NFL Draft 2022: Why You Need the ‘Cats
By Eli Berk
The NFL is set to take over Las Vegas for the next three days, and while last year was a massive year for the ‘Cats to say the least – two first-rounders in Rashawn Slater and Greg Newsome II and a Super Bowl champion in Ben Skowronek, – seeing who has the potential to play on Sundays in this particular class is more of a challenge. It’s not impossible. There were plenty of playmakers on all sides of the ball, but it may be a while before we see another group like last year’s rookies.
Here are just a few names you should keep in mind as you occupy your couch for the weekend, observing the future of the league be determined.
Stephon Robinson Jr. – WR
Points were hard to come by for the Northwestern offense last year. Scoring under 17 points per game, with just about an even split between rushing and passing touchdowns, you have to look further than the stat sheet to see what wide receiver Stephon Robinson has to offer. The University of Kansas transfer stepped onto the shores of Lake Michigan with a purpose, using his explosiveness and speed to break down defenders, even if he wasn’t always getting the ball.
Robinson will certainly be a good fit for teams who are looking to fill their receivers’ room with some more depth. His collegiate experience and natural tendencies as a playmaker will help bring that energetic spark many head coaches are looking for. My best guess is that if his name is called, he will be suiting up in the gold and black of the New Orleans Saints, who are trying to find a youthful core to carry them through the 2020s.
Chris Bergin – LB
The nation’s leading tackler had a lot of work to do this year, as opposing offenses racked up over six yards per play throughout the season against the Wildcat defense. Chris Bergin is a tremendous athlete. He made a bold decision to stay for one more year after his counterparts Blake Gallagher and Paddy Fisher departed after last season. It’s safe to say it paid off. He made a name for himself as an anchor of the defense and the only concern for scouts is his size.
Bergin stands at 5 feet, 11 inches, and weighs 223 pounds, but man the guy can move. His performance at Northwestern’s Pro Day showcased his agility, running a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and a shuttle run under four seconds. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed and football IQ, and I can see him potentially getting a phone call on day three. If so, I see Bergin heading to the Cleveland Browns and teaming up with former teammate and first-round draft pick Greg Newsome. Cleveland built up a strong, young defense last year, but keeping his name in the back of their heads will only do them favors.
Derek Adams – P
That’s right. Punters are people too. While the Northwestern offense did not deliver in several categories, that only gave Adams more time to shine and make the opposing teams earn their touchdowns with bad starting field position. Adams is a very consistent worker, and if he’s given the time to work, he can pay dividends for a professional franchise.
One of the most legendary punters in recent history, Johnny Hekker of the Los Angeles Rams, was released this offseason, which leaves the door open for a player like Adams. And while that slot could very easily be filled by San Diego State juggernaut Matt Araiza, a guy who averaged the fourth-best punting distance in the nation this year, why not take a chance and send Adams out to Inglewood?