Opinion: Way-too-early Iowa State 2022 NFL mock draft

Brock Purdy (No. 15) of the Iowa State Cyclones runs during the first half of the 2020 Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

Editor’s note: After the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft over the weekend, the Iowa State Daily sports editors decided to release their “Way-too-Early” 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

They each respectively predicted who will be drafted and where from the assumed batch of Cyclones in the draft process come next spring.

Douglas’ Mock Draft

Brock Purdy: Early fourth-round pick

Brock Purdy has seen himself in preseason Heisman Trophy conversations for multiple years now, but he has never put together a full season.

There are clear and glaring inconsistencies with his game that still need to be addressed, but he’s still an athletic quarterback who is accurate on short and medium passes who can escape pressure with the best of them.

Purdy goes in the second tier of 2022 quarterbacks in the the fourth round.

Breece Hall: Mid-third-round pick

It’s kind of weird to see Breece Hall this low, but I think it fits. Remember Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard was the best rusher in the nation in the 2019-20 season and his draft stock still plummeted.

Hall is one of the best runners on the college scene, combining patience, burst and balance to make for a hard-to-bring-down, shifty runner.

His lack of pass-catching as a major component of his game and some likely regression makes me think he’ll fall to the third.

Charlie Kolar: Late second-round pick

I wanted to put Charlie Kolar higher, my gut told me to put him lower, so I evened it out.

I think if everything goes right for Kolar, he could find his way into the first round, as the best tight end in the class is a distinction up for grabs.

Kolar is tall, soft-handed and solid at route running, making him a premier receiving tight end prospect. He’ll go in the first three rounds, with a likely landing spot in the late second.

Xavier Hutchinson: Early seventh-round pick

I was debating if Hutchinson was going to crack this list, but 2022’s receiving class isn’t as strong or deep as 2021’s and Hutchinson I think is a better and more well-rounded prospect than some of the recent Iowa State receivers like Deshaunte Jones, La’Michael Pettway and Landen Akers.

He could easily be gobbled up in the late rounds after being a big target for two years for Purdy.

Mike Rose: Early third-round pick

If you were to ask me who I thought the most underrated player on the Cyclones was, you wouldn’t even finish the sentence before I was pointing to Mike Rose.

It’s weird, because people following the Cyclones know how good he is, but no one in the nation is talking about what he adds to the defense.

Unfortunately for Rose, I’m not an NFL executive, and so he’ll likely fall to the third round where teams will see his counting stats and give him a shot to play outside linebacker.

He should be a steal.

Will McDonald IV: Late second-round pick

The all-time leading sacker at Iowa State, JaQuan Bailey, has left for the NFL and was just signed as an undrafted free agent for the Eagles.

Somehow, despite playing the exact same position and losing snaps because of it, McDonald IV still managed to lead the entire nation in sacks with 10.5, breaking Iowa State’s single-season record and vaulting him to third in Iowa State history.

McDonald IV has a chance to break Bailey’s record in just three seasons with the team, and if he’s like his 2020-21 self, McDonald IV should turn at least a few heads.

He’s not great against the run, but he will find a comfortable home if he decides to leave for the NFL.

Belinson’s Mock Draft

Brock Purdy: Late third-round pick

Consistency has been an issue for Purdy in his career. Yes, his completion percentage records would say otherwise, but when Purdy has struggled in his career it’s been in bunches.

If he can limit turnovers, forced throws and use his mobility more this season, I like him as a late third-round pick.

Mike Rose: Mid-third-round pick

In my opinion, NFL Draft evaluators will fall in love with Rose the most of any of these prospects. Not only does he run sideline to sideline with amazing coverage skills, but he can rush the passer and make disrupting tackles near the line of scrimmage.

If Rose has a repeat of his 2020 season, his name will be called on day two.

Charlie Kolar: Mid-second-round pick

The only reason I put Kolar in the second round is because the only tight ends that ever get drafted in the first round are the Kyle Pitts of the world. I’m not saying Kolar can’t be as good, but he lacks the freakish makeup Pitts had in this last draft.

