The college football season has officially come to an end, and the NFL season is not too far behind. That means it is time for us to start looking towards the 2022 NFL Draft, and some of the players that will be featured in it. For our first mock draft we will be starting off light with just the 1st round. As we get closer and closer to Draft day though I will increase the draft length to the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd rounds.
We have 18 of our 32 draft picks set, and the rest I have based on how I think the match ups will play out. While these are still subject to change, feel free to argue who I have winning my DM’s on Instagram or Twitter. Other than that, let’s get to it!
1. Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars
If I was Jacksonville I would prefer to trade down from the 1st overall pick. HOWEVER. This is a world where the Jaguars cannot trade out of the 1st overall pick. Hutchinson & Thibodeaux are freaks off the edge but honestly the Jaguars have a lot of potential already there. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson still have time to prove their worth. They did just get the honor to draft Trevor Lawrence, so I think it’s the best decision to protect him immediately.
Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson haven’t given Jacksonville any reason to not upgrade at the position. Offensive line is also a great position to have “too much” talent at, especially when talking about tackles. Evan Neal has been amazing at the University of Alabama, and proven himself against top talent from a young age. Neal will not just keep Lawrence upright, he will give the young quarterback more time to read the field and make plays.
2. Aidan Hutchinson, Edge Rusher/DE, Detroit Lions
Aidan Hutchinson to the Detroit Lions would be an A+ move. The Lions could use an upgrade on the edge as no one has more than five sacks this season. Hutchinson had 14 sacks this year along with 10 more QB pressures. I would be confident in Hutchinson being able to step right into the starting line up for the Lions and push for 10 sacks as a rookie.
The cherry on top? He is a Michigan kid born and raised, groomed through the Wolverines football program. Depending on how you feel about Matthew Stafford the Lions have been without a superstar since 2015. Aidan Hutchinson has tons of marketing upside for a team that lacks a real star. This could be Detroit’s Nick Bosa or possibly even Myles Garrett.
3. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge Rusher/OLB, Houston Texans
I truly think Kayvon Thibodeaux is the best prospect in this draft class. I love Aidan Hutchinson but I really think Thibodeaux’s potential is still miles away whereas I don’t know how much more you get out of Hutchinson. Thibodeaux is bendy, fast, athletic, and has a great personality to boot. I think the Texans would be wise to just take the best player on the board, and continue on with their rebuild.
Thibodeaux has the upside to be a Myles Garrett type pass rusher. You plug him into Greenard’s role and bring in Greenard and use him as a rotational pass rusher. Possibly until Kayvon Thibodeaux gets his feet under him in the NFL you would use him as the rotational pass rusher, but either way you add a ton of athleticism on the edge.
4. Derek Stingley Jr., Cornerback, New York Jets
Derek Stingley Jr could be the biggest question mark in this draft class. On one hand he has shown everything he needs to prove he is an elite cornerback prospect. On the other his biggest enemy is his own health and unavailability. If Derek Stingley tests come back healthy he should be one of the best prospects in this draft class.
New York Jets fans are probably hesitant to draft another possible injury prone CB after what happened with Dee Milliner. Rightfully so, but Stingley is worth the risk. This defense will be able to get after the quarterback thanks to Saleh’s defensive mind alone, but the Jets need to secure the secondary asap. If you bring in a playmaking defensive back like Stingley this allows the defense to capitalize off a stressed quarterback. Saleh also won’t have to stress as much as he did with the 49er’s secondary because of the pure talent thrown into the secondary in New York
5. Kyle Hamilton, Safety, New York Giants
Kyle Hamilton could easily come off the board to the Jets but luckily for the Giants he falls slightly to them in this mock draft. You truly can place Hamilton wherever you would like on defense. I believe if the Giants wanted to play him at the free safety position he would be able to wreak havoc once the ball is in the air.
Adoree Jackson, James Bradberry, and Aaron Robinson are all young talented cornerbacks locked in for New York. I think Hamiltion would be a great addition to a NYG secondary that already has great pieces there. They also have players like Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, and Jabril Peppers that they can rotate in the secondary as well. Kyle Hamilton can give you someone that makes this secondary elite, and extremely hard to score on.
6. Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
Even though I don’t think Kenny Pickett is worth a Top-10 pick, Carolina doesn’t have a choice. Sam Darnold has pretty much shown to be a swing and a miss on their part thus far. Cam Newton could possibly be a stop gap, but I dont think Matt Rhule wants to have yet another unsuccessful season.
