2022 NFL Mock Draft: Ripple effects of wild offseason include six Round 1 WRs, Lions taking late swing at a QB

Michigan

• Sr

• 6’7″

/ 260 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

2nd

I don’t know if the Jaguars fixed their offensive line in free agency, but they sure spent a lot of money on it, freeing them up to add a potential franchise cornerstone to their defense in Hutchinson.

Oregon

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

I love Thibodeaux and have him as the top player in this class. While it’s a deep class at the edge-rusher position, there aren’t any other players in this class with the ceiling he has if he becomes a bit more refined with his pass-rushing moves.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 337 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Texans still have Laremy Tunsil and now need a QB, but is there one worth taking here when you have more picks to come? Adding a potential franchise tackle makes a lot of sense. Neal can start at right tackle before eventually moving left.

NC State

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

4th

It’s too soon for the Jets to give up on Mekhi Becton, but it’s not too soon to look for a potential upgrade on him. Ekwonu is stronger than any person has a right to be, and he plays angry. He’s not a finished product yet, but there’s plenty here to work with, and he could be the best left tackle in the league one day.

Florida State

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

29th

POSITION RNK

4th

I’m higher on Johnson than many others I talk to, but I’m comfortable being out on this ledge. He’s not an incredible athlete, but while he’s not “twitchy,” he’s got great bend and can get under blockers without sacrificing his speed or strength. He’s also a three-down player who reminds me of a young Khalil Mack.

Pittsburgh

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 217 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

25th

POSITION RNK

3rd

I had Pickett in my first two mocks before taking the Panthers in a different direction in my last, but with the Panthers still searching for an answer at QB, it’s more likely they’ll find it in the draft. Pickett isn’t spectacular at anything, but he’s got the size you want and the mobility. His footwork gets choppy at times, but he still makes accurate throws on the move. Also, while Panthers fans might not want to read this, he reminds me of Sam Darnold! But, you know, hopefully without all the turnovers.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

Hamilton is one of the best players in this draft, and if not for teams having bigger needs, he wouldn’t fall this far. Kyle’s loss is the Giants’ gain because Hamilton can do so many different things for you defensively. He’s the player a defensive coordinator would design in a lab if they could.

Liberty

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

2nd

The new era of Atlanta Falcons football begins with Malik Willis, the quarterback in this class with all-world potential. He still has plenty to learn, but the Falcons can afford to take some time to teach him. He’d be far and away the most exciting QB in Atlanta since Michael Vick.

Mississippi State

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 307 lbs

Projected Team

Seattle

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

3rd

I’m sure Seattle wouldn’t mind if Atlanta hadn’t taken Willis in this mock, but they did, so the Seahawks address their OL and draft Cross to protect Drew Lock. Cross is already a terrific pass-blocker, but he has room to grow as a run-blocker. Maybe that makes him less appealing to Seattle (why would they need someone to pass-block?), but I think it’s more a lack of experience than ability.

Cincinnati

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Jets have added to their secondary in free agency, but it’s hard to pass up on a potential shutdown corner if he falls to you in this spot, and Ahmad Gardner can be a shutdown corner. He doesn’t have top-end speed, but he’s brilliant at diagnosing plays and routes, and his size and length make it nearly impossible to get a pass by him.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

1st

There’s no questioning Stingley’s talent, but teams have concerns about his durability and effort. When he’s locked in, though, he’s locked onto receivers. If you’re Washington, he’s the kind of talent that you don’t mind taking a shot on here.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 179 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Think about all the space Justin Jefferson creates for himself without the Vikings having another deep threat. Now think of what he could do if defenses have to worry about Jameson Williams over the top. It’s a combo that will wreak havoc, and while Williams is recovering from an ACL injury, this is the kind of move that could lead to an NFC North title for the Vikings.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 272 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

1st

I spent all year asking “but have you seen their other guys” every time somebody brought up Georgia’s Jordan Davis, and Walker is one of those guys. While I love Jordan Davis as much as everybody else, I’d rather have Walker or Devonte Wyatt than Davis if I were drafting a defensive lineman from Georgia. Not the most polished pass-rusher, but strong and quick. For maximum awe, find tape of him dropping into coverage.

Washington

• Soph

• 5’11”

/ 193 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

4th

I have a long-running love affair with Washington defensive backs, and McDuffie is the latest. Some teams will be scared off by his size, and I understand that, but he’s so quick and versatile. He also plays bigger than he is, and is a terrific tackler who will provide support in the run game.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 194 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Booth is an all-around talent who isn’t exceptional at anything but is solid at a minimum in every area except as a tackler. Even in a limited time as a starter at Clemson, he’s shown the ability to be used in different schemes, which will make him attractive to plenty of teams.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 183 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

1st

It wouldn’t be the first round without the Eagles taking a receiver, right? Garrett Wilson is one of my favorite receivers in this class. His catch radius, body control, and shiftiness will make him a nightmare to cover. He’s just as dangerous after the catch too.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 341 lbs

A plug-and-play that makes a lot of sense for the Chargers, who are looking to address a defense that struggled to stop the run. Throw Jordan Davis into the middle of your front alongside Khalil Mack on the edge, and suddenly your run defense is a lot better.

