2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Big Name Falls To The Eagles
A lot has changed since the last mock draft I released on January 23rd.
The Senior Bowl practices and game. The AFC and NFC championship games. Head coaching hires. James Harden traded to the Sixers.
Wait, how did that last one get in there?
Anyway, I thought now was a good time to do a mock draft since the Super Bowl is coming up and my draft board has changed a lot since the 1.0 mock. Forgive me if this article ends up being a lot shorter than the previous mock draft, since I decided to shorten the little blurbs under each pick and get more to the point.
#1: Jaguars- T Evan Neal, Alabama
Yes, I wasn't lying when I said my mock changed a lot since the last time. Multiple reports out of the senior bowl have said the #1 pick is not as set in stone as some may have believed. I've also heard that Jacksonville particularly likes the talent of Neal, especially since their offensive line in front of Trevor Lawrence is the worst in the NFL. The Jaguars will take the safer route here, building around Lawrence instead of drafting one of the premier edge rushers.
#2: Lions- EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
I think the only decision here for Detroit will be deciding to take Thibodeaux or Hutchinson. I'll bet on them taking the upside instead, which is the word people keep using when talking about the former Oregon product. Kayvon was the surefire #1 pick at the start of the college football season, but an ankle injury has people wondering if he'll even be taken in the top 5. I think the Lions will trust that he'll live up to his potential and try to get a key centerpiece on their defense.
#3: Texans- EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
I'm sure Houston is frustrated that Jacksonville took Neal in this scenario, as he seems like a perfect fit there as well. Settling for Hutchinson is not a bad thing however, as he is still probably the best prospect in this draft. Like I said, Hutchinson is probably the more sure-thing prospect but might have a little less upside than Thibodeaux.
#4: Jets- S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
This is one of the rare times a pick didn't change from my first mock, only because this pick just makes too much sense for New York. They need secondary help badly, and Hamilton is a hard hitting safety who may be the most athletic prospect in this draft. They could consider one of the top corners here as well but Hamilton seems like the best value.
#5: Giants- EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
I've actually seen Karlaftis slipping down the board in some drafts, which I really don't get. He's such an explosive power rusher, someone who just wows you the first time you watch his film. To be honest, the Giants have a lot of needs, but I think taking a premium edge rusher is a good start before they pick again at #7.
#6: Panthers- QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Let me just preface this by saying that I am definitely not sold on Willis. I think he's a bit frantic at times, and he's someone who has the potential to be a starter in this league but it's a big risk. But it seems like he impressed a lot of teams at the Senior Bowl, and I think that one of these QB-needy teams will overdraft for him. The first team that fits that bill is Carolina, so I think Matt Rhule will trust his staff to develop Willis and take him at 6.
#7: Giants- T Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
I think there's really no chance the Giants don't take an offensive lineman with one of these picks, so we'll give them the best one on the board at 7. Ekwonu has been rapidly rising up draft boards throughout the season and seems like getting him here would be decent value.
#8: Falcons- WR Drake London, USC
Finding out who the perceived WR1 in this draft is definitely a challenge, and I guarantee it will vary depending on who you talk to. We'll go with London in this mock, who is a Mike Williams-type wideout who will go up and grab anything thrown his way. It looks like the Falcons will be parting ways with Calvin Ridley sometime before the draft, so receiver instantly shoots up the list of team needs for Atlanta.
#9: Broncos- QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
For all the chatter about how weak the QB class is this year, 2 QBs still appear in the top 9. For the sake of this mock, I'm just going to assume that Denver doesn't trade for Aaron Rodgers and will need a QB this offseason. Obviously there is a chance that they re-sign Teddy Bridgewater, but he just isnt cutting it for a team that has one of the best rosters in the league. Pickett won't be an immediate fix, but I think he can be similar to Mac Jones in the sense that he can take a really good roster to at least a playoff spot as a rookie.
#10: Jets- WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
Williams may be a risk, but the Jets need playmakers on offense for Zach Wilson and the Alabama product is that when if he is healthy. That's obviously a big if, but this could be a slam dunk pick if Williams pans out like he was expected pre-ACL tear.
