2022 NFL Draft: Derek Stingley Jr., Evan Neal among prospects who need a strong pro day

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Prospects will be traveling the country meeting with NFL teams over the next month and a half but the favor will be returned when the 2022 NFL Draft’s top prospects host pro days at their respective colleges to display their athletic testing one final time. Five prospects left the NFL Scouting Combine with unanswered questions or work to be done:

Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

The shine on Stingley has worn off over the years. He may not even be able to overcome Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner as the first cornerback taken in the draft. The battle that he should be concerned about is his presence in the top 10. The former Tiger is trending downward despite possessing elite natural talent. Stingley has not played football since Sep. 18 and is said to still be dealing with the effects of Lisfranc surgery. He needs a strong performance April 6 to stop the slide.

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Neal was a winner at the combine just by showing up. His physical stature and appearance had teams in awe, but his absence in athletic testing and on-field drills allowed N.C. State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu and Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson to steal the show. There is some positive momentum in the odds for those two players to be taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars No. 1 overall. A strong athletic performance from Neal on March 30 would allow him to reintroduce himself. The HOV lane is fair game to Neal in the way he drives defenders across from him.

Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Gordon was expected to impress in Indianapolis but a 4.52-second 40-yard dash, while everyone else was running fast, did not accomplish that feat. The odds of the Huskie being taken in the first round took a hit on that day but a strong all-around showing would allow continued ascension. Gardner will likely be the first cornerback taken followed by Stingley Jr. From there, it depends on the team looking for help and what it is looking for in that position. Gordon could find himself in the next tier.

George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue  

Karlaftis has great size and showed explosion through his 38-inch vertical jump. However, he still has some unanswered questions in regards to his speed and ability to change directions. Teams will be anxious to get eyes on him and see how quickly he runs the 40-yard dash and 3-cone drill. What will his 10-yard split tell scouts in terms of how quickly he reacts to the snap? Karlaftis should be a first-round pick all day long but a good pro day performance would do wonders for his cause. 

As he has lost a little bit of ground, Georgia’s Travon Walker and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II are among those who have taken advantage of the window and vaulted Karlaftis in the pecking order. Purdue is hosting its pro day March 29.

Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

Spiller was reportedly limited at the combine with an injury. He did not run a 40-yard dash and only participated in the jumps. He should not have done those jumps because he tied for the third-worst vertical jump and was in sole possession of the worst broad jump. If you’re a player going into a drill knowing that the result is not going to leave a good lasting memory on those in attendance, then it is best to wait until your pro day. As it stands, Spiller, who has ideal size, has some questions to answer March 22. 

Right now, Michigan State’s Ken Walker III and Iowa State’s Breece Hall have separated themselves as the two best running backs in the class. 

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