Unlike last year which yielded no HBCU draft picks, four HBCU players have been chosen in the 2022 NFL Draft. Get the full story from D. Orlando Ledbetter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution below.
Four players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities were selected in the NFL draft Saturday.
The Chiefs selected Fayetteville (N.C.) State cornerback Joshua Williams with the 135th pick overall, and the Rams selected S.C. State cornerback Decobie Durant with the 142nd pick.
Jackson State outside linebacker James Houston IV was selected by the Lions went in the sixth round (217th overall) and Southern offensive tackle Ja’Tyre Carter was drafted by the Bears in the seventh round (226th overall).
HBCU coaches, including Howard’s Larry Scott, and former Falcons star Deion Sanders, currently the head coach at Jackson State, were stunned last season when no players from HBCUs were drafted by NFL teams.
There was an HBCU combine last year in Birmingham, and this year one was held before the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
Williams, Durant, Carter and Florida A&M safety Markquese Bell all were invited and participated in the main scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Bell was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Williams is a lanky cornerback at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He has a 6.18 grade from NFL.com, which translates to being a backup who could be developed into a starter.
Williams played with offensive tackle Kion Smith, who signed with the Falcons last season as an undrafted free agent. He was released and signed with Miami’s practice squad.
Instant analysis on the picks from The33rdteam.com:
Round 4, Pick 135 — Kansas City Chiefs select: Joshua Williams (Fayeteville State CB)
Instant analysis: This selection really comes down to one thing: potential. At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with arms of almost 33 inches, Williams has rare fluidity at that size. He might need a year or two, but this is the kind of high-upside pick the Chiefs should make here.
Round 4, Pick 142 — Los Angeles Rams select: Decobie Durant (South Carolina State CB)
Instant analysis: The former MEAC (defensive player of the year), Decobie Durant projects as an above the line slot corner in a zone heavy defense, where his instincts, run support and burst can best be felt in and around the (line of scrimmage). He could also play outside corner in a Cover 2 base defense, but the slot is likely to be his optimal fit.
Round 6, Pick 217 — Detroit Lions select: James Houston IV (Jackson State EDGE)
Instant Analysis: Houston is a very aggressive and strong LB out of HBCU Jackson State. However, his speed leaves something to be desired and has trouble with quicker RBs and TEs in coverage.
Round 7, Pick 226 — Chicago Bears select: Ja’Tyre Carter (Southern iOL)
Instant Analysis: Carter’s lack of mobility and ability to block in space are huge problems. If he gets his hands on you, you’re in trouble. But his overall athleticism is an issue and may only get worse if he puts weight on.