2022 NFL Draft All-Underrated Team
Draft season is about to come to a close, as we are under a week away from the start of the first round. All throughout the process, there are risers and fallers, especially after free agency when more fans and media members truly start to dive in. By this point, most of the narratives and rankings are finalized. Because of that, I wanted to give some shine to some players that I think have become underrated in my first ever Draft All-Underrated Team. Some will be fits for the Chargers, some won’t.
Darian Kinnard – Kentucky
It’s not often that a two-time All-American offensive lineman from the SEC gets cast aside but that has been the case for Kinnard throughout this process. He tested poorly, and suddenly it’s like everyone forgot how good he was in college. There’s chatter of him converting to guard and going after a bunch of FCS players and long-term developmental projects.
Of every offensive tackle in the class, Kinnard finished last season with the third-highest pass-blocking efficiency rating (my guy Abraham Lucas from Washington State was second) on PFF and he was their highest-graded run blocker. He might not have the highest ceiling in the class but he’s still a quality tackle prospect in my eyes. I don’t think he’d be a scheme fit for the Chargers, however.
Interior Offensive Line
Nick Ford – Utah
This pick is 100% influenced by my University of Utah bias, but I do believe that Ford is a quality prospect that really no one is talking about. He, unfortunately, didn’t get invited to any of the All-Star events due to a technicality, otherwise, I think he would have been garnering more buzz. Ford was recruited to Utah as a defensive lineman and then ended up making starts at all five spots along the offensive line during his career, the majority of which came at center.
Ford was tied with future first-round picks Zion Johnson and Tyler Linderbaum for the third-best pass-blocking efficiency rating and is a fantastic run blocker at center or guard. He would be a solid depth option for the Chargers on day three.
Jake Ferguson – Wisconsin
It was hard to pick one from this group because it is frankly a repetitive group of players. While studying the game tape of this tight end class I kept finding myself thinking “he has some Hunter Henry vibes to him”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for each prospect but it can make a class feel very redundant. Still, I like Ferguson and for my money, he was the best tight end at the Senior Bowl.
He’s a more versatile route runner and athlete than he’s given credit for. His best season as a receiver came in 2020 and then the Badgers leaned all the way into the running game in 2021 (more so than usual) where he primarily worked as a blocker. He’s a very solid player in a not so spectacular class.
Keaontay Ingram – USC
The former five-star recruit and Mr. Texas Football winner looked to be like a player on the rise until an injury in fall camp of 2020 had him on the outside looking in from the Texas running back room which forced him to transfer. He led USC in rushing this past year and truly took advantage of every opportunity given to him, in my opinion. Ingram finished 14th in this class in yards after contact per attempt, 15th in runs of 10 yards or more, and finished with a better elusive rating than Breece Hall, James Cook, Zamir White, and Jerome Ford.
He’s got a great blend of size, speed, and elusiveness that NFL teams usually covet, which is why the lack of buzz is so surprising to me. He’s met with the Chargers a handful of times, at the Shrine Bowl and as a local visit. He’d be a great day three selection for a team desperate for a true RB2.
Jaquarii Roberson – Wake Forest
To show you how underrated Roberson is, he’s not even in PFF’s simulator and is below the 400s on The Draft Network’s board. Of every wide receiver in this draft class with a minimum of 50% of their team’s targets, Roberson finished the 2021 season T-10th in yards per reception (ahead of top 50 locks Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Skyy Moore), T-14th in yards per route run (ahead of Olave, Jahan Dotson, and John Metchie), the second most contested catches (behind only Drake London), and the seventh-lowest drop percentage (ahead of day two locks David Bell, Jalen Tolbert, and Khalil Shakir). He also posted the 15th best RAS of any receiver in the class. All of this SCREAMS underrated and frankly, I don’t understand how he’s widely considered a late day three pick/potential undrafted player. The Chargers have met with him a few times and I would be stoked to add him in the 5th round.
Neil Farrell Jr. – LSU
Another head-scratcher when I look at mock drafts is where Farrell fits in. He was PFF’s highest-graded run defender among every defensive lineman in the class with at least 20% of their respective snaps. He had 24 run stops last year which is more than Phidarian Mathis, Jordan Davis, and Devonte Wyatt. His 11.4 run stop % was basically identical to Wyatt’s 11.5. He had more total pressures (24) than pass-rushing defensive tackles that are consistently going before him in mock drafts such as Thomas Booker and Haskell Garrett. (The likely top 15 pick I just mentioned only had 14 total pressures in 15 games last season by the way.) He also finished just one spot lower than Perrion Winfrey in pass rush win rate. Yes, I know he didn’t test great, I don’t care. He’s a very good football player and should be drafted much higher than he will be.
Myjai Sanders – Cincinnati
For whatever reason, Sanders has become the forgotten man of the edge-rushing class despite having a prolific pass-rushing resume to his name. As a junior, he totaled 44 pressures and finished with a pass rush win rate of 22.6%. This past year he made a jump all the way up to 62 total pressures (5th most in the class) and finished with a pass rush win rate of 20.6% (19th most in the class). He finished ahead of players going ahead of him like David Ojabo, Drake Jackson, Boye Mafe, and Travon Walker in both of those metrics last season and is a significantly better run defender than the first three on that list. If not for a weird illness that forced him to lose 20 pounds and test poorly at the combine, I think we’d be talking about a second-round lock. Especially with how well he performed at the Senior Bowl.
Chance Campbell – Ole Miss
Kyzir White had just signed with the Eagles when I was watching Campbell on tape and I’d be lying if his style and production didn’t remind me of what I watched White do last season with the Chargers. Campbell finished with the third-best mark in snaps per reception allowed, and first in pass rush win rate among the linebackers in this class. He’s not the cleanest run defender but he’s good enough to get by and is an excellent second and third down option because of his ability to cover and rush the passer. That kind of profile absolutely has tremendous value in the right system.
Bryan Cook – Cincinnati
The Bearcats have produced some excellent safeties in the last few years that Luke Fickell has been around and Cook is easily the best of the bunch. Cook plays with a physicality that every team likes to see and is backed up by his second-place finish among all safeties in the class in run-stop percentage. However, he also produced at an elite level in coverage where he had the third most pass breakups, third-best mark in yards per reception allowed, and the fourth most interceptions. He’s not an elite athlete by any means, but he’s an incredibly smart, physical, and productive football player.
Mario Goodrich – Clemson
Andrew Booth is the better NFL prospect from Clemson’s secondary but Goodrich is a much better player right now. Goodrich will probably be a victim of the “limited ceiling” conversation and be pushed down the board in favor of players who are more athletic prototype players. Goodrich had the best ranking of anyone in the class in forced incompletion percentage when targeted and basically never made mistakes. He’s a really clean evaluation at a position that requires a lot of projecting to the next level. At the very least, he could be a valuable rotational corner and simply stabilize the backend of a team’s depth chart.
Obviously, a lot of this is arbitrary but giving shine to players who aren’t as flashy or won’t be first-round locks is one of my favorite things about the draft process. Everything isn’t a one-for-one comparison, but I like to mention where these prospects measure in certain areas to paint a picture of where they’re really at and how they could bring value to a team like the Chargers. Let me know in the comments or on social media who are some players who would have made your list!