Either way, I have him as a second-round pick in 2022 thanks to his amazing hands, yards-after-catch ability and his big frame in the end zone.

Breece Hall: Late second-round pick

Hall is the same as Kolar in the sense that they’re talented enough to be first-round players, but NFL teams don’t draft these positions in the first round that often. 

With that said, I see Hall as an explosive athlete who can hit running lanes quick and has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field.

Give me a second-round selection for Hall.

Greg Eisworth: Mid-fifth-round pick

Eisworth has been one of the most consistent safeties in the Big 12 during his career, and I think an NFL team will notice on day three.

He may not have flashy pick sixes, but Eisworth is always near the ball. He’s laying down big hits, getting his hands in the passing lanes and always finding a play to make.

He’s too consistent at an important position to not be drafted.

Stuve’s Mock Draft

Breece Hall: Late first-early second round

Iowa State hasn’t had a player get selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in 48 years and it’ll be 49 years by the time the 2022 NFL Draft begins. Will Breece Hall be able to end it at that? Potentially. His 1,572 yard and 21 touchdown season put him in the top six in Heisman voting and has put him high up on NFL Draft boards I’m guessing. With his size, strength and speed, I believe he will be one of the first running backs off the board if he has another productive 2021 season.

Charlie Kolar: Late second-early third round

One of the most intricate parts of the Iowa State offense in the last two seasons has been Charlie Kolar. In back-to-back seasons, he’s caught over 40 passes for 500 yards and seven touchdowns en route to earning Second Team All-American honors. He’s proven he can consistently produce, the question is how many teams are looking for a tight end in this draft?

Mike Rose: Late second-early third round

Since starting the second game of the 2018 season against Iowa, there has been no Iowa State defender who has been more consistent than Mike Rose. He’s the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and should be a favorite to repeat once again in 2021. He’s got the body to play linebacker in the NFL (6-foot-2, 245 pounds) and has shown consistent production at the college level that will garner him some interest from NFL teams in day two of the NFL Draft.

Brock Purdy: Fourth round

Purdy is the biggest wild card to me among the Cyclones in the 2022 NFL Draft. The biggest question I have about Purdy in terms of what his NFL career will look like is do I think he’s going to be in a position to take over as a franchise’s long-term quarterback? Right now I am going to say the answer is no but this upcoming year could prove me wrong. I think if Purdy is able to cut down on some of his mistakes and develop a more consistent deep ball, his stock might rise a bit. Purdy has the athleticism and accuracy to make it to the NFL and be a backup in the league. If he has a really good season this year, I think we could see Purdy go in the second round. 

Will McDonald IV: Fourth round

Now I know I may be undervaluing McDonald IV by putting him as a fourth-round pick considering the fact he led the nation in sacks in 2020 with 10.5. With that said, I do want to see him have another successful year like 2020 before I put him as a second- or third-round grade. McDonald IV has the opportunity this season to show his raw ability and should be the leader in terms of production along Iowa State’s defensive line.

Greg Eisworth: Late fifth-early sixth round

Eisworth is one of the most experienced safeties in the country and has had plenty of production in his three years at Iowa State. He’s been an All-Big 12 First Team player three times, the first player in Big 12 history to do that. His experience, consistency and production should garner him some phone calls from NFL teams on day three of the draft.

Xavier Hutchinson: Seventh round

My big take heading into the 2021 season is that we’ll see Iowa State throw the ball deep more than it did in the 2020 season. If it does that successfully I think the player who will benefit the most from it is Xavier Hutchinson. The junior college transfer from Blinn Community College had 64 catches for 771 yards and four touchdowns. I’m predicting Hutchinson finishes the 2021 season with around 75 catches, 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns, which to me will make him worthy of a seventh-round draft selection.

Chase Allen: Seventh round

With opposing defenses focusing on stopping Breece Hall in the running game, Charlie Kolar in the passing game and with Iowa State’s love for tight ends, I think Chase Allen could be due for a breakout senior year statistically, specifically in the red zone. Allen is a big 6-foot-7, 240-pound target Iowa State could use as a red zone threat this year. He’s already a three-time All-Big 12 Second Team player and could have a stellar senior year.