The roster they have right now is very close to competing in the NFC. New Orleans, and Atlanta are pretty big question marks currently. Tampa Bay will lose Tom Brady at some point, and most likely a lot of that talent on their roster right now. Christian McCaffrey is one of the most special talents in the league, and players like D.J. Moore, Jeremy Chinn, and Stephon Gilmore are amazing complimentary pieces. You put someone like Derek Carr or Matt Ryan (who I think Kenny Pickett could end up like) on that team and I think this team could already be competing right now.
7. Tyler Linderbaum, Offensive Lineman, New York Giants (CHI)
With the Giants second first round selection they address the offensive line. This is debatably the Giants biggest issue right now, and I think With Andrew Thomas already there this gives the Giants two very athletic tackles to bolster the offensive line with.
Daniel Jones may be gone after this season but no quarterback prospect is really worth a Top-10 pick this year. It would be wise to continue to build the roster until you can plug a young quarterback in successfully. By using this draft class to just add the best players available the Giants will make Daniel Jones life easier. They also can still look to find a quarterback in 2023 if it remains a problem.
8. Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons and Alabama wide receivers go together like peanut butter and jelly. Jameson Williams turned himself from a 3rd string wide out into one of the top weapons in the country. Very much like DeVonta Smith and Calvin Ridley were able to do at Bama, Williams is a master at creating separation. At Alabama we continuously saw him get open, and when he wasn’t open he was still coming down with the ball.
Currently the Falcons have Russell Gage as their WR1 and that is just not going to work. Calvin Ridley has been away from the team for awhile now and I honestly wouldn’t expect him back with Atlanta. Yes they drafted Kyle Pitts, who had a good rookie season at that, but the Falcons don’t look like they want to convert him into a wide receiver. While I don’t think it would be fair to expect the same route running ability as Calvin Ridley; adding someone like Jameson Williams gives them a receiver that can produce in a very similar way.
9. Malik Willis, Quarterback, Denver Broncos
Malik Willis could have the highest ceiling out of all the QBs in this class. He had an extremely rocky 2021, and finished rather flat. Even with that he still managed to flash plenty of skill as a passer. I haven’t even mentioned his added ability to get yards with his legs as well. Give Willis the weapons that the Denver Broncos have and see how much more consistent his game becomes.
So far Denver has only had four games this year with over 250 passing yards. Courtland Sutton had a very impressive 2019 season before tearing his ACL in 2020. Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler both have the ability to take short passes and turn them into big plays. There is no excuse for an offense with these weapons to be this stagnant besides just inconsistent quarterback play.
10. Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, New York Jets (SEA)
Rob Saleh is a defensive oriented coach that probably wants to due some major upgrading to his defense. Nakobe Dean is an athletic freak who flies to the ball on nearly every play. Stop the run, rush the passer, or even step out in coverage; he will do it all. He could very much be the Fred Warner of this New York Jets defense.
C.J. Mosley has been a very big waste of money for the Jets, and it is time to move on. New York has been fielding trade calls for Mosley and it just seems best for both sides to part ways. Dean gives them someone to immediately plug into his role as a starting outside linebacker. He is a heck of a lot cheaper, younger, and might even be able to perform at a more consistent level at that.
11. Matt Corral, Quarterback, Washington Football Team
Washington doesn’t have a bunch of glaring needs, but quarterback is definitely viewed as one. As good as Taylor Heinicke has performed when called upon he is not the long-term future. Washington is starting their rebrand next season and it would just seem fitting to get yourself a franchise quarterback.
Matt Corral offers a lot of the same attributes that you like in Heinicke. He has the ability to extend plays with his legs, and a great arm. The decision making is where you’ll see the biggest difference between the two. While Corral offers a ton of upside I fully expect him to struggle with NFL defenses early on. I think if you put a QB in front of Corral for the very start of his career, and let his legs get underneath him, this offense will have a lot more potential.
12. DeMarvin Leal, Defensive Lineman, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are another team that really could go a handful of different directions here with their first round pick. Defensive line might seem like the biggest need for Minnesota immediately but drafting DeMarvin Leal could provide the biggest impact to their roster. The defensive line for Minnesota is currently a very big question mark outside of Danielle Hunter. Leal can provide pass rush from the interior or off the edge, and is a great run defender too. I think he would line up nicely from someone like Dalvin Tomlinson and also take double teams away from Danielle Hunter.
