Welcome. This might be one of the longer mocks you’ll read. Figured I'd come out of the gates firing for my draft coverage debut. I aim to be a decent, objective proxy for each front office, blending surprises with logical picks. If you happen to think this sucks, or that I'm categorically ignorant about your favorite team, well…
Let’s have some fun. Scroll to your team. Skip around to the select teams you’re interested in. Read it all. Whatever. There are no rules here. I can promise you, a lot of thought went into every single write-up and pick (even the second-rounders I didn't have to explain!). I researched the shit out of this thing for y’all. Not a single arbitrary or half-assed effort in this entire jam.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
It’s the no-brainer of the draft right here. I don’t agree with the Jaguars’ decision to franchise tag Cam Robinson for a second straight time. Oh well. At least with Hutchinson and Josh Allen screaming in off the edge, Jacksonville’s D has a chance to make huge strides in 2022. Even Trent Baalke can’t fuck this up. Check Hutchinson’s mind-boggling numbers from the bros at Pro Football Focus. Should be pretty straightforward.
2. Detroit Lions - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Stingley is arguably the best cover corner to enter the draft since Jalen Ramsey in 2016. He got banged up the past couple years as a member of mediocre LSU teams. If Jeff Okudah roars back from his Achilles injury, and Stingley is even close to what he was at his peak in Baton Rouge, look out. Detroit would have one of the most talented young CB duos in a division where the Packers no longer have Davante Adams, and where you still have to worry about Justin Jefferson torching you twice a year. As a true freshman, Stingley cut his teeth — and held his own — practicing against Jefferson and some dude named Ja’Marr Chase.
Whispers Derek Stingley Jr.’s Over/Under Draft Position is 12.5 at Barstool Sportsbook.
3. Houston Texans - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The only team worse than Detroit in PFF’s coverage grades last season was Houston. One bright spot to emerge from the Texans’ lost season was a decent pass rush. No. 3 overall is rich for the safety position, but Hamilton is no ordinary prospect. He’s 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and will lay your ass out in run support. Hamilton also had eight career INTs at Notre Dame, and is the type of movable chess piece modern defenses covet. Beyond all those skills, Hamilton is a culture-changer, which Houston desperately needs.
4. New York Jets - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Neal started at left guard in 2019, right tackle in 2020 and left tackle this past season for Alabama. If the Jets wanted to ride out the last year of right tackle George Fant’s overpriced contract, and Neal had to kick over to right guard to begin his NFL career, well, he’s 2-for-2 on switching positions so far. Oh, and he’s an absolute BEAST, tipping the scales at a lean 337 pounds at the Combine. He just has the raw strength and athleticism to manhandle people.
5. New York Giants - Travon Walker, DL, Georgia
Selecting Walker means Dexter Lawrence will move inside to nose tackle in the Giants’ base three-man front, with the former Georgia star aligning as a 5-technique. That’s Walker’s preferred position, and it’s really what the G-Men need. The size-athleticism freakazoid trio of Leonard Williams, Lawrence and Walker would wreak havoc in the NFC East. Walker can also thrive in a base 3-4 on the edge as a stand-up pass-rusher. He'd afford NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Wink Martindale — Patrick Graham is in Vegas these days, to correct a prior blunder — greater creative latitude with disguises, blitz packages and simulated pressures. Walker wins from wherever he lines up, really:
6. Carolina Panthers - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
I just can’t see past the Panthers’ desperate attempts to upgrade the quarterback position. They’re liable to take another swing here, and hell, they might as well. Carolina doesn’t pick again until 137th overall. In case you didn’t know, Pickett was once committed to play at Temple when Matt Rhule was the head coach there. These dots connect too easily. I mean this as a sincere compliment: In just about every way, Pickett is like a Poor Man’s Joe Burrow. If Kenny P. is 85% of Joey B., that ain’t bad.
7. New York Giants - Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
This may not be the ideal situation for Ekwonu per se, but for the Giants, it’s perfect. An absolute mauler in the running game, Ekwonu would plug in as a Day 1 starter at left guard next to Andrew Thomas, who came on strong after a rough rookie campaign. Let’s just say Saquon Barkley would be a happy man if Ekwonu falls to No. 7. Saquon might actually have some room to run for once. Daniel Jones will also appreciate not playing behind MTA/PATH turnstiles at guard.
