NFL Draft 2022 Hidden Gems: Which college football highlights do the teams sleep on?

here the athleteThe college football team, we’ve all covered a lot of great college players who might be wearing their name t-shirt and daily bootcamp before embarking on the work of their lives. But there are also players we’ve seen sleeping on NFL teams who can make a roster.

With the first 100 choices 2022 NFL Draft In the books, National College football writer David Open, Florida reporter J. Alan Taylor and Iowa reporter Scott Duchterman break down 15 players not selected in the first three rounds who were left out.

Perrion WinfreyDT, Oklahoma: Hard to believe it’s still on the board. The new Big 12 was dominated by defense, and few like Winfrey did. Despite facing the double teams and working mostly nose guarded in the interior of the Sooners line of defense, he scored 11 tackles to lose last season. He was one of the standouts of Senior Bull, he stood 6ft 4 and stayed under 300lbs, has plenty of height to keep him off the rails and is much faster than his size would suggest. He’s a great mix of traits, and he might not wait long to hear his name on Saturday. – open

copy printCB, Cincinnati: All he did last year was win the Thorpe award as the best defensive linebacker in college football. No unauthorized player has done this since 1995. The defenses had to challenge him when the substitute was throwing No. 4 Choose Gardner Sauce, but Cincinnati had one of the toughest teams in the country last year, and Bryant epitomizes that. In the Bearcats’ biggest game of the regular season, a road win at Notre Dame, he broke three assists. He’s been a producer throughout his career and yes, he’s named after who you think he’s named. He definitely showed his Mamba mentality at the college level. – open

Isaiah SpillerRB, Texas A&M: He was a staggering 4.63 times in his pro-40 day, although Camp Spiler said his training was interrupted by his abductors and hamstrings. (I don’t think 40 is disqualifying; remember that previous All-Pro Arian Foster ran 4.69.) The college Spiller is more reassuring. He posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons at Texas A&M and demonstrated reliable pass-catching skills as a rookie for three years. He runs with patience, poise and vision, and carried a second-to-third round drop on several mock drafts, although Dane Brugler made it a fourth-rounder. Brugler also thinks Spiller could become an NFL tripod, and I agree with him. He’s not a superstar on the track – he’s just a run back player in the league who finds plenty of hits in the center late in the draft. – Taylor

Carson StrongQB, NV: This quarterback category is a crapshoot, and Strong’s gadgets can reward the team that rolls the dice at it. In the end, he makes good decisions, has a big arm and is very precise. What else do teams need? His surgically repaired knee can cause problems down the line, which would likely scare teams from using a high pass on him, but he is decisive and gets the ball right where you want it. These are the two most important characteristics of a strong NFL starter. He’s endured a wolfpack attack, and there’s been no better completion rate than any quarterback that’s been drafted so far. – open

Christopher AllenEdge, Alabama: Don’t forget that Allen topped the SEC in stoppage in 2020 and then opened 2021 with Will Anderson and Christian Harris as part of a trio of ridiculously deep midfielders. But his first season ended abruptly in the opening game against Miami, thanks to a fracture in his right foot he suffered while D’Eriq King was sent off. Allen had already recovered from his bursting from an ACL injury that kept him out of action for the entirety of 2018, but the medical problem in his foot is harder to assess. At 6 feet 4 241 pounds with strong hands and a wingspan of 77 inches, Allen holds up well in the face of running and shows effort in chase plays. It offers situational productivity with starter capabilities, something that teams are looking for on day three. – Taylor

Matt ArizaP, San Diego State: Ask the Seattle Seahawks, who used the fifth round to pick punter Michael Dixon in 2018, if they regret it. They do not. They just signed him to a four-year, $14.5 million extension last summer. Ariza is the best player to flirt with college football since Dixon, and he’s definitely better. It is more refined and has an indisputably larger leg. Punt God earned his nickname. He broke the NCAA record for averaging at 51.2 yards and had 39 balls longer than 50 yards. He had 18 balls longer than 60 yards. Both are NCAA records. He had two kicks longer than 80 yards, and most importantly pinned his opponents into the 20 on 38 occasions. It’s a game changer that’s for sure. The only question is how prepared the high teams are to receive him. Spoiler alert: if a player becomes a novice for 15, there is no such thing as taking them early. That’s what design Ariza gets. – open

tyler is awesomeRB, Missouri: He carried Missouri offense almost single-handedly, averaging six yards for his 268-yard carry. He scored five 200-yard runs when he was junior in 2021 and dealt with a massive workload late in the season. Doing this at the SEC is no easy feat, and he’s only had one season as a signature Tiger for the Tigers. There is still a lot of trampling on his tires, and that kind of production in that league doesn’t happen by accident. – open

