The 2022 NFL Draft continued to smile on the Cincinnati Bearcats as Myjai Sanders became the fourth Bearcat to be selected. Ahmad Gardner, Desmond Ridder, and Alec Pierce were all selected earlier in the draft.
In 2021, Sanders earned first‐team All‐AAC honors for the second‐ straight season, as well a Senior Bowl invite. He was also named to PFF’s All‐AAC First Team as the Bearcats earned the first College Football Playoff berth in G5 history. The Bearcats finished the season first nationally in pass efficiency allowed (100.47), fourth in opponent completions (53.5 percent), third in interceptions (18), fifth in TD passes allowed (10) and No. 3 in passing yards allowed (168.3).
As the key piece of Cincinnati’s front seven, Sanders often encountered double-teams and chip blocks from opposing offenses. Despite that, he totaled 34 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and five passes defended in 2021.
The rest of Sanders’ college career reads similarly. A 6’5”, 255-pound Jacksonville native, he was a semifinalist for the 2020 Bednarik Award and led his team in TFLs that season with 10.5.
The main concern amongst most of the NFL scouting reports out there on Sanders was his body frame, basically calling him too skinny. It’s easy to see where they’re coming from when you compare him to some of the other edge guys in this draft class like Kayvon Thibodeaux who are built like a truck, but frankly there are plenty of contributing outside linebackers in the NFL with similar attributes. He ran a 4.41, which is fantastic for his size.
If there’s one concern that I have to strongly agree with, he wants to beat tackles off the ball a little too badly. He jumps a lot which, at worst can draw a penalty or cause him to lose his balance and give opposing linemen the edge. When it works though, he shut down opposing backfields in college.