Way to Early 2022 Mock Draft

Way to Early 2022 Mock Draft

Draft Central

Way to Early 2022 Mock Draft

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I am really writing this in June of 2020, a little under 10 months from the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, NV. However, draft season is never ending and it’s never too soon to look at what could, and likely won’t happen in April. The draft order will change, each team’s needs will change and each team will likely do much better or worse than current projections have them but let’s dive right into it. 

DISCLAIMER: The draft order is based of CURRENT 2022 Super Bowl Odds, not personal projections

  • 1: Detroit Lions – QB Sam Howell, UNC
    • The Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler debate will be one to watch in 2021 as both have potential to be the best QB prospect in the 2022 draft and will be fighting for the number one overall pick, if that’s something you want to fight for this year. Both possess elite traits and franchise QB potential. The Lions can say Jared Goff is their guy, but if it comes down to Goff or Howell, they choose Howell. The Lions can’t opt out of Goff’s massive contract till 2023 which gives Howell a year to sit and groom under him before taking the reins and hopefully turning the Lions around. 
  • 2: Houston Texans – QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
    • I’m not going to comment on the Deshaun Watson legal situation but it’s clear he doesn’t want to play for the Texans and it’s clear that Houston knows he won’t be playing much if at all in 2021 by spending their first pick on Stanford QB Davis Mills and signing Tyrod Taylor. The Texans will likely try and find their future QB, and selecting second overall gives them that opportunity. It would be hard for Houston to mess up this pick.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
  • 3: Jacksonville Jaguars – S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
    • After all the pre and post draft hype around Trevor Lawrence it would be a severe disappointment to pick again in the top three. However, it would give the Jags the opportunity to assemble one of the best DB rooms in the NFL. After selecting Tyson Campbell in 2020 and signing Shaquill Griffin to pair with CJ Henderson the Jags turned to the S position and selected one of the best prospects in the past five years, Kyle Hamilton. No S has gone in the top 10 since Jamal Adams, but Hamilton will change that. He is a chess piece for the Jags defense and gives them a real threat in the S room beside Andre Cisco and Rayshawn Jenkins.
  • 4: Philadelphia Eagles – QB Kedon Slovis, USC
    • The hype around Slovis varies, some think he can be the best QB in the 2022 class while others think he will be disappointing and fall. I personally am a fan of Slovis and think he will be a top 10 pick in 2022. The Eagles need QB help, Jalen Hurts is not the answer and if you’re picking at four that is clear. Slovis gives Nick Sirianni someone to groom and he can develop with Devonta Smith and Jalen Reagor. With time Slovis could become a top QB in the NFL, and Sirianni is someone I’d trust to do that. 
  • 5: Cincinnati Bengals – T Evan Neal, Alabama
    • This pick won’t take long to explain. The Bengals OL is bad and while they spent three picks in 2021 on the OL that won’t justify passing on the best OL prospect in the last decade. Neal would solidify a very solid OL in Cincinnati alongside Jackson Carman and former Bama standout Jonah Williams. Neal is an elite T prospect and could become one of the best T in the NFL quickly, it’s hard to pass on him and give Joe Burrow more protection. 
  • 6: New York Jets – CB Derek Stingley Jr, LSU
    • The Jets had a massive need for a CB going into the 2021 draft, and well it’s still a massive need. Bryce Hall and Blesuan Austin are projected to start and that’s not something I’d want. Their decision to wait until the fifth round for a CB may work for them as they grab the best CB in college football, Derek Stingley. Stingley is a lockdown CB in the SEC, which says something. He would instantly upgrade not only the Jets CB room but the entire defense with an elite playmaker for new HC Robert Saleh to work with. Stingley reminds me a ton of prime Richard Sherman, but far more athletic. 
