Tag Archives: 2022 NFL Draft Prospects

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)

Cincinnati Bearcats DB Ahmad Gardner Scouting Report

Ahmad Gardner Scouting Report

Cincinnati Bearcats DB Ahmad Gardner Scouting Report
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“Sauce” is a cornerback from Cincinnati and a prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s dive into the Ahmad Gardner scouting report.

Gardner hails from Detroit, Michigan where he played wide receiver and cornerback in high school. As a senior, he helped lead his team to a state championship. He was a consensus three-star recruit and a top-40 player in Michigan. Gardner earned scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Syracuse, and most of the schools in the MAC. 

Gardner chose Cincinnati and earned playing time early. As the 2019 season progressed, the true freshman played more every week. After seven games, he finally broke into the starting lineup and never looked back. Gardner started the final six games and earned 1st-Team All-AAC honors along with several Freshman All-American nods. In 2020, he played in all but the bowl game, and started all but one game; he earned All-AAC 1st-Team and All-American again. 

Gardner took his game to another level in 2021, earning AAC Defensive Player of the Year (unanimously), All-AAC 1st-Team, and consensus All-American honors. In three seasons, with 1124 coverage snaps and 138 targets, he never allowed a touchdown. During the 2021 season, Gardner only allowed 20 catches on 40 targets for 131 yards, with the longest reception going for only 17 yards. 


Career Stats: 36 GP, 28 GS, 99 tackles (68 solos), 5.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 24 passes defensed, 9 interceptions, 32.6 NFL passer rating when targeted, 14 penalties. 

2021 Stats: 14 GP/GS, 40 tackles (28 solos), 5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, 26.1 NFL passer rating when targeted, 2 penalties. 

2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 87.1 Defense (t-7th), 77.8 Run Defense (73rd), 70.9 Tackling (t-155th), 78.5 Pass Rush (40th), 87.2 Coverage (10th). 

Ahmad Gardner Scouting Report


  • Elite build with exceptionally long arms and very good height; muscularly built, but not overly so. 
  • Great athletic ability with excellent long speed, explosiveness, change of direction, and agility. Surprisingly smooth for a corner with his build and length. 
  • Very good line of scrimmage skills, using length to gain an immediate advantage in press-jam. Good strike power and placement to shock receiver and disrupt route. Mirrors releases very well with quick feet and fluid hips, displaying excellent patience at the line.
  • Comfortable playing in trail technique against most routes. He uses his long strides and speed to quickly eliminate separation, and long arms allow him to deflect passes/affect the catch point from further distance. 
  • Drastically improved zone awareness and understanding of spacing in 2021; read concepts better to remain equidistant from targets and prevent throws. Quickly reads concepts and triggers well to go after the ball and the receiver. 
  • Very good in man coverage, utilizing superior athleticism and length to prevent and minimize separation. Has a great understand of leverage and how to stay in the hip pocket of his opponent; great hip fluidity allows him to mirror receivers without fully turning to get vertical. 
  • Good ball skills, using length to disrupt passes with good timing. Three interceptions every season, displaying good ball tracking with surprisingly decent hands for a CB. 
  • Willing (perhaps not enthusiastic) tackler, with length allowing him to close quickly and present wide tackling radius.
  • Length allows him to be a blitzing weapon from the boundary, as he can cover ground quickly and affect the quarterback. 


  • Not as fluid when making diametrically opposed cuts (backpedal to come downhill); long legs can get caught and force him to stop for a beat before re-accelerating. 
  • Occasionally beaten by quick in-breaking routes when in press, especially with outside leverage.
  • Gets a bit too aggressive with hands; observant officials could flag him frequently. 
  • Offensive linemen and tight ends can get the better of him in run support, as they can overwhelm him with strength/power. 


Ahmad Gardner looks like he was built in a laboratory to play in the modern NFL. He has insane length, which he uses to dominate at the line of scrimmage and break up passes downfield. Gardner is an exceptional athlete who can succeed in any type of coverage assignment.

The flaws in his game are very minuscule and any team would be lucky to add him to their roster. He has some issues with being too aggressive and handsy, which could lead to penalties. Furthermore, he will need to adjust to different field dimensions that aren’t so advantageous to him. 

