2022 NFL Mock Draft: It’s Draft Week

William Calhoun

1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

At this point, Hutchinson to the Jaguars feels like a no-brainer. A dominant force at Michigan with 14 sacks and 34 pass rush wins (per PFF), Hutchinson clearly showed that he is the deserving favorite to be the first player and pass rusher taken in the draft. Standing at 6’6” 268 pounds, Hutchison is thought of as the safe pick with a higher ceiling, but less athletic upside than Walker or Thibodeaux. Hutchison ran a 6.73 second 3-cone (99th percentile), showing his elite movement ability and bend for a man of his size. Expect Hutchison to come in right away and flourish alongside Josh Allen. There is no reason the recent first-round pick of K’Lavon Chaisson should halt this selection. 

2. Detroit Lions- Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux has the most upside in the draft. Full stop. He is an athletic freak with a perfect combination of speed and power. Running a 4.58 40-yard dash and putting up 27 reps on the bench, Thibodeaux displayed what amazing physical traits he has. At this point he is not refined as a pass rusher at all, displaying little to no moves. In his best game against Cal, he was just running by guys and relying solely on his athleticism to get to the quarterback. If he can get the right coaching to work on some true moves, his floor is the ceiling. Let’s cut it out with all this “he doesn’t love the game of football” nonsense. If anyone can get the most out of Kayvon, it’s Dan Campbell.

3. Houston Texans- Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

The Texans can finally breathe and start rebuilding their team. With needs at virtually every position except left tackle, Ikem Ekwonu is a perfect player to slot in at their RT spot and bolster the running game and protection for Davis Mills. You won’t find a better people-mover in the draft than Icky. He absolutely dominates in the run game. Boasting a sub-five second 40-yard dash, Ekwonu will hunt you down and plow you into the ground. Ekwonu will grow as a pass-blocker in time, but he will immediately help the Texan’s worst graded rushing offense (60.0) and help add balance to the offense and see if Mills is the real future of the team. 

4. New York Jets- Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

In back-to-back picks, teams shore up their offensive line for their second-year quarterbacks. Evan Neal is the definition of consistently dominant. Posting grades above 80.0 in back to back seasons, Neal has been the ultimate protector for Alabama boasting heavy hands which almost stick to pass rushers. Another unique part about Neal’s game is his ability to play at different positions, taking snaps at LT, LG, and RT during his Alabama career, it will be easy for him to slot in at either RG or RT depending on if the Jets want to keep Fant at RT and Becton at LT. Neal could stand to work on his balance and stunt reaction, but he is a definitive upgrade over what the Jets have on the interior, and the Jets offensive will actually be good.

5. New York Giants- Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Unless James Bradberry gets moved pre-draft, the Giants will take an edge and tackle with their 5th and 7th picks. With how the draft is falling and the Panthers, a tackle needy team next, Charles Cross is a perfect fit for them. Cross is an elite pass blocker with great feet. He is still raw, as he declared as a redshirt sophomore. In the Air Raid offense, Cross rarely run blocked and his skills as a run-blocker are severely underdeveloped. That said, as the league continues to become more and more pass-heavy, Cross will be an important piece for Daboll to evaluate Daniel Jones as his rookie contract comes to a close.

Air Raid Offense
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Air Raid Offense

6. Carolina Panthers- Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh 

The Matt Rhule regime has been an abject disaster to put it nicely. A combination of PJ Walker, Cam Newton, and Sam Darnold with a little Will Grier sprinkled in has produced less than stellar results. Pickett has a lot of positives to his game. He is accurate from within structure and possesses pocket mobility while not being a one read then run type quarterback. However, Pickett often gets himself into bad situations by holding onto the ball too long and throwing it late down the field. Pickett is a play now prospect with a high ceiling, but a low floor compared to his counterparts.