  • 7: New York Giants – EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
    • The Giants, despite signing Ryan Anderson and drafting Azeez Ojulari in 2021 still have a need at EDGE. Thibodeaux would instantly fix that. He is a dominant pass rusher and an even better run defender. The Giants defense is already loaded with talent at every level and adding Thibodeaux just improves it even more. Another option could be going with a QB as the team is picking in the top 15 for the third straight year but they stick with Daniel Jones, again, and take the best EDGE prospect in a while. 
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
  • 8: Atlanta Falcons – QB Malik Willis, Liberty
    • I know, I know the fourth QB taken in the top 10. It should have happened in 2021 and it will in 2022. The Falcons passed on the opportunity to take Justin Fields as Matt Ryan’s successor in 2021 and choose the offensive threat Kyle Pitts. The Falcons don’t miss here and grab one of the most athletically gifted and smartest QBs in 2022 with Malik Willis. He would have to sit behind Ryan for a year but would be able to groom into a starting QB quickly and develop a deadly chemistry with Atlanta’s young weapons in Pitts and Ridley.
  • 9: Denver Broncos – T Charles Cross, Mississippi State
    • If you are picking at nine, it would be clear Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater didn’t work but here we are and the top four QB are gone so they need to look another direction. The Broncos have a need at RT after the release of Ja’Wuan James. They signed former Bears T Bobbie Massie but Cross is a mauler in the run and pass game and give the Broncos an elite T duo for the future. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come away with a QB and that decision to pass on Justin Fields for Patrick Surtain could come back to bite them but for now they form one of the best OL in football. 
  • 10: New York Giants (via CHI Bears) – DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
    • The Giants let Dalvin Tomlinson walk in 2020 and will now work with a combination of Austin Johnson and Danny Shelton at NT. Luckily they have another top 10 pick, due to the trade down with the Bears for Justin Fields. The Giants grab the top NT in the draft and form one of if not the best pass rushing front seven in football with Leal, Leonard Williams, Dexter Williams, Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Giants have two first round picks and added a ton of talent to the front seven. 
  • 11: Washington Football Team – WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
    • Looking at the Washington roster, one spot stands out and that’s the QB. Unfortunately like the Broncos they are all gone and the need remains. Maybe Taylor Heinicke is going to take off in 2021 and turn into the potential franchise QB but as of now it still sits as a bottom five QB room in the NFL. Washington added another weapon to their WR room in Chris Olave and in two years completely overhauled the position. Olave is a dangerous weapon on the outside and can also work the slot. Pair him with Olave and 2021 free agent signing Curtis Samuel you form a very talented starting WR group with some solid depth. The QB needs remains, but at least whoever it is has a good group of weapons. 
  • 12: Las Vegas Raiders – LB Christian Harris, Alabama
    • Harris fits the Raiders mold, he is a SEC star and an athletic freak. The Raiders roster has a ton of needs and I could’ve gone CB, WR, or EDGE but choose to go with the monster at LB. Cory Littleton has been disappointing for the Raiders so far and they can opt out if he doesn’t improve in 2021. The Raiders have ignored the LB position for far too long and this time they grab one of the nation’s best. Harris gives the Raiders a legitimate star on defense and someone that opposing teams have to respect. The Raiders defense still has a long way to go but Harris added to other young talents such as Mullen, Moehrig, Ferrell, Crosby, and Ngakoue is a good start. 
  • 13: Carolina Panthers – G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
    • The Texas A&M G is a dominant force and has great potential. The Panthers need at IOL is one of the biggest in the NFL. Green forms a formidable duo with Taylor Mton on the right side. The Panthers seem to be committing to Sam Darnold as the future QB and it could work out well. Green forms a solid OL for Carolina and Darnold, something New York never did. No excuses would be in place for Darnold in 2022 and if he fails the Panthers would have done everything possible to see him succeed. Green would also be able to assist McCaffery in creating larger holes and better gaps for the Panthers run game. 
