2022 NFL Draft Stock – Week 1

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2022 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

2022 NFL Draft Stock Up

Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
As we highlighted in the Hot Press last week, team sources have compared Castro-Fields to Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey. “Castro-Fields is just like Marlon Humphrey to me,” said a director of player personnel. “They both are big, fast, physical, disciplined in coverage, good technique, and prevent separation. In college, Marlon had some issues playing the ball downfield, but he’s fixed that at Baltimore. Castro-Fields plays the ball better right now than Marlon did at Alabama. As long as he stays healthy. I think Castro-Fields could be a corner comparable to Marlon.”

Castro-Fields best season came in 2019. when he had 52 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes broken up. He only played in three games in 2020 before going out for the season with an injury. Showing health and durability will important for him as a senior, but he has an excellent skill set to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Recently in the Hot Press, multiple team sources told WalterFootblal.com that the only two quarterbacks who teams viewed as being potential high first-round picks were Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral. Team sources say called Rattler the preseason favorite to be the top quarterback, but they say that Corral had really impressed scouts and could rise to be a high first-rounder and/or jump Rattler depending on how they play this fall.

Rattler had a mixed start to the 2021 season, completing 30-of-39 passes for 304 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while also running for a score in a close win over Tulane. Corral was excellent in his season opener, leading Ole Miss to cruise over Louisville. He completed 22-of-32 passes for 381 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals. On the ground, he ran for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Three other quarterbacks recveived some tepid praise. One area scout said Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass had intrigued some evaluators and is a sleeper to watch. Another scout said Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels and Liberty’s Malik Willis were candidates who could rise for the 2022 NFL Draft.

NFL teams are always desperate for potential franchise quarterbacks, so they are hoping that some players emerge who are being overlooked right now. In August of 2019, there was no buzz about Joe Burrow being the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and similarly in August of 2018 there were no projections that Kyler Murray would be the first player taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. Hence, teams are hoping a few players break out this season to give them more options. At the moment,they believe it might be a draft class with only two good quarterback prospects, Rattler and Corral.

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton entered the season as the consensus top safety prospect and a future first-round pick. His season opener did not start out though, as he took a poor angle in the first quarter that allowed a long touchdown to the Seminoles. Hamilton had a couple of other tackling efforts that were underwhelming, but late in the second quarter, he showed his special ability by making an interception along the sideline. It was great play on which Hamilton ran the route with the receiver and prevented separation before cutting in front of the wideout to make the pick.

At the start of the third quarter while playing deep free safety, Hamilton was late going to the sideline, allowing a receiver to streak past the corner and race down the field for a 60-yard touchdown. Hamilton made up for that lapse at deep free safety a short time later. This time, he undercut the receiver on time to notc his second interception of the game.

Hamilton was not perfect against Florida State, but he still impressed and showed his dynamic playmaking ability. Hamilton is a well-rounded safety who can play free safety or strong safety, is able to play some man coverage, and has ball skills. Hamilton could quickly becme an impactful starter in the NFL.

Jahan Dotson, CB, Penn State
Dotson provided some huge plays to lead Penn State to the road upset over Wisconsin, but it would have been a prolific game if Dotson had a competent quarterback to work with. In the second quarter, Dotson burned Wisconsin coverage to get wide open what would have been an 87-yard touchdown, but Clifford missed on the throw. Clifford and Penn State did a terrible job of getting the ball into Dotson’s hands throughout the first half . In the third quarter, Dotson got wide open for a 49-yard touchdown as Wisconsin had blown zone coverage and forgot to cover the speedster. Clifford didn’t miss him this time, letting him coast into the end zone for his first touchdown of the year.

Dotson ran another great route late in the third quarter to get wide open running deep down the field. It should have been a 70-yard touchdown, but Clifford missed the throw again. Early in the fourth quarter, Dotson ran by the Badgers safety and was wide open for a 42-yard completion. Dotson had to slow up and wait for the ball, and if the pass hit him in stride, it would have been a touchdown of over 60 yards. Dotson’s stat line of five receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown does not tell the story of how phenomenal he was. If Clifford were more capable, Dotson would have had a game of 250-300 yards receiving and three or four touchdowns.

Dotson is an interesting prospect for the next level. He has game-breaking speed yet is strong for his size and can win on contested catches. Dotson is an ultrafast wide receiver who stretches defenses vertically and is a threat to score on any reception. The Wisconsin tape is going to help his draft grade.

