Big Ten 2022 NFL Draft prospects and scouting reports

Tony Pauline continues his annual Preseason Summer Scouting series with scouting reports on the 2022 NFL Draft prospects from the Big Ten.

2022 Big Ten Preseason Summer Scouting | Draft prospects to know

We continue with the 2022 NFL Draft prospects to keep in mind for each Big Ten team.

Michigan State Spartans Draft Prospects

The unexpected retirement of Mark Dantonio before the 2020 recruiting season left Michigan State in flux. And one of the results was not a single player from the program being selected in the draft for the first time since 1940. It will be slim pickings in upcoming drafts as well.

Jarrett Horst, OL
Grade: 3.38 | Projected Round: 6th
Two of the three top prospects on my MSU board are graduate transfers, starting with Jarrett Horst, who started the prior three seasons at Arkansas State. Horst is a long tackle who blocks with outstanding fundamentals and shows ability in motion. He’s slipped through the cracks in the scouting community, but I grade him as a sixth-round prospect and a solid developmental zone blocker at tackle or guard.

Matt Allen, OL
Grade: 3.30 | Projected Round: 6th – 7th
Matt Allen was a terrific two-year starter for the Spartans before being sidelined with injury for all but one game last season. He’s explosive, smart, and tough as hell. Allen is a late-round prospect who could start at the next level if he builds upon his 2019 season.

Anthony Russo, QB
Grade: 3.21 | Projected Round: FA
Anthony Russo transferred in from Temple, where he showed flashes of ability before being sidelined with a shoulder injury last season. Russo is a pocket passer with nice size and arm strength and great intelligence.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Draft Prospects

Despite a disappointing season on the field, Minnesota placed a pair of players in the draft’s initial 75 picks last April. They won’t replicate that next year, but they could end up with more players drafted.

Daniel Faalele, OT
Grade: 3.49 | Projected Round: 4th – 5th
Expectations are high for offensive tackle Daniel Faalele after he opted out last year coming off a good 2019 season. He’s a massive blocker with long arms, huge hands, and terrific power. Some scouts grade Faalele as a mid-second-round choice, but I’m more cautious. I really need to see the big man elevate his game from 2019 before labeling him as a Day 2 pick.

Boye Mafe, DL
Grade: 3.38 | Projected Round: 6th

Boye Mafe is an athletic pass-rushing defensive end who may have a home at OLB in a 3-4 system on Sundays. He’s quick off the edge, easily moves about the field, and possesses a closing burst.

Esezi Otomewo, DL
Grade: 3.35 | Projected Round: 6th
Esezi Otomewo is not as quick as his teammate, but he has better size as well as growth potential. He’s more complete on the defensive line and has an upside.

Mohamed Ibrahim, RB | Grade: 3.34 | Projected Round: 6th
Mohamed Ibrahim is an underrated running back who some scouts grade as a street free agent. He’s not the fastest ball carrier, but he offers nice size and outstanding running vision and works hard in all areas of his position.

Tanner Morgan, QB | Grade: 3.25 | Projected Round: FA
Tanner Morgan is graded as a mid-sixth-round pick by some scouts, while others stamp him as a PFA. I’m of the latter thinking. While I love Morgan’s intangibles, leadership, and accuracy, his size and average arm are red flags for me.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Draft Prospects

A program that consistently put players in the first and second rounds in drafts past, Nebraska has had limited impact in the past half-dozen years. There won’t be any Day 1 or Day 2 picks coming from NU in the near future.

JoJo Domann, LB
Grade: 3.38 | Projected Round: 6th
JoJo Domann is a smart, instinctive linebacker who consistently makes positive plays on the ball. He’s effective up the field as well as in pursuit. Domann comes with average size and speed. Hence, testing results before the draft are critical to him.

Cam Taylor-Britt, CB
Grade: 3.34 | Projected Round: 6th
Cam Taylor-Britt has no such issues with size and speed. He’s a large corner, who quickly makes his way around the field. He can line up at corner as well as safety and is best facing the action. I love his upside, much more so than Domann.

Northwestern Wildcats Draft Prospects

After a sensational season in which it battled Ohio State for supremacy in the Big Ten, Northwestern placed a pair of players in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Next April, however, the Wildcats may not have a single player drafted.

Chris Bergin, LB
Grade: 3.17 | Projected Round: FA
Chris Bergin returns for his second senior season after a terrific 2020 campaign. Sized more like a safety, Bergin is tough, incredibly instinctive, and makes a lot of plays on the ball. He’s a run-and-chase linebacker who is effective in space, but he’s largely ignored by scouts.

Trevor Kent, DL
Grade: 2.84 | Projected Round: FA
Trevor Kent offers excellent size and length and flashes ability. He has the growth potential to fill out his defensive tackle frame, but he really needs to elevate his game and consistently play at a high level to even grade as a PFA.

Ohio State Buckeyes Draft Prospects

The Buckeyes, conference champs and national title runner-ups last season, once again lead the Big Ten with the most and highest-rated prospects. Their depth chart presently lists three potential first-round picks and eight top-100 choices on my board.

Chris Olave, WR
Grade: 4.07 | Projected Round: 1st
Chris Olave gave serious consideration to entering last April’s draft, but he returned with the hopes of being a top-10 selection in 2022. While I doubt that will be the case, I grade Olave as a solid first-round choice. He’s a terrific athlete and a downfield threat with natural receiving skills. Olave reportedly times the 40 in 4.3 seconds and plays to that speed, displaying the ability to stretch the field. But Olave is more than just a home-run threat, as he separates in underneath coverage and is very reliable.

Garrett Wilson, WR
Grade: 4.00 | Projected Round: 1st
Garrett Wilson is not far behind Olave, and some scouts I’ve spoken with actually like the junior slightly better. Though not as fast, Wilson has a stouter build and is better in traffic. Wilson also received a first-round grade on my board.

Zach Harrison, DL
Grade: 3.99 | Projected Round: 1st – 2nd
Zach Harrison is the final Buckeye that I grade as a potential first-rounder. The edge rusher is a big athlete who turns the corner with speed and quickness. He’s very explosive and easily runs down ball handlers in backside pursuit. Harris must get a bit bigger and stouter against the run, but that should come in time.

Sevyn Banks, CB
Grade: 3.87 | Projected Round: 2nd
Sevyn Banks is everyone’s favorite cornerback and is usually listed as the first at his position off the board in recent mock drafts. But when breaking down the film, I completely understand why most scouts I’ve spoken with stamp Banks with a second-round grade. Banks is tough and has excellent length for the position, but he needs work on his technique — especially his backpedal — and his deep speed is a concern. He’s a good corner but by no means a premier player at the position.

Haskell Garrett
Grade: 3.77 | Projected Round: 3rd
Conversely, I don’t understand the grades given to defensive tackle Haskell Garrett by scouts, which range all over Day 3. The senior has a terrific build and an incredible first step off the snap, and he makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage as well as in pursuit. Garrett is more than a 3-technique tackle, though he can man the position. He can line up as a traditional defensive tackle and even play end in a three-man line that employs a one-gap scheme. I grade Garrett as a third-round prospect.

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