The San Diego State Aztecs took home the Mountain West title last year with a 12-2 overall record, including a 7-1 finish in the conference. After finishing ranked 25th overall in the nation, San Diego State sees a number of high-profile prospects heading towards the 2022 NFL Draft. Here are the scouting reports for players like Cameron Thomas and Matt Araiza.
San Diego State 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
The San Diego State scouting reports include some impressive defensive players and one of the most sought-after special-teams players in the draft.
Cameron Thomas, DE
Positives: Terrific college pass rusher coming off a tremendous junior campaign. Fires off the snap and plays with terrific quickness and pad level. Works his hands throughout the action, keeps his feet moving, and is rarely off his feet.
Gets a lot of momentum going up the field, can bend off the edge, and shows tremendous closing speed. Immediately alters his angle of attack, easily flattens from the backside, and chases the action hard. Agile, nicely redirects to the action, and gives effort against the run.
Negatives: Displays very limited strength in his game and easily out-positioned by a single blocker. Has a long, lanky build and will be a liability defending the run on Sundays. Was seemingly intimidated during Senior Bowl practices.
Analysis: Thomas was a consistent performer at San Diego State his first two seasons before blowing up last year and becoming a pass-rushing terror. He has the skills and body type to line up at defensive end in a four-man front.
Thomas should only improve as he physically matures and fills out his frame. That being the case, he must show a fierce and competitive side in camp this summer, or he’ll struggle to make a starting lineup.
Want more information on Thomas? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Cameron Thomas, San Diego State DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Daniel Bellinger, TE
Positives: Nice-sized tight end who does the little things well. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and is strong. Explosive at the point, turns defenders off the line, and works blocks. Displays good route discipline, extends his hands, and snatches the ball away from his frame.
Gets vertical with defenders draped on him, exposes himself to the big hit, and comes away with the difficult reception. Nicely adjusts, reaching backwards to grab the errant throw in stride. Settles into the open spot of the defense and consistently catches the ball with his hands.
Negatives: Doesn’t finish blocks and tends to fall off defenders. Doesn’t play to his 40 time and shows average quickness and burst in his game.
Analysis: Bellinger receives a variety of opinions in the scouting community, but on film, he’s a solid short and intermediate range pass-catching target who does a solid job as a blocker. While some scouts grade Bellinger as a third-round prospect moving towards the draft, I believe he is a Day 3 selection who projects as a second tight end on Sundays.
Greg Bell, RB
Positives: Slightly undersized ball carrier with exceptional quickness and the ability to create yardage. Sees the field, does not go down without a fight, and works runs. Incredibly quick. Makes defenders miss or easily cuts back against the grain, changing direction without losing momentum.
Slides off defenders, squeezes through small openings on the offensive line, or bounces around tackles to keep plays alive. Runs through the hole with authority and beats defenders into the open field. Gives effort blocking and helps the quarterback sell ball fakes.
Negatives: Does not display great perimeter speed. Easily brought down by a single defender. Rarely used as a pass catcher and had just 4 receptions last season.
Analysis: Bell is a scatback with the ability to improvise if plays break down or pick his way through the trash on the inside. His game has limitations as he’s not a great perimeter runner and has never shown himself to be a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. Bell could make a roster as a third-down back, but he must really impress in the receiving game this summer.
Matt Araiza, P
Positives: Strong-legged punter who’s also an exceptional directional kicker. Possesses a monster leg, gets tremendous hang time on punts, and allows coverage teams to get downfield and make the play. Forces a lot of fair catches. Consistent directional punter that can kick it out to the sidelines or place it inside the 10-yard line. Used as a field-goal kicker for San Diego State and shows the ability to hit them from long distance. Does a terrific job selling fake punts.
Negatives: Takes a while to get the ball off his foot. Inconsistent accuracy on his field goals.
Analysis: Araiza took a step to the forefront last season and was a rockstar punter for the Aztecs. He possesses all the tools to start in the NFL and will be a very early draft pick for a punter.
Want more information on Araiza? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Matt Araiza, San Diego State P | NFL Draft Scouting Report
William Dunkle, G
Positives: Massive college guard who will also receive consideration at tackle. Sets with a wide base, stays square, and anchors at the point. Strong, turns defenders off the line, and is explosive. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looking for someone to hit.
Negatives: Not quick off the snap and late into blocks. Gets upright in his stance. Cannot slide in space.
Analysis: Dunkle showed a lot of ability last year at San Diego State, but in my opinion, he made a poor choice entering the draft. He possesses next-level size but needs a lot of work on his game. More than anything else, Dunkle must learn to block with leverage, or he’ll have no shot in the NFL.
Zachary Thomas, OL
Positives: Tall and somewhat athletic college blocker who projects to guard or tackle. Quickly sets up in pass protection, patient, and works his hands throughout the action. Keeps his head on a swivel, smart, and shows great awareness. Stays square, keeps his feet moving, and explosive at the point.
Negatives: Possesses average strength and doesn’t finish blocks. Struggles to adjust and is exploited in pass protection. Lacks footwork and lateral range in space.
Analysis: Thomas is a better-than-average athlete who must fill out his frame and improve his playing strength to have any chance of making an NFL roster.
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