For Arizona State, the 2022 NFL Draft kind of went like its season. There were some stellar moments but overall it was disappointing considering the level of talent.
The Sun Devils had three players drafted on day three, for a total of four players drafted. He was tied for second in the Pac-12 behind UCLA’s six and ASU’s most in a single draft since 2015, when he also had four.
Players chosen during Saturday’s festivities in Las Vegas included cornerback Jack Jones who went to the New England Patriots with the 16th pick of the fourth round (121st pick overall), nose tackle DJ Davidson, who was selected with the fourth pick in the fifth round (147th overall) by the New York Giants and cornerback Chase Lucas, who went to the Detroit Lions with the 16th pick in the seventh round (237th overall).
Those three followed running back Rachaad White who was picked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 27th pick in the third round (91st overall pick) of the NFL Draft on Friday night.
This makes a grand total of 258 players who have been drafted out of ASU, marking the ninth straight year that ASU has had at least one player drafted. This is the seventh time in nine years that the Sun Devils have had multiple selections.
Still, there have been some surprising developments. Left tackle Kellen Diesch, a 6-foot-7, 300-pounder who was expected to go as high as the fourth round and some thought he might be the first Sun Devil taken, was not called up and ended up signing with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.
Center Dohnovan West, also a midterm projection by some, was also not called up but he signed with the 49ers.
But the positive surprise was the round Jones was selected in and a testament to making the most of a second chance.
Jones began his college career at USC, but did not cut it academically and left that program. He also had some well-documented off-field issues.
After attending community college, Jones found his way back to football with the path blazed by then-ASU defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, who coached him at Long Beach Poly High School (California).
He had to do extensive work to be academically eligible before playing for ASU for the first time in 2019 and had to be vetted by those at the university above the coaching staff before being cleared to play for the Sun Devils.
Last week, ASU coach Herm Edwards was asked about the off-court issues that can arise when reviewing a prospect draft. He said he was honest with potential suitors.
“You tell them exactly where that player is, where he is, where he might need help,” said Edwards, who added he was very proud that Jones had graduated. “I was in the room (when the Jets head coach) and we were thinking about signing a guy and we were calling players from our team, guys that we knew were highly respected by their peers and we said, ‘ “Hey what do you think if we draft this guy. You gather all the information and make the best decision for your football team.”
Jones has won All-Pac 12 accolades twice. Although smaller at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Jones has a knack for being around the ball and making plays.
He finished that season with 42 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, six breakups and three forced fumbles. He was ASU’s highest-ranked defender with a 79.4 overall score, good for 15th among all Pac-12 defenders, regardless of position. It was the fourth highest rating among all Pac-12 corners, 33rd among all FBS corners.
In 26 games as the Sun Devil, Jones had 92 tackles, six interceptions, forced four fumbles and totaled 26 passes defended.
Davidson, a product of Mesa Desert Ridge High School, made 27 career starts and was one of only two ASU defensive players to start every regular season game.
The 6-5, 325-pound was the Pac-12’s 20th-highest-ranked defenseman overall (76.0), regardless of position, and the league’s third-highest-ranked defensive interior lineman, 15th top rated defender. in the league in running defense (77.7) and leading among interior linemen.
He has recorded 31 defensive “stops” on run defense this year, good for second place in the FBS among interior linemen and has totaled 57 tackles, including 48 on plays in progress – fourth of all linemen FBS defensive.
Lucas, a 6-foot, 185-pounder from Chandler High School, started 49 games, finishing second on the school’s career roster in that department. He received an All-Pac 12 honorable mention after earning second-team honors twice. Last season he had 34 tackles and six broken passes and was one of only four corners not to allow a touchdown this year.
The fiery and vocal leader of the Sun Devils. He also has the distinction of going 5-0 in games against Territorial Cup rival Arizona.
ASU had a conference of the top eight players who participated in the NFL combine in Indianapolis in March, but only half of them heard their names called. Linebacker Darien Butler is among those who didn’t hear his name during the draft.
Butler signed with the Las Vegas Raiders as a free agent, which means he will reunite with Pierce who is now the coach of that position there.
Tight end Curtis Hodges has signed with the Washington Commanders, making a total of eight Sun Devils who have been drafted or signed as a free agent
The Pac-12 finished with 24 selections, its lowest total in the expansion era. Ten conference schools had players picked, with Colorado and Arizona not picking a player. Utah and Oregon, the teams that contested the championship game, each had just one, although both have young teams and will return their starters’ balances.
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