2022 NFL Draft Week Rumors Monday
Updated April 25, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell
Draft week is finally here! With the 2022 NFL Draft just three days away, here is some of the chatter that WalterFootball.com is hearing from team sources. Earlier this offseason from speaking with Jaguars sources, I was first to report that Doug Pederson was going to be the head coach of the Jaguars, and at the combine, WalterFootball.com first reported that the Jaguars wanted left tackle Cam Robinson back next season. Shortly later, the Jaguars placed the franchise tag on Robinson. From following up with sources, it sounds like it is a 50-50 proposition between Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Georgia defensive end Travon Walker being the No. 1-overall pick. Some people in the Jaguars organization prefer Hutchinson, while it is widely believed around the league that general manager Trent Baalke prefers Walker. Stay tuned as the Jaguars are taking this decision down to the wire. Toward the very end of team draft meetings, general managers get the final medical reports from team doctors, which can shake up some draft boards. WalterFootball.com has learned from team sources that some teams have medically flunked Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal. The exact nature and concern of the medical issue was revealed to Walter Football, but out of respect for Neal’s privacy and to maintain the teams’ discretion, we won’t disclose the details. These medical exams are subjective, however, so while Neal was flunked by some, sources from other teams shared their organizations had given him a passing grade.
Neal is a consensus top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, so if by chance he slides out of the top 10, the reason for will be the medical situation.Another early-round offensive tackle who was flunked medically by some teams and removed from their draft-able board is Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann. As with Neal, we will respect Raimann’s privacy and team discretion to keep quiet on the exact nature. Raimann was a projected second-day pick by teams prior to the the medical reports coming in, and these medical concerns could cause Raimann to slide. A few other players who were flunked medically by some teams were Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross and Penn State cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields. Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker has some medical red flags, but they were not significant enough to get Walker flunked medically and dropped off boards. Michigan slot cornerback/safety Daxton Hill has been on the bubble of the first round throughout the draft process. Hill might slide to the second day, and a big reason for that would be poor interviews. Team sources from franchises that were excited about Hill said those conversations went so poorly they ruled Hill out. They worry about mental makeup issues and feel taking him in the early rounds is too risky.Another defensive back on the bubble of the opening night of the 2022 NFL Draft is Florida’s Kaiir Elam. While Elam really helped offset speed concerns with his combine 40, an issue that is weighing Elam down with teams is terrible tackling. Sources from a handful of teams all say they like Elam’s coverage ability and his size, but they feel that he shows a serious and alarming lack of physicality when he tackles. They hate how soft he was as a tackler, and that has been a tough pill to swallow for teams that are in need of cornerback help. Former college teammate C.J. Henderson was viewed as soft and a poor tackler. Henderson has been a big disappointment as a pro and was a bust for the Jaguars as the ninth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Teams are worried Elam learned the lack of physicality from Henderson, and that could lead to problems for Elam in the NFL.