One 2022 Draft Prospect to watch at each position: Offense Edition

One 2022 Draft Prospect to watch at each position: Offense Edition

NFL Draft

One 2022 Draft Prospect to watch at each position: Offense Edition

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Patrick Breen/The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

I continue my 2022 Draft coverage with another article, this time about prospects to watch for in this upcoming season. The 2022 Draft is absolutely loaded with talent as I mentioned in my mock draft but instead of watching the top talent this year let’s take a look at some sleepers, some very deep sleepers that with a good year can make their name known for the 2022 draft class and raise their stock exponentially on the offensive side of the ball:

QB: Brock Purdy, Iowa State (Projected 3rd – 5th round)

Brock Purdy was once viewed as a potential first-round pick in 2021 but has fallen to somewhere in the third to fifth rounds of the 2022 Draft. The 2022 class has talent at QB but outside of the top two in Rattler and Howell, the remaining QB order is totally up in the air. 

Malik Willlis, Kedon Slovis, Desmond Ridder and Carson Strong round out the remaining QB currently projected to be selected in the first round. 

Then you fall into the mystery realm with Matt Cora (Ole Miss)l, Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), JT Daniels (Georgia), and Purdy. All four have the potential to be a first or second-round prospect but need to have a great year in 2021. Purdy has seen himself as a Heisman Trophy preseason watch list a few times but hasn’t been able to really play to that level the last few years. Purdy has put up decent numbers in 35 games at Iowa State in three years. He has recorded 8982 passing yards and a 66.1 completion percentage and 25 interceptions but only 62 touchdowns. 

Purdy is inconsistent mainly in that he doesn’t seem to extend a play and look downfield as often as a QB in the Iowa State offense should. Purdy has great accuracy at every depth except for deep where he just seems to throw everything he’s learned out the door. He shows good pocket awareness and can escape the pocket when needed. But the inability to throw the deep ball in the modern NFL is not a great look. If Purdy can connect more on the deep ball in 2021 I do not think it’s out of the question for him to be a top prospect at the QB position in the 2022 draft. 

HB: Max Borghi, Washington State (Projected 5th – 6th round)

I am the biggest fan of Max Borghi you will see coming into the 2022 draft. I personally had Borghi as a top-eight running back in the 2021 class, but with how heavy the 2022 class is at running back I don’t think it’s out of the question to see Borghi fall a bit. 

The top running backs are clear in 2022 with Breece Hall (Iowa State), Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M) and Kyren Williams (Notre Dame) then like every year, it becomes a mosh pit. You see guys get over drafted and others fall to become steals. Borghi will not be drafted in the first two or three rounds but he will be a nice pick for a team looking for that AJ Dillon type back. 

A complementary back but not the cost of someone like Kenyan Drake or Latavius Murray. Borghi has a skill set of being able to catch the ball out of the backfield and he is versatile on the ground be it outside or inside of the tackles. 

Borghi has rushed for 1278 yards and 20 touchdowns on 209 attempts while also gaining another 978 yards and nine touchdowns on 140 receptions in only 27 games for the Cougars. 

Borghi reminds me a lot of a watered-down Christian McCaffery, they both have the same build and skill set. Granted Borghi doesn’t have the shiftiness that McCaffery does but he can catch the ball out of the backfield and also has great vision when hitting holes between the tackles. 

Outside he lacks the breakaway speed you want in an every down back but he isn’t slow either. Borghi will develop a role in the NFL as a change of pace back that can get you yards in any way and can be someone you want in on third downs to make defenses wonder what the play is going to be. He can create a mismatch out of the backfield or slide into the slot. He also will punish you when rushing as he’s a violent explosive rusher. 

In 2021 if Borghi can work on his shiftiness and really show that he can make anyone miss at any moment he will see his stock rise significantly. Another way Borghi could cause a rise in stock is by making the most use out of his limited opportunities to return punts and kicks.

WR: Theo Wease, Oklahoma (Projected 5th – 6th round)

Oklahoma has talent in 2021, projected top-three pick, QB Spencer Rattler. Tight end Austin Stogner has a long way to go before he’s a legit threat in the receiving game and while running back Kennedy Brooks can play he is not the most dynamic of running backs. While Marvin Mims is electric and will be a top wide receiver in college next year, Rattler can’t just look his way. That leaves either Jadon Haselwood or Theo Wease to carry the workload opposite Mims. If last year is any indication, Wease is primed for a breakout year. 

He’s a massive 6-foot-3, 202 pounds as a junior and has a nice set of skills with smooth route running and some decent speed added to amazing jump ball skills. As a freshman, Wease hauled in eight receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He elevated his play more in 2020 with 37 receptions for 530 yards and four touchdowns with an average yards per reception of 14.3. His numbers improved in his first year with Rattler and being moved into the starting role while having limited attention only helps his case. The 2022 draft class is loaded at the wide receiver position but it is going to have three guys projected in the 85 to 200 range see significant jumps in their stock. 

