LAS VEGAS — Last week the NFL unveiled the 21 players that were invited to attend the 2022 NFL Draft in person in Las Vegas next week.
At face value, the list may not be much to care about, but there are always a few names not on the list, or a few names that did make the list that come off as a bit of a surprise.
The NFL typically tries to invite players that will be selected high, meaning in the first round as the first day of the draft is only first round selections. But, it's no guarantee. Some invitees have had to return for day two to hear their name called.
On Thursday's Peacock and Williamson NFL Show, part of the Locked On Podcast Network, hosts Brian Peacock and Matt Williamson took a look at the list and noted some surprises both on and off the list and what that might mean come draft time.
List of 2022 NFL Draft invitees
- QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
- QB Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
- WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
- WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
- WR Drake London (USC)
- WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
- OT Evan Neal (Alabama)
- OT Ikem Ekwonu (NC State)
- OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
- OG Zion Johnson (Boston College)
- DE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
- DE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
- DE Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State)
- DE George Karlaftis (Purdue)
- DT Jordan Davis (Georgia)
- DT Devonte Wyatt (Georgia)
- LB Devin Lloyd (Utah)
- LB Nakobe Dean (George)
- CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (Cincinnati)
- CB Kyler Gordon (Washington)
- S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
An interesting note off the bat is just two quarterbacks were invited, or at least only two accepted invites. That's Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, widely expected to be the first quarterback off the board somewhere in the top 10.
But, the other quarterback was a bit surprising to Peacock and Williamson, as Ole Miss' Matt Corral got the invite. Notably left off the list is Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, whose draft stock is a bit polarizing depending on who you ask. He's widely expected to be either the second or third quarterback off the board. But his stock may be even less polarizing than Corral's, who could very well drop into the second round after his injury.
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So does this mean the NFL expects Corral to go ahead of Pickett?
“I don’t want to look too much into it. Years ago, you used to just have the top prospects. Now, there’s a lot more guys that get invited, with the knowledge that all of you aren’t going to be first picks," Matt Williamson said on Peacock and Williamson. And of course I remember Aaron Rodgers sitting there forever and ever. I think these guys have a little more awareness of that if they do accept the invite that maybe there will be a long wait…Corral worries me though, I could see him waiting and waiting.”
The list includes six defensive lineman, all expected to go in the first round. It also includes four wide receivers in a draft where as many as six or seven could go in the first.
Another potential takeaway from the list of invitees is that Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon is on the list. He's a strong prospect but after his speed at the combine, he's not a guy that has popped up in the first round of a lot of mock drafts.
There are a number of cornerbacks expected to go in the first round, but only two were invited, Gordon and Ahmad Gardner, a consensus first round selection.
“I would put money on Kyler Gordon to be the guy that goes much higher than people are talking about because he’s got great tape," Brian Peacock said on Peacock and Williamson. "He didn’t blaze at the combine, but I think teams really like him and i think this is another sign signifying that the league has information that teams really like Kyler Gordon and he could go in the first round, even though he’s on almost no first round mocks right now.”
Later in the show, Peacock and Williamson go through their top teams that they expect will "run" the 2022 NFL Draft the entire way, not just the first round.
The Peacock and Williamson NFL Show is your daily podcast covering the biggest stories in the NFL with sharp analysis from experts Brian Peacock and Matt Williamson.