My second mock of the 2022 season has arrived, just a few days before the draft. All picks are based off interest, needs, and tendencies that different franchises possess. A draft that is destined to be filled with surprises. Enjoy!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (UMICH EDGE Aidan Hutchinson)
A lot of steam has picked up about Travon Walker being the #1 overall pick. I am going to stick with Hutchinson here and avoid the smoke screen that has developed ahead of the draft. Walker is a tremendous prospect, but Hutchinson’s tape is just simply better. Hutchinson is a safer pick and is an instant impact player that the Jaguars are in serious need of.
2. Detroit Lions (UGA EDGE Travon Walker)
Travon Walker is the clear pick at #2 overall for the Lions. Walker has incredible upside, something that the Lions want as they are deep into a rebuild. Walker’s speed, physicality, and mindset is everything Lions HC Dan Campbell is looking for. The Lions need a monumental game changer on the defensive side of the ball. Many options are available for the Lions, but with Walker’s upside I believe this is the best option at No. 2.
3. Houston Texans (UC CB Ahmad Gardner)
The Texans are in need of virtually every single position. Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner’s stock has risen and is considered a serious option at #3. Based on continued interest, I would not be surprised to see Gardner go off the board here. Texans HC Lovie Smith is looking for lockdown defenders to change their defensive mentality. Gardner will bring a special mentality and energy to Houston that will rejuvenate the defense.
4. New York Jets (OREGON EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux)
A stacked edge class has led to multiple questions for the New York Jets. I believe the Jets will go with Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux here, simply because they can not guarantee Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson will fall to them at #10 (unless they trade up). Kayvon has been heavily disrespected in my opinion. The intriguing skill set he brings with his length and fluidity at the position is not close to Johnson, that is why I think New York goes with the better edge rusher at #4.
5. New York Giants (BAMA OT Evan Neal)
Addressing the offensive line is the number one priority for new Giants HC Brian Daboll. Getting Daniel Jones some help for him to prove his worth is crucial this upcoming season. The 6-foot-7 Alabama OT Evan Neal will be the anchor in the Giants offensive line. Selecting Neal and plugging him in is the safest option for the Giants at #5.
6. Carolina Panthers (PITT QB Kenny Pickett)
One of the most questioned and open ended teams in the draft this year are the Carolina Panthers. At 6th overall, the Panthers will be deciding between a OT and a QB. A disappointing season from former Jets QB Sam Darnold has resulted in Carolina looking for another quarterback. Darnold’s season was short-lived due to a variety of injuries. Carolina is in search of their future franchise QB. With the 6th pick, I have Carolina selecting Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett. Pickett may not be the #1 QB in this class, but Pickett’s skill set fits what Carolina wants to do. Interest between Carolina and Pickett has also picked up steam ahead of the draft.
7. New York Giants (LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr)
With Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner off the board, it leaves the New York Giants selecting their 2nd best option at cornerback. Former LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. has met with the Giants multiple times. At #5 The Giants addressed their OT needs, worrying that Carolina may select an OT. Stingley’s inconsistency has been questioned multiple times, but his strongest seasons at LSU are some of the best in this entire cornerback class. His athleticism and size brings great upside, which is why I believe the Giants value him high here at #7.
8. Atlanta Falcons (OSU WR Garrett Wilson)
OSU WR Garrett Wilson is the perfect pick at #8. The Falcons will be eagerly waiting and even potentially trading up to select a WR in round one. The suspension of Calvin Ridley and horrible WR depth has put Atlanta back into the WR market. Wilson is a no-brainer here, as his production and reliability is arguably the best in this class.
9. Seattle Seahawks (NCSU OT Ikem Ekwonu)
At #9, the Seahawks have to be shocked NCSU OT Ikem Ekwonu fell to them. Seattle’s offensive line has been horrible for years, ever since Russell Wilson’s rookie year. I believe the Seahawks take another step to address it, by adding the most versatile offensive linemen in this year’s class. With so much buzz surrounding other players, Ekwonu will likely go Top 3 or fall all the way to #9.
10. New York Jets (MISS ST OT Charles Cross)
At #10, the Jets will have several options. I believe it is in their best interest to select Miss. St. OT Charles Cross, to help Zach Wilson and increase his efficiency. The offense needs a lot of help for Zach Wilson to prove he belongs with the Jets. If the Jets do not get Wilson help, (OL and WR), Wilson could likely spiral down a path that will have major questions surrounding his future.
11. Washington Commanders (ND S Kyle Hamilton)
The former projected #1 overall pick Kyle Hamilton has fallen down draft boards tremendously this offseason. The former Notre Dame safety is arguably the best prospect in this draft, but with questions about his combine performance and interactions with franchises, Hamilton will likely fall anywhere between #8-15. The Commanders defense is in need of elite players in the secondary to pair with their Pro Bowl defensive linemen. Hamilton is a generational talent and will take the Commanders defense to the next level with his athleticism and maturity.
