Virginia 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports include Jelani Woods and Joey Blount

Full scouting reports from the top players on Virginia, including TE Jelani Woods, with eyes towards the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Virginia Cavaliers will hope to put a few of their prospects into the 2022 NFL Draft. The Cavs’ draft hopefuls are headlined by star tight end Jelani Woods, but there is value all across the field. Here are the full scouting reports from Virginia with eyes toward the 2022 NFL Draft.

Virginia 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

Woods transferred from Oklahoma State to the UVA passing attack in 2021. He showcased an incredible skill set on the receiving end of many a Brennan Armstrong pass. Woods then showed out at the Shrine Bowl and officially put his name on “risers” lists following his week in Vegas. Likely joining him in the NFL will be a handful of former Cavs, including S Joey Blount and DB Nick Grant.

De’Vante Cross, DB

Positives: Nice-sized defensive back who saw action at safety and corner. Physical, mixes it up with opponents, and fights hard to defend passes. Relatively instinctive, stays with assignments, and displays decent range. Shows good recognition in zone and possesses an explosive burst to the ball out of his plant.

Negatives: Lacks speed and quickness. Suffered a season-ending knee injury in November.

Analysis: Cross looks the part, occasionally plays to it, and comes with the size necessary to line up at safety. His late-season injury from 2021 must be checked out before Cross even gets an invitation to camp this summer.

Jelani Woods, TE

Positives: Imposing tight end who excels as a blocker and holds his own catching the ball. Competes to come away with the difficult catch, uses his hands to separate from opponents, and snatches the ball from the air. Nicely settles into the open spot of the defense to make himself an available target. Explosive blocker who stays square, gets his hands up, and fights hard throughout the action. Strong and turns defenders from plays. Possesses a large frame with growth potential.

Negatives: Doesn’t play to his 40 time and lacks any sort of burst in his game. Poor route runner.

Analysis: Woods is a terrific blocking tight end who displayed a lot of pass-catching skill during three days of Shrine Bowl practices. He lacks great upside but has enough ability to make a roster as a third tight end.

Want more information on Woods? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jelani Woods, Virginia TE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Joey Blount, S

Positives: Run-defending downhill safety who quickly gets up the field to defend the run. Sells out on the blitz and takes proper angles to the action. Effectively diagnoses plays and works well with cornerbacks to bracket receivers over the middle of the field. Hard hitter who fires to the action and aggressively lays his shoulders into ball handlers.

Negatives: Possesses poor ball skills and athleticism. Ineffective lined up over the slot receiver. Slow flipping his hips. Inefficient and takes himself from the action.

Analysis: Blount flashed ability as a sophomore and was considered a potential top future prospect. However, his game leveled off, and he never showed much progress. He’s an undersized and slower downhill safety with limitations in coverage.

Mandy Alonso, DL

Positives: Undersized college defensive lineman who plays with a tough-guy mentality. Possesses a terrific first step, bends his knees, and plays with proper pad level. Uses his hands extremely well to protect himself and holds his ground against blocks. Nicely redirects and immediately alters his angle of attack. High-effort, high-motor defender.

Negatives: Easily controlled at the point by a single blocker. Not a secure tackler. Turned in average production on the college level.

Analysis: Alonso is a resilient player who gets the most from his ability, but he lacks size as well as growth potential.

Nick Grant, DB

Positives: College cornerback with nice size. Physical, mixes it up with receivers throughout the route, and correctly diagnoses plays. Immediately finds the ball handler, fires up the field, and squares into tackles. Works hard to make plays.

Negatives: More of a drag-down tackler despite his size. Slow getting his head back around and struggles tracking the pass in the air. Has poor speed and cannot stay with receivers or even tight ends out of breaks.

Analysis: Grant is a nice-sized corner who showed improvement in his game last season. But he struggles in downfield coverage due to his lack of speed. He offers possibilities on special teams, an area where he excelled early in his Virginia career.

Ra’Shaun Henry, WR

Positives: Possession receiver with reliable hands. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, tracks the pass in the air, and gets vertical to come away with the difficult catch. Comes back to the ball to make himself an available target, extends his hands, and snatches the ball out of the air. Possesses good eye/hand coordination. Solid downfield blocker.

Negatives: Plays to one speed and lacks a deep burst. Turned in average production for Virginia last season after dominating at St. Francis in 2019.

Analysis: Henry is a nice-sized wideout who lacks speed and quickness. Still, the consistency of his hands will give him an opportunity in camp this summer.

Ryan Nelson, OT

Positives: College left tackle who projects to guard. Sets with a wide base, displays outstanding awareness, and keeps his head on a swivel. Stays square, fires his hands into defenders, and controls opponents at the point. Makes excellent use of angles as well as body positioning.

Negatives: Lacks balance and isn’t quick or fluid sliding in space. Overextends into blocks. Looks like he’s stuck in cement at times.

Analysis: Nelson is a nice-sized lineman with possibilities as a power-gap guard.

Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.

Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.


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