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UWDP Roundtable: Looking Ahead to the 2022 Draft

Who should we expect to hear their names called next year?

Washington Spring Game Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Gabey Lucas: We’ve already talked about who’s most likely to be a top 10 pick, but I think what’s more interesting (since being a top 10 is as much about being a physical freak playing the right position as anything else) is zooming out and just generally looking at Dawgs in next year’s draft. What’s your first look thoughts about what it’ll look like next year for Washington?

Andrew Berg: I think Otton will be a second rounder if he plays as well as he did last year.

Gabey Lucas: My instant thoughts are that Jaxson Kirkland could definitely go first round if he has a good 2021 season for obvious reasons. Similarly Trent McDuffie plays like he could go first round, but the main question for me becomes if his lack of that crazy length that GMs salivate over means he’s damned to the second round no matter how well he plays.

And agree about Otton, I feel like it’s hard for TEs to get into the first round unless they’re either absolute freaks like Kyle Pitts or from Iowa (half joking). Otton is however such an ideal NFL tight end that I can’t imagine him falling past the second round unless something drastically bad happens.

I mean he’s clearly the best of UW’s line of TEs under Pete, and if Drew Sample got drafted second then Otton definitely has to go early 2nd, right?

Andrew Berg: Otton seems like he’ll be in the NFL for 12 years, starting and contributing on good teams without ever becoming a household name. An heir to the Marcedes Lewis/Heath Miller throne.

Gabey Lucas: Anyways I just asked this because I feel like the 2022 draft is far more interesting from a Washington perspective than the 2020 or 2021 drafts were just due to how few guys we had even eligible/declaring early for those two.

I would agree, but it seems to me like TEs are able to become way more prominent and subsequently famous than they were say 10 years ago, so could see both happening.

Coach B: Otton, Kirkland, Wattenberg, McDuffie, Gordon, and Ulofoshio could all be in contention for early to mid round picks next year if they declare.

Andrew Berg: Definitely for premier pass catchers, but guys who do a lot of blocking can still get overlooked. I think you’re right that there are fewer of them with pass offense predominant over the run.

Who would you say is most likely to play himself into the draft that we haven’t mentioned yet?

Gabey Lucas: Think Wattenberg would have to significantly elevate his play to be picked before the 5th round, although his versatility definitely makes him valuable if he can do that.

As for your question Andrew I have to think more on that. Off the top of my head it seems like it’d be someone who didn’t play much at all taking a huge step a la ZTF. So that’d probably be an edge rusher or safety — or Bookie Radley-Hiles, if he can shed some of the knucklehead dumb plays he did in Oklahoma we’ve heard about.

Coach B: Hiles. Totally forgot that he’d be draft eligible

Hypothetically T. Bynum, Tuli and Taki would all be draft eligible too and could have mid to later round value.

Andrew Berg: I think Quentin Moore would be eligible if he went completely bonkers, but hard to see enough opportunities for a second TE, especially with competiyion from Culp and Redman.

Tuli also came to mind. Might be difficult for any of our DL to get enough reps to stand out too much. If one of them really emerges from the pack and plays more snaps, then maybe.

Gabey Lucas: Yeah I’ve been thinking about Bynum too, my gut instinct is that he’s well-rounded but lacks superstardom in any one single trait ya know? Which probably limits his draft stock to mid-late rounds, although we know that GMs overvalue someone being great in a single trait so that would imply to me that Bynum could carve out a better career than his draft round would indicate.

Andrew Berg: Any chance Bowman could get a late round look? That might be wishful thinking.

Gabey Lucas: No I think he could. Probably around the 6th or 7th round though.

Andrew Berg: That would be a great story. I’m rooting for it.

Gabey Lucas: Kay so went through the roster and some thoughts: There’s a some guys who I think are mostly likely UDFAs but could still hang on NFL rosters — namely Sean McGrew and Peyton Henry, who both get the short end of the stick because of their positions and in McGrew’s case for being so little. I think Bowman’s in a similar position just cuz he’s so atypical physically for his position, but could also see him as a 7th rounder or maybe 6th rounder. Similar to McGrew, he’s reliable and constant but lacks the physical traits and statistical productivity that are, fairly or not, necessary to move up the board more.

Otherwise we’ve got the three from the OL, Kirkland being obviously the most likely 1st rounder and I think definitely 2nd rounder otherwise. Wattenberg i feel like should be a relatively late round pick but could maybe move up a round cuz odf his versatility if he’s more consistent this season. Henry I don’t have the best read on though, I’d love to head what you guys think about his draft viability.

For the early round guys, to me it’s Kirkland, McDuffie, Otton, and then Gordon is the most interesting. He’s such a freak that if his technical ability even comes close to matching that, he’s a first rounder. But of course that’s a huge thing to bet on (and if he’s not there, then it’s of course no guarantee he comes out after next season). Then on the other hand Trent McDuffie is so good technically, but isn’t so crazy physically like Gordon so could be limited to the early second no matter how good he plays because GMs are silly.

Kirk DeGrasse: A big one (literally) that hasn’t been mentioned is Bainivalu. There are folks around the program talking about him in terms of him having as much physical potential as any Husky OL they can remember. He was All-Conference by PFF and the AP and HM from the coaches. I think he’s likely to go and could go in the top-3 rounds if he has a strong season and keeps himself in good shape.

Gabey Lucas: Yeah he really is an interesting case. I could see him going anywhere from 2nd to like, 6th depending on how this next season goes.

Aaron Sieverkropp: If he starts I could see Bookie maybe making the jump and getting drafted 4th or 5th. Terrell Bynum if he decided to leave and had a good season probably goes UDFA or late rounds

Max Vrooman: The 2022 draft class for UW is interesting because of the combination of so few upperclassmen as well as the unknowns about how people will treat the eligibility mulligan in the future. Are we going to see more guys who technically just finished their RS Soph season eligibility-wise but actually got their 4-year degree because of this past season declare for the draft and take their chances rather than stay in college another year? I think that phenomenon will be more common in basketball where you can play overseas but it could lead to a guy like Kyler Gordon or Tuli leaving earlier than they otherwise might have.

By my count there are 50 players on the Husky roster right now who will be eligible for the 2022 draft. 14 are redshirt freshmen of whom Dylan Morris is the only consistent starter and I don’t see him having a big enough year to declare this early. 6 of them are seniors, 3 of the others are absolutely gone in my mind (Kirkland, Otton, McDuffie), 5 could easily be drafted by living up to expectations (Bynum, Bainivalu, Bookie, Kyler, and ZTF), and another 3 I could see it if they take a leap (Curne, Tuli, and Ulofoshio).

I didn’t want to create a new category for ZTF but I think if he were fully healthy by next combine season and wanted to leave he would almost certainly get drafted even if coming back and looking anything like he did in 2020 would likely make him a 1st rounder.

My initial predictions by round: 1- McDuffie. 2- Otton, Kirkland. 3- None. 4- None. 5- Bainivalu. 6- Wattenberg, Bowman. 7- Bynum. While also feeling like Bookie, Kyler, and ZTF all would’ve been drafted had they declared.

Gabey Lucas: I think Jeremiah Martin is a wildcard for draftability too

Max Vrooman: The injuries to ZTF and Latu open the door for that a little bit if he starts opposite Bowman and then goes nuts but given his production at A&M that still feels like a bit of a stretch.