12. Minnesota Vikings (UGA DL Jordan Davis)
Minnesota is in need of a game changer for their front seven. UGA DL Jordan Davis is freakishly athletic for his size and will open up plays for every player on the defensive line. Davis is a tank at 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds. His lateral quickness is unmatched across the line and is what makes him such a deadly threat defensively. With Gardner and Stingley off the board, Minnesota has no choice but to go with the best DL in this class.
13. Houston Texans (FSU DE Jermaine Johnson)
The next best available offensive linemen is a reach here at #13, which is why I like Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson to head to Houston. Johnson is the most experienced DE in this class, but still holds great upside with his size and athleticism. Adding an impactful edge rusher will fit nicely after patching up a hole in the secondary with Ahmad Gardner.
14. Baltimore Ravens (BC IOL Zion Johnson)
Baltimore has found themselves looking for an upgrade at any offensive line position. With Jordan Davis off the board, it makes sense to select one of the most versatile offensive linemen in this class. Boston College IOL Zion Johnson can do it all. He has experience at every position, including center in the Reece’s Senior Bowl. In my first mock, I said Johnson is a hard worker and strives everyday to perfect his patience at the guard position. He uses great pad level in the run game and showcases a strong frame, allowing him to bulldoze anyone in his path. Johnson would be an ideal upgrade for Baltimore at #14.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (BAMA WR Jameson Williams)
The Eagles have reportedly been eyeing Alabama WR Jameson Williams with one of their first round picks. At #15, I believe selecting Williams is a great option. With two first round picks, the Eagles can sacrifice one on a top WR who is rehabbing a torn ACL in the national championship. Williams production is too good to pass up at #15, despite an ACL injury or not. Williams, alongside another former Alabama start DeVonta Smith, will be a deadly duo in the NFC East.
16. New Orleans Saints (NIU OT Trevor Penning)
The departure of former Saints LT Terron Armstead has left a big gap to fill. The New Orleans Saints, who are known for their elite offensive line play year after year, are now back in the market searching for a replacement at left tackle. A trade with the Philadelphia Eagles opened up several options, with the Saints now owning two first round picks (16 and 19). With two first round picks, I expect the Saints to secure their replacement at left tackle. Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning is the perfect fit and showcases great potential. Selecting Penning will open up several options at 19. Due to a big gap in value and skill at the OT position, I expect the Saints to secure a high level player in Penning and not wait until the later rounds to take a gamble on someone else.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (TA&M IOL Kenyon Green)
Pro Bowl QB Justin Herbert has produced ridiculous numbers behind an extremely mediocre Chargers offensive line. After addressing defense in the offseason, the Chargers will be looking to hammer down offensive needs in the draft. Texas A&M OG Kenyon Green is one of the best guards in this class, bringing versatility and patience inside. Green is a tank in the run game and will be a fearless blocker for Herbert, who is looking to take the helm in a stacked AFC West division.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (WU CB Trent McDuffie)
The Philadelphia Eagles will certainly take a CB with either #15 or #18. With WU CB Trent McDuffie falling, I expect them to run up the card on this one. McDuffie is a versatile lockdown defender that can play slot and outside. His patience is elite, as well as his ball recognition. McDuffie made outstanding plays at his time with Washington and is an obvious pick here at #18.
19. New Orleans Saints (LIB QB Malik Willis)
In my 1.0 mock, I had the Saints selecting Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. If Liberty QB Malik Willis is on the board, the Saints have to take him. Willis is my #1 QB in this draft, as he has the most upside and best skill set to succeed with any team. Adding Willis will make an interesting QB competition between him and Saints QB Jameis Winston. Willis is a safe and reliable and the Saints know the Steelers are potentially eyeing him at #20.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (UC QB Desmond Ridder)
Former Bears and Bills QB Mitchell Tribusky has found himself in Pittsburgh for the next two years. Tribusky has been extremely inconsistent and has found himself on the bench periodically the past two years. With Willis and Pickett off the board, I expect the Steelers to select the next best available option. Like I said in my 1.0 version, Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder is intriguing and has multiple assets that will force a team to select him earlier than expected. Pittsburgh has met multiple times with each QB, so they are clearly looking to select one.
21. New England Patriots (UTAH LB Devin Lloyd)
Based on positional needs, there is a good chance Utah LB Devin Lloyd falls to the Patriots at #21. Lloyd’s superb athleticism will match perfectly in the Patriots defense. His versatility is what makes him a valuable pick and will probably be the reason why he goes off the board here. The Patriots have a bigger need at CB, but Lloyd’s value and production makes him arguably the best defensive player on the board at #21.
22. Green Bay Packers (ARK WR Treylon Burks)
The departure of Pro Bowler Devante Adams has left the Packers no choice but to select a WR with one of their first round picks. A stacked WR class has fortunately left Green Bay with many options. Back to back MVP QB Aaron Rodgers is looking for another freakish athlete that can get open consistently. Arkansas WR Treylon Burks has arguably the best film out of all WRs, but due to his combine numbers he will likely fall down to board. The Packers have kept in touch with Burks all offseason, I would not be surprised if he is the pick here at #22.
