Missouri Valley 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports include Christian Watson and Trevor Penning

The Missouri Valley scouting reports include Christian Watson, Trevor Penning, and a host of other talented 2022 NFL Draft prospects.

Missouri Valley Conference 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports | J-Z

Here are the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference prospects who could hear their names called in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Jack Cochrane, LB | South Dakota

Positives: Explosive pursuit linebacker who sells out to make plays. Smart, instinctive, and crashes upfield defending the run. Displays good change-of-direction skills, breaks down well, and works hard to get a pad on defenders. Stays with assignments, quickly diagnoses plays, and works to keep the action in front of him. Does an outstanding job quarterbacking the defense. Shows ability in coverage over the middle of the field.

Negatives: Easily turned from the action by a single blocker despite his size. Gets caught up in the trash. Plays to one speed, does not show burst, and isn’t quick getting to the flanks in pursuit.

Analysis: Cochrane is highly rated in some areas of the scouting community due to his size and speed, yet he looks more like a downhill/box linebacker with a limited game.

Jaleel McLaughlin, RB | Youngstown State

Positives: Instinctive, hard-working ball carrier who was also used as a return specialist. Patient, waits for blocks to develop, and has quick feet. Resilient, keeps runs alive, and improvises if plays break down. Possesses a terrific feel for what’s happening on the field and works runs. Has a burst that he turns on in a single step and breaks arm tackles.

Negatives: At times does too much lateral running rather than taking it upfield. Lacks true perimeter speed. Possesses average size.

Analysis: McLaughlin projects as a third-down back/situational runner but must produce as a pass catcher and punt returner this summer.

James Ceasar, CB | Southern Illinois

Positives: Talented cornerback with nice size. Aggressive, instinctive, and quick to read and diagnose plays. Jams receivers at the line, runs downfield with opponents, and possesses a closing burst. Plays faster than his 40 time. Gets his head back around, tracks the ball in the air, and possesses solid ball skills. Fires up the field and gives effort defending the run.

Negatives: Lacks pure speed and an elite second gear. Slow out of his transition. Coming off a season-ending injury.

Analysis: Ceasar was a terrific cornerback at Ferris State and played well the first month of the season at Southern Illinois before going down with injury. He possesses enough skill to line up in dime packages at the next level if he’s medically cleared and gets back to prior playing form.

Jaxson Turner, LB | North Dakota

Positives: Smallish run-and-chase linebacker who is most effective in pursuit. Agile, fluid moving in every direction, and quickly alters his angle of attack. Quick to read and diagnose, breaks down well, and uses his hands to protect himself. Presents himself as a good athlete on the field and plays to his 40 time.

Negatives: Undersized and easily out-positioned from the action by a single blocker. Must improve his backpedal and play in coverage.

Analysis: Turner was a productive defender at North Dakota who was used as a pass rusher and pursuit linebacker. He offers possibilities in a one-gap system at the next level but must really stand out on special teams to have any chance of making a roster.

Josh Babicz, TE | North Dakota State

Positives: Nice-sized tight end with terrific pass-catching skill. Fires off the snap and quickly gets into pass routes. Shows a burst and plays faster than his 40 time. Easily adjusts to errant throws and makes receptions in stride. Gets vertical, snatches the ball out of the air, and consistently catches passes with his hands. Blocks with proper knee bend and pad level, sets with a wide base, and gives effort. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looks for someone to hit as a blocker.

Negatives: Overextends into blocks. Rarely finishes blocks. Not a true downfield threat.

Analysis: Babicz was overlooked in the scouting community and graded as the second-best tight end on the North Dakota State roster. Yet, in reality, he’s their best pro prospect at the position. He possesses excellent size, has long arms, and is productive as both a pass catcher and blocker. While Babicz needs to polish his game, he possesses enough ability to develop into a second tight end.

Landon Lenoir, WR | Southern Illinois

Positives: Consistent pass catcher with average size and speed. Displays good eye/hand coordination, tracks the pass in the air, and gets vertical to come away with the catch. Follows the quarterback across the field, extends his hands to give the passer a target, and makes the reception away from his frame. Nicely makes downfield receptions at full speed, adjusts to errant throws, and catches passes in stride. Gives effort blocking downfield.

Negatives: Average athlete, loses out in battles, and plays to one speed.

Analysis: Lenoir was a consistent pass catcher on the small-school level but has physical limitations.

Matt Waletzko, OT | North Dakota

Positives: Large, long-armed offensive tackle who is best on the right side. Quick off the snap, stays square, and makes outstanding use of body positioning to seal opponents from the action. Effective with his hands, blocks with good lean, and steers pass rushers from their angles of attack.