In the NFL, Gardner would be best in a defensive scheme that heavily leans on man coverage assignment and press-jam techniques at the line of scrimmage. He can be an asset in any defensive scheme, but an aggressive approach would take advantage of his unique gifts and skillset. Even if Gardner gets beat, he has the speed, length, and discipline to recover quickly to minimize separation. 

The scouting report on Ahmad Gardner paints a picture of a player who can contribute — and even start — immediately. He is in the running for the best cornerback in this class and is among the top fifteen overall players. On the right team and in the right defense, Gardner could be a Pro Bowl-level player immediately, and be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL for years to come. 

Grade: 8.0/10

Comparison: Antonio Cromartie (2006, R1 #19, San Diego Chargers)

2022 NFL Draft Quarterbacks Temperature Check: Senior Bowl

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The top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft have now completed their journey to Mobile. With the Senior Bowl over, they now turn their eye to the NFL Scouting Combine. Before diving into that, however, let’s see where the class stands. Six of the top seven quarterbacks played in the Senior Bowl. We’ll check in with what their temperature is as a prospect before moving onto the next stage of the NFL Draft process.

Senior Bowl Practice Star Malik Willis
Photo by Jeff Hanson

Malik Willis, Liberty

Of all the 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks, Malik Willis probably had the most to gain or lose at the Senior Bowl. As was the case during most of his college career, Willis was somewhat inconsistent during his time in Mobile. But his flashes were so explosive that it got some people (perhaps too) excited.

Willis undeniably possesses the best physical gifts in this draft class in terms of his athletic/running ability and arm talent. He also looked the most energetic and engaged with his teammates during practices, especially during the torrential downpour on Wednesday. 

But Willis also has a long developmental road ahead of him with regards to his lower body mechanics, accuracy, and mental processing. He put all these facets of his game on display during the Senior Bowl process. Willis frequently made electric plays with his feet, along with some truly unique throws. But he also missed several easy passes due to his poor footwork.

Nevertheless, Willis probably flashed enough during the week to convince several teams they can fix him and turn him into the next Mahomes or Allen. Because of his elite traits, many are going to be willing to bet on him as the best quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Temperature Check: Hot, slowly approaching Fever

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Kenny Pickett arrived in Mobile with arguably his biggest flaw at the forefront of the discourse: his hand size. Pickett did not measure his hands due to his thumbs being double-jointed, leading to a misleading number. Nevertheless, the rumor is that his hands are only 8 ¼” across, the smallest for any quarterback in the modern era. However, Pickett apparently soared above the other 2022 NFL draft quarterbacks in Mobile, as he was the clear winner during the interview process with NFL teams. 

On the field, Pickett performed like most of the other quarterbacks: inconsistent. He had some nice throws on the first day but also struggled to receive snaps (albeit from unfamiliar centers who were new to the position). On the second day, Pickett donned a glove on his throwing hand to deal with the pouring rain. However, he looked even worse this day, as he struggled to drive the ball with velocity through the rain.

But on the third day, he played arguably the best of any quarterback during the whole week. Granted, this practice took place indoors, but Pickett parleyed this performance into another solid one on game day. At the end of the week, Pickett most likely helped himself; but there are still legitimate concerns about his game that could scare teams off. 

Temperature Check: Warm, slowly approaching Hot

Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sam Howell, North Carolina

Of the quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, Sam Howell probably had the most consistently solid week in Mobile. Howell had some of the same issues as the other quarterbacks (snap exchange problems, drops, etc.). He made numerous good accurate throws to most levels of the field.

But Howell did not test the defense deep as much as quarterbacks like Willis and Strong. On one hand, it was frustrating not to see him take deep shots; on the other, he didn’t miss as badly as the other quarterbacks. 

During the actual game, Howell was plagued by the same issue that gave him so much trouble this past season: poor offensive line play. Even though the offensive lines at the Senior Bowl were much better than Howell’s at UNC, the opposing defensive lines were unstoppable. At this point in the process, he represents somewhat of a middle ground between Pickett and Willis.

The problem is that more teams want to bet on elite traits, even if that player has major issues. Howell doesn’t have any elite traits, but he also doesn’t have any major flaws. For these reasons, I think he could fall in the draft but it might land him in a better situation where he can succeed immediately. 

