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Commentary: Grading A&M athletes ahead of NFL Draft

Junior+running+back+Isaiah+Spiller+ran+for+over+1%2C000+rushing+yards+in+multiple+seasons+with+the+Texas+A%26amp%3BM.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior running back Isaiah Spiller ran for over 1,000 rushing yards in multiple seasons with the Texas A&M.

With the NFL Combine and Texas A&M’s Pro Day finally over, it is time for football fanatics to do what they do best: criticize, analyze and make an unhealthy amount of mock drafts ahead of the real one on April 28-30.
Below are the results from the series of drills, how each A&M player performed in front of 32 NFL teams’ scouts and coaches and where I have them projected in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft:
Editor’s Note: All of the NFL Combine and Pro Day statistics used were found on the NFL official website and from various scouting sources.


Isaiah Spiller
Running back
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 33 inches
40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds
5-10-5 shuttle: 4.27 seconds
Combine
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 6 inches
Projected Day: 2
After a below-average performance at the NFL Combine and deciding to skip out on the 40-yard dash, many questioned whether Spiller should rank as one of the top running backs in the 2022 draft. On Wednesday, March 22, Spiller reminded all nonbelievers why he should be named at the top of the list and why all doubts should be thrown out the nearest window.
Spiller’s hand-timed Pro Day 40-yard dash was 0.14 seconds slower than the average laser-timed 40 at the combine; however, everyone knows that Spiller is not known for his breakaway speed but more for his quickness when changing direction, his vision and his ability to break tackles. So, the 40-yard dash is a pointless drill for the two-time 1,000-yard rusher.
Spiller had a 3-inch increase in the vertical jump at A&M Pro Day, ranking him top 15 among running backs in the draft, and a 4.27-second 5-10-5 shuttle run ranks top 15 among all prospects entering the 2022 NFL Draft.
After a poor start at the combine in early March, Spiller has only improved his draft stock and proved that he could fit in any back field with the right tools. I wouldn’t expect him to be on the board Day 1 since the demand for running backs is so low, but I predict him to be a late-second rounder or early-third rounder when Day 2 comes knocking.


Kenyon Green
Offensive lineman
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 28.5 inches
40-yard dash: 5.25 seconds
Combine
Vertical jump: 26 inches
40-yard dash: 5.24 seconds
Broad jump: 8 feet, 6 inches
Bench press: 20 reps
5-10-5 shuttle: 5.12 seconds
Projected Day: 1
There hasn’t been an A&M player drafted in the first round of the draft since Myles Garrett was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. With that being said, I believe that Green could break the curse that has been haunting Aggieland for five years.
The combine doesn’t reflect the work he put in on the field during the season; nevertheless, we still must wrap up his performance. His 40-yard dash ranked 35th among the 50 offensive linemen who ran the drill at the combine. He ranked 30th out of 48 in the vertical jump, 39th out of 49 in the broad jump and sits second to last in the bench press and 5-10-5 shuttle across his position.
Despite the poor performance at the combine, Green had quite the turnout at A&M Pro Day, with the majority of the people in attendance being offensive line coaches looking to add a significant piece to their puzzle. Green worked on drills with NFL offensive line coaches such as the Dallas Cowboys’ coach Joe Philbin, Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Pat Meyer and Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Jeff Stoutland.
This two-time SEC Player of the Week’s ability to play multiple positions and the thirst for a guard with great technique by a number of NFL teams has him at a high draft stock, so expect Green to be taken late-first round, and if not then, early-second round.


Jalen Wydermyer
Tight end
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
40-yard dash: 5.03 seconds
Broad jump: 9 feet, 1 inch
Combine
N/A
Projected Day: 3/Undrafted
Wydermyer did not participate with the rest of the Aggies at the combine in early March, and it is a good thing he didn’t. After his performance at A&M’s Pro Day, he could have easily gone from the No. 1-projected tight end taken in the draft to maybe the last.
Wydermyer’s 5.03-second 40 ranks last among all tight ends in the draft, and so did his broad jump. Only 11 tight ends were drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft and, as of right now, there are 13 other tight ends who are putting up better numbers than Wydermyer.
Wydermyer can hope his performance during the 2020-21 season and his size could help improve his draft stock; however, I would expect him to get taken Day 3 of the draft or signed by a team the day after.


DeMarvin Leal
Defensive lineman
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 30.5 inches
40-yard dash: 5.04 seconds
Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches
3 cone drill: 7.20 seconds
Combine
Vertical jump: 27.50 inches
40-yard dash: 5.00 seconds
Broad jump: 8 feet, 10 inches
5-10-5 shuttle: 4.49 seconds
Projected Day: 2
Leal increased his vertical jump by 3 inches and his broad jump by four. His vertical moved him to the top five among defensive linemen in the draft at 30.5 inches, and his broad jump did as well.
He is going into the draft as a defensive tackle. However, the average defensive tackle weighs between 310-330 pounds in the NFL, but Leal weighed in at 283 pounds at the NFL Combine. So, if he wants to see the field and expect to make an impact in the league, he would most likely have to transition to the defensive end position or put on a few more pounds.
I expect Leal to be taken in the middle-to-late third round as a defensive tackle, but he will likely make the transition to defensive end after stepping foot in the locker room.


