5 Sleepers For Teams To Target In Second Round Of 2022 NFL Draft

NFL Draft, NFL
NFL Analysis Network

The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner. While fans all obsess over the top ten picks, what makes the draft such a powerful event is that it takes place throughout the entire weekend. One of the more fun aspects of the draft night is realizing who is still on the board at the end of the fast and furious first day.

It sets up for a day of speculating about who will be the top pick on the second day, and who are the top second-round sleepers in this draft class. While it is impossible to project who exactly will be on the board at the end of round one, there are certain to be a group of sleepers throughout the draft.

Who are five players in the 2022 NFL Draft that could be great targets for any team in the second round?

5. Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

Leo Chenal would be a lock for the first round in the old-school NFL. The Wisconsin defensive signal-caller is a throwback linebacker from years ago, and it shows with his 250-pound size. As linebackers continue to dip closer to 230 pounds, Chenal is a flashback and much bigger than most of his peers.

Still, despite that, he was one of the more athletic linebackers at his size in the NFL Draft. Leo Chenal ran a 4.53 40-yard dash and had a 41″ vertical, and a 128″ broad jump. All of these were in the 90th percentile of all linebackers. Then, at the pro day, he had a 6.98 3-cone which shows the elite change of direction for his size.

The reason that Chenal will fall into round two is that he is a downhill player, and does not have much tape in coverage. In the Big 10, it is hard to see just how fast he can move in the open field. However, he will be a round two pick because he is a stud against the run. He can blitz and can get after the run as good as linebackers in the class.

When you add in his athletic ceiling you think that he could possibly have been more valuable if asked to do more sideline-to-sideline work. You want to bet on oversized linebackers who can tackle and move like Leo Chenal. He should not fall further than round two.

4. Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

Jalen Pitre will not be a Jalen Ramsey-type game-changer, but every team needs a player like him. One reason Pitre will fall in the NFL Draft is that his size is about average, but also because he does not have a defined position. He is a safety, but very well could be best as a slot defender. His ability to blitz off of the edge and stick his head in the run game is valuable.

Still, Pitre can line up as a blitzer in the slot then drop back into a zone near the middle of the field and pick off passes as well. His versatility is going to push him to round two but is going to be valued in round two for good reason.

This is the type of player that you take a bet on. He is smart, he plays fast, and he is always near the ball. He may be a jack of all trades, and master of none, but the versatility in the back end can be lethal in the right scheme. Any smart team would jump on him in the second round.

3. Arnold Ebikete, EDGE, Penn State

Some would view Arnold Ebikete as a one-year wonder because he is a transfer from Temple and only had one year of production at a big school such as Penn State. Still, he came onto Penn State and immediately made an impact on the defense.

Last season he put up 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He beat plenty of talented tackles, and what was more impressive what that he used speed, power, flexibility, and violent hands to win. He was skilled in most areas.

At the NFL Draft combine, he showed up a bit short for a typical pass rusher, but the rest of his athletic profile is elite. He had a great combine and followed it up with an even better Pro Day that featured an elite 3-cone time.

The 3-cone is a valuable test for pass rushers because it tests your ability to bend and turn a corner. He aced this test with flying colors.

Because he was so under the radar last season he may not be a first-round pick. However, he had great production against Big 10 tackles, he showed elite athleticism, and his tape showed that he can win in different areas. Arnold Ebikete will be a second-round steal.

2. Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

The thing about the Georgia defense is that not every one of them can get taken in the first round. Still, there are going to be plenty that do. However, with three defensive linemen and linebacker Nakobe Dean expected to be drafted before Quay Walker, it is easy to see him being one of the Georgia players who falls out of round one.

If Quay Walker were on a defense where he was not so overshadowed by the elite talent around him then fans would be more excited about his prospects in the NFL. Still, even behind that elite Georgia line you saw enough from Quay Walker to realize that he could be a steal who is much better in the NFL than he was at college.

Quay Walker has the size that you want from a linebacker, but what was so impressive about him is that they let him flow sideline to sideline to make tackles. He did not rack up stats that way, but he showed off impressive range that will be more valuable against faster NFL players.

A solid tackler with size, speed, and SEC pedigree is everything you want in the second round. It will make Quay Walker a great pick.

1. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

We are back at it with more Georgia athletes. Another star who may fall into round two is Lewis Cine. Cine is flying under the radar hard, mainly because his defensive line made his life easier. Still, it is causing fans to not appreciate what Cine was doing in the back end of the defense.

Cine has the body of a free safety, but he plays like a strong safety. He is a battering ram who flies downhill to make tackles and does not have much fear of the damage he brings.

Still, while he plays as physically as a linebacker, he moves like an elite cornerback. Cine ran a 4.37 40-yard dash. He added a 96th percentile broad jump. This is an elite athlete.

Fans cannot see it but Cine also was communicating in the back end of the elite Georgia defense and keeping everyone in line. The upside is high, and the floor is a reliable tackle that can be a versatile combination safety. There may not be a better second-round pick in the entire draft than Lewis Cine out of Georgia.