Redirects to linebackers to pick up the blitz, keeps his head on a swivel, and always looks for someone to hit. Strong, turns defenders off the line, and controls them at the point. Fundamentally sound and generally does a good job bending his knees.

Negatives: Overextends, struggles finishing blocks, and gets tall in pass protection. Lacks footwork and cannot slide in space. Heavy-footed and falls off blocks on the second level rather than finishing off opponents.

Analysis: Waletzko is a developmental prospect with the size and growth potential to eventually become a starting right tackle on Sundays.

Want more information on Waletzko? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Matt Waletzko, North Dakota OT | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Michael Griffin II, S | South Dakota State

Positives: Strong, run-defending safety who is best playing downhill. Effective facing the action, takes proper angles, and throws his body around the field to make the tackle. Breaks down well, displays solid coverage skills between the numbers, and gives effort.

Negatives: Slow reacting to receivers’ moves off the line and isn’t quick flipping his hips in transition. Deep speed is a concern. Struggles in man situations.

Analysis: Griffin possesses a nice build but comes with speed and athletic limitations.

Pierre Strong Jr., RB | South Dakota State

Positives: Underrated running back with a complete game. Smart, instinctive, and displays outstanding vision. Patiently waits for blocks to develop, finds the running lanes, and consistently turns it upfield. Runs hard on the inside and keeps his feet moving. Picks up yardage off initial contact, drags defenders, and falls forward when tackled. Hits the hole with a burst and runs with authority.

Possesses sneaky straight-line speed and displays the ability to beat defenders into the open field. Picks his way through the trash on the inside, runs with good lean, and uses blocks everywhere on the field. Possesses short-area quickness with the ability to bounce around defenders and piles. Effective receiver out of the backfield who catches the ball like a wideout. Gives effort blocking and gets results.

Negatives: Not a quick or smooth cutback runner and loses momentum immediately after altering the angle of runs. Not a creative ball carrier who makes something out of nothing. Lacks true corner or perimeter speed.

Analysis: Strong was highly rated by scouts coming into the season and looked good in 2021 before turning in three outstanding Shrine Bowl practices. He possesses a complete game and enough skill to be a third running back at the next level.

Want more information on Strong? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State RB | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Qua Brown, S | Southern Illinois

Positives: Tough, instinctive safety with average size and speed. Stays with coverage assignments, keeps the action in front of him, and takes proper angles to the action. Shows good awareness, works well with corners, and smoothly moves about the field. Gives effort defending the run, squares into tackles, and wraps up. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Effectively quarterbacks the secondary.

Negatives: Possesses an average closing burst and questionable long speed. Tackles a bit tall.

Analysis: Brown was a terrific small-school safety who plays physical football, but he lacks the speed for the next level. He’ll have to earn his way onto a roster playing special teams.

Tanner Taula, TE | Illinois State

Positives: Nice-sized tight end who is best as a blocker. Explosive at the point, fires off the snap, and stays square. Shows outstanding blocking vision, blocks with good lean, and seals defenders from the action. Quickly releases off the line into pass routes and adjusts to errant throws.

Negatives: Not very involved in the passing offense. Plays to one speed.

Analysis: Taula possesses next-level size, has long arms, and is a smart football player, but he has speed limitations. He could make it as a blocking tight end if he shows well in camp.

Trevor Penning, OT | Northern Iowa

Positives: Massive, nasty offensive tackle who has been sprinting up draft boards. Quick off the snap, explosive, and gets after blocks. Annihilates opponents once engaged at the point and displays terrific power. Easily controls opponents and gets movement run blocking. Works to bend his knees and stays square. Smart as well as intense. Displays outstanding vision, works hard to get a pad on opponents, and buries defenders as a run blocker. Keeps his head on a swivel and works well with linemates.

Negatives: Heavy-footed and lumbers around the field. Occasionally bends at the waist. Lacks quick and natural footwork off the edge.

Analysis: Penning is a tough offensive tackle prospect with the size and makeup to line up on the right side at the next level. He must polish his game and consistently play under control, but Penning owns the ability to quickly start on Sundays.

Want more information on Penning? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa OT | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Wes Genant, IOL | South Dakota State

Positives: Versatile interior lineman with a limited game. Quickly sets up off the snap and stays square. Fluid out on the second level. Starts with excellent knee bend, blocks with leverage, and anchors at the point. Effective with the shotgun snap. Keeps his head on a swivel and works well with linemates.

Negatives: Average athlete and ineffective blocking in motion. Really doesn’t get much movement run blocking.

Analysis: Genant was effective for South Dakota State at both guard and center and comes with a next-level build. However, he possesses short arms and marginal athleticism.

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