7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)- Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Travon Walker is the freakiest of freak athletes. Standing at a whopping 6’5” 272 pounds, Walker posted a 4.51 40-yard dash, a 6.89 3-cone, and a 10’3” broad jump. Walker has all the requisite skills to take a massive jump at the next level. Walker lacked the pass rush production at Georgia despite his athleticism. In Kirby Smart’s scheme, he was often asked to play the run first and had only 9 hits on the quarterback. That said, with his tools, it is easily projectable that Walker will flourish under NFL coaching. The Giants need an edge rusher opposite Azeez Ojulari, another Georgia edge, and Walker can come in immediately and be an elite run-stopper and develop pass-rushing tools over time. It will be interesting to see what Don “Wink” Martindale prioritizes in his defense. 

8. Atlanta Falcons- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Falcons current receivers are as follows: Olamide Zaccheus, Christian Blake, Auden Tate, and Frank Darby. None of these players have even come close to scratching a 1,000-yard season. On a championship team, Zaccheus is your WR4. With Ridley out with a year suspension, Garrett Wilson is the perfect pick for the Falcons. Wilson is a smooth mover in and out of routes with surprising contested catch ability for a 183-pound receiver. His weight does show up in press-man where he is sometimes bullied at the line of scrimmage, but if you can’t get your hands on him, that 4.38 40 speed is hard to catch up to. The Falcons are in a transition year, but you have to give Mariota at least something to work with. Wilson and Ridley together with a rookie quarterback likely coming into the fold next year would be an ideal situation. 

9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)- Sauce Gardner, CB Cincinnati

With DJ Reed out the door and Shaquill Griffin leaving last year, the Seahawks are in desperate need of a corner. They also need of a tackle as they have not signed Duane Brown nor Brandon Shell, but the board has not fallen well for them to take one at this spot. Sauce Gardner was the most dominant corner in all of college football last year. With a 50% completion percentage allowed and 0 touchdowns given up in his entire career, Gardner was the living embodiment of the “No Fly Zone.” Sauce succeeded best in press-man but has speed (4.41) and length (33.50” arm length) to play zone if needed. Zone coverage is his biggest weakness due to a lack of reps in that technique. The Seahawks need a culture shifter and a new alpha in the locker room. Enter Sauce. 

10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)- Drake London, WR, USC

After selecting Evan Neal with the 4th overall pick, the Jets doubled up on helping Zach Wilson by getting him a true X-receiver. Corey Davis is a 2, as evidenced by his surge in production being second fiddle to AJ Brown and Elijah Moore can be most productive from the slot. London is a big-bodied receiver with the best-contested catch ability in the draft. A former basketball player, London can “jump out of the gym” and if you throw it up to him, he’s coming down with it (19 contested catches – #1 in college football). At BYU, Zach Wilson pushed the ball down the field on almost every throw, but as a Jet, his ADOT (average depth of target) was just 8.0. London will help him recoup his deep ball abilities and provide a deep threat that won’t blow by the defense, but will out-jump everyone. 

11. Washington Commanders- Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

With the top two receivers off the board, the Commanders turn to Kyle Hamilton to shore up the back end of their defense. Hamilton is a monstrous safety (6’4” 220 pounds) with out-of-this-world tracking ability moving all across the field to hawk down balls. Hamilton can be used as a deep safety or lined up over the league’s best tight ends, most likely excelling in both roles at the next level. His speed (4.59 40) and short-area quickness (6.90 3-cone) leave something to be desired and probably eliminate him from guarding slot receivers, but Hamilton will capitalize on the back end of Washington’s elite defensive front. A Derwin James-like fall in the draft has been rumored, but I would be surprised if he gets past the Texans at 13. 

12. Minnesota Vikings- Derrick Stingley Jr, CB, LSU

The re-signing of Patrick Peterson should not deter the Vikings from getting the projected first overall pick in the 2022 draft just a couple of years ago. As a freshman, Derrick Stingley Jr. posted a 91.7 PFF grade allowing a completion percentage of just 38.3% with a national championship to top it off. What has hurt Stingley’s draft stock is his multiple injuries (leg + foot) and questions about his effort. During his time on the Browns, Kewsi Adofo-Mensah and the Brown’s staff invested heavily in the cornerback position drafting Greedy Williams and Greg Newsome. As the league gets deeper and deeper at receiver, teams must counter at corner. 

