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NFL Mock Draft 2022: Edition 3


Kyle Hamilton to Detroit

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

The No. 1 overall selection has flipped a few times throughout the draft process, but the pendulum appears to be swinging back to Aidan Hutchinson. The Michigan product was a Heisman finalist this fall and has the athleticism and intangibles to be a fearsome pass rusher at the next level. After landing their franchise quarterback last spring, Jacksonville gets their franchise pass rusher.

Previous Selection: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

2. Detroit Lions

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Quarterback remains an intriguing possibility for Detroit with the No. 2 pick, but something tells me they will hold off, at least with this selection. Instead, the coaching staff adds an immediate impact defender in the form of Kyle Hamilton, who will shore up a secondary that has been an Achilles Heel for years. Hamilton is one of my favorite prospects in this Draft, a long, rangy defender who has a track record of success from his time with Notre Dame.

Previous Selection: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

3. Houston Texans

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Texans have surprisingly not moved Laremy Tunsil this offseason, indicating they're likely to hold onto the veteran tackle into the fall. Even if they do, an offensive linemen makes sense, and Evan Neal is the top on the board. Neal could start right away at right tackle or move inside, as he started 13 games at guard for Alabama back in 2019.

Previous Selection: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

4. New York Jets

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

It's been years since the Jets had a truly fearsome pass rusher, so both the front office and coaching staff would be thrilled if Kayvon Thibodeaux were to drop here. Thibodeaux isn't quite as complete of a prospect as Hutchinson, but his raw physical gifts make him worthy of a Top 5 selection.

Previous Selection: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

5. New York Giants

Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

Few teams in the league have invested as much draft capital in offensive line the last few years as the New York Giants. They simply have not gotten the production up front they would have liked, which has in turn crippled Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. They're hoping taking Ikem Ekwonu at this spot finally solves their O-Line woes and provides them with a consistent, versatile blocker for years to come.

Previous Selection: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

6. Carolina Panthers

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Carolina may be the most fascinating team drafting in the Top 10. They have a hot seat head coach, an obvious need at quarterback, but also holes along both lines. Throwing a young QB into the mix seems like an unwise move, but Kenny Pickett is the most safe QB prospect in this Draft and has the mental makeup to make the most of this situation.

Previous Selection: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

7. New York Giants

Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

Few players in this Draft have seen their stock rise as rapidly as Georgia product Travon Walker. Once considered a mid-to-late first rounder, Walker has a legit chance to land somewhere in the Top 3. I think it's more likely he finds himself somewhere in the 5-10 range with a team looking to snag a high upside edge rusher, like the New York Giants.

Previous Selection: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

8. Atlanta Falcons

Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State

For the first time in a decade-and-a-half, Matt Ryan is not an Atlanta Falcon. His absence makes quarterback a distinct possibility (Malik Willis perhaps?), but Marcus Mariota is a more than capable short-term QB. Instead, Jermaine Johnson II is a name that seems to be trending at this spot. Johnson spent time with Georgia and in the JUCO ranks before a dominant season on a bad Florida State team.

Previous Selection: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

9. Seattle Seahawks

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

When it's all said and done, I think Malik Willis has a very good shot at being the top QB off the board in this Draft. He's the type of dynamic playmaker that simply doesn't come around too often, even if there are some questions about his mechanics and fit in an NFL offense. I don't believe it's a lock Seattle goes quarterback with this selection, but Willis is simply too tantalizing to ignore.

Previous Selection: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

10. New York Jets

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

New York has done a decent job upgrading their receiver corps as of late, but I'm not sold on either Corey Davis or Elijah Moore being a true No. 1 guy. Instead, the Jets go with a truly dynamic wide out in Garrett Wilson, who was awfully impressive in Columbus, even with important targets going to Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave. 

Previous Selection: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

11. Washington Commanders

Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Washington would be thrilled if Kyle Hamilton were to drop to them at this spot, but I don't think there's any chance he survives the Top 10. Derek Stingley Jr. is still one heck of a consolation prize; even though he wasn't quite able to build on a marvelous freshman season in Baton Rouge, he has all the tools to be a top corner in the NFL.