Thai FrizzleWR, Indiana: Fryfogle hasn’t had a good year. Indiana hasn’t had a good year. In 2021, Fryfogle was tasked with recalling all conferences, and the Hoosiers did not win the Big Ten. But in 2020, Fryfogle (6-2, 205) was the Big Ten receiver of the year when the Hoosiers finished 15th. Coinciding with IU’s 2021 dip, Fryfogle’s production dropped to 512 yards and only one touchdown at 46 receptions (11.1 yards per catch) last year. Fryfogle is powerful, fast and explosive, and 2020 was no fluke. He has the possibility to get a lottery ticket for the NFL team in the last rounds or as a non-certified free agent. – Dochterman

Charlie KolarTE, Iowa: The 6-foot-7 Kolar — who grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, but was not recruited by the Sooners — ended up at Ames and became a 12-year-old anyway. Over the past three seasons, he’s made 157 catches for 2,044 yards and finished with 23 catches. His strong jump in traffic became a weekly occurrence even though the defenses knew he would be a target. He ran 4.67 and wouldn’t pose much of a threat, but some NFL team would model themselves as a long-armed, smart, strong-handed road runner who would make money in the red. – Taylor

Veron McKinley IIIS, Oregon: As dangerous as any player in the country, McKinley tied for the national lead with six interceptions and also broke six assists. With numbers like these, the neglect can come as a surprise, especially when the All-America first team plays. But many analysts believe McKinley (5-10, 198) lacks perfect size, and the 4.65-40 knocked him out a few rounds. But with the Ducks, McKinley played everything from border corner to nickel to deep safety, and no defensive back was more aggressive against the run. Faster than speed, McKinley could play anywhere in high school. He’s also the type of player who will beat his coaches and teammates on the first day of his training camp with hard work. – Dochterman

Dean BeltonDB, Iowa: At the forefront of the Iowa High School was Pelton (6-0 1/2, 205), who tied for the top of the Big Ten with five interceptions. Pelton, the All-Big Ten first team defensive back, alternated from cash (a strong corner-back hybrid) to strong safety as the defense flipped from 4-3 to 4-2-5. It handled everything from slot receivers and tight space ends to providing operating support along the line of melee. He’s started 26 games over three seasons, last year broke seven assists, scored five tackles for a loss and was logged for three rushing quarterbacks. In the combination, Pelton clocked the second-fastest 40 times by defensive Iowa again in 4.43 seconds. – Dochtermann

Kingsley AnjbarEdge, South Carolina: Had signing day went differently in 2018, Enagbare might have been another talented component of Georgia’s historic 2021 defense. Instead, he picked South Carolina, where his production was doing just fine (24 career TFLs and 15 sacks) and wasn’t a team record ( 20-28). The thing about the Enagbare is that it has an attractive 6-4 frame, 258 pounds, a wingspan of 83 inches and an impressive engine. It offers 3-4 and 3-4 versatility, and if it can show the ability to move inward when scrolling down, it will be a quality pickup on the middle rounds. – Taylor

Thayer MunfordOL, Ohio: As strong as an Ohio State player as any player in Buckeye history, Munford (6-5 1/2, 328) made 45 career starts and played in 54 games over five seasons. In his first three seasons as a rookie, Munford established the offensive line as a left tackle. Last year, Munford slipped inside to guard the left for 11 starts. Chosen by the first All-Big Ten twice with 35 1/8-inch arms, Munford has enough size to play interference at the next level. He needs to become more consistent as a pass protector, but Munford has the physical and intangible skills to become a team asset and develop to four reserve positions in his first NFL season. – Dochtermann

Kid YorkK, LSU: After the Bengals’ fifth-placed Evan Macpherson emerged as “Money Mac” by going 14 of 14 in postseason kicks, it was York’s turn to enjoy some love on day three. I watched the guy cut through the Gainesville fog as he smashed 57 yards to disturb Florida in 2020 (a night that 51-year-old Macpherson failed). York was accurate in college on the short kicks and a weapon on the long hits, as he was 15 of 19 out of 50. All while kicking on natural grass. Place it in a dome with narrow hash marks, and it will automatically approach. – Taylor

Nick Zackelj, OL, Fordham: As a high school student, Zackel played linebacker, was 6 feet 6 feet tall and weighed around 220 pounds. As a lineman invited to the NFL two months ago, he had gained four inches and 96 pounds. In that six-year stint from suburban Cleveland to Fordham, Zackel is only one of only 24 players in Patriot League history to earn all-conference honors for four consecutive seasons. Some NFL teams see him on guard, others step in. Either way, Zackel can mentally adapt to any scheme or position, as a master’s degree in business analytics might indicate. He just needs a chance. – Dochtermann

(Photo by Tyler Badi: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)