Few were more interested in last week’s NFL draw than college football coaches.
They coached those whose names were called in Las Vegas and planned against them. They have seen players rise from high school to the highest levels of the sport. College coaches don’t ultimately make design weekend decisions, but they have strong opinions about good picks, bad picks, surprises, sleepers, trends, and how players project with certain teams.
After launching the draft confidentially last year, I reached out to over 25 college coaches for their views on the 2022 NFL draft. I spoke with head coaches at every Power 5 conference, as well as coordinators and position coaches following the draft. like the rest of us, but could analyze players, position groups, and team adjustments from direct experience.
Most of the coaches spoke anonymously, but Luke Fickell of Cincinnati and Mark Stoops of Kentucky also discussed the impressive draft performances of their respective programs. The design for 2022 seemed to differ from that of previous years. Quarterback roster was delayed, Georgia had arguably its greatest draft output ever, and teams prioritized wide receivers, cornerbacks, and pass rushers, while shying away from running backs, tight ends, and single linebackers.
“It was an awful journey,” said a Power 5 coach. “Isn’t this the least hyped draft in NFL history? Not a great year for top executives.”
Another Power 5 coach noted that NFL teams showed more patience than in other years, especially with certain positions.
“I don’t think teams roll up their sleeves, draft guys because of positions, but let them go where they fall,” said the coach. “They’re trying to work out different options of what they’re willing to give to get the right guy, and if they don’t, they won’t over-select or overpay.”
Here’s an evaluation of the 2022 NFL draft through the eyes of college coaches. (Note: Coaches are identified by the roles they held during the 2021 season.)
Go to: Georgia and Dean | Pickett and QBs | OLs, WRs, DBs | Fickell and Stoops | Best drafts |Big 12 defense | sleepers