JACKSONVILLE – The 2022 NFL Draft should be a good one. Maybe very good.
If it's not seen as such by many observers, Tony Pauline said that may be because those observers are only looking at certain positions – and only looking early in the draft.
"It is a real good draft by NFL standards," Pauline said.
Pauline, longtime draft analyst and one of the most respected NFL insiders – now with the Pro Football Network – spoke to senior writer John Oehser during last week's 2022 Scouting Combine for this edition of the O-Zone Podcast presented by Vystar. Pauline discussed multiple topics, including why some observers consider this a "down" year in the draft.
"People don't see the sexiness of the draft because there's no quarterback at the top – which is kind of crazy, in my opinion," Pauline said.
Pauline said the draft is strong and deep at many positions – and it can in a sense be seen as a throwback to an early NFL era, with defensive players such as edge Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan, edge Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon and edge David Ojabu of Michigan all highly-regarded players.
"There was a time where the impact defensive player was the most coveted type of prospect in the draft," Pauline said. "That's what you have this year."
The Jaguars for a second consecutive year hold the No. 1 overall selection in the draft, a selection Pauline said "is to be determined." While many observers believe the team will use the selection on an offensive lineman, Pauline said the team must determine the best player and value for the selection.
"You build great or good football teams by drafting great or good football players," Pauline said. "If you constantly draft for need, what happens is two or three years down the road you're saying, 'Well, we passed on this guy.' …
"Granted, they (the Jaguars) have to protect [quarterback] Trevor Lawrence, and you have to get some weapons around him, but you still are in a phase where you have to collect really good football players and you have to collect the best football players."
To hear the entire O-Zone Podcast, please click here or view the full clip below.