Happy Thanksgiving Weekend, Redshirts! As we approach the final week of the college football regular season, it felt like a good time to craft my first NFL mock draft of the 2022 Draft cycle. Please direct all complaints into the void.
1 – Detroit Lions select Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux – In a draft light on top end QB talent, Detroit should opt to use the first pick on another Oregon player in Thibodeaux, whos largely considered the best prospect in the class. Lions also benefit from having the Rams first rounder, so the need for a QB can be pushed to that selection in favor of taking best player available.
2 – New York Jets select Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson – Few players have played themselves into more money this year than Hutchinson. As a projected late first, early second round pick last year, he opted to come back for the 2021 season and has played like a man possessed, rising up draft boards in the process. The Jets need pass rushers that can get past the New England offensive wall and someone to bring down Josh Allen, and Hutchinson can be that impact player.
3 – Jacksonville Jaguars select Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton – The Jaguars need help desperately in the secondary, and Hamilton brings a unique blend of size and athleticism to the safety position. A versatile defender with the ability to play in multiple roles on defense, Hamilton would be a great add for the Jags as they look for the Trevor Lawrence of the defense.
4 – Houston Texans select Ole Miss QB Matt Corral – I think pick 4 is a bit high for any QB in this years draft, but with the desperate need for every team to find that franchise signal caller, some team is going to be the first to jump: enter the Houston Texans. Tyrod Taylor has played ok as the placeholder and 2021 draft pick Davis Mills hasn’t exactly wowed, Matt Corral is the clear cut number 1 QB in my opinion at this point. If he pans out for Houston, who cares if they “overdraft”?
5 – New York Giants (via CHI) select Purdue EDGE George Karlaftis – Karlaftis has simply been under hyped this season, whether its because of the names of Thibodeaux or Hutchinson or because of teammate David Bell. He’s a powerhouse rusher that compliment 2021 draftee Azeez Ojulari nicely. In a division with Dak Prescott and the legs of Jalen Hurts, its never hurts to have a great pass rush, just ask the Giants Super Bowl teams.
6 – New York Jets (via SEA) select LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr – I could have sent Stingley to the Jets with the second overall pick, but opted to save the CB position due to positional value. Stingley has been a very hyped prospect since he stepped on the field for that 2019 LSU team, and while health issues have deterred some of the hype over time, he’s still a clear top five player in terms of pure talent for this draft class, and the Jets could use plenty of help at the cornerback position.
7 – New York Giants select NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu – Giants seems to finally be getting some solid play out of Andrew Thomas, but the Giants will lose a few interior names to free agency this offseason, and the Nate Solder signing has been a disaster. Ekwonu is a bully on the line and the Giants will need to keep building a wall for Daniel Jones if they opt to continue on with him.
8 – Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA) select Florida CB Kaiir Elam – While I’m not as sold on Jalen Hurts as most just yet, he’s made enough strides this year for me to ignore the QB spot in this mock, so we went with Kaiir Elam from Florida, a youthful addition to pair on the opposite end of Darius Slay on an improving defense
9 – Atlanta Falcons select Texas A&M IDL DeMarvin Leal – Falcons already have Grady Jarrett on the defensive line, but they need to find more production all together among the front group. Leal gives a second interior presence that could help clog the middle and allow the edge rushers to work unimpeded.
10 – Washington Football Team select Alabama OT Evan Neal – After adding Sam Cosmi last season as a developmental offensive tackle prospect, the Football Team have a need for another on the left side of the line. I contemplated adding a QB here, but without top end talent, Taylor Heinicke is adequate enough to get by and seek one somewhere else. Neal is a freakish athlete that has proven his ability to play in multiple spots across the offensive line.
11 – Philadelphia Eagles select Michigan EDGE David Ojabo – The Eagles have multiple upcoming pass rushers set to hit the free agency market, and making the move to a youth movement with Ojabo and Josh Sweat seems to be the smart move for Philadelphia.
12 – Carolina Panthers select Georgia IDL Jordan Davis – Matt Rhule hasn’t shied away from drafting heavily on the defensive side of the ball, and Jordan Davis is a massive human capable of clogging holes up the middle. The Panthers have seem first hand how valuable that can be playing against Vita Vea twice a year.
13 – Denver Broncos select North Carolina QB Sam Howell – Sam Howell has fallen a bit down draft boards for a down season, but that may come as an advantage for him come draft time. The Broncos have a pretty fun young core of skill players all just looking for a long term QB solution, and Howell has the tools to develop into a solid NFL starter.
14 – Miami Dolphins (via SF) select Ohio State WR Chris Olave – My favorite team. My favorite draft prospect. Though I didn’t necessarily do this on purpose (last few WR classes may force the position down draft boards this year). Miami drafted Jaylen Waddle last season, a decision that appears to be working out really well, however constant injures to DeVante Parker, a swing and miss on Will Fuller, and Mike Gesicki currently set to hit the open market, its important for Miami to keep adding weapons for Tua Tagovailoa.
