternative. Desmond Ridder is certainly far from a perfect prospect. But he could give Jared Goff a run for his money for the starting job and allow the Lions to move on from Goff after this season, saving over $20 million with only $10 million in dead cap.

Typically, these things are overblown, but Ridder was a major part of returning Cincinnati to prominence. He’s a highly competitive winner, which the Lions desperately need.

NFL Scouting Combine: Day 3 Takeaways

Jordan Davis NFL Scouting Combine
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Day Three of the NFL Scouting Combine is now complete. What were the major takeaways from the third day of on-field drills?

There is a reason why Georgia won the championship

Going into the NFL Scouting Combine, the Georgia defense was expected to be the talk of the town. Eight players from the Bulldogs’ defense made the trip to Indianapolis, with three from the defensive line group and linebackers each. All three defensive linemen (Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, and Travon Walker) have been featured in the first round of recent mock drafts. But the question remained: could these players deliver on their ridiculous expectations? 


Suffice it to say, the defensive linemen did not disappoint. The biggest star of the group was the behemoth, Jordan Davis. Measuring in at 6’6” and 341 pounds, Davis clocked in at 4.82 unofficially on his first 40-yard dash. But multiple sources indicated that he got into the high 4.7s based on hand-timing; this led to Davis’ official time being changed to 4.78.

His time was faster than Quinnen Williams’ and both Bosa brothers. He also set a new record in the broad jump for players over 300 pounds. Put simply, any doubts about Davis should be erased after this performance, as he established himself as a top-20 lock. 

Dawg Domination

The Bulldog bonanza did not stop there. Davis’ counterpart at defensive tackle, Devonte Wyatt, was just as impressive. Wyatt recorded the fastest 40-time of any defensive tackle at the Combine. He also looked exceptionally fluid in the positional drills, displaying rare athleticism for a man of his size.

Two of the linebackers, Channing Tindall and Quay Walker, were also excellent, both recording sub-4.55 40-yard dashes. Tindall recorded elite jumps as well, finishing first among all participants in the vertical and 4th among LBs in the broad. 

Aliens Among Us

Finally, arguably nobody helped themselves more than defensive end Travon Walker. At 6’5” and 272 pounds, Walker recorded a 4.51 40-yard dash. This is the fastest 40-yard dash in history for a player weighing more than 270 pounds. He also recorded a 35.5” vertical jump. Walker has been rising meteorically in the draft process due to his insane athleticism on tape. By proving it in Indianapolis, Walker may have solidified himself as a first-half of the first-round selection. 

Also Read: NFL Scouting Combine: Day 1 Takeaways

The Other Defensive Linemen Exceeded expectations

Even without the trio of Georgia studs, the defensive line group is widely considered the deepest and most talented position group in this class. Edge players like Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon, Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo from Michigan, George Karlaftis from Purdue, and Jermaine Johnson from Florida State were all projected first-round picks.

Scouts, media, and fans alike were also excited to see interior defenders like Perrion Winfrey, Travis Jones, and DeMarvin Leal. Everyone that follows the draft was clamoring to see how these players performed at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Interior Defensive Linemen

Like the Georgia defenders, the rest of the defensive line put on a show. Any other year, a 6’4” 320+ lb defensive tackle running a 4.90 40-yard dash would be the biggest story. Unfortunately, Travis Jones’ incredible day was overshadowed by the historic performances of Davis and Wyatt.

With an elite Senior Bowl and Combine performance, Jones may have improved his stock to that of a first-round pick. Thomas Booker from Stanford and Logan Hall from Houston also had excellent days, displaying remarkable movement skills for men of their size. 

The Michigan Boys

Going into the NFL Scouting Combine, many expected Aidan Hutchinson to fulfill the expectations put forth by his appearance in the Feldman’s Freaks article. Hutchinson put together a performance that mirrored Chiefs and Vikings legend, Jared Allen. While he did not meet the expectations set by the Feldman article, Hutchinson still proved that he is an elite athlete. His teammate, David Ojabo, also did pretty well for himself.

