Monday, June 14, 2021

Way Too Early 2022 NFL First Round Draft Prospects

Just a little humble brag before we get into this initial dive into some potential first round talent of the 2022 NFL draft, but 2/2 for the first round of Miami’s draft, not many can say that, and if it wasn’t for Denver, I may have even be 3/3 but we were sniped again at Running Back! Let’s get started.

In order to take a peek into the potential Miami 2022 1st round talent, we do need to take into account some news that dropped last week. The 2022 salary cap is projected to be $208.2 Million as a ceiling, that’s an increase of $25.7 Million from this year, plus there are a few players in contract year’s like Ogbah, Gesicki, Baker, Fuller V just to name 4. So we are going to assume that the nucleus of the team stays as it is and the salary cap isn’t an issue.

We need to look at the potential holes that currently are there on the roster, draft tendencies and now after having 3 years of drafts with the combo of Flores and Grier at the helm, their team building and philosophy, so if you’re expecting a RB to be drafted in round 1, you are best to look away now.  Miami have 1 first round draft pick this year, which is strange to say after all the spoils we have had over the past few years, so that is also going to be taken into account.

Let’s take this logically, Coach Flo and Gm Chris Grier have drafted in the first rounds of their drafts like so: DL, QB, OT, CB, WR & Edge. All massive building blocks and areas of the team which needed to be upgraded, but also cornerstones of any modern NFL team, let alone one that needs to face Josh Allen twice a year.

Whilst we can not assume that all the draft picks and free agents will be home runs, we need to assume that for the sake of this way to early look ahead, that they will at the least be serviceable and starting NFL players this year. Which lead Which comes to the other side of this coin, where are the holes in the team? The most common one that people will point out will be at Running Back, whilst correct, there are bigger holes that need to be addressed, such as Centre, Linebacker and maybe even at Wide Receiver too.

So what names should we look out for?

DeMarvin Leal – Defensive Line – Texas A&M

Standing at 6’4″, weighing in at 290lbs, and from a top quality football programme like Texas A&M, Leal is arguably the best defensive line prospect in this year’s class. With the multi position versatility that Brian Flores covets, Leal is a defensive tackle with defensive edge upside, and already bringing comparisons to former top 10 pick Ed Oliver.

He has the short area quickness to disrupt the point of attack, and his frame allows him to be a space eater and run stuffer also. Amassing 37 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, 3 passes defended, an interception and a fumble recovery last season, if he continues to play to his ability, he would make a fine player next to Christian Wilkins and new draft pick Jalen Phillips, bringing all sorts of pressure to all the AFC East quarterbacks.

Christian Harris – Linebacker – Alabama

It wouldn’t be a Miami post without some link back to the Crimson Tide, and this pick here is an area of concern since the departure of Kyle Van Noy in this past offseason. With KVN being asked to do a lot of off ball coverage last year, and partially suceeding, Christian Harris is in the prime opportunity to come into the NFL at a time where off ball, coverage linebackers are IN right now, seen by Devin BUsh, Isaiah Simmons and Micah Parsons all going in the top 12 picks.

Listed at 6’2″ and 232, his height and size isn’t the biggest, but that allows for speed, quick change of direction and almost perfect for the centre of a modern NFL defense and having 79 total tackles (52 solo), two passes defended, 4.5 sacks and an interception to his name last year, he has the platform to really excell and have teams calling his name in day 1 in 2022.

Kayvon Thibodeaux – Edge – Oregon

Believe it or not, there are people already calling for this guy to go #1 overall and we haven’t even had a snap of a ball in 2021 yet. 6’5″, 250lbs and in a short 21 game career span he has had 12 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss and 6 passes defended and will add to those scary numbers this season.

Described as “no player on Oregon’s defense is better” and having comparisons to having a similar useage to Von Miller’s college career, he has enough size, smarts and prescence to be a terror at the defensive edge position for any team. The perfect replacement for Ogbah should he be needed.

Tyler Linderbaum – Centre – Iowa

Tyler Linderbaum, a name you may not have heard of before, and for good reason. Normally we see players switch from offense to defense, but in Tyler’s case he switched from Defensive Tackle, to Center. A former wrestler, listed at 6’3″ and 289 lbs, is a little on the lighter side for drafted offensive lineman, however, we still have a year to see this kid develop and get his weight up to your standard NFL Offensive Lineman size.

If you want an interesting fact, he beat first round pick Tristian Wirfs in 2017 to send his wrestling team to the states, so that in itself tells you that he isn’t to be messed with, espeically in close quarters. Coaches have described him as a people mover and plays with great knee bend and lower body strength and combined with the wrestling background, he has the knowledge of leverage and balance to stay upright and dominate the line of scrimmage.

Isaiah Spiller – Running Back – Texas A&M

If I didn’t include a running back here, i’m sure that you would have my head. Whilst most NFL pundits don’t see running back as a first round pick, with both Najee Harris and Travis Etienne going in round 1 last draft, that could be about to change.

Listed at 6’1″ and 225 lbs, he has ran an unofficial time of 4.50 40 yard dash time, so isn’t the quickest neither, so why is he here as a potential first round player? It’s his elusive nature, strong between the tackle running style and burst around the corner to get around the edge. Last year he ran for an impressive 5.5 yards per carry, 1036 rushing yards last season, with 9.7 yards per catch on 193 receiving yards.

In his highlights, you can see his impressive stature and arguably is one of the most put together running back prospects in this class, and also shows his ability to pick up the blitz and block in open field, all needed for a modern day NFL running back.

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