15 – Las Vegas Raiders select Mississippi State OT Charles Cross – Kolton Miller has improved on the left side of the line, but current right tackle Brandon Parker is set the become a free agent at seasons end. The Raiders drafted Alex Leatherwood in last years class but have moved him inside to guard. Drafting Cross allows the Raiders to keep Leatherwood on the inside and add another first rounder to the right tackle position.
16 – Philadelphia Eagles (via IND) select Penn State S Jaquan Brisker – A local prospect, Brisker is a a top tier athlete in the secondary with the ability to bruise up opposing skill players. Brisker doesn’t create a ton of turnovers, but he won’t have to in a secondary that features Darius Slay and Kaiir Elam.
17 – Cleveland Browns select Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson – The OBJ saga has come to an end finally, and while Jarvis Landry is a solid slot receiver, the Browns need a true outside go to guy. Local product Garrett Wilson is a big play machine for the Buckeyes that gives Baker Mayfield an added weapon should the Browns extend him this offseason.
18 – Pittsburgh Steelers select Texas A&M G Kenyon Green – Pittsburgh could use a QB here, but I don’t know that they want to draft one and start from scratch. That said, the offensive line was an issue last season and it remains one today, so we’re giving the Steelers a stout interior piece to help create lanes for Najee Harris.
19 – New Orleans Saints select Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner – The Saints could use a little more help on the backend of their defense. Gardner is a lengthy corner that can matchup with receivers of any size of athletic profile. In a division with guys like Mike Evans and Kyle Pitts, Gardner is a valuable asset.
20 – Minnesota Vikings select Clemson CB Andrew Booth – The Vikings look to bolster a secondary that is set to lose three cornerbacks to free agency this offseason. Booth brings the ability to play both man or zone with coverage.
21 – Buffalo Bills select Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum – Buffalo has done a really good job of addressing needs a year or two before they become needs, and with Mitch Morse set to hit free agency after next season, I have them grabbing the forceful Linderbaum here and getting the center position done and out of the way ahead of time.
22 – Los Angeles Chargers select Arkansas WR Treylon Burks – Mike Williams is set to hit the open market this offseason, so we’ll give them another big yet electric receiver for Justin Herbert to compensate. Burks is one of the more fun prospects to watch in this class.
23 – Cincinnati Bengals select Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning – Bengals opted to draft Ja’Marr Chase last year, and while its worked out extremely well, they should still look to bolster the offensive line. A steep step up in competition at the NFL level, but Penning has the athletic traits and size to be a productive offensive tackle.
24 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Penn State WR Jahan Dotson – After bringing back everyone from the Super Bowl run, the Buccaneers stand the lose both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown to free agency this offseason. Dotson is a former track star that creates explosive plays on the perimeter for the Nittany Lions and a player Tom Brady would love.
25 – Kansas City Chiefs select Utah LB Devin Lloyd – The Chiefs defense has been much improved over the last few weeks, but it would be smart to continue adding young playmakers. Lloyd is the best player still on my board and has been a huge part of the Utes success this season.
26 – New England Patriots select Michigan S Daxton Hill – Both Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips are set to become free agents after the season, so I have them going with Daxton Hill. A versatile safety with speed, Hill would pair well New Englands other youthful safety in Kyle Dugger for the future of the secondary.
27 – Detroit Lions (via LAR) select Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder – Jared Goff is pretty much unmovable at the moment, but that should influence Detroit to look away from grabbing a future starter. Ridder gives the Lions an experienced signal caller whos played well against tough competition in his career, and can sit for a season behind Goff (or take over down the stretch).
28 – Dallas Cowboys select Alabama WR Jameson Williams – The Cowboys don’t have a ton of needs, so with Michael Gallup likely to find a new home this offseason, I’ll give them another number 3 receiver here in Alabama big play man Jameson Williams.
29 – Baltimore Ravens select Kentucky OT/G Darian Kinnard – The Ravens look to bolster the offensive line, which has had some issues with Ronnie Stanley out. Kinnard has the ability to play both on the interior or at the right tackle position.
30 – Green Bay Packers select Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere – The Packers have David Bahktiari locked up for the foreseeable future, but the Packers should look to adding another capable blocker on the other side. Petit-Frere has been a stud at right tackle for the Buckeyes in 2021 and may climb higher on draft boards at the Draft nears.
31 – Tennessee Titans select Georgia LB Nakobe Dean – The Titans linebacker core could use a boost and is set to lose a few key pieces this offseason. Nakobe Dean has been a key contributor for this historic Georgia Bulldog defense and a player former linebacker Mike Vrabel would love.
32 – Arizona Cardinals select Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker – The Cardinals offense has a lot of fire power, but I think they could upgrade the running back spot by finding a true number one rusher. Walker is a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy and a workhorse for the Spartans.