  • 14: Minnesota Vikings – EDGE Drake Jackson, USC
    • Jackson is an athletic monster coming off the EDGE and could very likely push Kayvon Thibodeaux for the best EDGE in the PAC-12, which is hard to believe a year ago. The Vikings could be losing Danielle Hunter in the off-season they look to either replace him or give him a formidable pass rush partner in Drake Jackson. Both are athletic monsters that can defend the run and are dangerous rushers off the EDGE. The Vikings DL would be a very respectable force in 2022, and while CB could be an issue going forward they focus on the more important pass rush. 
  • 15: Arizona Cardinals – TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
    • Three Texas A&M players in the top 15 is rare. Nonetheless Wydermyer is an elite TE prospect with great playmaking ability. AJ Green isn’t going to be in Arizona long and the Cardinals need someone to be an escape option for Kyler Murray while also taking pressure off of DeAndre Hopkins, that’s exactly what Wydermyer does. If the Cardinals stay with a pass heavy offense the more weapons the better and while Wydermyer isn’t the best blocker he does possess great traits to be a formidable TE in the NFL and the Arizona offense.
Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via Imagn Content Services, LLC
  • 16: Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
    • The Steelers let Mike Hilton walk and released Steven Nelson in the 2021 off-season and a CB opposite of Joe Haden is a decent sized need for them. If Ben Roethlisberger does indeed retire that would create a difficult situation for Pittsburgh as all the top QB are off the board and any pick here is a reach. They choose to keep building up the defense and select one of the better CB prospects next year in physical freak Kaiir Elam. Elam is aggressive with great ball skills and would bring another threat to the Pittsburgh DB room. He possesses the traits, upside and potential to be a good CB in the NFL and the Steelers great defensive coaching can take him much farther. 
  • 17: New England Patriots – WR John Metchie III, Alabama
    • The Patriots WR are bad, like real bad. Nelson Agholor outside of Vegas has been disappointing, Kendrick Bourne hasn’t proved much and N’Keal Harry has been anything but impressive. The Patriots need weapons for presumed future franchise QB Mac Jones. While a better WR could be the move here, Methiche fits the Patriots mold and does have a connection with Jones. He is an explosive athlete but also has a nice well rounded skill tree that would work great in the Belichek offense. Metchie would be the fallback option given the Patriots heavy TE sets but he provides a spark to the WR room and potential to grow to a legit WR1 for them.
  • 18: Los Angeles Chargers – EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
    • The Chargers roster really doesn’t have many holes but EDGE could be one. Brandon Staley runs a very unique front that will feature a ton of rotation and movement on his OLB/DE combinations. Zach Harrison is a fantastic fit and playing opposite of Joey Bosa is great. Harrison is a monster off the EDGE and would only provide more skill to the pass rush and in the AFC West you can’t have a good enough pass rush. Harrison does need time to really grow into his potential and frame but once he does he will be a fantastic add for Brandon Staley and the Chargers on the DL. 
  • 19: Dallas Cowboys – EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
    • The Cowboys have Demarcus Lawrence but outside of him the EDGE group is very questionable. Randy Gregory is a large boom or bust candidate leading into 2021 so we have to assume the worst in this case. They did add some depth in the draft but nothing that prevents them from taking one of the most formidable run defenders in the BIG-10. Hutchinson isn’t the best pass rusher but he has insane potential and on tape you see the skills he just hasn’t put it all together yet but expect him to in 2021 at UofM. Hutchinson and Lawrence would benefit off each other and form a solid pass rush duo for the future while the Cowboys attempt to rebuild the defense. 
  • 20: Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA Dolphins) – CB Andrew Booth, Clemson
    • The Eagles haven’t invested a ton in the DB room as of recently. Darius Slay is not what he used to be and while Avonte Maddox is a starting caliber you can improve off him. Booth isn’t on the level of Sevyn Banks, who is still on the board, but he fits Philly better and has more potential. Booth is a physically dominant CB that wins with his instincts, playmaking ability and man coverage skills. Booth paired with Slay would form a good CB duo for the next year or two while Phily can address the position again either later in 2022 or another year. Watch for Booth at Clemson in 2021 as out of anyone in this class he can raise his stock a ton with a good year. 