13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)- Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Without his ACL injury in the National Championship Game, Jameson Williams is the first receiver off the board. Williams poses blazing speed with smooth, fluid hips to get in and out of breaks. Although he was pushed down the depth chart at Ohio State, Williams broke out at Bama with 1,561 yards, 15 touchdowns, and a whopping 20.1 yards per catch. Williams is super skinny, only 180 pounds, but Devonta Smith has taught us not to worry about that. The Texans want to see what they have with Mills and the pairing of Williams and Cooks along with added protection from Ekwonu will allow them to conduct a full and fair evaluation of their second-year quarterback. 

14. Baltimore Ravens- Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

The lack of depth along the defensive could pose a problem early for the Ravens. Tyus Bowser and Justin Madubuike have failed to take the next step in their production and Calais Cambell is back on a team-friendly deal, but most likely retiring next year. Jordan Davis is the perfect player to add to their rotation. My comp for Davis is The Mountain from Game of Thrones. At 6’6” 341 pounds, Davis is an immovable object two-gaping without trying and has the movement skills (4.78 40 time) to stop outside zone runs. The problem with Davis lies in his usage. He only played 378 snaps throughout the entirety of the season and is often gassed when he is unable to rotate out. If he can keep his weight in check and improve upon his conditioning, Davis immediately slots in as a top-flight defensive tackle. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins)- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Similar to the Vikings, the Eagles have cornerbacks already in place, but could stand to upgrade. Trent McDuffie is a twitchy, agile corner with a ready-made zone coverage skillset easily translatable from college to the pros. Standing at 5’11”, McDuffie has versatility which is extremely valuable. McDuffie has little ball production, but that often fluctuates and is a big indicator of a cornerback’s success. Teams should not make the same mistake as they did with Asante Samuel Jr. McDuffie can and should play outside corner in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if he falls, but the Eagles could definitely use an upgrade opposite Darius Slay to slow down the many high powered offenses in the NFC 

16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts through Philadelphia Eagles)- Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

This mock presents a dream scenario for the Saints in which they don’t have to trade up to get a quarterback and Malik Willis falls right into their lap. Winston signed a 2-year deal, but I would be surprised if that deters Mickey Loomis and Dennis Allen from pursuing an upgrade. Willis has all the raw tools needed to be an elite quarterback in today’s game. He has a rocket for an arm, elite rushing ability (146 career broken tackles), and surprising footwork in for a running quarterback. Coming from Liberty, you would have liked to see better production from Willis. Some of his starts against Power-5 defenses are less than satisfactory. That said, with the right coaching and year or so to sit and develop as a pocket passer, a Josh Allen-esque arc could be in tow. 

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Justin Herbert and all Chargers fans will not allow Storm Norton to start another game at right tackle. He is their last weak point on offense as the team is poised to make a run deep into the playoffs. Bernard Raimann, a former tight end, is on the smaller end of tackles, but makes up for it with his explosiveness (9’9” broad jump) and speed. (5.05 40-yard dash)  For only playing the position for two years, he was quite polished as a pass and run blocker. He is an older prospect, coming from Austria, but he will continue to progress as he enters the NFL and two elite tackles on rookie contracts would be the Charger’s dream. 

18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints)- Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Treylon Burks is the perfect compliment to Devonta Smith. The Eagles will have drafted three straight receivers in the first round, but a need stays a need when you draft players like Jalen Raegor. Burks was schemed targets at Arkansas through screens, where he displayed his YAC ability. Burks reminds me of a souped-up Deebo Samuel who can win from the slot but can also be a true X receiver in the right offense. The Eagles manipulated their draft picks to give themselves a shot at a quarterback if Hurts plays less than satisfactory this year. In order to accurately evaluate a quarterback’s talent, it is important to provide him with pieces to work with and Burks is just that.  