Temperature Check: Lukewarm but Comfortable

Carson Strong, Nevada

Carson Strong might have had the most to gain among the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl. However, in my opinion, he failed to fully take advantage of this opportunity. Over the course of the past year, Strong became the darling sleeper of many draft analysts. His big arm and accuracy from the pocket were unique, especially for a Group of Five quarterback.

Strong played quite well again this past year, but concerns about his mobility (or lack thereof) and the long-term health of his knee flared. Going to Mobile, Strong had a chance to seize the mantle of QB1 if he could continue to wow with his arm talent and show he could move around the pocket. 

During his time in Mobile, Strong accomplished about one-and-a-half of those goals. He did not wear a knee brace during practice and showed on multiple occasions he could get outside the pocket and even scramble for a few yards. He also displayed the raw power of his arm, launching passes 50 or 60 yards downfield.

Unfortunately, many of these passes completely missed the receiver, as Strong struggled to properly locate passes, especially intermediate and deep. While he didn’t have a bad week by any means, Strong failed to make a significant change to his stock — especially after the first day. If anything, Strong’s chances of being drafted in the first round decreased after this week.

Temperature Check: Warm but lower than anticipated

Photo Credit: AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

Matt Corral, Mississippi

Matt Corral did not attend the Senior Bowl, but the performance of the other 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks affects his stock as well. Some said Matt Corral was the biggest winner in Mobile because the rest of the quarterbacks were so inconsistent/bad.

Corral runs a very similar offense to that of Sam Howell and Malik Willis, and arguably ran it the best this season, leading Ole Miss to a 9-3 season. But I am still wary of Corral; he presents a lot of the same issues that plague Willis and Howell, but lacks the size, arm strength, rushing ability, or toughness. 

Furthermore, Corral could have been eligible to attend the Senior Bowl. Since Jim Nagy took over, the game has been much more open to accepting fourth-year juniors that have graduated. They even took Sam Howell, who graduated from North Carolina in only three years.

Conversely, Corral failed to graduate from Ole Miss in four years (one of which was a redshirt year) as a multidisciplinary studies major. Obviously, there have been great quarterbacks with less than stellar academic records who succeeded in the past. But this falls in line with Corral’s history of immaturity and lack of focus, dating back to his time in high school. Therefore, with all these elements combined, I would say Corral has not moved very much in recent weeks. 

Temperature Check: Tepid


Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

On one hand, Desmond Ridder did exactly what people expected of him at the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, on the other, he did exactly what was expected. Ridder is an extremely polished, developed quarterback — especially relative to the other 2022 NFL Draft quarterbacks. However, that is part of the problem.

Despite starting for several seasons, Ridder still struggles to maintain consistent accuracy and ball placement, especially when throwing deep. He also doesn’t have the strongest arm; it’s not bad, but is about NFL average in terms of both velocity and distance. 

In Mobile, Ridder struggled with a lot of these same issues. Granted, the offensive line, receivers, and offense we all new. But he still made more mistakes and bad plays than most of the other quarterbacks there. Most people see Ridder as a step below the previously discussed quarterbacks, due to his lack of elite (or perhaps even very good) traits. He did nothing to dissuade these notions in Mobile. At this point, it’s hard to plot a path for Ridder to re-elevate his stock to that of a first-round pick. 

Temperature Check: Room-Temperature and Dropping

Bailey Zappe led the American team of winners and losers on Day 3 of the Senior Bowl
Photo Credit: Jeff Hanson

Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky

Even though the rest of the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback group in Mobile struggled throughout the week, Bailey Zappe was clearly a tier below the rest. While Zappe is very accurate in short and intermediate areas of the field, he lacks the arm talent to consistently threaten the entire field. He would need an elite team around him, along with a domed stadium, to be a successful NFL starting QB.

While one might point at Drew Brees as a possible model for Zappe, I would gesture towards the scores of undersized, noodle-armed quarterbacks who barely lasted one contract. 

Temperature Check: Cold


Of the quarterbacks at the East-West Shrine Game in Las Vegas, Jack Coan stood out the most to me. Coan flashed at various points in his career, both at Wisconsin and Notre Dame. He probably doesn’t have the consistency or the physical tools to develop into a full-time starter, but he’s extremely smart with an NFL-caliber arm and some athletic ability. He could carve out a niche for himself as a long-time backup in the league. At this point, I’d rather spend an early-Day 3 pick on Coan than Zappe. 

