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2022 NFL Draft: Best available players heading into Day 2

These are the best players remaining on Friday

The Buffalo Bills may have run out of first-round grades when they drafted Kaiir Elam with the 23rd overall pick on Thursday night, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be talented players available when they pick in the second and third rounds tonight. Pretty much every position group has a handful of players who might pique Buffalo’s interest. For your benefit, we have a rundown of the best players remaining. Remember, if I didn’t include your favorite player, it’s because I’m an idiot who doesn’t know anything about the draft.

After last year’s draft, I’m not ruling out a position just because the Bills drafted it on the first day. Only three CBs were drafted on Thursday, four if you count Daxton Hill. So there’s plenty of talent remaining, even if general manager Brandon Beane didn’t have a first-round grade on any of them. Hence, I’m including them in the rundown (but I’m skipping quarterback).

Running back

Breece Hall (Iowa State)

By now you’ve heard the spiel on Hall. A tremendous athlete who had 56 TDs and nearly 4700 yards from scrimmage in his three seasons with the Cyclones. Many consider him the top running back in the class.

Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M)

A natural zone runner with excellent vision, Spiller uses clean footwork and cuts to set up blocks and find positive yardage. He’s not a high-tier athlete (4.63” 40-yard dash and 33” vertical), which may push him down some draft boards.

Kenneth Walker (Michigan State)

Has a claim to being the best “pure runner” in this draft, after being a Heisman finalist this year. He won’t naturally fit into every offense, though—working best in a system that emphasizes gap blocking and de-emphasizes the use of running backs in the passing game.

Wide receiver

Skyy Moore (Western Michigan)

Recruited to college as a cornerback, Moore has only played receiver for three years, but he already looks like a natural route runner. At a shade under 5’10”, his size won’t appeal to every team, but he carries good muscle mass on his 195-lb frame. His toughness and speed will appeal to teams looking for a slot receiver.

John Metchie (Alabama)

A polished slot receiver with some giddy-up after the catch, Metchie was one of two star receivers for the Crimson Tide. Some catching technique issues, and a torn ACL, might push him down the draft board.

Christian Watson (North Dakota State)

A gazelle on the football field, Watson is a freaky 6’4” 208-lb receiver with 4.36 speed who wasn’t just a red zone threat. He returned kicks, he scored rushing TDs, and in 2021 he caught 43 passes for 801 yards and seven TDs. He’s a gem in need of polishing and finding the best fit, but has the upside of Javon Walker’s best work.

George Pickens (Georgia)

A naturally talented receiver with an appealing 6’3” 200-lb frame, Pickens has dealt with injuries in his career, including a torn ACL last spring. Some reports pre-draft suggested that he had some personality conflicts with NFL teams.

Tight end

Trey McBride (Colorado State)

McBride is a well-built tight end with the versatility to play in-line or flex out to the slot. Similar to a late-career Zach Ertz in skillset and athleticism, McBride isn’t the fastest but he’s a reliable possession target and an experienced blocker.

Greg Dulcich (UCLA)

Dulcich is one of the top athletes in this year’s tight end class, and the redshirt junior had 42 catches for 725 yards and five TDs last season for the Bruins. He grew into his frame by a full 40 lbs over his college career, and showed the effort to develop as a blocker during the process. His best trait, though, is his separation speed down the seam.

Jeremy Ruckert (Ohio State)

Rarely used in the passing game for the Buckeyes (and why would you when you have WRs being drafted tenth and 11th overall), Ruckert is a 6’5” 250-lb tight end who could work in-line for a team as their TE2. A tough and mobile blocker, he’s also a reliable red zone target.

Offensive line

Sean Rhyan (UCLA)

Standing 6’5” and 321 lbs with massive 11 1/8” hands, Rhyan played left tackle for the Bruins, but projects favorably at guard too. The three-year starter had fantastic results on his jumps and the three-cone drill at the NFL Combine. Rhyan needs technical refinement, but looks like a project who could become a high-quality starter.

Dylan Parham (Memphis)

6’3” and 311 lbs, Parham converted from tight end to offensive line in 2018 when he enrolled at Memphis. A four-year starter, he’s played left guard, right guard, and right tackle, and NFL scouts believe his best position could actually be center.

Bernhard Raimann (Central Michigan)

An Austrian who came to America to try becoming a pro football player, Raimann started his college career as a tight end. Gaining 70 lbs of muscle as he developed, Raimann has been playing offensive tackle for the last two years. The 6’6” 303-lb lineman is tremendously athletic.

