Tis the season for 2022 NFL Draft declarations—and many of the Oregon Ducks top players won’t be sticking around for another year. So far, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Devon Williams, Mykael Wright have declared their intentions to enter the draft in spring.
At the moment, news of Mario Cristobal‘s departure has occupied most of Ducks headlines, along with the news that Auburn’s quarterback, Bo Nix, will be transferring to Oregon for his final season in the NCAAF. For some, this has led to increased interest in predicting how the team’s 2022 roster will fare (especially now that next year’s schedule has been announced). However, many Ducks fans are focusing instead on the 2022 NFL Draft.
Each year, fans flock to predict where, and in what order, Oregon’s top players will enter the 2022 NFL Draft. The last major pick was Penei Sewell, who was drafted last year. Though he wasn’t a final selection for the Heisman, Sewell entered the 2021 Draft as a top prospect.
He was selected seventh overall by the Detroit Lions, where he’s since become an important factor in the franchise’s tedious rebuild. While players like Sewell will need more than a few years to alter a team’s Super Bowl odds, he’s one of the team’s strongest players on the offensive line.
Despite the fact that the Lions aren’t even listed on some sportsbook’s 2022 Super Bowl champion markets, Sewel snagged the highest grade amongst NFL tackles for his performance during Week 14. For Ducks fans following Sewell, it’s a strong indicator that he’ll go the distance in the NFL—regardless of what his team is capable of.
Early reports hint that Sewell might not be the only Duck on the roster for long. With Kayvon Thibodeaux’s unsurprising declaration, many are wondering if Detroit will spring for another No. 1 pick from Oregon. Though not many NFL teams will skip ahead to focus on the draft before the season has ended, the Lions are prime candidates for another first pick.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, First Round, Possible No. 1 Overall
With a lack of prominent quarterbacks expected to enter the 2022 Draft, it’s incredibly likely a defensive end with Thibodeaux’s promise won’t be selected early. In fact, Josina Anderson of USA TODAY has listed Thibodeaux alongside Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson as a potential No. 1 overall pick.
Anderson also believes it likely that the Lions are likely to leave the 2021-22 season with a top pick, along with Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer. At the moment, the Texans, Jaguars, Jets, and Giants also stand within reaching distance of a first pick. Dan Campbell, head coach of the Lions, hasn’t made any comment about Thibodeaux specifically, which means Ducks fans will have to wait.
Aside from Anderson, Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus has listed K’Lavon Chaisson of LSU before Thibodeaux. CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson thinks Thibodeaux might be heading to the Jets as a No. 4 pick. Dane Brugler of The Athletic and NJ.com’s Mike Kay both think Thibodeaux will be heading to the Texans—and neither believe he’ll be 2022’s No. 1 overall pick.
Regardless of whether Thibodeaux is slated for a No. 1 selection, he’s not likely to go undrafted past the fifth selection.
Devon Williams, Second Round
Though wide receiver Devon Williams had a slow start to his season, his efforts during conference play are likely to see him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Though this marks a tough loss for the Ducks, who will be leaning on Travis Dye to pick up the slack, the news bodes well for Williams.
So far, Williams hasn’t been listed in the first or second round mock drafts by many pundits. As mock drafts become more solidified in the coming weeks with more declarations, Williams could easily find himself as a late second round pick. Aside from his skill, he’ll be an attractive selection for his size and agility.
Williams, like Thibodeaux, also announced he would be skipping the team’s final Alamo Bowl game. Of the players who have declared for the 2022 draft, only Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, discussed below, stated his intention to play the post-season match.
Mykael Wright, Second Round
Along with Williams, Mykael Wright‘s future in the 2022 Draft looks uncertain—but his high degree of athleticism, good movement on the ball, and ability to work angles when attacking are likely to see him end up as a second-round pick. Though some wanted to see Wright excel as the Pac-12’s leading cornerback, he hasn’t made a clear play for the top position.
Prior to Wright’s declaration for the draft, NFL Draft Lounge provided in-depth coverage on the cornerback in late November. Draft specialist Brian Lamb sees Wright transitioning well in the NFL, particularly as an anchor to a team’s secondary where he can continue to develop his style of play.
In fact, as soon as the 2021 season ended, Ducks pundits already had their eye on Wright due to his size and agility. Much like other prime draft candidates, a solid base of physical strength is something scouts look for; this, combined with Wright’s clean injury sheet should bode well for him.
What round to you think these players will be drafted in, and any other Oregon players you think will declare or be drafted?
Top Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash
OregonReigns is an occasional contributor to FishDuck and loves his Ducks!
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