EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The 2022 NFL Draft will kick off on Thursday night in Las Vegas, with the Jacksonville Jaguars on the clock with the first overall pick.
The Houston Texas will pick third; the Dallas Cowboys must wait until the 24th overall selection. Most mock drafts have the Cowboys taking either an offensive lineman, a linebacker, or a wide receiver, but with Jerry Jones running the show, Dallas is always a wild card.
There will also be quite a few players from both UTEP and New Mexico State hoping to hear their names called in one of the seven rounds of the draft Thursday-Sunday. All of them likely won’t be selected until the later rounds, if they’re selected at all. The majority will likely take the undrafted free agent route.
UTEP players like defensive backs Dy’vonne Inyang and Walter Neil, offensive linemen Darta Lee and Bobby DeHaro, wide receiver Justin Garrett and running back Quardraiz Wadley all figure to get looks from NFL teams, according to Miners head coach Dana Dimel.
For New Mexico State, offensive lineman Sage Doxtater and Caleb Mills seem to have the best chance to get a shot at the league. Doxtater was selected in the Canadian Football League’s draft last summer but returned to school.
No matter if they’re drafted, or if they sign undrafted free agent deals, all of the players from both schools are just looking for one team to take a chance on them.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I get drafted but I also wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t so I’m just leaving it in God’s hands,” said Garrett, who told KTSM last week that he’d heard from a few different teams including the Cowboys, Chargers, Chiefs and Packers. “I’m just ready and excited. I know all the work I put in. I know that if I get one opportunity, I can make a roster.”
If they don’t get drafted, the undrafted free agent route has worked for Miners in the past, most recently Nik Needham, who went undrafted in 2019 but signed with the Miami Dolphins, made the team and is now a huge part of Miami’s secondary as a starting cornerback.
Round one is on Thursday; rounds two and three are on Friday, with rounds 4-7 rounding things out on Saturday. The players from UTEP and NMSU all figure to hear their names on Saturday if at all; if they’re not selected, their agents will be hitting the phone lines trying to get them deals as undrafted free agents.