While the Kansas City Chiefs are on the bye this week, fans will still have a great deal of football to pay attention to. Scoreboard watching other teams from around the AFC will be near the top of the list. Possibly, a rare weekend of rooting for the Denver Broncos to get a victory within the division will be on the wishlist for Chiefs fans. There is another area that we want to focus on this weekend, however.
That would be the college football landscape. But, it is not just scanning and following the most crucial college football games. We are instead looking forward to watching some potential Kansas City prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft.
It is never too early to get an eye or knowledge on draft prospects. Despite the Chiefs current hot streak and potential playoff run, there are likely many areas on the roster that will need to be addressed. Part of this is due to lingering depth questions over the past couple of years. Elsewhere, the Chiefs could lose top names from their team due to salary cap implications.
For this weekend, we will be listing five players at each position to keep an eye on. That will include wide receivers, defensive ends and defensive backs. Some names may be household ones to die hard football and NFL draft niks. Others could be new names for people to learn about, or players who are flying under the radar. Without further ado, let’s kick it off with the wide receivers.
Treylon Burks- Arkansas
Kickoff: Friday, November 26, 3:30 pm ET on CBS
Easily one of the more dynamic wide receivers eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks possesses many tools in his toolbox. He is savvy with his releases and when running his routes. Burks provides a patient and deceptive running style to attack certain areas on the field. Meanwhile, the spatial awareness and field vision has helped him gain many yards after the catch. Burks has averaged 16.4 yards per reception in his college career, for example, including 16.6 yards per reception this season.
Most of all, Burks has speed that other college receivers do not have at his size. The 6’3’’ pass catcher is able to outrace many fast defenders at 225 pounds. There is also an added bonus for the future NFL team that drafts Treylon Burks. He is just as lethal inside as he is on the outside, while being able to thrive at multiple positions in the offensive formation. No matter the spot at which he plays, Burks’ attention to detail and focus on the football at each spot makes him a dominant presence.
Jalen Tolbert- South Alabama
Opponent: Coastal Carolina
Kickoff: Friday, November 26, 3:30 pm ET on ESPN+
South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert may not be a household name to the casual football fan. Certainly, this is a wide receiver who has plenty of NFL team’s attention. Tolbert creates plenty of explosive plays, similar to that of the aforementioned Burks. Yet, he could be considered a little less flashy. That is not to downplay the prowess of Burks. Tolbert wins with many attributes that NFL evaluators are eager to see, though.
He executes his entire route with crisp, under control route stems. To boot, Tolbert is able to create separation very subtly. If you watch his tape, it may not seem wide open at the college level. That is assuredly very open at the NFL level, however. Tolbert’s counters and fakes during his route are also extremely nuanced. The top positive for me, is the way in which Tolbert consistently wins in contested catch situations. He is seemingly unfazed in traffic. Finally, Tolbert has the size and length that NFL teams will covet.
David Bell- Purdue
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 3:30 pm ET on FS1
The Purdue Boilermakers passing attack runs through David Bell. Playing in the Big Ten Conference, this wide receiver sees a wide array of coverages. The instincts during his routes against both zone coverage and man coverage do not get noticed enough. Against zone, Bell sells his release so softly and is able to stack defensive backs before they complete their turn or break towards the ball. On the other hand, this pass catcher is able to fight through contact quickly, while taking press coverage head on.
Bell combines soft hands and above average ball skills in order to pluck the ball away from his body. Additionally, he is strong at the catch point and attacks the football with urgency. When you see the versatility in how he is used by Purdue, you will see Bell’s ability to adjust and contort his body in order to protect the ball as well. This shows off his catch radius, as well as an ability to hide the pass from the opposing defensive back in a sense.
Reggie Roberson Jr.- SMU
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 4:00 pm ET on ESPN2
It feels like SMU’s Reggie Roberson Jr. has been a name floating around the NFL Draft circle for a while now. Unfortunately, he suffered season ending injuries in each of 2019 (foot injury) and 2020 (knee injury). That led to him being limited to just 13 games across those two seasons. Other items like a scarce route tree and inconsistency with attacking the ball at the catch point has been a work in progress for Roberson Jr.
There is plenty of potential that Roberson Jr. can still become a featured wide receiver at the NFL level. His ability to work in and out of route breaks could help when the route tree needs to be expanded. Tracking the football and making swift adjustments are also items that could lead to big play opportunities. Working on better timing in contested situations could lead to a greater success rate, when mixing in the tracking and adjustments.
Romeo Doubs- Nevada
Opponent: Colorado State
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 9:00 pm ET on CBS Sports Network
I would not make a clear comparison and say that Romeo Doubs is a carbon copy of this NFL player. However, Doubs wins and is built in similar ways to AJ Brown of the Tennessee Titans. A compact build and strong hands, allows for the Nevada wide receiver to win reps in a variety of ways. His straight line speed and agility is not always respected by defensive backs. This can lead to Doubs surprising opponents with his ability to eat up space and cushion that is given to him.
Moreover, Doubs’ toughness and physicality allow him to outmuscle defenders with the ball in his hands. The same can be said when trying to make a grab in traffic. When you add in that and his explosiveness, almost any play seems likely to bust open for a score.
Myjai Sanders- Cincinnati
Opponent: East Carolina
Kickoff: Friday, November 26, 3:30 pm ET on ABC
There is a lot to like in terms of Myjai Sanders and his fit in the Chiefs current defense. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo loves defensive ends who have length, heavy hands to disengage from blocks and short area quickness.
That length allows him to reduce rush angles suddenly. On top of that, he keeps his frame clean due to his hands appearing to be actively moving at all times. There is some sneaky good power that throws opposing blockers off balance. Combine that with his motor, effort and long strides, and Sanders lives in the opposing backfield. He covers ground quickly enough to meet quarterbacks at the top of their drop backs. Also, the Cincinnati defender does a solid job of chasing down the run with backside pursuit.