Other Edge Defenders

Boye Mafe all but locked himself in as a first-round pick, recording insane jumps and an elite 40 time. Players further down the draft board also put together excellent days; Nik Bonitto, Arnold Ebiketie, Sam Williams, and Amare Barno all had fantastic days. This draft class has one of the deepest groups of edge defenders in recent memory. 

Also Read: NFL Scouting Combine: Day 2 Takeaways

It’s Time to Respect Kayvon Thibodeaux

As I’m essentially a guest writer for this piece, I hope Hussam doesn’t mind me getting on a soapbox. But I’m sick and tired of hearing about Kayvon Thibodeaux’s lack of effort. After running a 4.58 40-yard dash with an excellent 1.59 10-yard split, Thibodeaux elected to sit out the rest of the positional drills. According to the NFL Network broadcast, he was hoping to do all the defensive lineman and linebacker drills at the same time. But due to their separation and the long nature of the day, he elected to delay working out until his pro day.

Generally, I like Rich Eisen and Daniel Jeremiah. But the pair spent an unreasonable amount of time giving further life to the narrative that Thibodeaux doesn’t love football and he takes plays off. Thibodeaux spent a lot of his media time working to dispel this narrative.

Turn On the Tape; Turn Off the Noise

Furthermore, if you simply watch his tape, you can see that he is an extremely high-effort, high-motor player. This season alone, he kept playing through multiple injuries, even when he could have shut down his season as Nick Bosa did in 2017. Former edge rusher and Hall of Famer Willie McGinest tried to dispel their talking points, indicating that doing the drills during the Pro Day is exactly the same. But the pair returned to the issue multiple times for seemingly no reason. 

It is fair to say that Thibodeaux had a disappointing season, as many expected him to strengthen his claim to the #1 overall pick. But to continue to claim that the reason behind his struggles is his effort or desire to be great is irresponsible and exceptionally unfair.

For every article written about his supposed laziness or apathy, there are at least two diving deep into Thibodeaux’s dedication and love of the game. Some of his comments about branding and such are being taken out of context by a sports media circus that is behind the times. I know the love of Ted Lasso has somewhat jumped the shark as of late. But the darts scene in which Ted recommends being curious and not judgmental should be applied to Kayvon Thibodeaux. 

Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers

Darrian Beavers Scouting Report

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Darrian Beavers is a linebacker from Cincinnati and a prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Beavers played wide receiver and safety for Colerain High School in Cincinnati. He earned all-conference honors twice and led his team to three conference titles. Beavers was only a three-star recruit at safety and earned a handful of offers from Group of Five schools. He chose to attend UConn and began bulking up to switch to linebacker.

Beavers played in all 24 possible games during his first two seasons with the Huskies. He cracked the starting lineup in 2018, making six starts. Before the 2019 season, Beavers elected to transfer and return home to Cincinnati. He played in all 14 games in 2019, starting 10. In 2020, Beavers started all 10 games for the Bearcats on his way to earning All-AAC 2nd-Team. He finished second on the team in total tackles with 58. 

In 2021, Beavers started all 15 games for Cincinnati. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award and earned All-AAC 1st-Team. He finished second on the team in total tackles and fumbles forced, tied for second in tackles for loss, and third in sacks. In the postseason, Beavers earned invitations to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine

In the Cincinnati defense, Beavers filled many roles. He frequently moved around before the snap, moving back and forth from the line of scrimmage. When he was at UConn, he was used almost exclusively as an on-ball outside linebacker. But with the Bearcats, Beavers played much more off the ball, but usually between the tackles. He frequently rushes the passer, is utilized on stunts and twists, and also drops into short zone coverage over the middle of the field. 


Career Stats: 63 games played, 41 games started, 230 tackles (129 solos), 27.5 TFLs, 3 forced fumbles, 4 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, 54 pressures (26 hurries, 14 QB hits, 13.5 sacks). 

2021 Stats: 15 GP/GS, 99 tackles (47 solos), 12.0 TFLs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 passes defensed, 1 interception, 21 pressures (9 hurries, 6 QB hits, 5 sacks). 

2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 77.7 Defense (t-23rd), 73.7 Run Defense (t-49th), 59.6 Tackling (284th), 86.1 Pass Rush (17th), 68.0 Coverage (t-110th). 

