2022 NFL Draft: Which prospect might not be a first-round pick, but SHOULD be?
The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly one week away, and just 32 prospects will have the honor of hearing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announce their names on Day 1 in Las Vegas. Consequently, a slew of highly talented players will still be on the board come Friday evening, when Round 2 gets underway. Day 2 of the draft annually features underrated talent and produces instant-impact rookies. All of this begs the question …
Which prospect might not be selected in the first round, but SHOULD be?
Willie McGinest: Had it not been for a torn Achilles suffered at Michigan’s pro day last month, David Ojabo undoubtedly would be in line to come off the board in Round 1. He burst onto the national scene in his first season as a starter for the Wolverines in 2021, posting 11 sacks and five forced fumbles (a school record) while playing opposite top pass-rush prospect Aidan Hutchinson. Although he is a raw talent who’s now recovering from a major injury, Ojabo will likely be a steal on Day 2 for an NFL team that’s willing to wait a year to reap the benefits of the dynamic edge rusher.
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Marc Ross: I’ve been saying for months now that Skyy Moore is my favorite player in this year’s draft. While other big-school wideouts are locks to go in Round 1 — guys like Jameson Williams, Drake London, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave — Moore was an under-the-radar prospect at the start of the pre-draft process. He can match any of those aforementioned guys in terms of pure production, playmaking, football intelligence and skills. The versatile receiver has the talent and confidence to be a winning starter no matter where he is drafted.
Rhett Lewis: I’m saying Oklahoma’s Nik Bonitto. A fireball off the edge, Bonitto has great athleticism and first-step quickness to gain an advantage against offensive tackles. One attribute we’ve discussed a bunch on NFL Network’s Path to the Draft: Bonitto’s ability to bend and get around tackles, and how it compares favorably to edge players projected to go in the first round. He is a bit undersized (6-foot-3, 248 pounds) to be a prototypical edge defender, but he can hold up against the run. He will no doubt be an impact player for the NFL team that takes him on Day 2.
DeAngelo Hall: Alabama wide receiver John Metchie is a projected Day 2 pick but is worthy of being a first-rounder. He was having a great season in 2021 — with a team-high 96 catches for 1,142 yards, 11.9 per rec., eight TDs in 13 starts — before suffering a torn ACL in the SEC title game, which forced him to miss the team’s playoff run and certainly hurt his draft stock. The 5-11, 187-pound wideout is a clean route runner and has what it takes to be a starting slot receiver, as long as he fully recovers from the knee injury.
James Jones: Moore caught everyone’s attention with his strong combine performance. In reality, the Western Michigan wideout displayed those explosive skills each time he stepped on the field. He’s a crisp route runner who will thrive out of the slot or outside at the next level. His size (5-10, 195) will likely keep him out of Round 1, but we’ve seen plenty of smaller receivers have great NFL careers. The teams that pass on Moore early will be wishing they hadn’t this coming fall.
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