Previous Selection: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

12. Minnesota Vikings

Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

There seems to be a real split among Vikings fans on which direction they go here. Do they upgrade corner, even with Patrick Peterson back, or fix their interior defensive line? Even with the Harrison Phillips signing, my money is on interior D-Line. Jordan Davis became somewhat of a cult hero among many college football fans this year and makes a lot of sense for the Vikes.

Previous Selection: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

13. Houston Texans

Drake London, WR, USC

Houston appears set on moving forward with Davis Mills as their starting quarterback, at least for the time being. Mills has a chance to be a rock-solid NFL QB, but he needs help from a depleted offense. Drafting Neal at three obviously helps, but Drake London would make an even larger impact. Before a season-ending injury at USC, he was a near lock for the Biletnikoff Award and has the physical tools to be a superb NFL wide receiver.

Previous Selection: Drake London, WR, USC (to Cleveland)

14. Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

I suspect offensive line is the play here for Baltimore, but do they focus on the tackle spot or the interior? Charles Cross and Trevor Penning are two names I'm watching, but Tyler Linderbaum seems to be the trending selection. He was absolutely dominant the past few seasons for Iowa and could be the next great Hawkeye turned Raven, after Marshall Yanda, who retired this offseason.

Previous Selection: Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

15. Philadelphia Eagles

George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

Behind Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, and the rising Travon Walker, George Karlaftis seems to be the forgotten edge rusher in this Draft. He's going to be a steal for someone, and might not be too difficult to pass up here for Philadelphia. Even facing double and triple teams in college, Karlaftis was still a three-year contributor for Purdue.

Previous Selection: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

16. New Orleans Saints

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The swift decline of Michael Thomas has New Orleans scrambling for weapons on the perimeter. They could choose to wait on taking a receiver if Wilson and London are off the board, but Treylon Burks is one of my favorite wide outs in this class and is heavily under-appreciated. He provides the Saints some much-needed playmaking potential on the outside.

Previous Selection: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas (to Philadelphia)

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

There seems to be a wide range of possible destinations for Mississippi State product Charles Cross. I still think he has a chance to land somewhere in the Top 10, but he could also slide into the 20s depending on team needs. I'd be shocked if he slides past Los Angeles, a team that desperately needs to upgrade their pass protection if they wish to unleash Justin Herbert's full potential.

Previous Selection: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

18. Philadelphia Eagles

Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

After addressing their pass rush with Karlaftis, I suspect Philadelphia again does defense with their second selection of the first round. Ahmad Gardner is a Top 15 prospect in my eyes, but could slide depending on where Derek Stingley Jr. goes. If so, the Eagles jump at the chance to add a talented young corner to an aging secondary.

Previous Selection: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati (to New Orleans)

19. New Orleans Saints

Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Quarterback is a possibility for New Orleans at this spot, with the trio of Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral, and Sam Howell all available. However, the organization seems content rolling with Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton as a short-term starter. Instead, they address a need along the offensive line with a high-upside, low-risk tackle in Trevor Penning.

Previous Selection: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington (to Philadelphia)

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

The tragic passing of Dwayne Haskins was a complete shock, and while there are more important things to consider than the football side of things, it threw Pittsburgh's QB room into more mystery. Even if Willis is off the board at this spot, I think the Steelers take a signal-caller, and Desmond Ridder makes the most sense. The winningest QB in Cincinnati history, he's got a proven pedigree and seems like a nice fit in this offense.

Previous Selection: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

21. New England Patriots

Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

There may be corners more physically gifted than Trent McDuffie in this Draft, but the Washington product is a well-rounded, intelligent defender who could play in just about any NFL defense. There are certain prospects that just feel like Patriots players, and to me, McDuffie has that fit.

Previous Selection: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

22. Green Bay Packers

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

This has got to be a receiver...right? With one of the selections they received in the Davante Adams, Green Bay finally addresses a position that has long been a weak spot, taking a dynamic weapon in Jameson Williams. Williams might slide slightly after suffering a torn ACL in the National Championship, but in my mind he was the best receiver in college football this fall and is worthy of this pick.

