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2022 NFL Draft Sleepers: Jayden Reed, Ji’Ayir Brown delivering under pressure

Let's delve into our newest list of 2022 NFL Draft sleepers -- with high-flying wide receivers and high-upside edge defenders!

As Week 10 comes into focus, let’s take a look at our next batch of 2022 NFL Draft sleepers! Who finds their way onto the list this week?

2022 NFL Draft Sleepers: Week 10

As always, we’ll list 11 new players to fill out our Week 10 roster of 2022 NFL Draft sleepers. Nine players will be from FBS schools, while an extra two will hail from the FCS ranks. Let’s not waste any more time. These are the new names to watch!

Penn State S Ji’Ayir Brown

Penn State’s defense has some of the highest NFL Draft prospects per capita in college football. Arnold Ebiketie, Brandon Smith, Jaquan Brisker, and Tariq Castro-Fields have all garnered at least mid-round consideration. But one player who flashed last week, and is overlooked at times, is the safety opposite Brisker — Ji’Ayir Brown.

Brown isn’t quite at the level of Brisker as a prospect, but he could be a solid NFL player in his own right. He’s a bit different, stylistically. Brown stands at around 5’11”, with a stocky 208-pound frame. With that frame, however, he showcases nice range and aggression downhill. Brown’s not afraid to throw himself at ball carriers, but he also has ball skills as well. At the very least, Brown’s versatility and intensity will be coveted in April.

Michigan State WR Jayden Reed

Kenneth Walker III has no doubt been the primary catalyst for Michigan State’s rise this year. But another underrated component of the Spartans’ offensive success is wide receiver Jayden Reed.

Reed is on pace to have a career year through eight games. Already, he has 642 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns — on just 33 catches. He also has an extra score on the ground, as well as 2 punt return TDs.

At 6’0″, 185 pounds, Reed doesn’t have an overly imposing frame. But he’s an easy accelerator with breakaway speed. On top of that, he has many appealing fundamental traits as well. The Michigan State WR tracks the ball downfield, can rise and contort in contested situations, and has great hands as well.

Reed converted in a lot of clutch situations against Michigan. In fact, the Spartans don’t win that game without him. He’ll only be relied upon more in those moments down the stretch, drawing more eyes to his game.

Ole Miss CB Miles Battle

You may be curious to see how Liberty QB Malik Willis fares against Ole Miss QB Matt Corral — but I’m just as curious to see how he deals with Miles Battle — the 6’3″, 195-pound cornerback waiting on the other side. Battle has flashed his playmaking ability at times this year.

As a former wide receiver, he has natural ball skills and can turn and run with larger receivers. Willis has to be careful throwing Battle’s way because the CB — who has 6 pass deflections — is still hungry for his first pick.

Fresno State CB Elijah Gates

A former four-star recruit and a four-year contributor at UCLA, Elijah Gates came to Fresno State as a grad transfer this year. Since arriving, he’s quickly turned into one of their more productive playmakers on the back end. Along with ball-hawking safety Evan Williams, Gates has helped legitimize the Bulldogs as they fight to end the year in the Top 25.

At 5’11”, 190 pounds, Gates is not the biggest guy. But he has good footwork and has shown he can rise up and time his attacks at the catch point with proficiency.

Louisiana CB Mekhi Garner

Mekhi Garner truly has one of the most unique physical profiles among the 2022 NFL Draft sleepers. He’s 6’2″ but listed at over 210 pounds. And that frame density undoubtedly shows up on tape.

Garner has an abnormally strong frame for a cornerback, but he’s shown he can still make plays on the ball. Additionally, he’s physical coming up to the box and can carry a lot of momentum downhill with his straight-line explosiveness.

Louisiana OT Max Mitchell

Louisiana has two 2022 NFL Draft sleepers on our latest list — one on defense and another on offense. Max Mitchell is one of the more exciting offensive tackle sleepers, mainly due to his physical traits. He’s a little light, listed at just under 300 pounds. However, Mitchell has a long 6’6″ frame, but he’s very well-proportioned. He also moves incredibly well. Mitchell’s quick off the snap, smooth in space, and can recover as well.

Western Michigan EDGE Ali Fayad

Ali Fayad is a name that has some buzz in the draft community. The Western Michigan edge rusher may be a bit undersized at around 6’2″, 250 pounds, but he still has 23.5 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss throughout his Broncos career — as well as 7 sacks and 9 tackles for loss this season.

Featured | College football odds, picks, and predictions against the spread for Week 10

Fayad has a hot motor, but he’s also not bare from a traits standpoint. His get-off is solid, and he’s also shown he can bend while stacking pass-rushing moves.

Central Michigan WR Kalil Pimpleton

If you missed the Kalil Pimpleton breakout game, you missed out. The Central Michigan WR had 5 receptions for 115 yards and a score against Western Michigan. But that’s not all. He also had 2 punt return touchdowns on just 3 return attempts. He averaged over 35 yards per touch — a number that does well to convey Pimpleton’s undeterred dynamic ability.

He’s not big by any means, but Pimpleton is the exact guy you want on special teams: Explosive, loose-hipped, and creative with the football.

Miami (OH) EDGE Dominique Robinson

Dominique Robinson logged another sack this past week in MACtion, increasing his season total to 2.5. It’s been a slow ascent for Robinson, but he only recently transitioned from wide receiver in 2020.

The 6’4″, 256-pound edge rusher has all the physical tools you look for — a distinction proven by his placement on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List before the season. With a recorded 4.62 40-yard dash and a 34-inch vertical, his testing will help him. His progression on the field is starting to help him, too.

2022 NFL Draft sleepers at the FCS level

Now, let’s go to the FCS. Here, we have two 2022 NFL Draft sleepers in very different molds.

Furman TE Ryan Miller

We’ve touched on motor and the impact it can have on boosting an FCS player’s stock. Another valuable trait at that level is versatility, and Ryan Miller projects to have a good amount of that in the NFL.

At 6’2″, 221 pounds, Miller fits the mold of an H-back tight end. For Furman, he essentially plays like a big wide receiver. He’s got solid body control and vertical athleticism, but Miller also has fairly loose hips, which he can use to separate and get open in the middle of the field. Miller can line up inline, out wide, in the slot, and he can block. Being drafted is an ambitious goal, but Miller can undoubtedly earn a camp invite with his play.

UT Martin EDGE Eyabi Anoma

Don’t let his presence in the FCS fool you. Eyabi Anoma is a former consensus five-star recruit and a former Alabama defender. He earned SEC All-Freshman honors in 2018 but was dismissed from the program the following summer. Anoma then joined Houston, but it wasn’t long before he was dismissed from that team as well.

Maturity seems to have been the biggest issue for Anoma over that embattled stretch. Issues such as tardiness and clashes with teammates were cited for his inability to stick around.

But now, Anoma has settled at UT Martin, and he’s finding success. The supremely athletic 6’6″, 270-pound edge rusher has 5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss through seven games. And he’s coming off his best outing yet — 1.5 sacks, 4.5 TFL against Austin Peay.

Anoma still runs hot and cold at times, but he’s seemed to find new life at UT Martin. His athleticism pops, and he flashes impressive burst, bend, and closing speed to go along with his frame. If Anoma can keep trending up, a strong season — along with a strong pro day — should reinvigorate his stock.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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