Five Temple Guys who could be drafted in 2022

You can talk all you want about measurables, which NFL draft scouts seem to love, but the bottom line has always been production.

If a guy produces at Temple, he’s a damn good pick.

No Owl has railed against the portal transfers more than Temple grad Amir Tyler and that alone has to make him a fan favorite (Photo courtesy Zamani Feelings).

I thought Branden Mack would be drafted this year in the seventh round because he produced on a relatively high level for the Owls but his 4.6 speed in the 40 hurt him and he went UDFA to the Denver Broncos. The last Temple wide receiver who ran a 4.6 and was 6-5 was one of the Broncos’ five greatest receivers of all time in terms of production.

His name was Steve Watson.

Production was all Watson did at Temple so that wasn’t surprising. Mack will stick in my humble opinion because he has a lot of those Watson qualities.

Dan Archibong, on the other hand, did not produce to the level I thought he would his final two years with the Owls. I expected more sacks, fumble recoveries and tackles for losses with the Owls from Dan but just did not get it. The 1-6 record didn’t help either guy. I don’t think Dan will make the Bears but I hope he proves me wrong.

Production.

That’s why I think five guys from Temple have a chance to be drafted in 2022 because I can pick out five production guys.

To me, safety Amir Tyler and wide receiver Jadan Blue will be drafted in the 2022 draft because all they’ve done at Temple in their years here was produce. Tyler has been outspoken about the disloyalty of those 15 players who have left Temple and he’s got a great point on most of them. To me, Toddy Centeio and Anthony Russo made the correct decision in leaving. Toddy was stuck by Anthony and Russo was stuck in a bonehead offense that did not suit his passing skills. The others likely would in the future or would have been drafted higher if they remained at Temple. Quincy Roche and Kenny Yeboah found out the hard way.

The players who stay will outnumber the drafted players who left. You read it here first. It has less to do with the current coaching staff than it does their ability to capitalize on playing time they’ve already earned by being in the program over the last couple of years–playing time that is not guaranteed to them elsewhere.

Other guys, C.J. Perez, MIchael Niese and Randle Jones I believe will be drafted but that’s more related to their ability to turn the Owls from a loser to a winner than anything else.

Jones, to me (and head coach Rod Carey) is (Carey’s exact words) “a flat-out stud” who has not produced to a level of Blue simply because he hasn’t been on the field (injuries) as much. He is one of the fastest guys on the team in the 40, has great hands, and can make people miss. Jones just needs one year to be as durable as Blue has proven to be over the last couple. When Jones and Blue are on the field, the Owls have the best tandem of receivers in the league by far and maybe the top two overall.

Here’s all that Blue needs to do to be drafted in Round One: Catch double-digits in terms of touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards (again) in terms of receptions. Since he caught three spectacular touchdowns against Memphis last year in one game, I’m betting he can do it over a dozen. Blue just does not drop a football, even in tight traffic, and that the same cannot be said for Jalen Reagor of the Eagles, who got drafted high despite nine drops his senior year at Texas Christian.

Tyler needs to up his interceptions and pass deflections and he has the talent to do it.

Niese and Perez (and you can throw in Episcopal Academy’s Adam Klein) need to lead a dominating offensive line. Getting Iverson Clement and/or R’Von Bonner 1,000 yards and keeping D’Wan Mathis’ uniform clean will help.

Will it happen?

Don’t know.

Can it happen?

Absolutely.

Monday: North Philly’s Five Fastest Humans

Upgrades and Downgrades

arnold

Arnold Ebiketie (47) is the only returning defensive end for the Owls but Wake Forest transfer Manny Walker has a couple of P5 starts under his belt.

Walking away from the late December debacle Temple football was primarily responsible for, it was pretty apparent that the Owls needed to improve in a couple of areas:

  • Game planning
  • Pass defense
  • Pass Rushing
  • Offensive line

We won’t know about the game planning until about halftime of the Miami game if there is such a game but it is apparent the Owls improved in one of the key areas with the acquisition of a Northern Illinois center and a Dayton guard.

Offensive line.

Michael Niese got his number called on NFL draft day and it wasn’t to be selected but showed him pancaking a defender on the way to a Dayton touchdown while another Dayton guy was drafted. All the reports on Mike are that he is a high Power 5-level offensive guard talent who was stuck in the FCS. He should earn a starting spot for the Temple Owls. He certainly has the size (6-4, 273) to play the position at this level and he was all-conference for Dayton the last two seasons.

He deserves a larger stage and he will get it at Temple.

downgrade

There are plenty of players like that, notably two of the last three quarterbacks who played for North Dakota State. One, Carson Wentz, is playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. The other, Trey Lance, is coming off his first season as a starter with 28 touchdown passes, 2,717 yards, and zero (that’s right, 0) interceptions. That’s insane. If there is anything good about the portal, it’s that Temple can grab good players off FCS squads to help them. Brian Westbrook would have come in handy about 20 years ago for instance.

Temple had a big hole in center when Matt Hennessy went in the third round of the draft to the Atlanta Falcons and did not fill it by spring camp but used the quarantine time to acquire All-MAC center C.J. Perez in the portal. With Niese replacing Jovahn Fair and Perez replacing Hennessy, the Owls not only shored up a couple of positions but allowed for more depth along the line because they won’t have to move people around to fill areas of need.

westbrook

Villanova’s Brian Westbrook representing Temple.

If this gives quarterback Anthony Russo an extra nanosecond in the pocket to make a decision, it’s a big plus. I’ve got to think that Anthony’s 21 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions will improve too, say, 25 and 8, and that would make a difference in the win/loss total.

Their pass-rushing got worse, not better, with the loss of AAC Player of the Year Quincy Roche in the portal to Miami but they did acquire Manny Walker, a DE from Wake Forest, in the portal and Arnold Ebiketie logged a lot of time on the field in the last five games at the other DE. Still, that’s a thin area and maybe some thought of moving Dan Archibong back to end, a spot he started at, could be a consideration if tackles like Kris Banks continue to develop.

Overall, it looks like coach Rod Carey has some pretty good personnel to work with on defense but he must emphasize success in the running game first for both his offense to work and to help keep his defense off the field.

Has he figured this out on his own or is he too set in his ways to change?

We won’t know that for a few months at least.

Monday: A Game to Mark on Calendar

Saturday: Significant Stat Predictions

Monday (6/8): Drop dead date