Wease as mentioned has a nice skillset and can grow and improve that in 2021. With most attention on Mims, Wease will be able to work one on one in the red zone and given his size he will be a mismatch for opposing defenses. With Rattler as his quarterback and the weak Big 12 secondaries, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Wease rise into round two talks closer to the draft. 

TE: Braden Galloway, Clemson (Projected 7th – UDFA)

I said some of these would be deep sleepers, well here is the first one, Braden Galloway is an issue at tight end. He stands at 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds with a reported 4.51 40 time. Galloway will finally get the opportunity to be one of the top targets at Clemson with the departure of Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell in 2021. 

With Justyn Ross taking over the top wide receiver spot in 2022, second-year quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei will also look for another target and Galloway can be that guy. He definitely has a far way to go as a receiver and his blocking is not great but he can be a solid tight two or three in the NFL especially given his ability to create mismatches which was shown plenty on his 2020 tape. 

Galloway has only played in 13 career games but has hauled in 34 receptions for 481 yards and three touchdowns with an average of  14.1 yards per catch. Galloway, now stepping into his first full year as a starter will be able to show off his ability to create separation and be “that guy” for Clemson. 

Galloway needs to show off in 2021 to possibly even get drafted but given the high target share he should see, combined with his elite athletic profile it is not unlikely to think it could happen. He needs to show continual improvement in almost every aspect of the game, he’s shown the ability to be a solid contributor in the red zone and open field. While he doesn’t show the consistency you want in a high draft pick, doing that exact thing this year will be the reason he rises to a third or fourth-round selection. Galloway has elite potential and is very raw but with a solid 2021 season, he can be someone that teams will salivate over. 

T: Cordell Volson, North Dakota State (Projected Round 4)

Oh my if your team needs a tackle in the 2022 draft you are set. Evan Neal, Zion Nelson, Darian Kinnard, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Jaleyn Duncan, Daniel Faalele, Abraham Lucas, Thayer Munford, Charles Cross, Jaxson Kirkland, and Rasheed Walker are just some of the tackles that will go in the first three rounds. 

That being said, projected fourth-rounder and North Dakota State bully Cordell Volson isn’t someone to just pass over given the elite talent in the class. Volson played opposite of now Tennessee Titan tackle Dillon Radunz, and protected Trey Lance the last two years. Volson is the perfect size for an NFL tackle at 6-foot-7, 310 pounds. He has absolutely mauled his way through defenders and has guard/tackle flexibility which is an added bonus for him. In addition to the power he shows in both run and pass protection he has the talent to be a very good swing tackle in the NFL. 

Volson has potential, size, power and agility but he’s incredibly raw. Volson needs to show more consistency in both the run and pass game and use his agility better. If he can consistently be a powerful tackle with the agility to move around in the run game and constantly get to the second level we will see a team take a flyer on Volson above the tackles I mentioned earlier. 

G: Zion Johnson, Boston College (Projected Round 3)

Johnson is a talented G with a very unique skill-set. He doesn’t show consistency to be a long term starting G in pass protection but his run blocking is some of the best in the class. He is aggressive and plays with good leverage and control. While he needs to improve his ability to maintain a consistent point of attack during pass protection he can be an elite G in the NFL. Johnson has decent size at 6-3/310, while he wins with power it doesn’t come from being bigger than his opponents, it comes from his elite power and agility combination

Showing more consistency as a blocker and being better well rounded will cause his stock to rise. Simply another good season as an FBS guard will also allow teams to see that 2020 wasn’t a fluke year and that he can actually hold his own vs Division 1 talent. 

C: Jaret Patterson, Notre Dame (Projected Round 2)

I’m not going to spend much time on Patterson, simply because the 2022 center class leans two ways. You are either a top 90 pick or fringe seventh-rounder, there isn’t much in between but Patterson shows one who can rise the most. 

Patterson looked dominant in 2020 until a broken foot versus Boston College ended his season and caused him to return to Notre Dame for the 2021 season. Patterson demonstrates good power and agility during run and pass blocking. He is a better pass blocker than run blocker but that does not mean he is bad vs the run. Patterson is a massive center with a 6-foot-4, 305-pound frame and will be someone that with a solid season will hear his name called on Day one. 

Patterson is the best starting offensive lineman for Notre Dame this year after losing four starters in 2020. He is going to be playing alongside at least one freshman who will be able to demonstrate his double team ability and his ability to make up for potential mistakes. Patterson just needs to show a slight improvement in his run protection and he will no doubt be a first-round pick come next April. 

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