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2022 NFL Draft: Underrated sleepers in “Draft this, not that”

A look at prospects who can fill the same roles of the more highly touted names

The Buffalo Bills remain one of the more complete teams in the NFL following their second consecutive AFC East Division title and playoff appearance. General manager Brandon Beane has kept the team well-stocked with talent, thanks to both free agency but most importantly the draft.

However, to maintain that level of talent, the team needs to be smart in the way they allocate their now less-valuable draft capital. To that end, the 2022 NFL Draft has several prospects considered to be overrated who, I believe, Buffalo should stay away from in the early rounds. Instead, the team should look to other, similar players who can largely fill similar niches when compared to their far greater-hyped counterparts. See below for a handful of such prospects.

Draft: Ty Davis-Price, RB (LSU) in the fifth
Don’t draft: Isaiah Spiller, RB (Texas A&M) in the third

Many draft profiles overrate Spiller and describe him as “explosive” or “dynamic in the passing game.” He isn’t either of those things. He’s a serviceable player—one who can carry the load well in an offense that appreciates runners who take one cut and get downhill in a hurry. Coming from an LSU offense that specializes in gap runs, Davis-Price is that same type of player. His jump cut is exceptional and—with a 4.48 40-yard dash—is much faster than Spiller.

Draft: Bo Melton, WR (Rutgers) in the fourth
Don’t draft: Jahan Dotson, WR (Penn State) in the second

While Dotson ran a great 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, his agility and “explosion” numbers were much more average. Melton’s 40 time was just as impressive, and his 10-yard split, 3-cone and vertical testing were all markedly better than Dotson’s. On top of that, the Melton offers slightly bigger size. Seems like Melton is being discounted because he went to a poor program with a subpar passing game.

Draft: Bryan Cook, S (Cincinnati) in the third
Don’t draft: Jaquan Brisker, S (Penn State) in the second

Both prospects bring great size (6’1”) to the table and underrated athleticism, but where Cook has Brisker beat is in the tackling department. While flexibility is valuable in the secondary, teams are going to fall in love with Cook because he can be a tone-setter on the backend—a player trusted to tackle runners and prevent bigger gains inside, and outside, the box. Brisker brings versatility, but his issues with tackling and taking the correct pursuit angles are noticeable.

Draft: Cameron Thomas, DE (San Diego State) in the third
Don’t draft: George Karlaftis, DE (Purdue) in the first

In scouting reports all across the internet, it seems that Thomas frequently gets dinged for being a stiff player on the edge and therefore more reliant on his strength. However, Karlaftis—who many are still projecting to be taken in the first round—comes with those same limitations. Similarly, Karlaftis is lauded for having some experience as a rusher along the interior of the defensive line, which Thomas also brings to the table. Then you add in Thomas’s superior length and similar athletic profile to the rusher from Purdue and you start to wonder where the gap is between the two.