With the 2021 NFL Draft behind us and the college football season around the corner, it’s time to set our eyes on the next group of NFL hopefuls that could be available next April in the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas. As such, in this edition of my annual Preseason Summer Scouting series, we’ll take a look at the draft prospects and scouting reports from the Big 12.
All of my Big 12 previews are below. To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Big 12 draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.
2022 Big 12 Preseason Summer Scouting | Draft prospects to know
Who are the 2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch from each team in the Big 12?
Baylor Bears Draft Prospects
Baylor has sporadically impacted Day 1 and 2 prospects of the NFL Draft. There’s a real possibility that happens next April.
Terrel Bernard, ILB | Grade: 3.58 | Projected Round: 4th
Linebacker Terrel Bernard is athletic, explosive, and fast. He covers a lot of area on the field, goes sideline-to-sideline, and stands out in pursuit as well as coverage. He’s a little short, measuring under 6-foot-1 but comes with scheme versatility. I presently grade Bernard as a mid-fourth-round choice, but he could move into the late part of Day 2 with a good senior season.
Xavier Newman-Johnson, C | Grade: 3.31 | Projected Round: 6th
Offensive lineman Xavier Newman-Johnson returns for a super senior season, and the versatile blocker can be used at guard or center. He has a short, stout build and shows ability blocking in motion.
JT Woods, S | Grade: 3.29 | Projected Round: 7th
Safety JT Woods is a well-built defensive back with an explosive style. Best against the run, Woods shows ball skills between the numbers, but he must complete his game.
Iowa State Cyclones Draft Prospects
ISU has one of the hottest names in the coaching business, Matt Campbell, who’s been mentioned for numerous NFL jobs every January. Campbell and his team have come very close in recent times but always seem to fall a bit short. 2021 may be the year they finally get over the hump.
Breece Hall, RB | Grade: 3.95 | Projected Round: 2nd
The next-level prospects on the depth chart can be found primarily on the offensive side of the ball, starting with running back Breece Hall. The junior ball carrier has a complete game and just takes over contests. He’s big, powerful, but also fast and displays the ability to create yardage.
Hall picks up the tough yardage not only on 3rd and short or goal-line situations but also picks up big chunks of yardage with his speed. He’s a terrific pass catcher out of the backfield. I’ve likened him to a faster version of former ISU back David Montgomery and presently grade Hall as an early second-round prospect.
Charlie Kolar, TE | Grade: 3.87 | Projected Round: 2nd
Tight end Charlie Kolar also grades as a second-round pick on my board, as he’s a terrific pass catcher with consistent hands. Kolar is smart, dependable, and always comes away with the reception. He has outstanding size, and though not a true burner, he possesses enough speed to get to the third level as a receiver.
Will McDonald IV, OLB | Grade: 3.67 | Projected Round: 3rd
Will McDonald IV is an up-and-comer few talk about and the top defensive prospect on the depth chart. He’s another outstanding athlete with great quickness, speed, and explosion. McDonald is a terrific edge rusher, yet at the same time, shows a lot of ability pursuing the action. The junior has a tall, thin build and is out of place at defensive end in the Cyclones’ three-man front. Nevertheless, McDonald has great upside.
Brock Purdy, QB | Grade: 3.48 | Projected Round: 5th
There are many who like the next-level potential of quarterback Brock Purdy, including several area scouts who gave the senior a second-round grade. And while I love Purdy’s game on the college level, I don’t feel he projects all that well to the NFL.
Purdy is smart, poised, and a real leader on the field. He finds ways to make plays with his arm or legs if necessary and improvises when things break down. My concern with Purdy at the next level is a lack of arm strength — his deep passes die in the air, and he cannot drive the ball. Purdy won’t get away with his sandlot style of play on Sundays, which also concerns me.
Kansas Jayhawks Draft Prospects
The Kansas program has been an utter disaster in recent years, further highlighted by the resignation of head coach Les Miles this past March. The once-proud program has had just a half dozen players selected in the draft the past 10 years. Not a single Jayhawk on my draft board has a draftable grade though there are a pair of prospects to keep an eye on.
Malik Clark, G | Grade: 3.22 | Projected Round: FA
Offensive lineman Malik Clark is scheduled to move from left tackle to guard this season — his natural position. Clark is fundamentally sound, strong, and a solid run blocker.
Kyron Johnson, OLB | Grade: 3.12 | Projected Round: FA
Kyron Johnson is an explosive but undersized edge rusher who gets the most from his ability. He’s fast up the field and can make plays in pursuit. Johnson could end up as a pass-rush specialist at the next level.
Kansas State Wildcats Draft Prospects
Despite a handful of Day 2 picks, Kansas State has been highlighted primarily by Day 3 prospects in recent drafts — a trend that will continue.
Khalid Duke, OLB | Grade: 3.42 | Projected Round: 5th
Pass rusher Khalid Duke is the only KSU prospect on my board with a draftable grade. The junior is explosive, fast, and shows great edge speed. He also plays with terrific pad level and easily moves about the field. Duke primarily comes out of a three-point stance but lacks size and struggles handling blocks. I presently grade Duke as a fifth-round prospect, but he has a large upside.
Josh Rivas, G | Grade: 3.23 | Projected Round: FA
Guard Josh Rivas has received some late-round grades from scouts, but I stamped him as a PFA. Rivas has a next-level build and is very strong, but he’s heavy-footed, a little stiff, and can only play in a small area.
Oklahoma Sooners Draft Prospects
The headlines coming from Norman recently are not about the team but rather the program moving to the SEC. From a draft perspective, 2021 was an anomaly for the Sooners as not a single player was selected during the draft’s initial 60 selections. That’s going to change real soon.
Presently, seven Sooners are graded as top 100 picks on my draft board.
Spencer Rattler, QB | Grade: 4.15 | Projected Round: 1st
I was very cool on quarterback Spencer Rattler, choosing to take a wait-and-see approach on him until I closely inspected the film. After breaking down more than a half dozen games, I can tell you this — I am a fan and firmly believe in Rattler’s next-level ability.
He possesses the arm strength, ball speed, and release to be a top-notch quarterback prospect. Rattler delivers all the passes with speed and drives deep throws, putting the ball in front of targets. He’s also an accurate passer, effectively placing throws where only his targets can make the catch. And he does not have pass catchers working hard to come away with the reception.
He’s a patient and poised passer, moving around the pocket to buy as much time as possible. I love the way Rattler keeps his eyes downfield looking for targets on the rollout, and he loses nothing throwing on the move. My one criticism is Rattler doesn’t always find opponents in the defensive back seven, but hopefully, that comes with experience. In the end, it seems as though Lincoln Riley is developing another quarterback who will be a very early pick in the draft.
Nik Bonitto, OLB | Grade: 3.9 | Projected Round: 2nd
Edge rusher Nik Bonitto looks like the next big-time defender from the OU program. The junior is an explosive athlete that’s tough to stop and gets to the action with a tremendous closing burst. He’s agile, mobile, and makes a lot of plays in pursuit and the open field.
Brian Asamoah, ILB | Grade: 3.85 | Projected Round: 2nd
Brian Asamoah is a slightly undersized but explosive run and chase linebacker who plays big boy football. He’s outstanding in pursuit, gets tremendous depth in coverage, and sells out against the run or on the blitz.