23. Arizona Cardinals (USC WR Drake London)
Arizona’s flashy offense is filled with elite wide receivers. Pro Bowl QB Kyler Murray would certainly like help by adding offensive linemen, but knowing Arizona and their increased interest in the WR class, I am not sure they will go with OL at #23. USC WR Drake London would be a reasonable pick, eventually filling the hole of DeAndre Hopkins and/or AJ Green. The Cardinals added a speedy slot WR last year in Rondale Moore. Current Arizona WRs DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green are both getting holder and continue to struggle with injuries, so it makes sense for Arizona to go with a similar sized WR in Drake London.
24. Dallas Cowboys (PURDUE EDGE George Karlaftis)
I expect Jones to look towards adding a defensive end in this upcoming draft, after the departure of Randy Gregory and the defensive end group getting older. This year the edge rushers contain incredible versatility and maturity, making them arguably the best position group in this draft class. Many of the off field problems for Dallas have occurred from their defensive linemen. I expect Dallas to pick a more mature defensive linemen who wants to bring great leadership into the locker room. Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis is exactly who Dallas should be looking for. Karlaftis’s experience and film is extremely ideal, making him valuable and likely to fall in the middle of the first round.
25. Buffalo Bills (OSU WR Chris Olave)
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills had an incredible season last year, producing some of the best offensive numbers in the league. Their wide receiver depth is great, but I believe the Bills will be eyeing the best available player here. Bills HC Brian Daboll will be eyeing any potential game changer to help make his team better. Ohio State WR Chris Olave has the chance to be the best WR in this draft and at #25 he is too good to pass up. Diggs and Olave would be one of the best WR duos in the league and practically unstoppable against any defense.
26. Tennessee Titans (IOWA IOL Tyler Linderbaum)
Tennessee has lost 2 starting offensive linemen and do not have really any reliable linemen currently starting. Taking the best available IOL here is a no brainer for them. One of the highest rated IOL, Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum, would make an instant impact for Ryan Tannehill and Tennessee. Tannehill has fortunately been surrounded by a great O-Line during his time in Tennessee and I am sure he wants to keep it that way. Linderbaum is one of the most consistent linemen in this class, rarely ever letting up pressure from inside. He is a great leader who will provide valuable insight to the offensive line at the center position.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (UGA DL Devonte Wyatt)
In my first mock, I had the Buccaneers selecting Oklahoma DL Perrion Winfrey. Like I said, Veteran defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon are edging closer to the end of their careers. I still believe Tampa Bay’s #1 need is an interior defensive linemen. Another incredible Georgia prospect, Devonte Wyatt, would provide versatility and room for improvement in Tampa Bay. Wyatt is a trio of defensive linemen with abnormal speed for his size. His willingness to fight until the whistle is blown is very apparent, making him appealing to a lot of NFL teams.
28. Green Bay Packers (OU DL Perrion Winfrey)
With Devonte Wyatt off the board, I like Green Bay to select Oklahoma DL Perrion Winfrey. These two picks are basically swapped from my first mock. Wyatt is better than Winfrey and will likely be gone when the Packers are on the clock. With DL being such a crucial need, I expect the Packers to reach for Winfrey here. Winfrey has great upside, which makes him a reasonable pick. His size and length is great, but his film and production is what may result in him falling down the board.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (CLEM CB Andrew Booth Jr)
Kansas City’s success was altered by their defense last year, mainly due to their struggling secondary. A safety or cornerback here at #29 would be reasonable for the Chiefs. The best available corner in my eyes is Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. The Chiefs have shown increased interest in him and selecting a corner. Booth’s upside is arguably the best out of every CB in this draft, as he still has a lot to develop. His patience and IQ at the position is ideal for Kansas City, as their current roster struggles with those traits from time to time.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (MINN EDGE Boye Mafe)
Adding Minnesota defensive end Boye Mafe to a stacked defensive line group would make the Chiefs defense menacing. Frank Clark and Melvin Ingram are getting older and will need their contracts restructured eventually. Mafe at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds contains abnormal athleticism that is just another incredible edge rusher in this draft class. Clark and Ingram would pave the way for Mafe to be yet again another stellar defensive player for Kansas City. Mafe is too good to pass up here, despite DE potentially not being the biggest need for the Chiefs.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (UMICH DB Daxton Hill)
Bengals star safeties Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates are entering their final seasons with Cincinnati. With uncertainty drawing near, the Bengals will have to address a secondary need. Luckily for Cincinnati, Michigan DB Daxton Hill brings experience at both CB and S. Hill has the ability to play both positions extremely well and it will just come down to scheme/need. Hill is among the conversation as the second best safety in this class.
32. Detroit Lions (OLE MISS QB Matt Corral)
At #32, I like Detroit to take Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. Whether it be Corral or not, I still like the Lions to select a QB. Jared Goff brings uncertainty and adding a rookie QB would bring in another option for the future. Dan Campbell and the Lions have met with every QB in this class, so they are clearly wanting to make a splash at the position. Corral’s offensive ability and experience is what I believe will land him in Detroit, as he produced arguably the best numbers out of any QB in this draft class.