All the NY/NJ folks right now:
8. Atlanta Falcons - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
After striking out on the more-than-a-little-gross-feeling Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes, the Falcons can bring aboard another, far less problematic Georgia native to be Matty Ice's heir. Willis is the most gifted passer in this class, with an absolute bazooka for a right arm, plus mobility and rare agility to make defenders miss in the open field. He’s still a work in progress as far as mechanical consistency and intermediate accuracy. He also bails from the pocket too soon. All that said, Atlanta is ideally positioned with a bridge QB in Marcus Mariota to help Willis along so that he’s ready to roll in Year 2.
9. Seattle Seahawks - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
With an audacious nickname like “Sauce”, Gardner feels like someone who can reignite that Legion of Boom swagger Seattle has been missing for the past several years. In the Seahawks’ typical base Cover 3 zone defense, Gardner is the best fit. He has the instincts, length and physicality to be an absolute force. Gardner didn’t allow a single TD in coverage across three seasons at Cincinnati, and would join a promising secondary alongside the safety tandem of Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. Seattle can get strong value on the front seven with one of its two early second-round picks.
10. New York Jets - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
That Robert Saleh philosophy of “all gas, no brake” should make McDuffie an appealing fit in New York at a position of dire need. McDuffie hails from a long line of solid Washington corners, and should be a plug-and-play upgrade to the Jets’ suspect cornerback group. If the Jets come out of Round 1 with Neal and McDuffie in tow, their first day should be considered a raging success. Oh, and McDuffie’s closing speed is REAL.
11. Washington Commanders - Drake London, WR, USC
The Contested Catch King of this year’s receiver class, London is a 6-foot-4 marvel of ball skills whose complementary finesse in the finer areas of the receiving craft make him a worthy WR1 candidate. Washington absolutely CANNOT afford to dunk on Carson Wentz by drafting a QB here. London and Terry McLaurin would give Wentz a formidable 1-2 punch, with Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown still in the fold as explosive complementary playmakers.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
I just don’t buy that Davis can’t be a three-down defender because of his weight. He rank a freaking 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the Combine while carrying 341 pounds. I mean, WHAT? “Unbelievable” is an overused word. It applies there. Stick Davis into the mix with Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith at defensive end, and Minnesota has the makings of something special up front.
13. Houston Texans - Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Another tone-setting, physical freak to pair with Hamilton. Fair or not, Thibodeaux’s stock is sinking like a stone. The Oregon star would form an intriguing pair opposite Jonathan Greenard, who enjoyed a low-key breakout 2021 with eight sacks in 12 games. A precipitous fall always happens to someone on draft night. All indications are, Thibodeaux will be that guy. He’ll have plenty to fuel the fire if he falls to 13th overall, too.
14. Baltimore Ravens - Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Johnson was a Senior Bowl standout for anyone who was watching the action in Mobile, Alabama. Particular players just seem to fit certain cities, and it feels like Baltimore would embrace Johnson, especially with its front seven in flux due to a gaggle of active free agents. Joining forces with 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh is an appealing proposition on paper. The Ravens also tend to have a high draft batting average when drafting for the second level of their perpetually vaunted defense.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Want to make Jalen Hurts’ job easier? Get him a separator and ball-tracking extraordinaire like Wilson to pair with DeVonta Smith. If this happens, Philly may have the best route-running pair of young wideouts in the entire NFL. Wilson is bigger than Smith, but could use some pointers from the former Heisman Trophy winner on how to beat press coverage. Just look at Wilson’s quickness on this crisp comeback:
16. Philadelphia Eagles - George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Philly would welcome new blood at defensive end. Karlaftis is thicker than Thibodeaux and Johnson, and may have the most relentless motor of the three. With that bulk comes the perk of versatility, as the Eagles could slide Karlaftis inside on obvious passing downs to bolster its interior rush. Derek Barnett can’t be counted on as the long-term starter. Even though he just signed a new two-year deal, it should have an out after 2022, and someone like Karlaftis might come in and take his job in camp anyway.
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
Sheesh. The Chargers certainly went in on improving their defense this offseason, trading for superstar Khalil Mack and signing cornerback J.C. Jackson. The defensive run scheme Brandon Staley was trying to implement in 2021 never clicked, as the Chargers yielded 4.6 yards per carry. Sebastian Joseph-Day will help the cause, since he played under Staley with the Rams. But how about adding another interior defender like Wyatt to the equation? To have SJD, Wyatt, Mack and Joey Bosa in a hybrid front would be…
18. New Orleans Saints - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Saints just lost their star longtime tackle Terron Armstead to Miami. If they’re going to have any hope at a successful passing game in the coming years, they’ll need a cornerstone pass protector. Cross played under Mike Leach at Mississippi State, so he got as many reps as you could ever hope for in that pass-happy offense. He’s as technically polished as it gets in that area of the game, and New Orleans should be racing to the podium with the card if Cross falls this far.
