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2022 NFL Draft: An inside look at 4 former Washington high school football standouts who might be drafted

There are no first-day locks, but don't be surprised if a pair of ex-Archbishop Murphy teammates, UW's Kyler Gordon and WSU's Abraham Lucas, sneak into the opening round Thursday

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday in Las Vegas but only a handful of former Washington high school stars are projected to be taken over the three-day, seven-round draft.

Fox Sports NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang offers a scouting report on each player and projects where they will potentially be selected during this weekend’s draft:

Defensive back, 5-11, 194, Archbishop Murphy High School

Kyler Gordon, Archbishop Murphy and UW star before 2022 NFL Draft

Kyler Gordon registered his only two career interceptions at Washington in a victory last fall over California.

The skinny: Even though he's a three-time, All-Pacific 12 Conference selection, the self-assured Gordon played just one full season as a starter last fall - and was voted a first-teamer (two interceptions, team-high seven pass breakups). So, why is he under first-round consideration? Few cornerbacks change direction, especially in short spaces, better than Gordon. That is why Rang sees him as a successful man-to-man pass defender. "He's a quality open-field tacker, so you can play zone with him. But you are also taking away what makes him special if you ask him to play off. Just match him up with a wide receiver so you can take advantage of his explosive speed and change-of-direction skills," Rang said.

Best NFL position: Cornerback.

Rang's draft prediction: Late first round, early second round - between pick Nos. 20-45

Offensive lineman, 6-6, 315, Archbishop Murphy High School

Abraham Lucas, WSU and Archbishop Murphy football before 2022 NFL Draft

Abraham Lucas has been a fixture at right tackle along the WSU offensive line, making 42 consecutive starts.

The skinny: Big ol' No. 72 was "Mr. Reliable" for the Cougars' offensive line the past four seasons, making 42 consecutive starts before opting out of the 2021 Sun Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft. And while his consistency, durability and toughness have always been a plus with scouts, Lucas' draft stock took a bump after strong offseason showings at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and WSU's pro day. The eye-opening highlight was his 40-yard dash time in Indianapolis - 4.92 seconds. "The size and straight-line speed is pretty impressive for a big man with heavy feet," Rang said. "I think he is a walk-in-and-compete-at-NFL-right-tackle guy immediately. I love him."  

Best NFL position: Right tackle.

Rang's draft prediction: A top-50 pick that could sneak into the late first round.

Tight end, 6-5, 247, Tumwater High School

Cade Otton, Tumwater and UW football before 2022 NFL Draft

Cade Otton played eight games as a senior for Washington last fall before a foot injury ended his season.

The skinny: For a hit-or-miss UW offense, Otton was arguably the team's top skill-position player over the past four seasons (91 catches, 1,026 yards, nine touchdowns), receiving honorable-mention All-American honors after his junior season. But a foot injury not only cut his senior year short, it tempered his NFL Draft enthusiasm a tad. And while scouts can nitpick his overall strength and explosiveness, one thing Otton can do is get open in the passing game. "He's a clean route runner," Rang said. "He will alter his gait on shoulder dips to keep defensive players guessing. He shows snap (on route running) to get himself free. And his best asset is he is so consistent catching the ball."

Best NFL position: Tight end.

Rang's draft prediction: Late third round to early fourth round.

Wide receiver, 6-3, 226, Kentridge High School

Tanner Conner, Idaho State and Kentridge football before 2022 NFL Draft

In the past two seasons at Idaho State, Tanner Conner caught 81 passes for 1,477 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The skinny: As a legitimate, explosive two-sport standout (football, track and field) from the Big Sky Conference, is he worth it as a draft-pick flier? Based on his self-confidence flair as the visitor at the UW pro day - maybe. After a so-so showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl, Conner came over to Seattle last month and dazzled as a testing monster, including a 391/2-inch vertical jump and running the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. He also caught every pass that went his way. "At that workout, he looked draft-able," Rang said. "He’s got a real shot to go in that seventh round. I just don’t know if people view him as a big slot (receiver) or bulked-up move tight end. Last Idaho State product selected in the NFL Draft was defensive end Jared Allen in 2004.

Best NFL position: Jumbo inside wide receiver/move tight end.

Rang's draft prediction: Seventh round to priority undrafted free-agent signing.