#11: Commanders- QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
I went back and forth on wether to give Washington a QB or not, but the reality is that Taylor Henicke is just not cutting it. I'm not sure Corral can be a franchise guy for any team, but he's the best guy available and the Commanders will probably not be acquiring any of the big name QBs that have been thrown around in trade rumors.
#12: Vikings- CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Cincinnati
Let's just say that if you would've told me a couple months ago that Gardner would have been the first corner off the board, I would have probably have clicked out of that mock draft immediately. Gardner totally deserves it though; his stellar play for Cincinnati last year cannot go unnoticed. It seems like most people around draft circles believe it's a toss up between him and Stingley for CB1, so it should be awesome to see the battle between these two all the way up to April 28th.
#13: Browns- WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
As I said, the WR evaluation has been all over the place in this draft. I like Wilson as WR2, but it's definitely close between him and a couple of guys. WR is an obvious need for the Browns after OBJ was released and Jarvis Landry's situation being up in the air.
#14: Ravens- DL Jordan Davis, Georgia
Davis' stock has been pretty hard to judge this year. A lot of people have him going around this range, but others have him falling potentially even to the second round. I think he's proved enough to be taken in the middle of the pack in the 1st round, and Baltimore makes a lot of sense in terms of team needs.
#15: Eagles- CB Derek Stingley, LSU
If Stingley really is available at this pick, it may be the most stress-free draft call Howie Roseman has made. I talked the other day about how cornerback is in the top 3 of Eagles needs this offseason, and getting Stingley firms up that position right away. He was a surefire top 5 pick a couple months ago, but it seems coming out of the Senior Bowl that teams are concerned a bit with all the time off he has had due to injury and opt out. Obviously missing most of a season didn't seem to affect his former LSU teammate Ja'Marr Chase, in terms of where he was drafted and the success he has had so far in the NFL. The reality is that Stingley is one of the best cover corners we've seen hit the draft in the last decade, and it's really not fair how far he has been dropping on some boards. If he is here at 15, the Eagles will have to make him the pick.
#16: Eagles- LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
It's going to be hard for me to keep Lloyd to Philly out of the majority of my mock drafts in 2022. It just makes too much sense. The Eagles linebacker core is solid, but they just need a little more explosiveness. You'll get that in Devin Lloyd, who is probably one of the best athletes in the entire draft. I like Nakobe Dean, but Lloyd is a more solid tackler and run defender. Although the Eagles seem to like their current linebacker core, this needs to be the first year since 1979 that they take one in the first round. My blurbs about Lloyd are going to get shorter and shorter, since I think I've said everything that is needed to be said. He needs to be in midnight green next season.
#17: Chargers- CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
LA probably really is hoping that Jordan Davis fell to this spot, since one of their biggest needs is an interior defensive lineman and Davis is the only one worthy of taking in the 1st round. Instead, they'll address another need at cornerback. Booth is the best CB remaining on the board and should be a good get alongside Asante Samuel Jr. in that secondary.
#18: Saints- OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
I thought about a QB here, but taking any of the remaining prospects would really be a stretch in my eyes. Not only that, but getting a guy like Cross at 18 is really good value based off my board. The Saints are in a bit of salary cap hell right now, so they really need to nail a lot of their picks this year.
#19: Eagles- C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
The value of getting Linderbaum this late is too good to pass up. Even if Jason Kelce is back next year, and it's looking like that is going to be the case, this should still be the pick. Not only can he be good depth at the guard spots as well as center, but he can spend a year behind one of the best centers in NFL history. Spending a first round pick on someone who may not play in 2022 probably raises some question marks to people, but he could potentially be the next Kelce. That's how good this kid is. If you are going to find a center for the next 15 years, I think it's worth him not seeing much time next season. If Kelce does retire, I see him slotting right in there for his rookie season unless a guy like Isaac Seumalo shows he can play center really well during training camp. Kelce has always said that he believes Seumalo will be a center in this league, which is why I put him up next based on who is on the roster right now.
