The 2022 NFL Draft is scary deep...just not at quarterback.


There is a common misconception that a draft is somehow weak because the quarterback class does not lead the draft. While it is true that a great quarterback can make the difference in a draft, a quarterback is only as good as the offensive line that protects him or the skilled players around him. Ask David Carr about being talented without a competent offensive line or Andrew Luck about having mediocre skill players to compliment him. This season's draft is deep despite not likely having a plug-and-play starting quarterback. Let's take a closer look at the 2022 NFL Draft.


 

This draft has plenty of quality offensive linemen.


How good are the offensive linemen in this draft? Alabama tackle Evan Neal could be the first overall pick in this draft, and there is an argument about whether or not he is the best lineman in this draft. Before Ohio State legend Nick Mangold went in the first round in 2006, it was unheard of for a center to get drafted that early. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is a top ten prospect and could go in the top 20. That is the top of the draft.

There are quality offensive linemen well within the first three to four rounds of this draft. You have late-round prospects who could develop into starters like Florida A&M lineman Calvin Ashley and Illinois center Doug Kramer.

Then, there are the small-school linemen. Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa), Bernhard Raimann (Central Michigan), and Cole Strange (Tennessee-Chatanooga) are all linemen who can play and have the opportunity to be rock solid starters at the next level.


 


There are plenty of wide receivers in this draft as well.

The depth of this receiver class is indicative of how much the game has changed. Most teams use three wide receivers in their base formations and require a flanker, split end, and slot receiver for their offenses to be successful. This draft has all three, and you can find all three. There are plug-and-play starters in the first 100 picks. Teams just have to know what they want and pick accordingly.

Drake London (USC), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), and Christian Watson (North Dakota State) are the bigger receivers in this draft. London and Burks are not burners but have incredible ball skills and know how to put themselves between the ball and the defender. Don't let Watson's alma mater fool you, he is fast and can ball. Watson has elite ball skills and has some of the best ability after the catch in this draft. They'll compete with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson to be the first wide receiver off of the board.

There are two interesting prospects in this draft, Jameson Williams and George Pickens. Williams tore his ACL during the National Championship game but has Olympic sprinter level speed. Pickens' promise has been talked about since he first stepped foot on campus, however, injuries have derailed his career. Small school receivers like Skyy Moore aren't big or overly athletic but knows how to get open. Guys who can get open play for a long time in the NFL.


 

I

This draft is also deep at defensive line.


In this era of football, versatility is the name of the game. Most every team in the NFL runs hybrid fronts and asks every defensive lineman to contribute something to the pass rush. There are quality EDGE and 3-4 defensive ends throughout this draft. There are at least five EDGE rushers who will be stars for the next decade in Kayvon Thibedeaux, Aiden Hutchinson, David Ojabo, George Karlaftis and Travon Walker. They along with Jermaine Johnson will compete for first of the board and possibly first overall pick.

There are also plenty of rock-solid 3-4 defensive ends as well.

Travon Walker qualifies as both because he can play both. Walker could be the first end off of the board because he is so versatile. He is athletic enough to play on any type of front. Texas A&M defensive end DeMarvin Leal lost a bit of buzz from 2021 but is still the type of player who could be a stalwart player for a decade. Leal plays a lot like Richard Seymour. Just like the offensive line, you can find quality starters well within the 3rd round. Players like Alabama's Phidarian Mathis will be around in the 3rd round or later depending on the needs of teams.


This is a great draft to build out a roster in the later rounds with great football players or take a flyer on a player with great tools but might still be raw. This is one of the deeper drafts in a long time, just not at quarterback.