  • 21: Tennessee Titans – S Bubba Bolden, Miami
    • The Titans made a ton of moves this offseason, none stand out more than trading for All-Pro WR Julio Jones. Prior to this move this pick would have easily been WR but now they can look at the defense, which needs a ton of help. The team made the decision to move on from Kenny Vaccaro this year and Bubba Bolden would be able to come right in and fill those shoes. He is a dominant S in coverage and isn’t afraid to come up and lay a hit in the run game or on an unexpecting WR. The Titans are investing a ton in their DB room and Bolden is just another high potential playmaker for them to play alongside Kevin Byard. 
  • 22: Philadelphia Eagles (from IND Colts) – WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
    • This pick is from the Carson Wentz trade and CAN become a first rounder but is currently a 2nd round pick. I do expect Carson Wentz to play at least 75% of the Colts snaps so the Eagles have this pick, either way it would be the same player despite the team so I’ll break it down by team below:
      • Eagles: The Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor the last 2 years in the first round but still have a need at WR. After selecting the team’s future franchise QB and more talent at DB, they decide to go with another WR and form a young room that can grow together. Slovis can grow with Wilson, who is dominant from outside or inside. He can go up and bring down a contested catch or simply out run a CB with his route running. He brings a new dimension to the Eagles offense with Reagor and Smith. 
      • Colts: T.Y Hilton is only on a one year deal and would be a FA in 2022. While Michael Pittman is a solid WR he isn’t going to be the WR1 in Indianapolis. If the Colts do move on from Hilton and keep this first round pick, Chris Ballard needs to give Carson Wentz more weapons and that is exactly what Wilson would provide. As mentioned earlier he can do everything you want in a true WR1 and would bring more talent to the WR room, with or without TY Hilton. 
  • 23: New York Jets (via SEA Seahawks) – CB Sevyn Banks, Ohio State
    • Did the Jets pick a CB earlier with the sixth overall pick? Yes. Are they going to do it again? Yes. The Jets CB room is so bad that both of the team’s first round picks should be spent on the position. After selecting Derek Stingley sixth overall they spent the 23rd pick on another physical CB in Sevyn Banks. Banks has potential to grow into a very special CB, while a move to the slot may happen he does possess good traits to complement Stingley. Both can work off each other and grow into being one of the top CB duos in the NFL in a few years. Banks is a prototype Robert Saleh CB and someone that he can personally groom. 
  • 24: New Orleans Saints – WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson
    • Amari Rodgers could fall in 2021 due to his neck injury that held him out of the 2021 NFL Draft. Rodgers is an insane athlete and has potential to be the best WR in the 2022 Class. Rodgers paired with Michael Thomas could be a very talented duo in the future for whoever New Orleans decides to roll with at QB in 2022. Rodgers possesses a good combination of speed and route running. He is the best WR in the class when it comes to just talent but the injury risk is a massive issue for teams. If his medicals clear out he would be drafted a lot higher then this but for now the Saints grab a steal.
  • 25: Cleveland Browns – EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
    • This is someone to watch in 2021. Isaiah Foskey is going to be a star for the Irish in 2021. He has the traits you want in an EDGE rusher with a great combination of speed off the EDGE and power. He is an athletic monster that will only get better with time and playing opposite of Myles Garrett doesn’t hurt that at all. Foskey will only grow with time and with the Browns’ need at EDGE still being a concern it makes a ton of sense both from a scheme and need fit. 
  • 26: Miami Dolphins (via SF 49ers) – HB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
    • The Dolphins have a ton of talent on the roster but one position stands out and that’s the HB. Here the Dolphins and Brian Flores take Notre Dame’s standout Kyren Williams. Williams possesses good receiving skill to go along with great vision, speed, and overall talent on the ground. He gives Tua a nice checkdown option if needed and overall brings another threat to the Dolphins offense. At the moment, he is the best true rusher in college and by year’s end could become the consensus HB1. The Dolphins could take a defensive player but they keep surrounding Tua with weapons.
