5 “under the radar” 2022 NFL draft prospects

The college TE group is very impressive

By: Tim Rodriguez

The NFL draft really is something to marvel at. The process, which begins about eleven months prior to draft day, is constantly in flux. Some of the players that are “first-round picks” in the summer, find themselves falling all the way until day three. The draft is a fluid process, and scouting in itself is so subjective that seeing drastically different opinions on players is not uncommon. With that, risers and fallers are natural. However, there are always some prospects who seem to slip through the cracks in summer scouting, but find themselves in first and second-round mock drafts by the time March and April roll around. Whether that be injury history clearing up, finally breaking out in college, or a positive combine performance, mock drafts vary in the span of eleven months. With the 2022 NFL draft just eight short months away, who could be this year’s Jaelan Phillips, Zach Wilson, or Terrace Marshall?

George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue 

Purdue’s George Karlaftis burst onto the scene as a Freshman in 2019 with 7.5 sacks and finds himself in many first-round mock drafts going into his junior year. Karlaftis lost most of his sophomore year to injury. Had he not been injured in 2020, we may have seen him put even better sack and pressure numbers. A rare blend of strength and athleticism makes Karlaftis a tantalizing prospect. As Karlaftis gears up for an extremely important 2021 season with the Boilermakers, his 2019 film indicates a healthy Karlaftis can be a top 15 pick. The tweet below (via Ben Glassmire) is a great example of the type of player an NFL would be getting with Karlaftis.

Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina

Ah, the 2022 quarterback class. It makes no sense. For the most part, everyone agrees that Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler has the best chance to hear his name called first, but it’s rather confusing after that. After names like Malik Willis and Carson Strong, there is a long list of guys with massive question marks. One of those is Grayson McCall, the breakout star for Coastal Carolina in 2020. As a redshirt Freshman, McCall was efficient and showed the ability to make plays with his feet. With a full off-season and a bonafide weapon in tight end Isaiah Likely, McCall has an opportunity to be a riser if he declares in 2022. 

The entire tight end class 

There may not be a Kyle Pitts in the class, but there is a massive amount of talent and depth at the position in 2022. It may all start with Alabama’s Jahleel Billingsley but continues on with Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely, Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, and many more after. A surprise riser may be SMU’s Grant Calcaterra, who is back after medically retiring following an injury-riddled career at Oklahoma. The 2022 class may end up producing more quality tight ends than 2021. As the tight end position grows in college football, classes like 2020 appear to be an anomaly.

Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State 

Yes, Joey Porter’s son is draft eligible. You are old. Moving past that, the younger Porter is one of the more intriguing cornerback prospects this year. As a redshirt sophomore, there’s no guarantee that Porter declares, and it may be wiser to stay as the 2022 cornerback class is chock full of talent, pushing him down the board. He has a great chance to shine on a Penn State defense that features NFL-caliber players at every level. With tremendous length and size, Porter will certainly be on NFL radars after being thrust into a starting role midway through the 2020 season. 

Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota 

This mountain of a man-made headlines for the Gophers when people started to realize how absolutely massive he is. Previously standing at 6’8”, 400 pounds, Minnesota offensive tackle Faalele is without a doubt the largest player in the draft. However, there were questions about whether or not he could play in the NFL at that weight. He has since lost at least 30 pounds and continues to drop to a more realistic weight. If Faalele puts out some good tape in 2021, he is going to shoot up draft boards.

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