USC

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Jameis Winston had a lot of success in Tampa with Mike Evans, and Drake London is the closest thing to Mike Evans in this draft class. He’s a big target who can get downfield and outmuscle defensive backs. There are concerns with his hands, though, which could scare teams more than the broken ankle he suffered in October.

Georgia

• Jr

• 5’11”

/ 229 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

21st

POSITION RNK

2nd

I’ve had Dean to the Eagles in nearly every mock so far. I know they don’t typically use early draft capital on linebackers, but this is their third pick of the round, and he makes too much sense for them. He’s an All-Pro waiting to happen.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 307 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

33rd

POSITION RNK

3rd

Wyatt is everything you want as an interior lineman these days. He has the size and strength to hold up against the run in a variety of fronts, and he’s quick enough to be disruptive as a pass-rusher. His get-off on the snap is not Aaron Donald-esque (whose is?), but it’s the most impressive I’ve seen from a DT in this class.

Arkansas

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 225 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

4th

The Patriots need to give Mac Jones weapons that will allow him to be more than a game-manager, and Treylon Burks would be a great start. He’s big, fast, and has excellent ability after the catch. I can see Burks being used similarly to how the Patriots used Rob Gronkowski in the slot.

Ohio State

• Sr

• 6’0″

/ 187 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

5th

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly described Olave as “Tyler Lockett with a growth spurt.” Since reading that, I can’t get it out of my mind because it’s a perfect description of what Olave is. He may never become a true No. 1 receiver, but there aren’t many aspects to his game you’ll find fault with.

Florida

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 191 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

35th

POSITION RNK

6th

Elam is a physical corner with a nose for the football and making plays. In a division like the NFC West, where you’ll be facing a lot of great QBs and receivers, having a player like him in your secondary would be a good idea.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 191 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

2nd

I love Hill’s versatility, as he showed at Michigan that he could play as a slot corner and deep safety thanks to his speed and intelligence. The Cowboys take him here and add another outstanding Swiss Army knife to their defense as they did with Micah Parsons last season.

Minnesota

• Sr

• 6’4″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

37th

POSITION RNK

5th

Boye Mafe is an athletic freak who is still tapping into his potential as a pass-rusher. There’s still some ironing out of his game that needs to happen, but he offers tremendous upside as a prospect if the Bills want to swing for the fences. They may go for a “safer” choice like George Karlaftis here too.

Northern Iowa

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 321 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

42nd

POSITION RNK

9th

I’m not as high on Penning as others, but while I doubt his potential to play on the left side, his nasty demeanor as a blocker — he plays through the echo of the whistle’s echo — could fit right in with a Titans group that loves to out-physical its opponents.

Washington

• Soph

• 6’0″

/ 194 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

140th

POSITION RNK

18th

Gordon is another Washington defensive back, so you know I love him, but he’s also been creeping up draft boards as of late. Corners are always a need, and his versatility and athleticism are attractive.

Penn State

• Sr

• 6’2″

/ 250 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

45th

POSITION RNK

7th

Ebikitie is an interesting player because if you’re judging him by how he performs in tights, you might not be overly impressed. When you watch the tape, though, he jumps out at you. He’s not the quickest player you’ll find off the snap, but he’s polished and smart. He uses his hands to keep blockers off-balance, and he’s stout against the run too.

Purdue

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 266 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Karlaftis is a player I loved heading into the 2021 season, but whose stock slipped a bit in my eyes. He’s still powerful and plays with the kind of ferocity you want to see, but he’s also the same player he was when I saw him as a freshman. It leads me to wonder if he’s already a finished product, and while that product is worth having on your team, I don’t think it’s one you want to take too early. This is a good spot for him, though, as the Chiefs need to get younger up front.

Penn State

• Sr

• 5’11”

/ 178 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

39th

POSITION RNK

6th

Dotson will be viewed as a Tyreek Hill replacement, but he is not Tyreek Hill. Still, Dotson’s shiftiness and ability to change direction on a dime could be devastatingly effective in Kansas City’s offense with Patrick Mahomes scrambling around and buying time.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 296 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Bengals have done a lot to address their offensive line already this offseason, but this is too good of a value to pass up. Linderbaum is one of the safest bets in this class.

Cincinnati

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 211 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

76th

POSITION RNK

5th

I’ve reached the point where I’ll be shocked if the Lions do anything but take a QB with this pick. It might not be Ridder, but it will be somebody. Jared Goff isn’t the long-term answer, and the Lions need to find one if this rebuild is going to work. Plus, this isn’t the kind of draft capital that would force Detroit to “marry” the QB if a better option comes along next spring.

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