In the modern NFL, the ability to play multiple positions and fill multiple roles is paramount to success. The coordinators in the NFL are excellent at identifying and exploiting weaknesses or mismatches. That makes players who have the ability to create or limit mismatches very important.
With the 2022 NFL Draft just under a week away, our All-Versatile Team takes a look at the most multi-faceted players available in the draft and identifies what traits will allow them to be successful at the NFL level.
Most Versatile Offensive Players
QB – D’Eriq King – Miami
It’s hard to be considered “versatile” as a quarterback prospect, but D’Eriq King’s inclusion on this list is more about how his athletic ability could translate at the next level.
Standing at 5086 (5-foot-8 and ¾) and 196 pounds, his diminutive stature will likely eliminate him from consideration in a full-time quarterback role. But a creative offensive coordinator could capitalize on King’s electric athleticism, quick release and above the line decision-making abilities in a wildcat quarterback role. If King is able to show that he can moonlight as a slot receiver or receiving back, he could stick in the NFL for a while.
RB – James Cook – Georgia
James Cook’ inclusion on this list stems from his ability to contribute as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker at the NFL level.
His best asset is his receiving ability, as Cook can consistently separate from linebackers and cornerbacks alike with sharp, deceptive route running skills. He sinks well in his cuts and flashes the make-you-miss ability to create additional yards on his own. While he has room to improve as a pass blocker, he shows toughness and willingness to engage with blitzers, which will endear him to his future coaching staff and quarterback.
WR – Christian Watson – North Dakota State
While the competition for most versatile wide receiver in the draft was stiff, Christian Watson ultimately earned our nod for his ability to contribute out wide, in the slot, from the backfield, and as a returner.
In a very run-heavy North Dakota State offense, Watson put up relatively pedestrian receiving numbers relative to his peers at the top of the draft class, but NDSU offensive coordinator Tyler Roehl did everything possible to get him heavily involved in the offensive game plan. Watson frequently received carries out of the backfield as a runner, showed flashes of elite deep threat ability, and was a first-team All-American kick returner to boot. His combination of height, speed and flexibility are extremely rare.
TE – Trey McBride – Colorado State
While there is no clear first-round talent at tight end this season, McBride is as close as it gets according to our scouts. His inclusion on the All-Versatile Team stems from his ability to play as an inline Y tight end or F (move) tight end.
While McBride is an inch shorter than the NFL Combine average for tight ends, he’s a tenacious blocker with outstanding toughness and play strength. Coupled with excellent ball skills and good route running ability, McBride can plug-and-play in a variety of roles in the NFL.
OT – Evan Neal – Alabama
With experience at both tackle spots and guard, the potential top 5 pick can plug into any starting spot on an offensive line and be an immediate impact player.
Neal is the top pass blocking tackle in the draft and his light on his feet despite his 6071, 337-pound stature. With rare size, excellent athleticism, and good technical abilities, Neal has high potential at any spot on the offensive line.
iOL – Zion Johnson – Boston College
Zion Johnson’s candidacy on the All-Versatile team is bolstered by his experience toggling back and forth between offensive tackle and guard in his collegiate career.
He also came to the Senior Bowl and showed promising ability at Center, giving teams film to watch of him at every offensive line position. With a rare combination of range, flexibility and power, Johnson will likely hear his name called in the first round
Most Versatile Defensive Players
iDL – Logan Hall – Houston
While he was overshadowed last season by former first-rounder Payton Turner, Hall’s excellent closing speed and play temperament were on display this season from a multitude of alignments.
While he doesn’t have the size to play inside full-time in most defenses, Hall can toggle between the 3-tech or 5-tech spots in either a 4-3 or 3-4 and will begin his career as a high-end rotational pass rusher.
EDGE – Cameron Thomas – San Diego State
Cameron Tomas had a rough pre-draft process after sustaining an injury at the Senior Bowl that forced him to miss the NFL Combine, but the film shows an extremely versatile player who lined up anywhere from 0-tech to 9-tech at San Diego State.
He does not have the heft to play in the A gap at the NFL level, but he can toggle anywhere from 5-tech to 9-tech on rushing downs at the NFL level and has the ability to shoot the B gap on obvious passing downs from the 3-tech position.
LB – JoJo Domann – Nebraska
Fans of Browns rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah should be intrigued by Domann for his similar skill set and role in college. While Domann does not have the elite instincts of Owusu-Koramoah, his versatile ability to cover from the slot, stoutness against the run, and canny blitzing ability will make him an intriguing option for creative defensive coordinators.
CB – Andrew Booth Jr. – Clemson
Booth’s inclusion on our All-Versatile Team list stems from his ability to toggle between the outside cornerback role and in the slot. With good size, speed, and excellent ball skills, Booth profiles to fit best in a man-heavy scheme, but could grow into an excellent zone cornerback as well.
Play him to press, play off-man, or cover in the slot and he can thrive immediately.
S – Kyle Hamilton – Notre Dame
With a rare combination of height, weight and speed for the position, Kyle Hamilton has the ability to thrive as a three-level safety. The potential top 10 pick is the No. 2 overall player on The 33rd Team’s due to his ability to toggle between free safety, strong safety, linebacker, and blitzer off the edge.
Hamilton is as versatile of a defensive chess piece as you’ll find, and a creative defensive coordinator could enable him to be a perennial All-Pro.