Many Vikings’ fans would love to see them move on from Kirk Cousins and upgrade the quarterback position but that really isn’t too realistic for them in this draft class. Especially if you take in the fact that Mike Zimmer is most likely going to be gone this off-season, you might as well see what Cousins can do with a different head coach.
13. Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
“So close, yet so far” is the best way I think you could describe the Cleveland Browns currently. Baker Mayfield is slowly kicking himself out of Cleveland, and the team itself just seems like it has lost its identity. All that being said, the Browns could go a few different ways with this pick but I have them giving Baker no excuses for his 5th year.
Garrett Wilson could be the best wide receiver in this class by the time draft day comes, and would immediately give the Browns a reliable wide receiver opposite of Jarvis Landry. Even Landry tends to miss time due to injury giving Cleveland even more reason to add depth at WR. I think Garrett Wilson compliments what the Browns like to do, and could possibly make their offense “unstoppable”. Obviously a lot of that relies on Baker Mayfield proving himself as a consistent quarterback next season. With that being said though this pick gives Mayfield no excuses next year, and sets the Browns up for their next quarterback if they look to move on.
14. Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Line, Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore was one of the most cursed rosters in the NFL this year with all the injuries they have succumbed to. They lost more than six starters to serious injury this year, and still managed to fight for a playoff spot. This is obviously still a really talented roster, but they could definitely find a few spots to upgrade. Offensive line, cornerback depth are two of the major positions.
Alejandro Villanueva is without a doubt the weakest link in this offensive line, and Ikem Ekwonu would immediately be able to replace him. He is a violent run blocker, and flashes his strength often on film. I think he also offers potential to be moved inside as a guard, but I firmly believe he can play right tackle for the Ravens. Icky does need to work on his pass blocking sets but I think his skill set mixes extremely well for what Baltimore does.
15. Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, Philadelphia Eagles (MIA)
The Eagles have three 1st round selections this year, and have the possibility to flip this roster around. In most draft classes I would be leaning heavily towards packaging them to move up for a QB. This year not so much. While they could still be in the Deshaun Watson/Russell Wilson race, that is impossible to predict currently. Jalen Hurts has proven himself to be something the team can build around.
Cornerback might not be the biggest need for Philly but Ahmad Gardner is just too talented to skip over here. The Eagles have to go against some pretty talented receivers in the NFC East and most teams have more than one reliable option to throw to now. By adding Sauce Gardner to a unit with Slay, Steven Nelson, and A’Vonte Maddox this now gives the Eagles something to work with in the secondary.
16. Drake London, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles (IND)
Philadelphia has done an extremely good job at remaining relevant while revamping their offense. Many expected the Eagles to be a bottom-ten team this season and have a lot of struggles with Jalen Hurts. Now they are looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs with three 1st round picks to use this year.
DeVonta Smith has been a very solid receivers this year, and even broke the Eagles record for rookie receiving yards. Outside of Smith however, there just isn’t anything positive going for Philly. Jalen Reagor has looked very bad for the Eagles, and Quez Watkins is not a reliable second receiver. Drake London gives Jalen Hurts a much needed boost in size as a receiving target, and should pair well with DeVonta Smith.
17. George Karlaftis, Defensive Lineman, Los Angeles Chargers
The year ended in possibly the most heartbreaking way if you are the Chargers but there is no question this roster has talent. Especially on the offensive side of the ball. The defense has pieces too with Derwin James, Joey Bosa, Asante Samuel Jr, and Nassir Adderley but they need more.
George Karlaftis was a game wrecking defensive end at Purdue despite being pretty much the only guy they needed to game plan for on defense. He continuously beat Big-Ten tackles and was able to bully offensive lineman just off his strength alone. I think if you pair him with Joey Bosa you would get after the quarterback way more often than the Chargers do currently with Jerry Tillery.
18. Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are right on the fence of competing in the NFC & blowing up their roster. No more Drew Brees, and Michael Thomas could be out the door soon too.
You could argue a few different positions here but Treylon Burks gives the Saints the most value here. Tre’Quan Smith is a talented receiver but is not someone I see ever becoming a No. 1 option. Michael Thomas could be gone, and most likely will be off the team at some point in the near future. New Orleans needs to make sure they continue to keep that wide receiver room deep.
19. Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, Philadelphia Eagles
If you’re Philadelphia here I feel like you have to be ecstatic at this point. Not only do you get one of the best cornerbacks in the draft, you now get debatably the best linebacker too. Both positions were pretty big needs coming into the draft, and if this happens, Philly knocks it out the park.
