Another Big Weekend Ahead For UK
For most of the previous decade, you didn’t hear much about Kentucky during the NFL Draft. After having one player picked in 2015 and none in 2016-17 Mark Stoops’ club is quickly becoming an NFL factory. Over the last three years, 13 Cats had their names called including two first-round picks. With the 2022 draft starting Thursday another big weekend seems likely. Let’s take a look at who’ll be drafted and where they might go with our 2022 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview.
The next generation of #NFLCats 😼🏈#BBNVegas x #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/w7CyMkOglu
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 22, 2022
First Cats Off The Board?
Last week ESPN’s Jordan Reid released his top 100 draft prospects which featured three Cats. In addition, four other Cats made “draftable grades” and should hear their name called as well. Heading that list is Josh Paschal, who at number 50 has seen his draft stock rise considerably over the last couple of months. Right behind him is offensive lineman Darian Kinnard who sits at 67th. The final player in the top 100 is Wan’Dale Robinson at 81.
Paschal, a former four-star defensive lineman, had some excellent scores at the NFL Draft Combine and is generating some legitimate round two buzz. In fact, Walter Football has him going with the 58th pick to the Atlanta Falcons.
Josh Paschal is a DE prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.47 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 77 out of 1428 DE from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/HksY0qVtqf #RAS pic.twitter.com/HkfvsrKIY1
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 25, 2022
Last year Paschal recorded 53 tackles including 14 solos. In addition, he had 15.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. NBC Sports has him going in the second round while ESPN and The Athletic have him in the third round.
During his one season at Kentucky Robinson set a school record with 104 receptions for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns. If there is a knock on him it’s his five-foot-eight frame and possible lack of vertical speed. If you go back and watch his games at Kentucky he did get caught from behind a few times. However a big positive is his ability to play through contact and great route-running ability. Again Walter Football has Robinson projected the highest going 5oth the Kansas City Chiefs as they try to replace Tyreek Hill. There are not too many in the Big Blue Nation that wouldn’t be excited about Patrick Mahomes and Robinson playing together.
New Homes For The Big Blue Wall
At the end of the 2021 season, Kinnard was considered not only a consensus All-American but a possible late first-round pick. However, the preparation leading up to the Senior Bowl and Draft Combine hurt his stock. But let’s be honest his run blocking ability is as good as anyone in this draft and he had a nasty streak that should bode well on the next level. More than likely Kinnard will move to guard in the NFL where his numbers compare pretty favorably to others at that position.
CBS Sports has him going to New England with the 54th pick while Walter Football has him taken 99th to Cleveland. NFL.com has the New York Jets taking him with the 69th pick.
On the other side of the ledger center, Luke Fortner is going in the right direction heading towards Las Vegas. During Kentucky’s pro day Fortner posted solid numbers in both the bench press and vertical leap. Throw in the fact he moved from guard to center for the 2021 season showing his versatility.
Once you get past Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum and Nebraska’s Cam Jurgens the position isn’t that deep. As a result, seems a pretty solid bet as a second-day pick. Almost all the mock drafts have him in the third round. NFL.com has him taken 100th by the Baltimore Ravens, CBS Sports has him 101st to Philadelphia and Walter Football has him 96th to the Denver Broncos. You can’t be much more consistent than that.
Continuing on with our 2022 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview we look at a few more players who should go in the later rounds.
Some Late Round Steals
Over the last couple of years, Kentucky’s had great success putting defensive backs in the NFL. 2019 featured Lonnie Johnson and Mike Edwards. A season ago Kelvin Joseph and Brandin Echols were both drafted.
Yusuf Corker is the next man up for the Cats. A season ago Corker tied for a team-high with 82 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss. Furthermore, he had one sack and a team-high eight pass deflections. Walter Football has him going in the fifth round to Buffalo with pick 168. CBS Sports has him as a sixth-round pick heading to the New Orleans Saints at pick 194.
Two other Cats are likely to hear their names are defensive lineman Marquan McCall and offensive lineman Dare Rosenthal. The former LSU transfer is another guy whose stock rose during the combine as he had the fastest 40-yard dash by a tackle. CBS has him heading to the Dallas Cowboys with the 155th pick in the fifth round.
CBS has “Bully” chosen nine spots later to the Las Vegas Raiders at pick 164. Much like Phil Hoskins last year McCall has a great chance of sticking in the league.
Wrapping up our 2022 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview we look at three more Cats looking for the right fit.
Looking For A Shot
Super Senior Josh Ali finished second on the team with 41 catches last year for 601 yards and three touchdowns. Walter Football has him going to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round at pick 186. Tight end Justin Rigg hauled in 20 passes for four touchdowns and recently worked out for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Quandre Mosely wasn’t invited to the combine but he was a big winner at Kentucky’s Pro Day. He posted an unofficial time of 4.32 in the 40-yard dash and the highest vertical at 36 inches. That would have placed him in the top five at cornerback. In addition his 40 time, if official, would have been in the top three of all defensive backs.
A season ago Kentucky set a modern draft record with six players chosen. Coming off the second ten-win campaign in four years they have a great shot at beating that in 2022. Thanks for checking out our 2022 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll have a complete recap later this week.