Leon O’Neal Jr.
Defensive back
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
40-yard dash: 4.70 seconds
5-10-5 shuttle: 4.22 seconds
3 cone drill: 6.83 seconds
Combine
Vertical jump: 35 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 5 inches
Bench press: 15 reps
3 cone drill: 6.89 seconds
Projected Day: 3
This projection of a Day-3 pick is a prediction of reality rather than disrespect.
O’Neal has the size, coordination and heart to play safety for any team who is willing to draft him; however, this won’t be enough to raise his draft stock.
His 40-yard dash and bench press ranks last among safeties, and his inconsistency during the season raises many eyebrows. The ability to accelerate in games, especially against professional-level receivers, and being able to change direction at a moment’s notice and bring down the offensive player while being the last man standing is crucial in the big league — which is something O’Neal struggles with.
Expect O’Neal to be taken in the late-fifth, early-sixth round on Day 3 and secure a spot as a solid backup for any professional team.


Aaron Hansford
Linebacker
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 34.5 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
40-yard dash: 4.6 seconds
Combine
Bench press: 24 reps
Projected Day: 3
Hansford tallied a solid bench press at the combine, placing him No. 3 among all linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft. His 40-yard dash time is solid for his position, and he is ranked No. 11 among his position group at that drill. Hansford worked 1-on-1 with Arizona Cardinals’ linebacker coach Bill Davis at A&M’s Pro Day and was on point in all drills.
He has great acceleration, and once he wraps up on an opponent, he is not letting go. However, his below-average broad jump, vertical jump and struggles at picking up blocking assignments has his draft stock lower than some may expect.
Expect Hansford to be a Day 3 draft pick in the late-sixth round or early-seventh.


Micheal Clemons
Defensive lineman
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 35 inches
3 cone drill: 7.20 seconds
Combine
Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
Bench press: 24 reps
Projected Day: 2/3
Strength isn’t an issue with Clemons. He repped 225 pounds at the combine 24 times, ranking him top five at the defensive end position. His ability to jump 35 inches vertically at 263 pounds is extraordinary, and only two players at that position who weigh the same or more have jumped higher in this draft class.
Off-the-field issues and a weak broad jump are Clemons’ only kryptonite, and I would expect him to be a late-Day 2 draft pick or an early-Day 3 depending on the necessity for a defensive end.


Jahmir Johnson
Offensive lineman
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 28.5 inches
Broad jump: 8 feet, 4 inches
Bench press: 18 reps
Combine
N/A
Projected Day: 3/Undrafted
Johnson’s 18 reps on bench press places him last among the offensive line group in the draft. His broad jump doesn’t look any prettier as his 8 feet, 4 inches places him near the bottom of the offensive line draft class. During his 40-yard dash at Pro Day, he grasped his hamstring midway through and didn’t participate in the rest of the drills.
Johnson was a solid tackle for the Aggies during the 2021-22 season after transferring from Tennessee the year prior and battling injuries left and right. Expect Johnson to get drafted on Day 3 at some point in the seventh round.


Tyree Johnson
Defensive lineman
Pro Day
N/A
Combine
Bench press: 21 reps
Projected Day: 3
There isn’t much to analyze for Tyree. He didn’t participate in any of the drills on Pro Day and only participated in one drill at the combine, tossing 225 pounds for 21 reps.
His resume on the football field should help carry his draft stock and get him drafted come April 28. Expect the 2019 SEC All-Freshman to get drafted on Day 3 in the late-fifth or early-sixth round.


Jayden Peevy
Defensive lineman
Pro Day
Vertical jump: 29.5 inches
Combine
Vertical jump: 27 inches
40-yard dash: 5.30 seconds
Broad jump: 8 feet, 4 inches
Projected Day: 3/Undrafted
Size alone will help Peevy get drafted. His 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump were among the worst in the defensive line group, and, if drafted, will serve him as a solid backup.
If his name is called, expect it to be late in the seventh round due to his size and glimpses of quickness here and there.


Seth Small
Kicker
Projected Day: Undrafted
As much as I would love for Seth Small to get drafted, it is very unlikely.
In the 2021 NFL Draft, only two kickers were drafted — one of them being Florida’s Evan McPherson, who carried the Cincinnati Bengals through the AFC playoffs and to the Super Bowl.
Small didn’t attend the NFL Combine this year; however, he did put on a show at A&M Pro Day, connecting on a 60- and 63-yard field goal attempt and having all 32 NFL teams’ scouts and coaches cheering for him.
The slim chance he has to get drafted would be late in the seventh round. Other than that, expect him to be an undrafted free agent and immediately signed the following day.
Now is a waiting game for the athletes. Many of them have workouts and meetings set up with more scouts, trying to do everything they can to hear their name called from April 28-30.

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  • Junior offensive lineman Kenyon Green took snaps at four of the five offensive line positions during his time at Texas A&M.

  • Junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer led Texas A&M in receiving yards during the 2021-22 season.

  • Junior defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal had a career-high 8.5 sacks for Texas A&M in 2021-22.

  • Senior safety Leon O’Neal Jr. recorded career-high numbers in total tackles, interceptions, passes defended and defensive touchdowns for Texas A&M in 2021-22.

  • Graduate linebacker Aaron Hansford led Texas A&M in total tackles during the 2021-22 season.

  • Graduate defensive lineman Micheal Clemons recorded a career high in both sacks and defensive touchdowns for Texas A&M in 2021-22.

  • Graduate gaurd Jahmir Johnson started every game for Texas A&M after transferring from Tennessee.

  • Senior defensive lineman Tyree Johnson was third in the SEC in sacks for Texas A&M in 2021-22.

  • Senior defensive lineman Jayden Peevy put up career numbers in total tackles, sacks, interceptions and passes defended for Texas A&M in 2021-22.

  • Senior kicker Seth Small is Texas A&M’s all-time leader in career points.

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