Darrian Beavers Scouting Report

  • Very good mental processing: able to diagnose and trigger downhill quickly. Recognizes concepts quickly and knows how to attack them. Displays excellent zone awareness in the passing game. 
  • Good play strength, with better passive strength than active strength. Almost never gets pushed backwards by blockers of any size. 
  • Good in run defense between the tackles: very disciplined in his run fits, understanding how his assignment fits into the whole of the defense. Gets into the hole quickly and can stack blockers there. 
  • Good in short zones in the middle of the field, shuffling well between the hashes and reading QB’s eyes. Understands how route concepts are developing around and behind him, subtly moving to take them away. 
  • Over 700 special teams snaps in career, with more than 100 in all except FG/XP kicks. Can be an immediate contributor there and seize leadership role early on. 
  • Sub-par athletic ability: stiffly built and struggles to change direction. Not particularly explosive from standstill or when changing direction. 
  • Lacks foot speed and desire to be a sideline-to-sideline player; if play is to the opposite side of the field, will most likely not make an impact. 
  • Active strength is lacking. Rarely pushes blockers back and struggles to shed blockers. Doesn’t take on blocks aggressively, instead trying to knife through gaps and avoid them. 
  • Frequently misses tackles in the open field and between the tackles. Can be out-athleted in space with relative ease. Struggles to maintain consistent tackling technique as well, allowing ballcarriers to slough him off. Too aggressive and puts head down without following through. 
  • Despite usage, struggles to defeat offensive linemen when rushing the passer. Does not have the athletic ability to win around the edge, nor the strength or technique to win through linemen. 
  • Very rarely used in man coverage against tight ends or even running backs, possibly indicating the coaching staff did not trust him to do so. 


Darrian Beavers is somewhat of a relic, relative to the modern game of professional football. He is a born safety in an edge defender’s body playing linebacker. He’s a very smart player with extensive experience; he knows where to be at all times and is difficult to move.

However, Beavers suffers from a significant lack of speed and athletic ability. He is stiff and slow to change direction, hampering his ability to pursue ball carriers and make tackles in the open field. Despite his build, he is not particularly effective as a pass rusher when his blitzes are not schemed up via twists and stunts. 

In the NFL, Darrian Beavers projects as a middle/inside linebacker or an on-ball strong-side linebacker. He will be one of the larger linebackers in the NFL, edge defenders excluded. He projects as a role-player who takes the field against heavier personnel groups in likely run situations. Beavers has extensive special teams experience, so he should be comfortable taking snaps there immediately.

However, it seems unlikely that he will develop into an every-down defensive player. While he may survive in a zone-heavy defense that moves him around, Beavers should not see the field on passing downs against NFL athletes where he has to cover them in man. 

Grade: 6.0 / 10

Comparison: Kyle Wilber (2012, R4 #113, Dallas Cowboys)

Myjai Sanders Scouting Report

Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders Scouting Report
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Myjai Sanders is an edge rusher from Cincinnati and a prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Sanders played for two high schools early in his career, moving from Georgia to Florida halfway through. He earned all-conference honors at both schools and was a consensus three-star recruit. Sanders earned scholarship offers from over 20 schools across the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, AAC, and C-USA. 

Sanders played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2018, only logging 49 snaps on defense. But in his second season with the Bearcats, he started all 14 games and finished second on the team in sacks. Sanders started 10 games in 2020, earning All-AAC 1st-Team and finishing second in the conference in sacks. He started all 14 games in 2021 and earned All-AAC 1st-Team honors again. 

In Cincinnati’s defense, Sanders had to play somewhat out of position. He is very tall, long, and relatively skinny, but the defense asked him to play over the tackle and two-gap to defend against the run. Sanders is built to rush the passer off the edge, not hold up and skirmish with offensive tackles. With that being said, he is still very competent there and displays excellent versatility. Let’s dive into the Myjai Sanders scouting report.


Career Stats: 48 GP, 38 GS, 119 tackles (60 solos), 25 TFLs, 12 passes defensed, 140 pressures (107 hurries, 14 QB hits, 13.5 sacks), 2 forced fumbles, 29 penalties. 