Amaré Barno, DE, Virginia Tech
Barno was a big part in helping the Hokies to shut down the previously prolific North Carolina offense last Friday night. He got started with a tackle in run defense on the perimeter for a loss of two yards. Later on, he joined a teammate for another tackle for a loss. Just before halftime, Barno raced to the flat to strip the ball from Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell while he scrambled to the outside. Howell got lucky that the ball rolled out of bounds, and it was Barno’s first sack and forced fumble of the season.

Barno was blocked on the first play of the third quarter, but as Howell rolled out to his left, Barno ran away from the offensvie tackle to sack Howell in the flat. Barno continued to create some timely pressures, including late in the fourth quarter when he almost notched another sack after chasing down Howell in the flat.

Barno’s performance against North Carolina was a very good start to the 2021 season. The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder is fast and athletic for a long edge rusher. He has the length to fight off blocks and shows quickness off the edge, a burst to close, solid vision, decision-making and agility. Barno has the potential to rise into being an opening-night pick whenever he enters the NFL draft.

Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
Johnson was superb in the first half against Notre Dame. He made his presence felt immediately on the opening drive, nailing a coverage sack of Jack Coan after he chased him down when when he stepped up in the pocket. Later in the first quarter, Johnson flowed down the line to stuff a run for a short gain. He made a tackle for a loss of four yards later on the same drive after coming unblocked, snuffing out an end around. Late in the first quarter on a third-and-2, Johnson got off a block from the right guard and stuffed the back a yard short of the first down. It was a superb play by Johnson. Johnson tacked on another coverage sack midway through the second quarter, and it mirrored his first one. Johnson was blocked initially, but as Coan stepped up, Johnson redirected to hunt him down.

Johnson went quiet in the second half thanks to Notre Dame doing a good job of blocking him. He was commanding a lot of attention, however, which helped the other Seminole defensive linemen to produce some big plays. It was a hot, long game in which Johnson played a lot of snaps. Overall, it was a strong debut for Johnson with the Seminoles. He showed quickness to get upfield with a burst to close, and he also was strong in terms of fighting off blocks, taking on guards, and making physical tackles. The Notre Dame tape should help Johnson’s draft grade.

Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Davis is considered one of the top interior defensive line prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft. He is a massive tackle who displays surprising quickness and athleticism. Having Davis in the middle helped Georgia completely shut down the Clemson rushing attack. In the third quarter, Davis pushed by the left guard to get a tackle for a loss on zone-read run. Shortly later, he put some heat and hits on the quarterback to help produce some changes of possession for Georgia. Midway through the fourth quarter, Davis darted past the center and pushed through the right guard to start a sack of Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. Davis’ performance against Clemson should help him to be an early-round pick next April in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Georgia versus Clemson game was loaded with future NFL talent, and one player who really jumped out was Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean. He was all over the field for Georgia, showing fantastic closing speed. Dean made tackles to keep the Tigers’ rushing attack completely impotent, and he did a nice job in zone coverage. He was called for a pass interference for holding Justyn Ross in third quarter, but Dean staying somewhat close with a wide receiver like Ross was impressive. Shortly later, Dean came close to a sack. He got home a bit later for a big sack that forced a punt. Dean finished the evening with two sacks and a handful of tackles, but he was a bigger presence than the numbers indicate.

Dean is a heat-seeking missile on the field. He is a physical tackler with excellent speed. The fast linebacker looks like a future three-down starter in the NFL. Dean (6-0, 225) might fit best as a Will – weakside – linebacker at the next level, but he has a ton of upside and is a player to watch this season following his standout performance against Clemson.

2022 NFL Draft Stock Down

Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
Kendrick turned in a solid 2020 season for Clemson until the final game, when Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave had his way with him. Kendrick had some off-the-field issues after the year that led to him departing for Georgia. Kendrick was solid on most snaps in his debut as a Bulldog, but he was burned for a long reception and gave up a few other catches to the Clemson receivers.

Team sources say Kendrick has major character issues and there are already some teams that sources say are likely to pass on him because he won’t meet their internal character thresholds. Kendrick has some talent, and his pre-draft interviews will be critical for him to try to change the perceptions about his makeup.

Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
If you just looked at the stat line, you would think Ibrahim really helped himself with his performance against Ohio State. The power back was a downhill physical runner who totaled 162 yards and two touchdowns over 30 carries. Unfortunately, Ibrahim left the game early with a leg injury, and he will miss the rest of the season with it. Ibrahim should probably take a medical redshirt and return to Minnesota for 2022.

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