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Darius Slay locking down one half of the field, Avonte Maddox crushing it in the slot, and — …oh right, the Eagles need another viable cornerback on the outside. Kaiir Elam might be more some Philly fans’ speed, but Booth is one of the most fluid athletes at the position. He’d add some healthy competition to a group that’s already improved from a season ago. With a veteran like Slay to help him along, Booth has all the physical tools — speed, fluidity, ball skills — to show out even as a rookie.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa
Just move Kendrick Green to guard. He wasn’t good at center, and like, if Linderbaum is here, the Steelers MUST get him. If you had to bet on anyone from the 2022 draft being a Pro Bowler, the safest wager would probably be either Hamilton and Linderbaum. Like Hamilton, the Iowa product plays a position (center) that isn’t held in high esteem. For a Pittsburgh team still searching for its successor to Ben Roethlisberger — Mitch Trubisky probably ain’t it — it pays to have a steady presence like Linderbaum who can help with protection calls and keep everyone on task in the trenches.
21. New England Patriots - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Ooooooooooh SPICY. Does Bill Belichick have the guts to swing and miss on another wide receiver? In the first round? I feel like The Hoodie doesn’t have much of a choice at this point. We know he’s tight with Nick Saban. Williams left Ohio State’s crowded receiver room to absolutely BALL at Alabama with 79 receptions, 1,572 yards and 15 TDs. Then he tore his ACL in the national title game. FUCK. THAT. But Williams is on the mend, should be ready to rock at least by midseason. He’d be the deep threat the Patriots have sorely lacked. Let’s just hope Mac Jones and his marginal arm can push the ball far enough downfield.
22. Green Bay Packers - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
That’s right, Packers. I managed to get Chris Olave to fall to Green Bay. YOU’RE WELCOME. Davante Adams is gone, but Olave is so polished, smooth, composed and ready to step in as Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy. This has Justin Jefferson potential. By that I mean, Jefferson was the 22nd pick in the 2020 draft, and made every team who didn’t need a QB look silly for passing him up. Not saying Olave is going to be a surefire record-setter. Just saying he should easily eclipse 1,000 yards if he ends up a Packer.
23. Arizona Cardinals - Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
You could appease Kyler Murray by drafting an offensive lineman, but he’s acting like such a little whiny brat and doesn’t deserve it. That bizarre Instagram scrubbing this offseason was just weird. He may go play baseball in a couple years for all we know. ANYWAY, the Cardinals lost Chandler Jones to Las Vegas, so they’re down an elite pass-rusher. Mafe isn’t going to be an instant fix, yet he has everything you’re looking for in a future star on the edge. Check out this rep vs. Ohio State 😳 :
24. Dallas Cowboys - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Leighton Vander Esch is back. Micah Parsons is there. I know. Just imagine Parsons aligning on the edge, and Lloyd behind him, alongside Vander Esch, and Dan Quinn cackling as he watches all of them shuffle around pre-snap and force a foe into burning a timeout. Pretty appealing. Lloyd is a bold call with Nakobe Dean still on the board. Similar to Parsons, he can rush the passer extremely well (15.5 sacks over the last three seasons). Plus, Vander Esch is only on a one-year deal.
25. Buffalo Bills - Travis Jones, DL, UConn
It seems like the Bills are two-deep at both defensive end spots, so to complement their quicker, interior tackles like Ed Oliver, someone bigger and broader like Jones who can still really wiggle makes sense here. Buffalo doesn’t have many other holes to address, and Jones, at 325 pounds, would be a big boon to the Bills’ middling rush defense. He’d control gaps and free up Buffalo’s more athletic linemen to make plays in the backfield while making his fair share.
26. Tennessee Titans - Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
There’s no position Green hasn’t seen extensive action at over the last three years other than center. A firm solution at right tackle continues to elude the Titans, and while Green could play there, he’s better suited at either guard spot to help pave running lanes for Derrick Henry and protect the pocket from collapsing on Ryan Tannehill, who took 47 sacks in 2021.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
If Zion Johnson is still waiting for his name to be announced, the Bucs have to let it rip. Tom Brady will want all the protection he can get, and Aaron Stinnie, with respect, isn’t the type of talent Johnson is. He allowed just three sacks and nine QB hits across the past three seasons, starting at left guard in 2019 and 2021. With Shaq Mason entrenched at right guard, Johnson can step right in.