Previous Selection: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah (to Las Vegas)

23. Arizona Cardinals

Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

Chandler Jones is now as Las Vegas Raider and J.J. Watt is 33 years of age, meaning Arizona will have some work to do on their defensive line moving forward. There's a lot of options to like here, including the sliding David Ojabo, but Devonte Wyatt's versatility should make him a hot commodity. He gets forgotten at times with all the talent coming out of this Georgia defense, but he's a stud who can make an immediate impact.

Previous Selection: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

24. Dallas Cowboys

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Cowboys chose to bring back Leighton Vander Esch to pair with Micah Parsons, but they could still use a first-round selection to help shore up their rush defense. Enter Devin Lloyd, who had an extremely productive career at Utah, and now should find himself somewhere in the first round. Pairing Lloyd with Parsons should guarantee Dallas a strong linebacker corps for years to come.

Previous Selection: Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State

25. Buffalo Bills

Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Buffalo has never been one to shy away from the "best player available" approach, but I think they instead focus on their need at corner here in the late first round. Obviously, they would love if one of the trio of Stingley, Gardner, or McDuffie were available here, but Andrew Booth is still a nice selection. A well-built defender with elite ball skills, he could be a fun piece in this secondary.

Previous Selection: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

26. Tennessee Titans

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Another team that could go several different directions, I'm monitoring D-Line, linebacker, O-Line, and receiver for Tennessee here. Even though the Titans added Robert Woods after moving on from Julio Jones, I still think Chris Olave makes sense at this spot. Olave may not have the upside of his former teammate Garrett Wilson, but he's a polished route runner who should have a long NFL career.

Previous Selection: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

While Tampa Bay added Shaq Mason to help shore up their need at offensive guard, don't be surprised if they still add another interior linemen early on. They have two nice options in Kenyon Green and Boston College product Zion Johnson, but Green has more potential in the long term. 

Previous Selection: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

28. Green Bay Packers

David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

There seems to be near universal agreement that the Packers will take a receiver with one of their first round selections, but the other pick isn't as clear. Edge rusher is always a good default option, particularly one as talented as David Ojabo. His torn Achilles is going to drop him like a boulder, but he's a Top 10-15 prospect in this Draft.

Previous Selection: George Pickens, WR, Georgia

29. Kansas City Chiefs

Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Tyreek Hill is now a Miami Dolphin and while JuJu Smith-Schuster and company are serviceable, I still think Kansas City takes a shot at receiver early on in this Draft. Don't be surprised if North Dakota State's Christian Watson comes out of seemingly nowhere to sneak into the bottom of the first. Obviously, he doesn't have Hill's speed (who does?), but is an elite jump ball receiver at 6'4".

Previous Selection: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia (to Miami)

30. Kansas City Chiefs

Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State

This is prime territory for a team looking to trade into the back-end of the first round for a QB, especially if Matt Corral is still available. If Kansas City does stay firm, I think a pass rusher could be in the cards. Arnold Ebiketie had an impressive career at Temple, but proved he could play with the big boys during a one-year stint at Penn State. His length and explosiveness off the edge helps him lock into the first.

Previous Selection: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

31. Cincinnati Bengals

Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

I've had offensive line mocked here previously, but the fact Cincinnati has invested so heavily this offseason seems to indicate they'll use this pick elsewhere. They're decent at linebacker but could still use some reinforcements there, and Dean is just too good to make it out of the first round. He becomes the fourth Georgia defender to go in the first, but don't be surprised if there's even more.

Previous Selection: Bernhard Raimann, OL, Central Michigan

32. Detroit Lions

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

I don't see Jared Goff being the one to lead Detroit back to contention and while he'll almost surely be the 2022 starter, the Lions get a long-term replacement in Matt Corral. Detroit won't contend this fall, so why not let Corral sit behind and learn for a year before seeing what he's got in 2023?

Previous Selection: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

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