My last post talked about the Aggie position groups for 2022 in quite a bit of detail. For this I’m going to take a “quick” look at the position groups and compare them to the 2021 team. My initial thought was some of these groups won’t be as good. After thinking more I believe my initial thought might be wrong.
With the NFL Draft done I think we can make a full analysis of the 2021 team. The NFL Draft isn’t an end all be all on judging talent but it’s a damn good indicator. Early rounders tend to fare better in the league than late rounders and undrafted free agents. It’s an inexact science but it’s a pretty good indicator of talent. The more players you have drafted and especially the earlier rounds is a good indicator of talent on a team.
There’s a reason teams that won the most games get the most players drafted. Talent is a DEFINITE indicator of on field success.
The Aggies were 8-4 last year and wound up with 4 Aggies drafted. That’s less than what we expected but it’s a great data point. We had Kenyon Green (1st round), Demarvin Leal (3rd round), Michael Clemons (4th round), and Isiah Spiller (4th round) drafted. That’s the same number of guys we had drafted in the 2021 draft.
I think I can say the 2021 Aggie football team wasn’t as talented as I thought it was. I expected a couple more guys to get drafted. It was still a damn good team and closer to 10-2 than people realize but they were an 8-4 football team. That’s decent but not great. Good enough to beat Bama so I’ll take it.
Will the 2022 Aggie football team be more talented than the 2021 Aggie football team? Let’s look at the position groups.
Quarterback – Much Improved:
I’m going to do a much deeper dive into the 2022 Aggie quarterbacks in my next post.
For now I’ll just say I think it’s safe to say/hope that one of Haynes King, Max Johnson, or Connor Weigman will be more productive than Zach Calzada in 2021.
If not, well, just get ready for the Aggie Football/Jimbo jokes from college football fans and the talking heads. Much of it will be justified.
Running Back – TBD:
Initially I would have said the loss of Isiah Spiller would be a challenge to overcome. Jimbo has recruited well but Spiller was a really damn productive back for 3 seasons. Him leaving seems like a pretty big loss. He was a very well rounded back in that he could run, catch, and block. His blocking was probably the most underrated part of his game.
I’m putting TBD for two reasons – Devon Achane and the offensive line. We all know about Achane’s talent. We just don’t know about his durability. If Achane is durable we’re gonna be just fine. We might even be better. If not, we’ve got some real inexperienced guys in the backfield. Talented but inexperienced.
The other reason for TBD is because of the next group. If they do what I think they’re going to do then our running game will be better than last season.
Offensive Line – Much Improved:
I’m really bullish on the 2022 Aggie offensive line. We lose a first rounder in Kenyon Green but I think we’re going to be better. Bryce Foster, Layden Robinson, and Deuce Fatheree all have All American talent. All three of these guys are going to get drafted to play in the NFL. Foster and Fatheree were true freshman last year and Robinson was starting his first season. I don’t see how these guys won’t be much improved over last season.
Left tackle and left guard is a big of a crapshoot but I think we’re going to be fine. We’ll step back a tad at left guard replacing Green but we’ve got talent in the wings.
I was never a fan of Jahmir Johnson at left tackle. I’m not worried about improving from him at all.
This group could be better than 2020 offensive line which was a damn good unit. If these guys gel early then the 2022 Aggie football team is going to be damn good.
Wide Receiver – Improved:
I’m marking this as improved for two reasons – It can’t be worse and there’s some young talent.
I’ve said repeatedly the wide receiver unit has been the most disappointing unit of Jimbo’s tenure in Aggieland. We haven’t had a receiver drafted since Christian Kirk in 2018. We’ve missed the days of Christian Kirk, Josh Reynolds, Mike Evans, and Ryan Swope.
We get Ainias Smith back which is a good base to start from. We lose Demond Demas and Caleb Chapman. I’m okay with this as they were long on talent but short on production. Production matters.
I think Moose Muhammed is going to have a good year now that he’s a year older and getting regular snaps. The early reports on Evan Stewart are REALLY positive. Yulkeith Brown and Chris Marshall will hopefully provide that deep threat we’ve been missing.
I’d like to mark this unit as much improved but there’s just too much uncertainty.
Tight End – TBD:
I’m marking this as TBD just because it turns out Jaylen Wydermyer wasn’t as dominant as we thought. It seems he just had a great rapport with Kellen Mond. Don’t get me wrong in that Wydermyer was good but he wasn’t a special tight end. Special tight ends get drafted. That sounds harsh but it’s a reality.
This is TBD because there’s no one with experience but we’re long on talent and depth. I personally think we’re going to see some combination of Jake Johnson and Donavan Green produce at this position. At least from a receiving standpoint.
I think Baylor Cupp left because he wasn’t separating himself from the guys on the roster. He knew he needed to find some place where could get snaps.
I believe we’ll have at minimum the same production we got in 2021 but likely more.
Defensive Line – Improved:
I can’t believe I just said the 2022 defensive line will be an improvement over the 2021 defensive line. The 2021 defensive line was the heart and soul of that team. It was a damn good unit.
I just think there’s so much talent and depth on the defensive line that we’re going to see an improvement in 2022. Not a drastic improvement but I think our defensive line is going to start doing what some Bama and Georgia defensive fronts have done in years past.
Like the offensive line I’m bullish here.
Linebacker – Improved:
Aaron Hansford was an outstanding linebacker for the Aggies in 2021. I think Edge Cooper and Andre White are going to be better though. In addition to the starters we’ve got some talented youngsters I think are going to add some nice depth.
This won’t be a massive improvement or a dominant unit but I do think the 2022 linebacker unit will be better than the 2021 unit.
Secondary – Improved:
I almost scored this much improved but I’m just going to say improved because of the inexperience. We lose Leon O’Neal who I thought had turned into an outstanding safety.
There’s a lot of uncertainty of who plays where other than Demani Richardson but that’s not a bad thing. The reality is we have a lot of talent to fill 4 spots. This is a good problem to have.
I think when things shake out we’re going to have a really strong secondary with talent and depth. Last year’s unit was pretty good but I’m comfortable saying the 2022 secondary will be better than the 2021 unit.
Obviously I’m bullish on the 2022 Aggie units. I think every unit could be better than the related 2021 unit. Running back and tight end are in question but the talent is there to be better. We just need health and early adapting to SEC play from the talented depth we have.
Every unit should be better than 2021.
I’m not exactly sure what that means for wins and losses but I definitely feel 8-4 is the floor. I know that seems disappointing but that should really tell you how far Jimbo has brought this program in 4 seasons. 8-4 is now the absolute floor.
We’ve still got some developing to do but things are looking good.