28. Green Bay Packers - Bernard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
The rich get richer here, as Raimann becomes the next in line to protect Rodgers’ blind side once David Bakhtiari retires. That’s still maybe a couple, or even a few years away. Until then, Raimann is still moldable enough to cross train and to plug in on the right side, since he’s only spent two seasons at offensive tackle. Raimann is so sillily athletic that he should thrive in Green Bay’s development program. Hard to think of a franchise better than the Packers at producing quality offensive linemen.
29. Kansas City Chiefs - David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
No question the Chiefs need pass-rushers on the outside. Frank Clark has underachieved lately, and Melvin Ingram is a free agent. Not much else. Ojabo tore his Achilles at his pro day, which SUCKS. This guy is insanely talented, twitchy and explosive, with so much upside still to tap given his limited game reps. But IF there’s a silver lining, it’s that he may slide to a better team. KC has multiple first- and second-round picks via the Tyreek Hill trade. They can afford to take a flier on the injured Wolverine here.
30. Kansas City Chiefs - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Tyrann Mathieu’s exit leaves a huge void in the Chiefs’ defensive backfield. He’s an excellent safety and gridiron Swiss Army knife who took 241 snaps in the slot last season. While L’Jarius Sneed can hold it down as the primary nickel, Rashad Fenton is the only other viable guy on the perimeter. That’s precisely where Elam fills in. He’s a little grabby, but he’s not shy about being out on an island. KC coordinator Steve Spagnuolo loves to dial up the pressure and play man on the back end.
31. Cincinnati Bengals - Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
You may question the positional value. The issue is, there aren’t any interior offensive linemen remaining who are worthy of this pick. If you’re Cincinnati, you could take a flier on a cornerback to compete with Eli Apple, but in this instance, the Bengals wait for the traits-y Tariq Woolen (4.26 40-yard dash, 42-inch vert) of UTSA in Round 2, and go with a Week 1 starter in Dean to pair with Logan Wilson. That’d give the reigning AFC champs’ linebacker corps some serious juice and another potential star.
32. Detroit Lions - Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
To get that fifth-year option sweetener, the Lions take a flier on the Rebels gunslinger to close out Round 1. Even in a gimmicky, RPO-heavy offense, Corral showed off impressive arm strength, a quick release, and exceptional running ability. Jared Goff is a fine placeholder for now, but Detroit would really covet someone with the obvious competitive fire Corral plays with. He’s like a more endearing Baker Mayfield. PS: If Baker leaves the Browns for Detroit, it feels like it’d be combustible. If Corral joins forces with Dan Campbell? More promising, less abrasive, and still wildly entertaining.
And here’s a little betting bonus to finish things off — plus second-round picks!
Barstool Sportsbook props — Number of players to be drafted in Round 1 by position:
QBs: 3.5 — Over (+165) / Under (-225)
WRs: 5.5 — Over (-120) / Under (-109)
CBs: 4.5 — Over (+110) / Under (-143)
OT/OL: 6.5 — Over (-162) / Under (+124)
In this mock: 3 QBs, 4 WRs, 5 CBs, 7 OT/OL
2022 NFL Mock Draft, Round 2:
33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
34. Detroit Lions - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
35. New York Jets - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
36. New York Giants - Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
37. Houston Texans - Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
38. New York Jets - Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
39. Chicago Bears - George Pickens, WR, Georgia
40. Seattle Seahawks - DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
41. Seattle Seahawks - Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
42. Indianapolis Colts - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
43. Atlanta Falcons - Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
44. Cleveland Browns - Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
45. Baltimore Ravens - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
46. Minnesota Vikings - Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
47. Washington Commanders - Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
48. Chicago Bears - Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
49. New Orleans Saints - Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma
50. Kansas City Chiefs - John Metchie, WR, Alabama
51. Philadelphia Eagles - Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
52. Pittsburgh Steelers - Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
53. Green Bay Packers - Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
54. New England Patriots - Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
55. Arizona Cardinals - Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
56. Dallas Cowboys - Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
57. Buffalo Bills - Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
58. Atlanta Falcons - Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
59. Green Bay Packers - Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Logan Hall, DL, Houston
61. San Francisco 49ers - Dylan Parham, OL, Memphis
62. Kansas City Chiefs - Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
63. Cincinnati Bengals - Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
64. Denver Broncos - Quay Walker, LB, Georgia