2022 NFL Draft: Players Who Could Fall out of the 1st Round

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2022

2022 NFL Draft: Players Who Could Fall out of the 1st Round

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    No matter how much we prepare every year, the NFL draft always has a couple of surprises in store.

    Mock drafts reach a general consensus on prospect value and team needs, which create expectations for the first round. On this much-anticipated Thursday night in Las Vegas, however, a few players we expect to be selected will remain on the board entering Day 2.

    Using both mock drafts and B/R Scouting Department grades, we're trying to identify the potential fallers in the 2022 NFL draft.

    Now, this is not meant to suggest that all five players are destined to drop. Based on a combination of factors, though, these prospects might have to wait another day to hear their names called.

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    B/R Scouting Department Grade: 7.9 (Potential impact player/Second round)

    Consensus has steadily built that Utah's Devin Lloyd is the cycle's top-rated linebacker over Georgia's Nakobe Dean.

    What if that doesn't hold true on Thursday?

    Lloyd has most often been connected to the Philadelphia Eagles (15th, 18th) and New England Patriots (21st). But if either team prefers Dean's blend of speed and physicality over Lloyd, the Utah product might not have many suitors at the back of the opening round. Only the Green Bay Packers (22nd, 28th) and Tennessee Titans (26th) stand out.

    Although he'll likely be a Day 1 selection, Lloyd's path to an unexpected fall isn't difficult to conceive.

Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    B/R Scouting Department Grade: 8.1 (Year 1 starter/Late first to second round)

    This situation is all about the medical evaluation.

    Andrew Booth Jr. checks in as B/R's 24th-best prospect, and approximately half of the NFL could use a high-end cornerback. Between his talent and positional value, Booth has definite first-round potential.

    According to Mike Giardi of NFL Network, however, the Clemson corner is falling on some draft boards. Booth recently underwent a double hernia surgery. As a result, he could be sliding out of Day 1 conversations and into the second round.

    Given that he spent several months as a strong first-round contender, it'd be especially unfortunate for Booth to fall now.  

Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    B/R Scouting Department Grade: 7.8 (Potential impact player/Second round)

    Frequently pegged to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 24 overall, Kenyon Green is one of the best interior linemen in the class. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum and Boston College guard Zion Johnson are typically the only prospects ranked above Green.

    B/R's scouts aren't as high on the versatile Texas A&M blocker, though, placing him as the No. 42 player of the cycle.

    The good news for Green is the Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27th) and Cincinnati Bengals (31st) all could use an upgrade in the middle. Even the Packers and Titans could be in play.

    The challenge is that the NFL's most successful teamsthe franchises set to pick in Green's theoretical rangeusually don't prioritize an interior blocker in the first round. Only one offensive guard has been picked from 21st to 32nd overall in the last half-decade.

    Green will be a valuable addition. It simply might be on Day 2.

Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    B/R Scouting Department Grade: 8.1 (Year 1 starter/Late first to second round)

    One spot behind Booth on B/R's rankings is Georgia defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, who lands at No. 25 on the big board.

    On last season's national championship-winning team, he recorded 39 tackles (18 solo), 7.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one pass breakup, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles, making first-team All-SEC.

    He was arrested in 2020 on misdemeanor charges of family violence, criminal trespass and property damage. The charges were dropped later that year, but his arrest may give some NFL teams pause. According to Charlie Campbell of Walter Football, private investigators discovered three other instances of domestic violence, and multiple teams have said "since that they have dropped Wyatt off their boards."

    On the field, Wyatt is a Day 1 talent. If he drops, it's likely because of what he has allegedly done off the field. 

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    B/R Scouting Department Grade: 8.1 (Year 1 starter/Late first to second round)

    Should this happen? My answer is decidedly no. Treylon Burks is a reliable target who also has a fantastic catch radius. But other receivers could be edging him out on draft boards.

    Alabama's Jameson Williams, USC's Drake London and Ohio State teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are widely considered the best prospects at the position. Plus, we cannot be certain teams will like Burks over Penn State's Jahan Dotson, Georgia's George Pickens and North Dakota State's Christian Watson.

    Of that group, however, Dotson, Pickens and Watson are fringe Day 1 options. It wouldn't be stunning if they're around on Day 2, unlike the 27th-ranked Burks.

    The path to a drop is apparent, even if it would be a surprise.