The Virginia Tech Hokies have had an impressive showing in the NFL draft with a VT player selected in 27 out of the last 28 NFL drafts. The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off with first round action, from Las Vegas, Nevada, tonight at 8 PM eastern. Round two and three will occur on Friday night starting at 7 PM eastern, and the final four rounds are starting at noon eastern on Saturday. Rounds one through three will be televised on ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network.
Mel Kiper has released his final 2022 top NFL Draft prospects with the Hokies having two showings in the top 225. At No. 60, as the No. 5 OLB prospect, is Amare Barno and just squeaking in at No. 222 is WR Tre Turner. Although ranked in the top 225, Turner falls outside of the top 40 prospects, for his position, and finds himself in the “best of the rest” category. James Mitchell didn’t make Kiper’s top 225 list, but clocks in as the No. 11 TE prospect. Lecitus Smith, is in a similar situation, listed as the No. 15 guard prospect. Brock Hoffman finds himself as the No. 14 Center. Jordan Williams (DT), Raheem Blackshear (RB), and Jermaine Waller (CB) are all listed in the “best of the rest” category for their respective positions. Finally, John Parker Romo is listed as the No. 14 kicker prospect. Six Hokies were invited to the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine: Amare Barno, Tre Turner, James Mitchell, Lecitus Smith, Luke Tenuta, and Jermaine Waller.
Coming off an impressive NFL Scouting Combine performance, aggressive predictions have Barno as a potential second round pick, but most forecasts show him being selected somewhere in R4 or R5. At the combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds, had a 37” vertical, and a 10’ 11” broad jump. You can read about his performance in greater detail here. Although considered an NFL OLB prospect, Barno played defensive end during his time at Virginia Tech. From 2019-2021 he played in 26 games and started 18, collecting 78 total tackles (48 solo), 21.5 TFL, 13 QB hurries, 10 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
Tre Turner’s prolific career at Virginia Tech started in 2018 and lasted four years through 2021. He played in 44 games and started 36. During that time, he had 134 receptions, 2292 yards (avg 17.1 ypc), with 14 TDs. Turner, as you may all remember, also featured in Virginia Tech’s questionable jet-sweep rushing attack but was quite productive when carrying the ball. On 53 attempts he earned 456 yards (8.6 ypc) and four TDs. Turner is VT’s fifth all-time WR in receptions and yards. At the Combine, Turner ran the 40-yard in 4.51 seconds, had 27” vertical, and a 9’ 5” broad jump. Turner has a wide range of possible round selections from R4 through R7, but ESPN’s most recent full mock draft has him being drafted in R4 by the Green Bay Packers.
Tight End, James Mitchell, played in 38 games (starting 20) from 2019-2021. He only played in two games this past season when his 2021 effort was cut short due to a season-ending injury against Middle Tennessee. During his Hokie career Mitchell caught 52 passes for 838 yards (16.1 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He also added five rushing scores on seven attempts. Mitchell often showed flashes of brilliance that never seemed to be fully taken advantage of by the Hokies’ anemic passing game. Although one of six VT players invited to the combine, Mitchell was unable to participate due to his injury rehabilitation. Read more about James’ draft situation here. He is projected to be selected in R5 or R6.
Lecitus Smith redshirted in 2017 and played all four years from 2018-2021. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.18 seconds, hit 23 reps on the bench, and had an 8’ 3” broad jump. He is expected to be selected somewhere in R4 or R5.
Luke Tenuta redshirted in 2018, but saw action in 34 games, starting 28, from 2019-2021. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.41 seconds, had a 26” vertical, and an 8’ 8” broad jump. Some mock drafts have him going in R6 or R7, but he will most likely find his way onto an NFL roster, after the draft, as an undrafted rookie free agent.
From 2018-2021 Jermaine Waller played in 38 games and started 23. He collected 108 total tackles (78 solo), 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 24 passes defended, seven interceptions, and one forced fumble. He only participated in the 40-yard dash, at the combine, and submitted a time of 4.68 seconds. Waller may find himself taken as a late round selection but will most likely be another undrafted rookie free agent.
Jordan Williams, Raheem Blackshear, Brock Hoffman, and John Parker Romo are unlikely to be drafted and are expected to be undrafted rookie free agent prospects. Every NFL Draft holds surprises! Best of luck gentleman! We all look forward to hearing your names called out in Las Vegas!