Defensive tackle

DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M)

Leal entered the draft after his true junior season. At 6’4” and 283 lbs, he’s a tweener DT with more of a DE body. Good athlete, but preseason people were expecting him to roar into a top-five pick with a great year, and he just didn’t match the hype.

Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma)

The #1 JuCo recruit in 2020 played two years at Oklahoma. Winfrey has ideal size and speed for a defensive tackle. Didn’t have a high-impact college career, playing many positions along the d-line, but did dominate the Senior Bowl and made scouts take notice.

Travis Jones (Connecticut)

If not for Jordan Davis, Jones would be the freak NT everyone talked about this year. He ran a 4.92 40-yard dash and 7.33 three-cone drill at 6’4” and 325 lbs. He has cinderblocks for hands. Somehow a crazy talent landed on a terrible UConn team instead of at Clemson or in the SEC.

Defensive end

David Ojabo (Michigan)

Born in Nigeria, Ojabo spent some of his childhood in Scotland before moving to America. He didn’t play American football until his junior year of high school. And yet some think the 6’4” 250-lb DE was the best edge rusher at Michigan, rather than Aidan Hutchinson. A torn Achilles tendon in the pre-draft will force a redshirt season.

Boye Mafe (Minnesota)

Mafe is a super toolsy edge rusher who didn’t become a full-time starter in a full season until 2021, but did see his usage and production climb each year. He doesn’t have much of a refined pass rush plan, but if he can consistently convert speed to power, he could be a dangerous pass-rush specialist.

Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State)

A Cameroon native who didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of high school, Ebiketie took a steady growth trajectory that culminated in an All-Conference year in 2021, with 18.5 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two blocked kicks. He’s an excellent athlete, though his 6’2” 250-lb frame might make him more appealing to teams that prefer stand-up edge rushers.

Linebacker

Chad Muma (Wyoming)

A very athletic 6’3” 239-lb middle linebacker who could handle the coverage responsibilities of a Tampa 2 defense. Rangy tackler, but has struggled with sifting through blocks from offensive linemen.

Nakobe Dean (Georgia)

Some would call Dean the best player on Georgia’s defense. He has sideline-to-sideline speed, and an incredibly bright football mind who told everyone where to line up and quickly processed what the offense was doing. Undersized at 5’11” and 229 lbs, and wasn’t able to work out pre-draft.

Christian Harris (Alabama)

Three-year starter for the Crimson Tide dating back to his true freshman year. Elite athlete who ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, and a reliable chase-and-tackle LB with 220 tackles, 26 TFLs, and ten sacks in his career. Not especially distinguished in pass coverage, so may be best suited to a weakside LB or edge defender role.

Cornerback

Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson)

A five-star recruit who started the last two years at Clemson. five INTs and six TFLs in those seasons highlight his playmaking upside. An inflammatory disease, as well as recent hernia surgery, likely pushed him down draft boards.

Kyler Gordon (Washington)

Teammate to the 21st overall pick, Trent McDuffie. An explosive athlete (also dances and practices kung fu) who’s eager to play the run, but scouts say his instincts are a little too raw for him to start right away.

Roger McCreary (Auburn)

One of the most pesky corners in the draft. six INTs and 29 passes defended in his last three years as a starter. McCreary stands 5’11” and 190 lbs, but his arms, under 29” in length, may limit him to sub-package duty.

Tariq Woolen (UTSA)

The ultimate tools prospect at the position, Woolen is 6’4” and 205 lbs, ran a 4.26 40-yard dash, and has a 42” vertical.

Safety

Jalen Pitre (Baylor)

Pitre started his college career as a linebacker before converting to a “big nickel” as a senior. A “coach’s dream,” he was the best defender on the 12-2 Bears, with 75 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, seven passes defended, three forced fumbles, and two INTs. A high-quality athlete, he’ll need to find a new position in the NFL.

Jaquan Brisker (Penn State)

Brisker transferred to Penn State from Lackawanna junior college (Scranton, PA, not the town in Erie County) in 2019, and played three seasons before heading to the NFL. Brisker has prototypical size (6’1”, 199 lbs) and athleticism (4.49 40-yard dash, 10’4” broad jump) for the position. Was asked to play many different roles in Penn State’s defense in 2021, and showed mental growth as the year went on.

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