While the 2022 NFL draft doesn’t have the talent of years past, playmakers can be found on offense and defense.
Finding these talents depends on having a quality scouting department and the ability of a coaching staff to develop these players. It’s easier when there’s a conviction against a player.
Here’s a look at 10 draft prospects I believe have the talent and intangibles to lead to success in the NFL. Over the years, the Miami Dolphins have included several players — Tua Tagovailoa, Noah Igbinoghene, Mike Pouncey, Olivier Vernon, Kendall Langford, Sean Smith, Clyde Gates, Lamar Miller, Mike Gillislee, and Cedric Thompson — on my annual man crush list .
These are the 2022 prospects I would put my fist on the table for if I were an NFL manager and why and where he would pick them:
Georgia DT Jordan Davis
This 6-foot-6, 340-pound defensive tackle is a massive human who moves with the quickness of a cat (4.78 times in a 40-yard dash). Davis comes off well and plays with a sustained pad level. His ability to eat double teams frees linebackers and allows them to make plays. He’s a limited pass rusher (seven sacks in four seasons) and benefited from playing in a heavy rotation, which allowed him to stay fresh. Despite all that, he reminds me of former Patriots legend Vince Wilfork and is worthy of being a top 15 pick. He would be best used in a 4-3 scheme.
Iowa C. Tyler Linderbaum
Linderbaum is the top center prospect in this draft and should go in the first round. The former national champion wrestler in high school wrestles opposing defenders and is a powerful run blocker despite not being the ideal height (6-2, 296) and long arms. But he’s a leader who can anchor an offensive line in the center. If he slips into the second round I would trade to get him.
Ohio State WR Chris Olave
The Buckeyes have produced many route runners due to their position as coach Brian Hartline, who spent most of his NFL career with the Dolphins, and Olave is the next Buckeye in line to become a Day 1 starter. Olave, who has 35 touchdowns over his four seasons, is a smooth route runner who is great at adapting to off-target throws. He will be a #2 receiver in the NFL and should be a top 20 pick.
Sam Houston CB Zyon McCollum
McCollum, a five-year starter for an FCS program, is a ballhawk (13 interceptions) who has a good combination of size (6-2, 200) and speed (4.33 on the 40-yard dash). He is instinctive, possesses phenomenal ball skills and catches the ball at the highest point. He’s also physically against the run. His biggest challenge in the NFL will be matching wideouts that match his size, speed, and athleticism. The intangibles he possesses will likely make some teams fall in love with him and make him a prime target in the third or fourth round.
Tulsa OG Tyler Smith
Smith, who is 6ft 5 and weighs 324 pounds, has the frame it takes to play tackle. But the strength and athleticism he possesses suggest the top 50 talent could become an elite NFL guard if put into the right scheme. It’s undisciplined and a bit raw from a technical point of view. But he’s a fast learner, and once he learns to play with body control, he should be an upper echelon NFL starter.
San Diego State player Matt Araiza
Anyone nicknamed “Punt God” has to be dynamic, and Araiza certainly is. He possesses elite power in his leg and the ability to turn fields, which could make him the highest-draft player since Todd Sauerbrun’s 56th draft in 1995 and could immediately become a top 10 player in the NFL. Miami should strongly consider using his fourth-round pick to pick Araiza despite signing Thomas Morstead this offseason and guaranteeing $500,000 of his contract.
Baylor S. Jalen Pitre
Pitre is a quick, physical securityman who has the skills to play in the box and could potentially excel as a nickel cornerback. He played the starting position in his last two seasons at Baylor, pulling down four interceptions while recording 30 tackles for a loss and six sacks in those two years. His lack of height (5-11, 198) might limit him as a blitzer, but it’s clear the top 100 talent will eventually develop into an NFL starter and could potentially be a Pro Bowl talent. Expect him to be selected in the third round.
Baylor receiver Tyquan Thornton
Thornton, who clocked a 4.28 in the 40-yard dash, is one of the fastest players in this draft class. But the 6-foot-2, 181-pounder is about more than speed. Thornton, who caught 143 passes for 2,242 yards and 19 touchdowns in his four seasons at Baylor, has an impressive radius and sticky hands. With the right coaching, he could become an NFL star. His light frame will worry some teams, but he could be a steal in round four.
Florida International RB D’vonte Price
Price’s attributes and football makeup outshine the streak (2,203 rushing yards, 6.0 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns in 49 games over five seasons) he had for the Panthers. His height (6-1, 210), speed (4.38 in the 40-yard dash), and talent for producing big runs will motivate a team to take him in the late rounds. Put him in the right pattern and behind a strong offensive line and he could become a 1,000-yard rusher.
QB Cole Kelley of Southeast Louisiana
Kelley, a transfer from Arkansas, is suddenly dismissed and attacks all areas of the field. He put on ridiculous numbers that feasted on lower-level competitions but was impressive in postseason practice and games. He’s also athletic enough to move the chains with his legs, and had at least one rushing touchdown in 10 of 13 games last season. As a late-round target, Kelley is the kind of quarterback a team could be thankful for having spent a few seasons developing.
https://www.twincities.com/2022/04/27/nfl-draft-prospects-that-impress-omar-kellys-2022-man-crush-list/ Omar Kelly’s 2022 Man Crush List – Twin Cities