Every year there are players who will either get drafted or quickly sign the "largest guaranteed money for an UDFA" that leaves fans of that respective team going, "Who??". And while fans may not be familiar with these names, scouts most definitely know who they are, which is why they not only end up on the roster, but in some cases, have a significant impact on the team during the season.
What I truly love about my scouting process is uncovering prospects that have legit pro game and the skills to make it to the next level. During this past December and January, I was able to attend in-person the following college postseason All-Star games: FCS Bowl, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, East West Shrine Bowl, Reese's Senior Bowl and the HBCU Legacy Bowl. I also virtually attended the College Gridiron Showcase, Hula Bowl and Tropical Bowl games.
The smaller all-star events are a treasure trove for small college gems and a big reason why I love to attend them.
Today we'll take a look at the offensive side of the ball at some of the names you should get familiar with as we steamroll toward the 2022 NFL Draft.
Now, before you angry tweet me about players not on the list (by the way, you can send all your angry tweets regarding this article to my two official twitter accounts: @RyanWIlsonCBS and @PriscoCBS), these are players who weren't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but who are firmly on the radar of NFL scouts.
QB Aqeel Glass (Alabama A&M)
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 236
Aqeel Glass' game reminds me a lot of Jacoby Brissett. He's got toughness in the pocket, is an excellent play-action passer and has good pocket mobility. He's coming off of a strong week at both the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and HBCU Legacy Bowl. He's a two-time Black College Player of the Year Award winner, and has the situational awareness and field vision you look for at the position.
RB Quay Holmes (East Tennessee State)
- Height: 6-0
- Weight: 215
A highly productive runner who has very good vision, Quay Holmes is a smooth, pick-and-slide runner who can float across gaps at the line of scrimmage. He was also one of the top kickoff returners in the FCS, which brings added value to his abilities. He's very reminiscent of Arian Foster in how patient he is as a runner.
RB Julius Chestnut (Sacred Heart)
- Height: 5-11
- Weight: 225
Julius Chestnut is a bullish runner who gets the most out of every carry. He's got the above-average burst you're looking for, and is tailor-made to be a four-minute offense, short yardage/goal line back as a pro. He was excellent at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
WR Lance McCutcheon (Montana State)
- Height: 6-2
- Weight: 205
Lance McCutcheon was fun to watch on film because he has a lot of Tim Patrick within his game. Overall, he's a good route runner who has amazing get off and acceleration and doesn't waste time in getting defensive backs to open their hips. With the type of body control and wide catch radius he possesses, he's going to be a QB's best friend wherever he lands.
WR Jequez Ezzard (Sam Houston)
- Height: 5-9
- Weight: 191
While everyone will be looking for the "next Deebo Samuel", Sam Houston may have the "next Steve Smith" in Jequez Ezzard. Listen to me now, believe me later on ... this dude is INSTANT OFFENSE. We all sat around during the COVID-19 spring season of the FCS and watched him score the ball every kind of way for the Bearkats during their national championship season. But it was the way he did it that made him special. He's able to score as a runner, receiver and returner -- all while having a great sense of timing on when to make the key/big play.
While at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, every time you looked up, Ezzard was whizzing past some DB for a deep touchdown. And on his first practice at the Reese's Senior Bowl, he was doing the same thing. Expect him to be a fan favorite when he lands with a team.
TE Jamal Pettigrew (McNeese)
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 251
Arguably one of the best blockers at the position in the draft class, Jamal Pettigrew really takes pride in his craft in that regard. He's got good, reliable hands that make him a solid option as an outlet receiver; one could even say he's a very underrated receiving option. From Day 1 as a pro, he can be an extension of your offensive line who is going to help bolster your run game.
OT Andrew Rupcich (Culver-Stockton)
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 315
Andrew Rupcich might be the best offensive lineman in NAIA history; that's how dominant he was on film. He was put on the move a lot in college and showed comfort seeking out defenders, striking accurately and consistently. Seeing that he was one of the bigger guys in NAIA football, he has a lot of experience of dealing with shorter, quicker edge rushers. He didn't look out of place or play like he didn't belong at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. In fact, he was one of the OL standouts.
OG DeJohn Jones (Western Illinois)
- Height: 6-4
- Weight: 300
DeJohn Jones, a transfer from Prairie View A&M, showed his versatility this year at Western Illinois by stepping out and playing left tackle -- and playing it very well. His patience and technique stood out the most on film, and he does an excellent job in picking up both stunts and twists with ease.
OC Jalen Powell (Norfolk State)
- Height: 6-2
- Weight: 305
Jalen Powell has very good athleticism for the position. He was mainly a starting guard for Norfolk, but started some games at center and got some work there at the HBCU Legacy Bowl as well. Everything he does is quick, from climbing to the second level to constantly resetting his hands during the rep. He also has fantastic read and recognition skills.
OG Isaiah Edwards (Indiana State)
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 342
Isaiah Edwards legit blocks out the sun at the position, but he's able to create daylight for others with how consistently he's able to get movement up front and turn defensive linemen, creating a lane for the back to run through. He's tough to get around in pass pro because of his size, but don't sleep on his hand usage and how he's able to win the "hands first" battle rather frequently.
OT Jake Dixon (Duquesne)
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 290
After converting from tight end to offensive tackle in 2019, Jake Dixon went on to become a two-time first-team All-Northeast Conference and FCS All-American. While still fairly new to the position, he displays underrated form and technique, brings a lot of tools with him in his toolbox, and possesses the upside you look for from a prospect coming from a smaller school. He was a difficult test for every rusher down at the FCS Bowl back in mid-December.
Bonus: All-purpose JaDarius "JD" Woods (Baker (KS))
- Height: 5-7
- Weight: 200
Size is not a skill, and if you're good enough, you're big enough. Those two statements aptly describe JD Woods. He's the NAIA all-time leader in rushing yards (6,666) and rushing touchdowns (96). The five-time NAIA All-American is lightning in a bottle with the ball in his hands, possessing top-tier footwork that allows him to work frontside-to-backside. I don't care where he plays; I just want him on my team.
Listen, there are WAY more than 11 guys you should get to know for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, and you can get more names and insight right here: www.footballgameplan.com/2022DraftGuide
Next week, we'll take a look at my defensive 11.