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Armando Salguero: List of Players Attending NFL Draft Interesting As Much Because Of Who’s Missing As Who’s Going

The NFL was pretty excited about the 21 players who have committed to attend the draft in Las Vegas starting April 28.

The league even broadcast a show on NFL Network to announce their names Thursday evening.

And there was obviously a press release to hype the upcoming event.

Some of the names are admittedly exciting. Hopeful No. 1 overall picks Aiden Hutchinson of Michigan and Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon, for example, will be in Vegas.

But only two quarterbacks have confirmed they’re attending the festivities. Liberty’s Malik Willis and Mississippi’s Matt Corral are the only two out of the entire 2022 quarterback class who are headed to Las Vegas.

And that suggests stuff:

Either the NFL didn’t invite as many QBs as it usually does because it recognizes this year’s QB class is sub-par and the players might be waiting in the green room past the first round and into the second round on Friday.

Or a bunch of guys the NFL did invite decided it would be better to hang out with family and skip the big production in Vegas.

Whatever the reason, the point is that, for an event that’s supposed to highlight who’s getting picked and then hugging commissioner Roger Goodell, this list actually seems newsworthy because of the players who aren’t expected to attend.

Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh is not on the list.

Pickett, arguably the most NFL-ready quarterback in this draft and one many analysts see as the best of the group, reportedly plans to be in his hometown in New Jersey with his family and fiancée on draft weekend.

And that’s cool. Sometimes guys don’t embrace the idea of embracing the commissioner.

Last year, first overall pick Trever Lawrence skipped the draft and stayed home with family. So did Justin Fields.

But Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones showed up. And got picked in the first round.

This year, quarterbacks such as Desmond Ridder of Cincinnati, Sam Howell of North Carolina, Nevada’s Carson Strong, and others won’t be on the red carpet. And apparently the NFL doesn’t expect them in the first round.

Oh, yeah, here’s a complete list of the 21 players the NFL says will be at the draft in Las Vegas:

1)Matt CorralQBMississippi
2)Charles CrossOLMississippi State
3)Jordan DavisDLGeorgia
4)Nakobe DeanLBGeorgia
5)Ikem EkwonuOLNorth Carolina State
6)Sauce GardnerCBCincinnati
7)Kyler GordonCBWashington
8)Kyle HamiltonSNotre Dame
9)Aidan HutchinsonDEMichigan
10)Zion JohnsonOLBoston College
11)Jermaine JohnsonDEFlorida State
12)George KarlaftisDEPurdue
13)Devin LloydLBUtah
14)Drake LondonWRSouthern California
15)Evan NealOLAlabama
16)Chris OlaveWROhio State
17)Kayvon ThibodeauxDEOregon
18)Jameson WilliamsWRAlabama
19)Malik WillisQBLiberty
20)Garrett WilsonWROhio State
21)Devonte WyattDLGeorgia

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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