The 2022 NFL Draft is around the corner, and the Ball State Cardinals have a chance to be well represented. With two current players in the NFL, Ball State could send a couple more either through the draft or as priority free agents following Round 7. Among those, former quarterback Drew Plitt certainly comes to mind, but his top targets in Justin Hall and Yo’Heinz Tyler may have more of a shot of sticking in the NFL.
As part of our preparation, we take an in-depth look at all the Ball State players to know ahead of April’s draft. Below are scouting reports for each draft-eligible player from Ball State, including strengths, weaknesses, and analysis toward their NFL futures.
Ball State 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Included in these scouting reports are eight Ball State players to know ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Of course, this group houses former long-time quarterback Plitt, who threw for 9,051 passing yards in his five-year career. His aforementioned top targets in Hall and Tyler combined for 1,000 receiving yards in 2021.
Hall was productive in every season with the Cardinals, recording at least 600 receiving yards in all five years. He generated 18 total receiving touchdowns and even ran the ball 122 times for 865 yards in his career. Tyler had a knack for finding the end zone, scoring 21 touchdowns over the past four seasons through the air.
On defense, both top tacklers from a season ago are draft-eligible, but that’s not all Ball State loses in 2022. Linebacker Jaylin Thomas (112 total tackles), safety Bryce Cosby (108), and LB Christian Albright (64) made up a terrific trio that will be difficult to replace in Muncie.
DT Chris Agyemang
Positives: Undersized 3-technique tackle who plays with outstanding leverage. Breaks down well, bends his knees, and keeps his feet moving. Very good with his hands, easily changes direction, and pursues laterally with ease. Plays with outstanding pad level and consistently gets leverage on opponents.
Negatives: Does not play as athletic as his athletic testing numbers would lend one to believe. Easily tied up at the point by blocks. Marginally productive at Ball State.
Analysis: Agyemang possesses the size and style to be a 3-technique tackle in the NFL, but he’s a fringe practice-squad prospect who must get stronger and polish his game.
LB Christian Albright
Positives: Tough, hard-working linebacker who gets the most from his ability. Instinctive, quickly reads and diagnoses plays, and nicely collapses outside-in defending the run. Moves well laterally in pursuit of the action, uses his hands exceptionally well, and stays on his feet. Breaks down well and displays himself as a solid pass rusher. Good change-of-direction skills with the ability to immediately alter his angle of attack. Displays outstanding technique protecting himself from blocks. Shows solid strength at the point of attack and gets up the field to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Finds the ball and goes very hard after opponents.
Negatives: Plays to one speed, lacks a burst, and isn’t overly instinctive. Primarily used up the field or in the box and was rarely asked to drop off the line in coverage. Average size with marginal growth potential.
Analysis: Albright was a productive three-year linebacker for Ball State and has an underrated game. He possesses the size and agility necessary to be an off-ball linebacker, but he must improve his techniques and gain experience making plays in reverse.
OL Curtis Blackwell
Positives: Tall, tough lineman with experience at tackle and guard. Blocks with proper lean, effectively uses his hands, and plays with a nasty attitude. Stays square, keeps his feet moving, and always looks for someone to hit. Fires off the snap, displays surprising quickness pulling across the line of scrimmage, and shows skill blocking in motion.
Negatives: Lacks blocking balance. Gets pushed back into the pocket. More of an arm wrestler than a leverage blocker.
Analysis: Blackwell is a small-area lineman with nice length as well as growth potential, but he comes with limited upside. He is a power gap lineman who must improve his blocking fundamentals.
S Bryce Cosby
Positives: Super-productive college safety with an underrated game. Instinctive, quick to read as well as diagnose plays, and sells out getting to the action. Crashes upfield defending the run, squares into ball handlers, and wraps up tackling. Fluid pedaling in reverse, keeps the action in front of him, and has a burst to the ball. Takes proper angles to the action.
Negatives: Not a large or stout safety. Inefficient and overpursues plays. Deep speed is a concern.
Analysis: Cosby is a smart defensive back who gets the most from his ability but has size and speed limitations. His playing style and ability to diagnose the action could help him catch on as a ninth safety/special-teams player.
WR Justin Hall
Positives: Sure-handed possession wideout with potential as a return specialist. Smooth releasing off the line of scrimmage, quickly gets in and out of routes, and extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Agile, adjusts to errant throws, and keeps the play in bounds after the catch. Very quick, displays outstanding awareness, and creates yardage when the ball is in his hands. Stands out as a punt returner as well as running reverses.
Negatives: Not a stout receiver who can take a big hit and hold onto the ball. More quick than fast and lacks deep speed. Unnecessarily lets passes get inside him at times.
Analysis: Hall is a Swiss Army Knife-type of skill player who can be used as a receiver, to run reverses, and as a return specialist. He comes with limitations, and his play on special teams this summer will determine whether or not he makes a roster in the fall.
QB Drew Plitt
Positives: Game-managing quarterback coming off a disappointing season. Patient in the pocket, remains poised under the rush, and buys time for receivers. Possesses an outstanding sense of knowing where targets are on the field, goes through progressions, and steps up in the pocket to avoid the rush. Spreads the ball around to all his targets and pulls the ball down rather than forcing passes to covered receivers. Effectively sells ball fakes, stays with the action, and works to be productive.
Negatives: Lacks a big-league arm and struggles driving the ball through tight spots. Not overly elusive. Lacks pocket stature.
Analysis: Plitt was a solid game manager for Ball State but comes with arm-strength limitations. He’s a potential third quarterback whose greatest asset would be another pair of eyes on the sidelines.
LB Jaylin Thomas
Positives: Productive run-defending linebacker with size and speed limitations. Moves well laterally, possesses a closing burst of speed, and makes plays in space. Gets depth on pass drops, easily gets outside the numbers in pursuit, and covers a good amount of area on the field. Breaks down well and effectively uses his hands to protect himself.
Negatives: Often too quick up the field and gets caught out of position. Shows little in the way of long speed or the ability to cover ground in pursuit. Not very forceful.
Analysis: Thomas was a productive college linebacker but offers limited upside for the next level. He’s a practice-squad prospect who will have to earn his wage on special teams.
WR Yo’Heinz Tyler
Positives: Nice-sized, sure-handed receiver who plays to one speed. Works his hands to separate from opponents, easily adjusts to errant throws, and displays strong hands with the ability to pull the ball out of the air. Works hard to come across the field to make himself an available target, gets vertical, and contorts to come away with difficult catches. Sells routes and possesses hand/eye coordination. Effective blocking downfield.
Negatives: Lacks a burst, possesses minimal deep speed, and isn’t a vertical threat. Loping runner with limited quickness and route-running skills.
Analysis: Tyler is a big-bodied target with a consistent game, yet he lacks the speed and quickness to separate at the NFL level.