  • 27: Baltimore Ravens – EDGE Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
    • The Ravens lost Yannick Ngakoue and Matthew Judon in the 2021 Free Agent period. They did draft Jayson Oweh, who has all the traits to be a premier EDGE rusher in the NFL but outside of him the EDGE room isn’t that great. Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee aren’t awful complementary pieces but they are not what you want in a starting EDGE rusher. Enagbare is a long, strong, and freak athlete for SCAR and with another year of play and development he will be a surefire first round pick. Odafe and Enagbare would form one of the most athletically gifted EDGE duos of possibly all time. 
  • 28: Detroit Lions (via LA Rams) – WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
    • The Lions added the QB of the future with the first overall pick, they now turn the attention towards giving Sam Howell some more weapons and adding talent to the offense that lost a ton of it, mainly at WR. Burks plays similar to Kenny Golladay and would replace him well. The Lions currently have a poor WR room with Breshaud Perriman, Tyrell Williams, and Amon-Ra St. Brown starting. Adding Burks gives them a legit deeph threat with WR1 upside and someone that your new QB can grow with and form a connection for his entire career. Young WR are taking over the NFL and Burks will just be the next rookie sensation. 
  • 29: Green Bay Packers – LB Ventrell Miller, Florida
    • This pick will be much higher if the Packers are truly forced to play with either Jordan Love or Blake Bortles as the starting QB come week 1. The Packers roster doesn’t have many holes and you could argue WR is a move here but instead the Packers address the ILB spot which isn’t strong. Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes aren’t a great duo when it comes to starting MIKEs in the NFL. Miller is a freak athlete with sideline to sideline range and great awareness in pass coverage. With another year like he had in 2020, Miller could be looking at a top 15 selection as the need for athletic LB grows in the NFL. This gives the Packers a true threat in the middle of their defense and someone that can be a leader. 
  • 30: Buffalo Bills – CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
    • The Bills had a need for CB in 2021 and chose to ignore it for a reason unknown. Gardner was an anchor in the Bearcats loaded 2020 DB room. Gardner is someone you can mold to be a shutdown corner opposite of Tre’Davious White. Gardner possesses a large frame and great instincts, while you wish he was more consistent switching in zone he does have a good raw skillset and has only leaped year after year and is primed to be a top CB in college during the 2021 season. The CB class is loaded with talent in 2022 and the Bills will have no excuse to not address it this year. A team with Super Bowl intentions can not have Levi Wallace starting. 
  • 31: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – T/G Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
    • Donovan Smith is a fine LT but he can improve and NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu is a mauler in the run game and that’s exactly what the Bucs like to do. Ekwonu is making the change to LT during this season which can only improve his draft stock more. He does struggle at times with powerful rushers on the interior during pass blocking but a move to LT could help him with that. Overall, he’s a raw prospect but he can grow and develop under Donovan Smith for a year or two before taking over the starting spot. The Bucs roster doesn’t have any holes but drafting for the future and talent to develop is the way they can continue being dominant. 
  • 32: Kansas City Chiefs – CB Tiawan Mullen, Indiana 
    • The Chiefs inability to add quality young CB year after year despite having a need for it continues to blow my mind. L’Jarius Sneed was a nice find in the 2020 fourth round but you can improve off Chavarius Ward starting opposite him. They traded for Vikings first rounder Mike Hughes who has talent but can’t stay healthy. Tiawan Mullen, the brother of Raiders CB Trayvon has been a constant force in the BIG10 for the past two years. He has shown the ability to consistently matchup with top WR and play perfect man coverage. Mullen is a perfect fit for the Chiefs and someone that can be a true number one CB for them and fix the hole that the team has managed to patchwork for the past three years.

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