Few were more interested in last week’s NFL draft than college football coaches.
They coached those whose names were called in Las Vegas and planned a match against them. They have seen players rise from the ranks of high school to the highest level in the sport. College coaches ultimately don’t make decisions about the weekend’s draft, but they do have a privileged view on good picks, bad picks, surprises, sleepovers, trends, and how to expect players with certain teams.
After releasing a classified draft last year, I reached out to more than 25 college coaches for their thoughts on the 2022 NFL Draft. I spoke to the head coaches at each Power 5 conference, as well as the coordinators and coaches who followed through on the draft like the rest of us, but we could have. Analyze players, position groups and the right team from first-hand experience.
Most coaches spoke anonymously, but Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Kentucky Mark Stoops also discussed the impressive draft performance through their respective programs. The 2022 draft seemed to differ from previous years’ draft. Quarterback selections lagged, Georgia arguably had the biggest draft takeout ever, and teams prioritized wide receivers, backstops and passing thrusters, with running backs, tight ends and some quarterbacks.
“It was a terrible draft,” said the Power 5 coach. “Isn’t this the least exciting draft in NFL history? Not a great year for top players.”
Another Power 5 coach noted that NFL teams have shown more patience than they have in other years, especially with certain positions.
“I don’t think teams are going for the goal, recruiting players because of positions, as much as letting them go where they are,” the coach said. “They are trying to work through different options of what they are willing to offer to get the right guy, and if he isn’t there, they won’t be choosing too much or overpaying.”
Here’s an assessment of the 2022 NFL Draft through the eyes of college coaches. (Note: Coaches are determined by the roles they held during the 2021 season.)
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