2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Second mock of the year with player movement mostly finished and one trade in the books.
The Saints and Eagles broke the pick trade barrier, and we are just three weeks away from the NFL Draft. Here is my second look at a mock now that we have some more intel.
1 - Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
Sticking with Hutchinson until I hear otherwise. Jaguars need to get off the deck and hit on a pick.
2 - Lions - Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
Detroit got to work with Malik Willis at the Senior Bowl, and he could definitely be the pick here if the team doesn’t want to wait until 2023 to find their QB of the future. Right now, it seems difficult to justify any signal-caller in this draft going this high though. The Lions have done extensive work on Thibodeaux, and edge rusher is the real strength of this class.
3 - Texans - Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia
Offensive line is a popular choice for Houston, but the Texans will retain Laremy Tunsil and have 2019 first-rounder Tytus Howard under contract still. This class is deep enough to find help later, especially on the interior. Walker fits the Lovie Smith mold — I don’t think he makes it past the Texans.
4 - Jets - Ickey Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Athletic’s Connor Hughes has been adamant that the Jets won’t take a corner.
After nailing the AVT trade the Jets made last year, Hughes believes it will be either an edge rusher or tackle at four. With the draft starting edge x3, I’m putting Ekwonu here rather than Jermaine Johnson.
5 - Giants - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
I think there is a really good chance the Giants end up trading one of their picks as they set their sights on the 2023 QB class, but one would have to think they stick and pick Neal here given the opportunity. The new regime has been consistent about giving Daniel Jones every chance to succeed in 2022.
6 - Panthers - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Kenny Pickett hype train is gaining steam, but the Panthers have over $30 million in cap space — the most in the league — and no other picks on the first two days of the draft. A more likely option here is a trade back, followed by a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or another veteran QB. I actually don’t think an air raid OT is going to go this high a la Andre Dillard, but am slotting in Cross since he matches the prospect ranks, and I think could be available in a move back down the board.
7 - Giants - Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Giants are likely to move James Bradberry at some point, and Gardner fits well into the Wink Martindale system. Whether or not the Giants keep this selection, I would expect Gardner to slot in around here as the draft’s first corner off the board.
8 - Falcons - Drake London, WR, USC
PFN’s Tony Pauline has Atlanta looking at a WR
This makes sense given Atlanta’s lack of talent at the position. London is an excellent complement to Kyle Pitts.
9 - Seahawks - Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State
Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog had this to say about Seattle’s options.
I think the top realistic target is Jermaine Johnson at #9. He fits what the Seahawks like — he ran a 1.5 10-yard split and he has fantastic hands to disengage and disrupt. He’s quick to the edge and plays with intensity and violence. He has good length and size. He’s a potential heart-and-soul type who can help shape the identity of the team for the next few years. I just don’t think he lasts to #9, unfortunately. But I wouldn’t be shocked if Seattle’s ‘Plan A’ is Jermaine Johnson.
If Johnson is gone, I think this is where we see Derek Stingley come off the board.
10 - Jets - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Hughes believes that unless the Jets manage to trade for a WR (which seems less and less likely by the day) they will address the position with this pick. Wilson’s run after the catch ability makes him a perfect fit in Mike LaFleur’s offense.
11 - Commanders - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Shoutout to Josh Norris for digging out this nugget in his mock draft.
Now it’s possible Rivera was just there to see Wilson, but Walter Football has the Commanders conducting a private interview with Olave — not his teammate. This matches reports that BOTH Ohio State WRs are expected to go highly in the draft.
12 - Vikings - Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
After crushing his pro day and looking fully healthy, this appears to be the absolute floor for Stingley. Corner is a major need for Minnesota, and they have LSU veteran Patrick Peterson already on the roster.
13 - Texans - Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
Davis is an absolute freak, and pairing two Georgia defenders would be a tremendous beginning to Lovie Smith’s tenure. I feel somewhat uncomfortable having Davis this low given his ceiling.
14 - Ravens - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Daniel Jeremiah has been on a potential Penning/Ravens marriage since February.
Man, when I look at the options that they'll have, I don't know there's going to be that much difference. The one player, if he's there, I just would write it in as Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa, because when you watch him, this guy is just a Raven. The way he plays, the physicality, he's huge. He's 330 pounds. He's almost 6'7".
The Ravens will be looking for tackle help given the uncertain health of Ronnie Stanley — regardless, this unit was terrible in 2021.
15 - Eagles - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
This is lower than many have Hamilton ranked, but safety is not a premium position, and Hamilton reportedly ran in the 4.7’s at his pro day.
This allows him to fall to Philly, who could use some help in their defensive backfield.
16 - Saints - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
I’m not projecting trades in this mock, but I’ll just say that it would only roughly cost New Orleans this pick and their 49th overall selection in Round 2 (depending on which trade chart you use) to get up to Carolina. By draft day, that may be necessary to select Williams.
