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2022 NFL Draft: Myths vs. Truths
Separating truth from fiction as the rumor mill for the 2022 NFL offseason heats up
In just two short weeks we’ll have every NFL writer, analyst and reporter descending on Indianapolis, Indiana to cover the 2022 Scouting Combine.
We’ll all be stuffed on shrimp cocktail, Tito’s and tonics, plus a ton of rumors as scouts, coaches, media members and agents get together for late night info sessions.
What’s real and what’s fake? That’s the hardest part of discerning information as it comes in from inside and outside sources. What information is a plant and what information is concrete?
It’s no easy task separating the two, but before the rumor mill heats up in two weeks, we’re taking a look at five rumors circulating right now and breaking through the BS to see what’s real and what’s not.
1. The Houston Texans will draft an offensive tackle at No. 3 overall
First off, I’m not even sure the Houston Texans will keep the No. 3 overall selection as another new head coach comes into the fold. But if they do use the pick at No. 3, it’s very unlikely that the selection would be an offensive tackle.
The Texans will return Laremy Tunsil (left) and Tytus Howard (right tackle or guard) next year—which the pair being under 27 years old and under contract for the 2022 season. There is a potential out on Tunsil’s deal after 2022, but teams don’t walk away from 27 year old offensive tackles who are playing at a very high level.
Drafting a lineman and sliding them into a guard position has been thrown out there, but the cost of doing so is very high if they intend to keep Tunsil and/or Howard. Especially on a roster with so many holes at virtually every other position.
Drafting Kyle Hamilton (S-Notre Dame), Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE-Oregon) or trading back are the most likely moves at this time.
2. Kayvon Thibodeaux is sliding down draft boards
This is 100% true. The question becomes whether you, the reader, or I believe he should slide down the board.
Thibodeaux is being knocked by scouts for a lack of intensity, a lack of competitiveness, measurements that will come in below expectations (I’ve heard he’s pretty short-armed and struggles to keep weight on), plus he’s not quite explosive enough for a 250-pound pass-rusher.
Those are the issues; you get to decide if they’re legitimate and if his film supersedes the question marks.
But the reality is, Thibodeaux is sliding when you talk to scouts around the league. The important note is that it only takes one team to like him and stop that slide, though. If the Lions, Jets, Giants, Panthers and Broncos are all down on Thibodeaux but the Texans love him, he could still be drafted No. 3 overall and therefore not “slide” on Draft Day.
So, yes, it’s true that teams aren’t as high on him overall as we all were in August; but there’s still room for him to be a very high selection.
3. Someone reaches for a quarterback in the top 10
Put this down as a maybe right now, but the conversation around the league is that no one should draft a quarterback in the top 10. That doesn’t mean someone won’t, but even on that front I’m skeptical.
Let’s look at the teams in the top 10 that need a quarterback: Lions (2), Panthers (6), Falcons (8), Broncos (9)
The Lions aren’t drafting a quarterback at No. 2 overall. The Panthers are invested in Sam Darnold for another year contractually and might not want to draft a quarterback they’d be tempted to use should he struggle (opting instead for a worse record and higher draft pick in ‘23). The Falcons have Matt Ryan for at least another year but technically could draft a quarterback-in-waiting. The Broncos are very much a possibility, but are expected to be in on Aaron Rodgers and/or Russell Wilson if they come available.
Malik Willis (Liberty) impressed at the Senior Bowl and Kenny Pickett (Pitt) remains an NFL ready option, but neither would have been a Round 1 pick in last year’s draft. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when evaluating players, but desperation shouldn’t turn a second-rounder into a top 10 pick.
4. Four quarterbacks will be drafted in the first round
Consider me very skeptical of this—even with the demand for quarterbacks sky high right now. In fact, if you can find a prop bet for quarterbacks over/under 3.5 in Round 1, I’d hit that under without hesitation.
This opinion could change once we see how the free agent and trade market affect things, but the overwhelming belief about this quarterback class is that it’s just not very good.
I also want you think about something that happens every draft cycle—at least one quarterback gets floated as a “late first round sleeper” and it never happens. Guys like Mason Rudolph, Drew Lock, DeShone Kizer and Kyle Trask all fit into that category.
NFL teams are aggressive about filling their quarterback needs, but we’ve actually seen then become more logical when considering “fringe” players. The reality is that no team wants to tie itself to a non-viable Round 1 quarterback because that’s a fast path towards being fired as a general manager and/or head coach.
So could someone like the Lions grab Sam Howell late in the first round? Possible, but unlikely. And highly questionable if it were to happen.
5. The Dallas Cowboys will aggressively address the offense, not defense
Sign me up for this one. In talking to people who knows the offseason plan for the Cowboys, one thing I continue to hear is that Jerry Jones (and the rest of the front office) want to address the offense through the draft.
Michael Gallup is both hurt and a free agent.
Amari Cooper’s deal was signed two years ago with the plan of releasing or restructuring this offseason.
Connor Williams (left guard) is a free agent.
Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are unreliable due to health at both tackle spots.
We all think about the Cowboys’ defense as an area of need—and there are key positions to upgrade there—but don’t be shocked if the Dallas offseason plan is heavy on offensive acquisitions.