Another lower-tier quarterback that played well at a lower-level all-star game is Chase Garbers. The California quarterback was fantastic in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl; he displayed good zip on accurate throws, along with surprising athletic ability. He is proto-typically built (6’2”, 218 lbs) and looks like the type that could be a solid backup and competent spot starter. If I had to burn a sixth or seventh-round pick on a quarterback to be an NFL backup for the next decade, I would spend it on Garbers.

The Three FCS Musketeers

This quarterback class is notoriously thin, which is driving scouts to the FCS ranks to look for hidden gems. The three names that have come up the most are Alabama A&M’s Aqeel Glass, Brown’s EJ Perry, and Southeastern Louisiana’s Cole Kelley.

Glass is the most prototypical of the three, as he plays like Strong. While he’s extremely accurate, he’s an underwhelming athlete and does not push the ball vertically very much.

Perry is probably the hottest name right now, as he’s coming off several tremendous seasons in the Ivy League after transferring from Boston College. Unfortunately, he’s small and probably doesn’t have an NFL-caliber arm.

My favorite of the bunch is Cole Kelley. Formerly of Arkansas, the 6’6”, 250 lbs behemoth might be the most unique QB in this class. While his arm is not as strong as one would expect of someone with his size and build, Kelley probably has the most NFL tools of any of the FCS quarterbacks. Again, if NFL teams are going to bet on physical tools, Kelley is the smartest man to wager on. 

QB Desmond Ridder is a hot name in Atlanta Falcons rumors

Senior Bowl Rumors: Falcons Edition

QB Desmond Ridder is a hot name in Atlanta Falcons rumors
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week I had the opportunity to go down to Mobile, Alabama for the Reese’s Senior Bowl. I had the opportunity to meet tons of super cool, and plugged in, people out in the practices and out in other networking opportunities. But at the Senior Bowl things get leaked and rumors start swirling. So, naturally, I decided to take advantage of the rumors that were floating around about our Atlanta Falcons. Here they are! Enjoy and feel free to believe whichever you want.

Falcons are in on Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder:

This might be one of the hotter rumors, but there are reasons to potentially believe this one. While in Mobile, one of the biggest rumors of the week was that the Atlanta Falcons were in on QB Desmond Ridder. Ridder has most draft analysts split on how to value him. But there are a couple reasons to believe this link.

One reason is that Ridder himself compared his style of play to Ryan Tannehill and attempts to model his game after him. Tannehill had the best seasons of his career under Arthur Smith, who could see Ridder as a similar type of quarterback to fit the offense.

Another big piece of this evidence comes from this tweet from Luke Fickell. While at the Senior Bowl, Arthur Smith was seen on the field talking with Coach Fickell next to the quarterbacks and wide receivers. Could it have just been a talk of all the players? Sure. But while this rumor was floating around that was happening.

UPDATE: Confirmed that Ridder did talk to the Falcons from Falcoholic Kevin

Falcons are in on Florida RB Dameon Pierce:

This was an Atlanta Falcons rumor I heard around the end of the week. Florida RB Dameon Pierce is a very powerful runner with his 5’9″ 220lbs frame. Pierce is very similar runner stylistically to what Falcons fans hoped Mike Davis would bring.

Adding Pierce would be one step closer to the Falcons establishing an identity on offense. Plus, after passing on Javonte Williams last season, Pierce could mend that bridge with some fans as he would give the Falcons a real bruiser out of the backfield.

Falcons are targeting a WR:

This Atlanta Falcons rumor comes first hand. Each day during the Senior Bowl during the National Team practice, you’d see a combination of Arthur Smith, offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, and another staff member eyeballing the wide receivers. This group for the National team had Christian Watson, Alec Pierce, Romeo Doubs, Khalil Shakir and others.

Watson had one of the best weeks of any player in Mobile and I hope that is who the Falcons could be targeting. But it seemed incredibly obvious about us targeting a wide receiver. Maybe even multiple ones.

Falcons want an EDGE or WR Early

I talked to one source about the Falcons and they said: “The Falcons will probably go with either a game changing EDGE or YAC Daddy wide receiver early.”

The two names that come to mind for me are David Ojabo, the EDGE from Michigan, and Treylon Burks, the wide receiver from Arkansas. Neither name has been super loved by fans when talking about potential picks, but both are worthy of that first pick for the Falcons.