Updated: Sep 6
2022 NFL Draft: Day 3 Names to Watch (Offense)
Written By: Aaron Ussery
It's one of the most challenging yet important exercises in every draft cycle -- finding those "value" guys on Day 3. Landing contributors in the draft's later rounds is obviously easier said than done, but it can put a roster over the top. Almost nothing is more valuable when building a roster than stumbling upon an All-Pro talent in the fifth round.
Below is a list of 2022 draft prospects, all with a chance to make an impact for teams as Day 3 selections. I've highlighted one name from each offensive position group.
QB - Skyler Thompson, Kansas State
Biggest Strength: Touch and accuracy, especially on play-action
Thompson has some serious darts on his tape. He throws with really good anticipation, and isn't shy about putting the ball into tight windows. The result is moments of absolute pinpoint accuracy. He's at his best when working off play-action and hitting either his first or second read.
Biggest Weakness: Consistency with his lower body mechanics, especially when improvising
For all the moments of impressive accuracy he puts on tape, there's still quite a few instances where things fall apart for Thompson. Particularly when those first two reads aren't there, and he's forced to try and play outside of structure. In these instances, he lets his hips and feet get sloppy and can often end up misfiring. See the interception below:
Thompson will likely go somewhere between the fifth and seventh round, and I think he does have what it takes to stick as a decent backup if he goes to a team that will want to run a lot of play-action or RPO looks.
Pro Comp: Case Keenum, QB, Buffalo Bills
RB - Quan White, South Carolina
Biggest Strength: Footwork and elusiveness
What stands out the most about White when watching his tape is his stop-start ability. He can weave in and out of traffic with devastating suddenness. This is also packaged with some impressive pass-catching ability as well, projecting him as a player with plus-level YAC upside.
Biggest Weakness: Inconsistent discipline when following his blocks
White's tendency is to try and break the big play open every single time, and as a result sometimes his momentum can stall at the line of scrimmage when things don't immediately open up for him. He needs to work on his decisiveness and trusting the blockers in front of him in order to be more consistent at the next level.
White has a chance to be a much more productive pro player than he was at South Carolina. His ability as a receiver wasn't utilized all that often, and due to the rotation he played in there is very little tread on his tires. I think he'll go anywhere between the fourth and sixth rounds, and could immediately become a high-level RB3 in a team's rotation (with a chance to establish himself as a primary third-down back down the road).
Pro Comp: Ty Johnson, RB, New York Jets
WR - Bo Melton, Rutgers
Biggest Strength: Ball-tracking and body adjustments
Melton does just about everything well, so finding his biggest strength was something of a toss up. But I was particularly impressed by some of the really snazzy sideline and mid-route adjustments he made on tape. He does a really fantastic job looking the ball all the way in and completing the catch process.
Biggest Weakness: Lack of play strength and physicality
Melton didn't always hold up well against some of the more physical defensive backs he played against when I watched him. At 5'11" and 190 lbs, he's definitely a bit on the smaller side. That lack of size shows up from time to time on his tape through struggles getting off press or maintaining blocks. See the gif below for example. Michigan's Daxton Hill muscles right through Melton's block attempt on the bubble screen to make the tackle for loss.
Melton is still a very talented receiving prospect, and had he spent time in a more effective offense while in college we could easily be talking about him as a Day 2 selection. As things stand now, I expect him to slip into the fourth or fifth round. But if he does, I could easily see him outplaying that value.
Pro Comp: Russell Gage, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TE - Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
Biggest Strength: Hands and catch concentration
Charlie Kolar is the type of tight end a quarterback would design in a lab. He is 6'6" with near 35" arms, making him an incredibly easy target. And to top it off, his hands are beyond reliable. Going back all the way to 2019, his drop rate at Iowa State was only 3%. Those are exactly the type of traits people mean when they use the term "security blanket".
Biggest Weakness: Run blocking technique
Kolar really should be better as a blocker than he is. He's got the necessary size and strength, but is still figuring out proper technique when tasked with staying inline. Too often you see him fail to utilize his length and allow defenders to get directly into his chest. See below against Baylor, where Kolar (lined up next to the right tackle towards the bottom of the screen) lets the defender shrug him off and make the tackle on Breece Hall for no gain.
I still like Kolar as a late Day 2 talent, if I'm being honest. His receiving upside is just too high. But he doesn't seem to be getting the same love as players like Trey McBride, Jelani Woods, and Greg Dulcich. There's a strong chance he gets pushed into Day 3, where I think he'd be a great find in Rounds 4 or 5. He projects as a solid TE2 for a team that employs lots of 12 personnel looks, with a chance to develop into a starter down the road.
Pro Comp: Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams
OT - Cordell Volson, North Dakota State
Biggest Strength: Anchor ability/functional strength
Volson has a lot of power in his lower half, which allows him to hold up really well against the bull rush. When he's able to get his hands on pass rushers, his hips and base basically just cement into the ground and the pass rush effort is left completely rudderless. See below where Volson (RT #76) works his hands through the rip move and stops the EDGE dead in his tracks.
Biggest Weakness: Hand timing/placement
Volson is a very aggressive blocker, and this can sometimes work against him. He's a bit overeager and has a bad tendency to whiff on his initial punches. This allows defenders to win at the point of attack and use his leverage against him. See below against Eastern Washington where Volson (again playing RT) shoots for the EDGE's inside shoulder rather than the chest, and winds up falling forward when hit with a push-pull move.
Some project him as a guard at the next level, but I still see him as someone who can make it as a RT (with some guard flexibility if need be.) I think Volson's strength and attitude are exactly what you want from a run-blocking tackle. He's likely to be taken in either the fourth or fifth round, and if he can get coached up properly I could see him panning out as either a serviceable starter or high-end swing tackle.
Pro Comp: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT/OG, Detroit Lions
IOL - Luke Fortner, Kentucky
Biggest Strength: Lateral movement and effort
Fortner has some moments on tape where he showcases truly impressive movement skills up and down the line of scrimmage. He works to get where he needs to be in order to seal off running lines or keep defenders from affecting the QB pocket. See below where he (C #79) is able to quickly seal off the wide set DT in order to successfully create a gap for his RB to exploit. This isn't an easy blocking assignment for a center, but Fortner is able to execute it beautifully.
Biggest Weakness: Balance and oversetting
Fortner can get a bit too far out over his toes at times, which gives defenders an opportunity to exploit his lack of balance. On the rep below against Georgia, Jalen Carter (who, to be fair, is a likely top ten pick come 2023) beats him with a nasty inside counter move and is able to get a sack on QB Will Levis.
Fortner has his limitations, but there is still a lot to like about his game. I can see a very clear path for him to develop into an eventual starting center at the NFL level. I would expect him to be off the board by the time the fifth round comes to a close.
Pro Comp: Connor McGovern, New York Jets
Check back later this week for seven more Day 3 names to know, this time focusing on defense and special teams.