19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles)- Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Maximizing Jameis Winston and now Malik Willis’s talent means getting them some proper weapons. Michael Thomas is your WR1, but the offense continues to lack a WR2 as Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway can not fill that role. Chris Olave’s floor is an above-average WR2. Olave is the best route-runner in the class creating easy separation. Olave does everything really well, but nothing exceptional. Olave’s little to no post-reception juice, and his small frame (187 pounds) are basically his only concerns. Olave could’ve come out last year, but he continues to be a safe, high-floor receiver who will immediately impact a receiver-needy Saints offense. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers- Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

In the actual draft, I expect the Steelers to move up and select a quarterback, but in this no-trade mock, they stand pat and take an offensive tackle. Last year, the Steelers thought they could address their bad O-line by drafting a running back in the first round. It worked terribly as Najee Harris averaged 3.7 yards per attempt. Chukwuma Okorafor and Dan Moore Jr. are both young tackle prospects, but neither has shown enough to not warrant an upgrade. Trevor Penning, a Senior Bowl standout, is a straight bully with a constant mean streak perfect for the Steelers culture. Penning must develop as a pass blocker in order to truly progress to the next level but a 4.89 40-yard dash and a 7.25 second 3-cone shows that all the tools are there to be the next great tackle. 

21. New England Patriots- Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida 

With the losses of JC Jackson and Stephon Gillmore this year, the Patriots have pigeon-holed themselves into taking a corner. Belichick has shown an affinity for press corners and that is where Kaiir Elam succeeds. Elam will knock you off your route with his long frame and stick with you throughout running a 4.39 40-yard dash. Elam had a shaky 2021 season riddled with some big yard games and quite a lot of over physicality. Do not let that discourage you though. An elite corner at the SEC, with the Patriots coaching, Elam should flourish and continue their line of elite corners. 

22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders)- George Pickens, WR, Georgia

The only receiving corps worse than the Packers is the Falcons. After losing both Davante Adams and MVS, the Packers must take a receiver. Pickens has the best hands in the draft and creates last-minute separation on jump balls with his large frame (6’3” 195 pounds). Pickens dominated as a true freshman, but his ACL injury hindered him going forward. His spectacular reception against Alabama in the championship game is a perfect glimpse into what type of receiver he will be. Pickens is also one of the best run-blocking position players in the draft who sticks to defensive backs, a trait deeply valued by the Packers front office. If he can stay healthy, we may be looking back in a couple of year and surprised that he fell this far. 

23. Arizona Cardinals- Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

The Cardinals can not afford to draft a low value position in the first round again. In 2020, they selected Isaiah Simmons and played him at LB when he was primarily a safety at Clemson. In 2021, they selected Zaven Collins, another LB, out of Tulsa who struggled mightily in his first season. The interior of the Cardinals offensive line is a disaster with Justin Pugh and Rodney Hudson aging and declining in play. Tyler Smith is an absolute monster who moves defenders with ease and could easily transition from tackle to guard. Kyler got hurt a couple times last year from free rushers and Smith should mediate this concern immediately. 

24. Dallas Cowboys- Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College 

After losing Connor Williams along the interior and La’el Collins at RT, the Cowboys need a plug and play guard to shore up the offensive line and keep a strength a strength. Similar to Evan Neal, he struggles with stunts and alignment movement along the defensive line, but those are coachable weaknesses. A high ceiling prospect. Johnson is consistent and his burst in a phone booth should provide sizable holes for Zeke and Tony Pollard. If I was the Cowboys, I would even try him at RT and if that doesn’t work he’s an above-average RG immediately.  

25. Buffalo Bills- Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State 

This is an important draft for the Bills. They have a complete roster with depth at every position besides cornerback. With Beasley gone, Diggs and Davis slot in as their outside receivers with a hole in the slot, as Isiah McKenzie is best utilized as a gimmick receiver. Dotson played primarily on the edge at Penn State, but his 5’11 182 pound frame is best suited for the slot. He is a crisp route runner with a surprising catch radius as a smaller receiver. Josh Allen needs a full complement of weapons to get this team to the Super Bowl and Dotson just might push them over the top. 