17 - Chargers - Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Protect Justin Herbert at all costs. The Chargers filled a lot of holes on defense in free agency and the trade market, and now need to focus on maximizing the potential of their young QB. To that, he will need to remain upright. Johnson had a great Combine, and would be a day one starter on the interior for LA.
18 - Eagles - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Philly still has a need at WR after spending back-to-back first-round picks at the position. Third time’s the charm. Burks is a perfect complement to Devonta Smith.
19 - Saints - Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell has the Saints pegged as a team interested in Smith. Peter Schrager does not believe he escapes Day 1.
20 - Steelers - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Steelers looking for a QB is probably the worst-kept secret in football right now, which would be sketchy if not for the fact that the Steelers looking for a RB was the worst-kept secret in football a year ago. Mike Tomlin has indicated he would like a QB with some mobility, which was confirmed in the Mitch Trubisky signing. Willis has the highest ceiling of any QB in this class.
21 - Patriots - Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
New England lost JC Jackson in free-agency, and Malcolm Butler is likely not enough to fill that void. The Patriots could be in the receiver market as well, but trading for DeVante Parker could push that need into Day 2.
22 - Packers - Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
Everyone and their mother thinks this is the year Green Bay drafts a WR in the first round, but doesn’t it feel more likely they trade for a veteran (i.e. Brandin Cooks) with one of their Day 2 selections? Aaron Rodgers has typically not gotten along well with rookies, and the Packers are not really in a position to wait for someone to develop.
Instead, the Packers look to the defense, needing an inside backer to play next to DeVondre Campbell. Devin Lloyd would be the expected pick based on where he sits on draft boards, but he doesn’t seem to fit what Green Bay typically drafts.
Lloyd will be 24 already in September, while Walker is still 21. The two are similarly athletic.
23 - Cardinals - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
WR could be a need after losing Christian Kirk in free agency, but Arizona needs a long-term answer at edge after losing Chandler Jones. The Cards have spent each of their last two first-round picks on defense.
24 - Cowboys - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
The Athletic’s Jon Machota pointed out that Dallas’ visitor list has been insightful in determining who they have selected first in the past.
30 visits. These are important for every team, but especially for the Cowboys. Their 30 official pre-draft visitors have been a good indicator of significant interest. CeeDee Lamb wasn’t one of those visitors in 2020. There were no in-person pre-draft visits last year, but Parsons did meet with the Cowboys virtually. Since 2005, Morris Claiborne (2012) is the only other Dallas first-round pick who hasn’t been one of the team’s 30 pre-draft visitors.
Raimann fills a need, and the Cowboys have met with him twice this spring — including a “30 visit”.
25 - Bills - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
McDuffie is excellent, but may fall down the board due to his physical measurables — most notably arm length. Buffalo is happy to scoop him up now that Tyreek Hill is in the division.
26 - Titans - Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Ridder has generated a ton of positive buzz during the draft process, and Daniel Jeremiah said that it is legit on the latest Move the Sticks podcast. Ryan Tannehill had a less-than-stellar finish to 2021, and it would be palatable for the Titans to move on after 2022. Mike Vrabel is good friends with Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell.
27 - Bucs - Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
The Bucs lost both of their starting guards this off-season and have only found one (Shaq Mason) to replace them. You absolutely must protect Tom Brady.
28 - Packers - Logan Hall, DL, Houston
Packer fans will be disappointed to not see a WR in Round 1, but they can wash down their tears with the outlook of Hall, who can fill multiple needs within the defensive front. He has a relentless motor, and lined up as a nose, 5-tech, and edge-rusher during his time at Houston. The Packers could use depth at all of those spots. He has received some first-round buzz, and meets the earlier thresholds mentioned for Green Bay.
29 - Chiefs - Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
Moore has been a riser all draft process, and Jordan Schultz connected him with the Chiefs a few weeks ago.
Other potential candidates for this selection include Jahan Dotson and George Pickens. Right now I think Moore is better than both.
30 - Chiefs - Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota
It still isn’t clear how Mafe is going to play the run at the next level, but he can get to the QB, which is perhaps more important in the AFC Wests than any other division.
31 - Bengals - Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
Cincy has done a great job re-assembling the offensive line, but could still be in the mix for someone like Tyler Linderbaum here. With that said, they go Wyatt here to keep the pressure on for teams along the interior.
32 - Lions - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
If the Lions aren’t interested in taking a QB themselves, then this is perhaps a spot for another team to come up and select Kenny Pickett or Matt Corral. I’m assuming the Lions don’t really have interest in the former at this point in the process, but that could be misguided. Lloyd is a value, and fills a need.
What are the options for Dax Hill round one?