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Ochaun Mathis- TCU
Opponent: Iowa State
Kickoff: Friday, November 26, 4:30 pm ET on FS1
Ochaun Mathis presents a proud attacking and crashing style that may not always stick out. His understanding of play flow and keeping track of the football keeps him in position to make stops. As a result, Mathis’ preparation against blockers and ability to jam their blocking path muddies up the gap that he is controlling.
With a stout frame, Mathis is also very nimble for his size. His lateral mobility and change of direction skills allows him to make plays in many areas of the field. Lastly, the TCU product is violent when making the tackle. The jarring tackle attempts can make some ball carriers hesitant and ball security begins to wane as well.
David Ojabo- Michigan
Opponent: Ohio State
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, Noon ET on FOX
Not many players have boosted their draft stock more so than Michigan’s David Ojabo. It of course helps when you have Aidan Hutchinson playing at the defensive end opposite of you. Nonetheless, Ojabo has continued to be a game wrecker of his own.
The burst and closing speed that this player possesses is quite beneficial. Especially, when you consider his much refined pass rush counters. Ojabo has worked hard to better time his punches at the point of attack and is keeping his frame cleaner. Another strong performance against Ohio State this weekend could firmly secure Ojabo’s chances of being a first round value.
Brenton Cox Jr.- Florida
Opponent: Florida State
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, Noon ET on ESPN
The benefit that Brenton Cox Jr. presents is his versatility. He can play as a stand up speed rusher, or with his hand in the dirt and explode off the snap. There are also different ways in which he can be used against the pass. Cox Jr. can drop back into coverage, execute twists and stunts as a pass rusher, or play contain against quarterbacks that present a running threat.
While Cox Jr. has not been horrible this season, the next step forward many expected to see in 2021 has not surfaced. Can the Gator defender be enough of an impact player at the NFL level? The strength and length he has in his upper half is evident. Meanwhile, Cox Jr. has developed a wide array of successful pass rush moves, with a bull rush being his most effective. NFL head coaching may be able to help him put it all together.
DeAngelo Malone- Western Kentucky
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 3:30 pm ET on CBS Sports Network
DeAngelo Malone is not the most technically refined defensive end. There may also be a need to add on some weight in order to hang at defensive end at the NFL level. However, Malone has provided consistently high production for stops behind the line of scrimmage. His effort, ability to turn the corner crisply and anticipation for play flow are some of his more astounding traits.
Developing a greater range of pass rush counter moves will be key when moving on to the NFL. There is tremendous length at his disposal to work with. Moreover, Malone has the burst in his tank. Will he be able to tap into that more consistently and earlier on in reps?
Akayleb Evans- Missouri
Kickoff: Friday, November 26, 3:30 pm ET on CBS
Transferring from Tulsa to Missouri, we have seen both the good and the bad from Akayleb Evans this season. His coverage skills at multiple areas of the field have led to many frustrating days for opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers. To boot, there is a detailed technique that Evans utilizes when the ball is in the air.
At the same time, he has looked more panicked in space. Evans can oftentimes bite on fakes or counters by the opposing pass catcher. While he has made plays on the football throughout his entire college career, the level up at Missouri has led to questions on if Evans is a scheme specific player or not. If so, his value could be hindered next spring.
Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday- Auburn
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 3:30 pm ET on CBS
Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday are two veteran defensive backs that have continued to grow year after year. McCreary does a good job of playing physical at the catch point, while also largely avoiding early contact on the receiver. He does well when needing to switch between inside and outside leverage. McCreary’s seemingly always staying locked to the hip of the opposing receiver. Do not sleep on his tackling prowess either.
Monday is a taller, sturdy defensive back at the safety position. His instincts and mental processing are defined enough to where Monday is comfortable patrolling as the single high safety over the top. It feels like his ball skills and quickness are underappreciated. Monday does a textbook job when taking angles or triggering downhill towards the outside shoulder of the ball carrier.
Jaquan Brisker- Penn State
Opponent: Michigan State
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 3:30 pm ET on ABC
Out of all the draft eligible defensive backs, Jaquan Brisker is one of my top favorites. He plays a versatile role in the Penn State defense and wears many different hats. Do you want someone who can shade over the top in zone coverage? Brisker can do that. What about playing the high post as a defender over the middle? He has grown quickly in this area. On the other hand, Brisker has moved around the formation to play in the slot, near the line of scrimmage or in the box.
He is not necessarily a ball hawk at this point in time. But, Brisker can provide physicality and a hitting power that leaves opponents shaken. His range also allows him to catch up and help teammates, if they are caught out of position. With Brisker you can mix coverages and alter defensive fronts as much as you want, due to his quick adjustments in space.
Jermaine Waller- Virginia Tech
Kickoff: Saturday, November 27, 3:45 pm ET on ACC Network
Jermaine Waller was outstanding in 2019 for the Hokies defense. Some of his numbers included 46 tackles, 10 pass breakups, three interceptions and 1.5 sacks. Unfortunately, Waller was only able to muster two games played in 2020 because of injury. This made for a make or break 2021 campaign. Largely, Waller has delivered similarly to what he showed in 2019.
The success he has in man coverage gives many confidence about his ability to hang on the outside at the NFL level. He does a good job of jamming the receiver and triggering hard after putting his foot in the ground. Add in his length and range, and Waller is able to provide plenty of production. The Virginia Tech defender has five pass breakups this season, and his four interceptions are currently tied for tenth best in the nation. Overall, Waller is just so disruptive towards opposing receivers.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout next week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.
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