NFL Hot Press






Teams See Top of Round 1 in 2022 NFL Draft Lacking Talent

Updated Nov. 11, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Each NFL draft has some good players in it, but some years are stronger than others. The 2011 NFL Draft was one of the great classes in league history, but 2013 may be the worst this century. Multiple sources from a variety of teams told WalterFootball.com that they feel the 2022 NFL Draft will be strong in terms of mid-round, third-day, and undrafted free agent talent. On the other hand, they do not believe there are a lot of elite rare prospects for the top of the first round, at least compared to other recent drafts.

"I see a lot of guys, and this draft will have better talent on Day 3 and in the PFAs - priority undrafted free agents - than most years," said an area scout who covers the Southeast. "But I don't see a lot of top guys. I don't see a lot of true top-10 picks."

The anomaly of the 2020 COVID-19 season has added more players to the 2021 class because of the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility for all players. Some prospects had their 2020 seasons canceled or shortened to something bordering on half a season. As a result, a lot of third-day talents went to back to school to have a normal 2021 season before going pro.

"The covid-exception year has deepened the Day 3 and PFA pool," said an AFC director of player personnel. "This is not a deep class of elite players; that's what we're seeing and feeling in terms of names 1-15. Obviously. some guys will get pushed up because someone has to get selected there."

Team sources said they do not see prospects as good as the high first-rounders from the 2021 NFL Draft. They do not have players grading out as high as Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase or Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell.

"The only guys that may have the potential to be elite are Kayvon Thibodeaux, Kyle Hamilton and Adam Anderson," said an NFC director of college scouting. "But Anderson could be ruled out because of his legal issues."

Others felt similarly about those players compared to last year's talent.

"I agree about the top end lacking talent," said an NFC director of player personnel. "There is no player as good as Pitts or Chase in this draft. I like Kyle Hamilton - haven't studied Kayvon Thibodeaux enough yet to say on him- , and Adam Anderson has very good athletic traits but I wouldn't call him elite; on top of recent issues, he is definitely out."

Anderson is currently suspended indefinitely after a rape allegation that he denies. Other players who team sources said have a real shot to go as top-10 picks include LSU cornerback Derek Stingley, Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis and Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal.

The 2013 NFL Draft had top-10 picks who were mostly busts, but other excellent players came later to teams that scouted well. That group of steals included DeAndre Hopkins, Travis Kelce, Tyrann Mathieu, Keenan Allen, Le'Veon Bell, Terron Armstead and Kawann Short. While the 2022 NFL Draft may lack elite superstars for high picks in the first round, the 2013 NFL Draft could provide a glimmer of hope that some good players will be available later on. Additionally, teams feel this year will be abnormally strong for talent on Day 3 and in the undrafted ranks.







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