2022 NFL Draft: The Best of the Rest of the Mountain West Prospects By School
Alex Akingbulu helped the Bulldogs offense become as potent as it was last year by doing his part to keep Jake Haener on his feet. At 6-5 and 310 pounds, the first-team all-Mountain West offensive tackle hopes to defy skeptics and prove that previous health concerns, which derailed two seasons in 2017 and 2018, are a thing of the past.
The defensive line duo of Kevin Atkins and Kwami Jones never lit up the stat sheet, but the Bulldogs would never have won as much as they did without their contributions. Atkins has size on the macro (6-2, 314 pounds) and micro level (10 3/8-inch hands) and surprising athleticism (31.5-inch vertical) to match, so some analysts think he may get a look as a three-technique lineman, even if he has to go the UDFA route to do it.
Jones, meanwhile, may have more of an uphill battle to get his chance. At 6-1 and 251 pounds with a 10-yard split of just 1.77 seconds and a three-cone drill time above eight seconds at Fresno State’s pro day, he’ll have to hope his power (26 bench press reps) can carry the day.
— Robert Cardona (@CARDONAFAM29) October 22, 2021
— Fresno State Football 🧸 (@FresnoStateFB) January 15, 2021
Wide receiver Keric Wheatfall established himself as a big play threat after arriving at Fresno State from the junior college ranks, averaging 16.5 yards per catch in three seasons with the Bulldogs. He has the hops to keep doing just that in the NFL (35 1/2-inch vertical), but he’ll need everything he can get from that and his sideline prowess without the elite speed to match (4.56 40-yard time)
Tyson Maeva only spent a year with the Bulldogs after coming up with rival Boise State and then detouring to Florida International, but the linebacker provided a spark in the middle of the defense before an injury shuttered his 2021 campaign a few games early. He has good instincts for the position, though he may need to pitch in on special teams and prove he can stay healthy (injuries ended his 2020 season at FIU, too) to get an extended audition.
— Fresno State Football 🧸 (@FresnoStateFB) September 4, 2021
Juan Rodriguez didn’t get many opportunities to catch passes for the Bulldogs — he had just 22 receptions in three seasons — but don’t let that fool you into thinking he didn’t bring anything to the offense. Per Pro Football Focus, his 78.2 run-blocking grade in 2021 ranked 15th among FBS tight ends, so he may have a future in the NFL as a versatile H-back and special teams contributor.
Ryan Boehm, like Maeva, had just one year at Fresno State after transferring from FCS Cal Poly and pitched in as a role player for the Bulldogs. In 2021, he made three starts and chipped in with 24 tackles, 3.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks, but the biggest concern is that he may not have the initial burst (1.79 10-yard split) to compete against blockers in the NFL.