26. Tennessee Titans- Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn  

The departure of Jackrabbit Jenkins from the Titans secondary leaves a large hole opposite Kristian Fulton. The foolhardy signing of Bud Dupree has left them with little financial resources to sign a corner in free agency so in this mock they are addressing it in the draft. Roger McCreary was an elite corner in the SEC. He was targeted often and was up to the tasks. He is a smooth mover and can get his hands in between receivers at the catch point. McCreary is often slotted into the second round due to his extremely small arms which are 1st percentile, sub 29 inches. He will fall on many team’s boards due to his presumed slot-only frame, but he deserves to be a first-round corner due to his performance against top competition alone. 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Daxton Hill, SCB/S, Michigan 

The Buccaneers have done an excellent job filling their team up with defensive backs to combat the league’s surge in passing. Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Carlton Davis are their three corners with Logan Ryan and Antoine Winfield Jr. on the back end. So many talented players means that a lot of money needs to be shelled out. Davis was already extended for 3 years worth up to $45 million, but Dean and Winfield Jr. will need contracts eventually. Daxton Hill provides slot and safety versatility and traverses the field with ease. He showcased his coverage skills primarily in the slot and can run with the best of them. While he doesn’t have a defined role, but he might not need one if he plays sparingly in his first year, eventually replacing Ryan or Murphy-Bunting down the line. 

28. Green Bay Packers- Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

Elgton Jenkins most likely moving to RT full time creates a need along the interior of the offensive line for the Packers. Kenyon Green played LT, LG, and RT last season, excelling at all three positions. Green explodes to the second level and his play strength shows up time and time again. He can get a little grabby, but that is a coachable weakness and the Packers have shown an ability to develop lineman time and time again. Ideally, once Bakhtiari retires or they move on from him, Jenkins will slot into LT, and Green, who I believe can be an NFL tackle, will move to RT. What a perfect situation for Jordan Love! 

29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins)- Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan 

Tyreek Hill is an irreplaceable talent. No receiver in the league has or can emulate his speed and twitch in the open field. The Chiefs have worked to replace his talent with MVS and Juju Smith-Schuster, but they need another receiver to complement his talents. Skyy Moore gets off the line of scrimmage with ease and is as shifty as they come. He needs the ball close to the line of scrimmage and needs to improve as a route runner, but his broken tackle ability is just too great to pass up. The Chiefs never used a true X receiver so I would be surprised if they took a Christian Watson at this pick. Moore will be able to take most of Hill’s screen targets and provide a much needed spark plug for this offense. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs- Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson 

The departure of both Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward creates a large void in the Chiefs secondary. L’Jarius Sneed has shown he can be an elite slot corner with some inside-outside versatility, but they need an alpha on the outside. Booth is a patient yet opportunistic corner. He has the requisite change of direction ability to come out of breaks and work downhill. The biggest problem with Booth is his lack of tackling ability (21.8% missed tackle rate) which could be a significant problem if he is asked to play a lot of zone coverage. Booth is more of a projection with only one year as a full-time starter, but Steve Spagnolo does an excellent job hiding his corners and Booth will have time to develop without getting exposed. 

31. Cincinnati Bengals- Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

Ignoring positional value, Linderbaum is a top-15 talent in this year’s draft. He can flat-out fly around the football field and attacks defensive players with heavy hands, sometimes even too heavy in pass-pro. His frame pigeonholes him into center, but he should excel from the jump. The Bengals would have to move Ted Karras to RG, but there should be no problem with that and Joe Burrow will have 3 definitive upgrades across his offensive line. With a stable offensive line, the Bengals may have what they need to get over the hump. A thing to note, the Bengals brought back Eli Apple to start at corner which could turn into a disaster pretty quickly. That position could be the pick here as well. 

32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)- Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia 

Once thought of as a sure-fire first-round pick, due to size concerns, Nakobe Dean just slips into the back of the first round to play MIKE for Dan Campbell’s defense. Standing at 5’11’ 229 pounds, Dean flies around the field running sideline to sideline in a Devin White type fashion. His smarts help him excel stopping the run, but there are questions on how he will perform without a team composed of what should be all NFL draftees. There is no prospect that I am more confident about being a Pro-Bowl caliber player in this draft. With Kayvon Thibodeaux providing the pressure up front, Dean will be able to clean up the edges with ease.

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