Devin Lloyd is a very instinctive linebacker, and gives them a major upgrade at whatever spot they would like to use him. He plays sideline to sideline and reminds me of a smaller Leighton Vander Esch. The Eagles defensive line has a great rotation of talent when healthy but that is the only group that has real depth. Slide him into most likely Genard Avery’s role and I think you now add a playmaker at every level of this defense.
20. Sam Howell, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is finally passing the torch in Pittsburgh. After 18 years all with the Steelers it is time for a new quarterback to take the reins. There is a lot of smoke for Aaron Rodgers or maybe even Russell Wilson to join them this offseason via trade but until that happens we have to assume the Steelers are looking to take a QB in the 1st round this year.
The three main guys at the quarterback position in this class are already off the board but Sam Howell is still a very interesting prospect. Howell had a steep drop off in talent around him going from his junior to senior season. He flashed plenty of great traits as a junior, but failed to lift the Tar Heels offense himself. If he were to slide into a team with a great defense like the Steelers, who already have a good amount of weapons offensively, he could perform at a pretty fair level early on.
21. Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle, New England Patriots
Charles Cross falling to No. 21 would be the ultimate New England Patriots move. I currently have Cross as one of the Top-15 players on my board, and the No. 2 offensive tackle available. Somehow though he falls to the Patriots where they take the best player available.
Trent Brown has the right side of the offensive line pretty locked in but I think you can still find a spot for Cross in the line up. Isaiah Wynn could slide inside to guard and allow Cross to play left tackle. Wide receiver would be a viable option here too but I think receiver is a position they can target in free agency.
22. Kenyon Green, Offensive Lineman, Miami Dolphins (SF)
Brian Flores catching the ax really makes this Miami pick tough. They already could address a few positions, but now that Flores is gone I think you can add quarterback to that list too. Fortunately for Tua this doesn’t look like the draft class to be looking for an upgrade at quarterback.
Somehow even after investing plenty of draft picks over the past two years towards the offensive line, it could still use help. Kenyon Green is someone I believe will make his living inside as an offensive guard, but he has taken plenty of snaps as a tackle too. Jesse Davis, Austin Jackson, or Robert Hunt, it doesn’t really matter, I think Green would be a real upgrade over either one.
23. Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, Las Vegas Raiders
It has been a tough year for the Raiders to say the least. Not only did they lose a 1st round pick in Henry Ruggs, they also had two cornerbacks make stupid decesions off the field too. Not to mention the early firing of Jon Gruden. In a season full of plenty of on the field success Las Vegas overall roster has gotten weaker than when it started in the year.
You have to worry about plenty of talented receivers in the AFC West, and it would be smart to stack up the secondary to fight that. Casey Hayward Jr is a bandaid in this cornerback room, and outside of him the talent is very thin. Adding Kaiir Elam would immediately give you a starting cornerback opposite of Hayward.
24. Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle, Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals definitely made the right move drafting Kyler Murray, and Kingsbury’s offense has done fairly well in the NFL. Now they need to focus on the other side of the ball to make things easier for Murray and Co. While I think a lot of their problems could be blamed on their offense being very shallow, you can also argue the fact they haven’t given their offense any easy wins either. Most of the games this year the Cards let up more than 24 points.
Jordan Davis is a massive human and would be a great addition to this defensive line that already has J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, and Chandler Jones coming off the edge. Being as big as he is he will naturally draw double teams, leaving Chandler Jones, and J.J. Watt in a lot easier situations. Not only does Davis naturally plug up running lanes; he can provide interior pressure on the quarterback.
25. Bernhard Riamann, Offensive Tackle, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals proved everyone wrong with selecting Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell last year. It paid off immensely, but the offensive line still could use an upgrade. Joe Burrow is coming off one of the best seasons in Bengal’s history, and it’s time they protect him. He is also coming off a pretty gnarly knee injury that can never happen again if you want him to remain a “franchise center piece”.
Riamann might play for a MAC school but when he was faced against Power-Five defenders, he held his own. I really like his pass blocking ability, and I think he has tons of upside considering he is relevantly new to the offensive tackle position. He transitioned from tight end roughly two seasons ago, and you can see it on tape. He moves very well for someone his size, and gets down the field with ease, and has great bend to him. Riamann will also be visibly outmatched sometimes and be completely run through by a defender. I believe some extra weight to him, and more reps at the position will turn him into a potential Pro Bowl offensive tackle.
26. Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, Buffalo Bills
Cornerback is definitely the position Buffalo wants to address in this draft. Especially with Tre White going down with such a late ACL injury. As of right now the Bills starting cornerbacks are Taron Johnson, and Levi Wallace. They have two legit safeties, and a very solid starting cornerback but absolutely no depth at the position.
Trent McDuffie is a great scheme fit for the Bills that will most likely be able to slide in as a starter Day 1. The Bills have gotten to the point to where they will be annual contenders in the AFC, but they now need to focus on beating teams like the Chiefs, Packers, and Bucs. Assuming Tre White comes back healthy this now gives Buffalo a pretty scary secondary considering they have one of the best safety duos in the NFL already.
27. Andrew Booth Jr., Cornerback, Detroit Lions (LAR)
Detroit solidified the defensive line with the first 1st round pick, now it is time to address the back end. Unfortunately for the Lions Jeff Okudah has not lived up to expectations, and could possibly see himself off this roster very soon. The Lions need to continue to address cornerback until they can get it right.
Now with Aidan Hutchinson getting after the quarterback the Lions will have a cornerback that should buy Hutchinson time to get there. Booth flashed very well in zone coverage but also was able to show his ability to stick to receivers too. I think if Okudah ever does pan out these two could make for a very annoying duo to opposing quarterbacks.
28. David Ojabo, Defensive End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay has put almost all their eggs into one basket, and they are on the verge of it coming back to bite them. Right now they need to continue finding a way to get after the passer and make life easier on the offense. That is how they ended up winning the Super Bowl last year, and it has been proven in the past to be a timeless method.
David Ojabo is someone that could easily go in the Top-15 picks of this draft, and is an extremely raw prospect. William Gholston and Jason Pierre-Paul are both players that possibly could be replaced in the near future. Wide receiver has quickly become very thin for the Bucs too but I don’t think the need to garner a first round selection just yet.
29. Kingsley Engabore, Edge Rusher, Kansas City Chiefs
Obviously the Kansas City Chiefs are built on the offensive side of the ball. Last year they completely revamped their offensive line, and put together a very solid unit. Outside of Chris Jones no one was able to really consistently get after the quarterback this season. More pressure to the quarterback will help separate Patrick Mahomes talents on offense even more for the Chiefs.
Kingsley Engabore wreaked havoc in the SEC during his three year career with the Gamecocks. I really believe you could use him as a rotational pass rusher, bring in Chris Jones, and really make life hell for quarterbacks. Also he gives the Chiefs flexibility to get rid of Frank Clark’s contract if they ever look to do so.
30. Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
Next season Aaron Rodgers is gone, and likely so is DaVante Adams. It will be a total rebuild of the offense, and possibly the defense too. With that being said there are a few ways the Packers can look, and I think wide receiver would be a smart one. There is a very slim chance Rodgers stays, but until he is gone I would try my hardest to make things hard to leave.
Jahan Dotson is exactly what this offense could use, and what they have been missing since they had a prime Randall Cobb. His ability to take short passes and turn them into big gains is very coveted in the NFL. Dotson will make it very hard to just focus on Adams which could make things very messy for defenses. He also has speed that will take the top off defenses and allow the Packers even more field to work with. His sure hands are also a plus; he catches the ball like it is a marshmallow.
31. Roger McCreary, Cornerback, Tennessee Titans
The Titans have one of the best overall rosters in the league if you look at it head to toe. There really isn’t a glaring need. However, cornerback is still probably the team’s biggest red flag right now. Tennessee brought in Bud Dupree to rush the passer alongside Harold Landry last offseason. If they can get a little more talent in that secondary things will be very difficult for offenses going forward.
Roger McCreary now joins Kristian Fulton and Elijah Molden in a very young cornerback room. Janoris Jenkins will not be with the Titans much longer, and Caleb Farley might not be someone Tennessee can trust to stay on the field. Worst case scenario Farley comes back full strength and now you have a loaded secondary with a very solid pass rush.
32. Trevor Penning, Offensive Tackle, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have an extremely well rounded roster but there are still certainly some holes. This offseason could force the Cowboys to be rather thin at defensive end, and the secondary is still questionable. However with your franchise quarterback coming off a serve ankle injury I would stay ahead of the game on his protection. We have seen how this offense operates without Dak Prescott, and it isn’t pretty.
Trevor Penning is a great passing blocking tackle, and gives the Cowboys some much needed OT depth. Terrance Steele is currently the swing tackle for Dallas, but as Tyron Smith ages the more necessary it is to get someone else on the roster.