According to The Huddle Report, Brendan Donahue is ranked as the most accurate NFL mock drafter over the past five years and in this column he brings his extensive college football predictive insight to you weekly.
As someone who does mock drafts every year, I always have my eye on draft-eligible players and how their performance on the field could positively or negatively impact their draft stock in the upcoming draft. So we will be tracking players on a weekly basis throughout the season to see who is rising or falling on draft boards.
What college players are rising on the draft board for 2022?
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn St.
Dotson could have made this list a few times this season, but after his performance against Maryland, it was time to finally include him. He put together his best game of the season with 11 catches for 242 yards and three touchdowns, including one for 86 yards that highlighted his breakaway speed. To go along with his speed, Dotson is one of if not the smoothest route runner in the country, often setting up his opponents with subtle footwork. Now up to 71 catches, 932 yards, and nine touchdowns on the season, Dotson has been steadily moving up draft boards and could find himself in the back end of the first round come April.
Cameron Thomas, DL, San Diego St.
Another game, another sack for Thomas this week. He now has a sack in his last four games and at least 0.5 TFL in every game this season. With an overall grade of 90.6, he is currently the sixth-ranked defensive lineman in the country out of 581 eligible players per PFF. At 6’5”, 270 lbs., Thomas has the size and speed to line up in multiple fronts along the line which will only enhance his stock at the next level.
Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi St.
There is a consensus on who the first offensive lineman to be drafted next year is and that is Evan Neal from Alabama, but the next spot has been up for grabs but Cross may be putting a stranglehold on it. Just a redshirt sophomore this year, Cross has not only held his own in SEC competition at left tackle, he has dominated in most games. With mixed grades coming into the season, Cross has shown he’s made huge improvements in both his technique and strength that has solidified his spot as one of top tackles in the 2022 draft.
What college players are falling on the draft board for 2022?
Jahleel Billingsley, TE, Alabama
Coming into the season Billingsley was one of the more hyped tight ends in the country and was very likely he was going to end up in this article but in the draft stock up not down portion. To date, it has been a very disappointing season for Billingsley at Alabama and it seems to be attributed to his efforts in practice or lack thereof.
Nick Saban had some pointed comments after a practice that seemed to be pointed towards Billingsley where he said “this is not a democracy. Everybody doesn’t get to do what they want to do.” Added that they have scouts at practice every day taking note of how guys work–not just what people see on game day. It culminated in the LSU game where Billingsley was active but did not register a target in 37 pass attempts from Bryce Young. Billingsley does have all the physical traits scouts look for and it is believed he will most likely run in the 4.5’s in the 40 at 6’4”, 230 lbs., so it will be interesting to see if he still declares for the draft even with this lack of playing time and production.