2021 Stats: 14 GP/GS, 41 tackles (17 solos), 7.5 TFLs, 5 passes defensed, 62 pressures (54 hurries, 3 QB hits, 2.5 sacks), 1 forced fumble, 13 penalties

2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 80.2 Defense (t-47th), 75.8 Run Defense (t-67th), 48.6 Tackling (t-419th), 87.3 Pass Rush (t-30th), 73.5 Coverage (t-30th). 

Myjai Sanders Scouting Report

  • Good burst, coming out of stance well and in a hurry; flashes ability to time snap count and get the jump on the tackle. 
  • Solid athletic ability: good agility, explosiveness, and change of direction. Good foot speed in the open field and has displayed the ability to jump the snap to win the edge. 
  • Good against the run: diagnoses run very well, identifying blocking schemes and pullers; holds up against single blocks in Gap and Zone schemes and sheds blocks with great timing to meet ballcarrier. 
  • Good hand usage: good timing to use hands to attack or deflect, possessing the strength to remove and shed from the opponent; has a few pass rush moves to win both inside and out. 
  • Displayed the ability to win in a variety of ways in college. Exceptionally long arms allow him to keep OTs at a distance and deflect passes. 
  • Fills numerous roles for defense; played anywhere from 3T-9T, and in 2, 3, and 4-point stances. 1- and 2-gapped against the run, rushed from between and outside the tackles, and can drop into coverage from linebacker alignments/stances.
  • His body is not ideally constructed; his hips are very high and somewhat tight, preventing him from getting lower in his stance and limiting his ability to bend around the edge.
  • Mediocre balance and flexibility allow him to be pushed over. Length and tightness lead to occasional issues with maintaining low pad level and consistent leverage. 
  • Lack of weight/strength/power is apparent in pass rush, as he rarely wins using a bull rush to collapse the pocket. Run blocking double teams frequently move him with ease. 
  • Needs to add more pass rush moves to arsenal; primarily won with length, speed, and agility in college, not relying on technique as much. Rarely has a backup plan if initially stymied and QB does not leave the pocket. 
  • Struggled with missed tackles last two seasons; tightness limits his ability to break down and get wide to swallow ballcarrier, who can out-juke in him the open field. 
  • Penalties (offsides) were an issue in college (29 in career, 13 in 2021); less-gimmicky NFL offenses may mitigate the issue but is something to monitor. 


Myjai Sanders’ scouting report paints the picture of an unorthodox prospect. He was a productive and effective starter in college. But a few critical flaws in his game limit his potential. Sanders’ build is the root cause of those issues. He is high-hipped with long legs; generally, he is somewhat stiff, especially in his hips and ankles. These physical issues limit Sanders’ ability to bend, causing problems when turning the corner and when breaking down to make tackles in the open field.

Overall, Sanders is a well-rounded edge rusher. He has good burst and athletic ability to get off at the snap and threaten the outside edge. He also defends the run surprisingly well for a sub-250 pound edge defender. Sanders has the strength to hold up against most tackles against the run and the power to shock and push them back when rushing the passer. He is aided by his length, allowing him to long-arm offensive linemen. In addition, Sanders uses his hands well against the run and the pass.

However, besides the aforementioned physical issues, Sanders is still far from a perfect prospect. While he is well-rounded, he also lacks a tremendous or elite trait to fall back on. Combined with his build, Sanders struggles to reduce the distance and angle needed to reach the quarterback, whether by speed, bend, or power. Additionally, he may experience difficulties defeating NFL offensive tackles without a go-to ability.


In the NFL, Myjai Sanders projects best as a strong-side on-ball linebacker. He is a dependable run defender that can execute a variety of techniques. In addition, he offers valuable pass-rush upside, as he can defeat linemen in diverse ways.

However, given some of his physical limitations, he needs to work with an experienced, creative coach to teach him more ways to win against NFL linemen. Sanders should see the field right away but will most likely not be an every-down defender as a rookie. With these flaws in mind, he should be a Day-2 selection.

Grade: 6.5 / 10

Comparison: Derek Rivers (2017, R3 #83, New England Patriots)