#20: Steelers- G Zion Johnson, Boston College
The Steelers are another team that will be hoping Pickett, Corral or Willis falls to their pick, but that is pretty unlikely. Instead, we'll sure up the offensive line. Johnson was seen by many as the best player at the Senior Bowl this past week, jumpstarting him to a surefire 1st rounder. If QB is Pittsburgh's #1 need, then offensive line is a close 2nd.
#21: Patriots- WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Olave is the best receiver available, and the Pats really need some more explosiveness at that spot. Mac Jones had a good season last year but I'm still not sure when he will hit that extra gear that puts him in the same class with guys like Mahomes and Josh Allen can do. Getting someone like Olave in the first round will definitely help him reach that goal.
#22: Raiders- LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Sure, the Raiders may need to get their replacement for Henry Ruggs at some point this offseason, but the reality is that this defense just needs some new life. Multiple draft busts and late round guys have not cut it the past couple of seasons for Vegas. Dean was a part of that historic Georgia defense last year and will hopefully bring a playmaker to a really lackluster defense under new coach Josh McDaniels.
#23: Cardinals- G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
I have no idea why Kyler Murray did what he did on social media, but I'll take someone to block in front of him assuming he's in it for the long run. The Bengals this season are a bit of an outlier, but you just aren't gonna be able to win if you have an offensive line as bad as the Cardinals have right now. Green can at least start that rebuild.
#24: Cowboys- EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan
Dallas gets Ojabo for really good value all the way down at 24, but that doesn't mean there isn't still a bit of a risk with the Michigan edge rusher. He got mostly drowned out because Hutchinson was rushing from the other side, but he can still be an impact maker on the Cowboys. Dallas' defense took a really big step forward last year, but that line is only getting older.
#25: Bills- EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
Johnson is probably the guy who saw his stock rise the most at the Senior Bowl, as he really showed out especially in the first handful of practices. It's not like Johnson wasn't high on people's boards before, but now I wouldn't be surprised if he's one of the players who gets taken a lot higher than most people expect. After watching Mahomes pick apart their defense easily in the playoff game, Buffalo has to sure up their pass rush.
#26: Titans- EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
A little run on edge rushers! Walker is probably the last one remaining that is worth taking in the 1st round, and for me edge rusher is somewhat a need for Tennessee. To be honest, I considered tight end here, but I just can't justify taking a tight end when you can really bolster your defense with all these explosive players on the board.
#27: Buccaneers- WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
I'm going to assume that someone else pays a boatload for Chris Godwin this season, which means Tampa will bolster their offense by getting a shifty playmaker at receiver. I guess you consider QB here after Brady retired, but none of them are going to be better then Kyle Trask is right now.
#28: Packers- T Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
If you aren't a huge draft fan, there's probably a high chance you havent heard of Raimann. But he's my next best tackle off the board, and Green Bay needs to get younger at the tackle position. Again, with the Aaron Rodgers situation looming I think some would assume QB here, but Green Bay seems pretty zeroed in on Jordan Love in case Rodgers retires/leaves.
#29: Dolphins- WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
I wouldn't put it past Miami to try to trade up if they really like one of the WRs in this class, but they choose to stay at this pick and snag the 6th wideout off the board. Jaylen Waddle had a good season but he needs a veteran next to him that can play on the outside.
#30: Chiefs- CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
Kansas City may be losing Charvarius Ward to free agency this offseason, which opens up a spot in a secondary that is already relatively weak. The choice here was between McDuffie and Auburn corner Roger McCreary, but I sided with the Washington product because I believe he has more upside.
#31: Bengals- T Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Regardless of what happens on Sunday, offensive line has been and will be the biggest need for the AFC Champions. Joe Burrow is a really special talent, but I'd be worried about the amount of times he is getting hit every game.
#32: Lions- CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
I've heard a lot of people going quarterback with this pick, but for some reason I have a feeling Detroit will stick with Goff for at least one more season. Jeff Okudah has been a big disappointment since being drafted in the top 5 and the Lions will continue to add to that defense.