Updated: Feb 15
Another Super Bowl is in the books, which can only mean one thing. It's mock draft season.
Another season has flown by and a new champion has been crowned. Attentions turn to the off season, as teams look to improve rosters to make a run at the play-offs or at least get closer to competing. Free agency is just around the corner, followed by the NFL Draft and then training camp.
This means it’s time to drop my Mock Draft 1.0. Yes free agency will change a lot of this and trades also, but who doesn't love reading mock drafts though? Even to just say it's completely trash. Anyway, enjoy the my first 32 picks of the 2022 NFL Draft 1.0 + 1st picks from teams picking outside round 1. The Jacksonville Jaguars are now on the clock...
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
With the Doug Pederson hire the Jags are looking to bring stability to the organisation. I'm sure one of the first things on his mind is protecting the prize asset he has inherited. Trevor Lawrence was sacked at least once in every game last season, with the offensive line giving up a season total of 32. Alabama's Evan Neal would be a good start to improving the protection. Neal is a mammoth of a man that moves extremely well. Himself and 2021 2nd round pick Walker Little could sure up the tackle positions for the Jaguars.
2. Detroit Lions
The Lions have to pull the trigger on the home time hero. Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson has a non-stop motor, which ties in well with the city of Detroit. Already possessing leadership traits, Hutchinson will make them significantly better at getting to the QB, while also helping a defence that gave up around 135 rushing yards a game last season. If Dan Campbell could create a pass rusher in his vision, it would be Aidan Huthinson.
3. Houston Texans
QB Davis Mills showed promise, especially at the back end of the season. I think another 2022 first round pick could come Houston's way, courtesy of a Deshaun Watson trade. Houston needs defensive help in a lot of positions. Safety Kyle Hamilton is one of very few blue chip players in this draft class. He is a unicorn, who can play many roles at an extremely high level. Wherever new HC Lovie Smith wants to line him up, he will do a job.
4. New York Jets
The Jets need to give Zach Wilson all the help they can. I'm sure Robert Saleh wouldn't be expecting Kayon Thibodeaux still to be here. We have seen with his time at the 49ers especially how much Saleh loves elite pass rushers. Thibodeaux is just that and I can't help but think the only reason the Jets don't go offence is in this scenario. The scary thought is that Thibodeaux hasn't reached his potential ceiling.
5. New York Giants
I think every man and his dog knows what the Giants need. Ikem Ekwonu is an OT who could also play inside. Ekwonu is a mauler who plays to humiliate his opposition and would come in as a much-needed day 1 starter, potential at RT. This would be a start in giving Danny Dimes a chance he hasn't been afforded as a Giant so far.
6. Carolina Panthers
The Sam Darnold experiment didn't work in Carolina. Even bringing back Cam Newton during the season failed to ignite the offence. A QB has to be the pick and I don't see anything in FA that's worth the money they would pay unless it's Watson. Sam Howell might have seen his stock fall a little after a superb 2020 season. He still has all the makings of a top prospect with some work.
7. New York Giants via Chicago
After strengthening the offensive trenches, the Giants turn to the defensive line. George Karlaftis is a powerhouse coming off the edge. If the Giants decide not to activate the 5th year option with Dexter Lawrence, then he has one more season left. Williams has 2 years left on his mega deal, with the future unclear on his stay with the Giants. Selecting Karlaftis would be good for the present and the future.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Pass Rush is a big need for the Falcons and potentially wide receiver with Ridley’s future up in the air. Atlanta picked up an abysmal 18 total sacks last season in 17 games. Jermaine Johnson had a superb Senior Bowl which made NFL teams take notice. Some may say this is a bit of a reach but the Falcons need pass rush help day 1, Johnson will give them that.
9. Denver Broncos
Does Denver really have a chance at acquiring Rodgers? If they do, they sure better protect him. The RT spot needs a consistent starter who can do a job and Charles Cross is that guy. Cross is excellent in pass protection having played under Leach and his air raid offence. That comes with its negatives also, as we haven’t seen him much in the run game. Taking a guess I think he can succeed in that department too.
10. New York Jets via Seattle
I know Joe Douglas and the Jets don’t do early round corners, but it’s a need and they have there pick off them at 10. It also makes it an easier choice with the top 3 offensive lineman off the board. Ahmad Gardner is a lockdown corner in the making. His coverage skills in college were excellent, never giving up a touchdown in all 3 seasons at the Bearcats.
11. Washington Football Team
Washington need to be looking at a QB and I think they go bold and select Malik Willis. The Liberty QB is very raw, but his ceiling is extremely high. At the Senior Bowl he showed exactly the talent he possesses. With current quarterback Taylor Heinicke they have a guy who can do a job until Willis is ready to be unleashed. If he hits those projected heights, Washington will have a star.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Going on Derek Stingley Jr‘s 2019 form, you saw a potential generational talent as a True Freshman. Since then, a depleted Covid season and injuries have seen that talk fizzle out. The Vikings gave up the 4th most passing yards last season and will be shallow at the position with Peterson and Alexander free agents. Pick 12 is not too early to pick up Stingley despite the limited production in the last 2 seasons.
13. Cleveland Browns
I believe Baker Mayfield will still be the starting quarterback in Cleveland in 2022. What he will need desperately is some offensive weapons. Garrett Wilson is a talented receiver who can win at all 3 levels of the field. After the catch Wilson can make guys miss in one-on-one situations and getting separation isn’t a problem. A QBs best friend at the next level.
14. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens really need lineman help on both sides of the ball. The defensive front is aging, with Calais Campbell turning 36, Justin Houston is 33 and Derek Wolfe will be 32 soon. David Ojabo is young, exciting and hasn’t touched the surface of what he is capable of. Ojabo will join Patrick Queen and 2021 1st round pick Jayson Oweh, making it a frighting defensive front with miles on the tank.
15. Philadelphia Eagles via Miami
The Eagles with the first of their 3 picks. With Jason Kelce more thank likely retiring, how do you replace a talented centre like him? Well luckily Iowa centre Tyler Linderbaum is on the board. Linderbaum plays hard, aggressively and excellent in the run game. He could easily be the best talent in the draft and would step straight in to replace Kelce.
16. Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis
The Eagles are up again and although I think they will trade at least one of these picks, this is a no trade mock draft. Although the defence should be the main port of call, I did not go there with their first pick. Devin Lloyd will be the first line-backer the Eagles have taken in the 1st round since 1979. Lloyd’s football IQ is high end and will be an excellent addition to an average line-backer group.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Stopping the run was something the Chargers could not do last season. They were ranked third last giving up an average of 139 yards a game. I know Keenan Allen isn’t getting any younger and Mike Williams is hitting FA, but defensive minded HC Staley won’t want that stat to read like that in 2022. Travon Walker offers versatility along the line, playing inside and outside. A nice chess piece for Staley, who will also be a big help on run defensive.
18. New Orleans Saints
Do the Saints trade up for a QB? I think they take what they have in Hill and Book this season, especially being in a cap nightmare. They also need significant help at receiver and Treylon Burks is a fun guy to have on your team. Burks has the makings of a do it all wide receiver and would be fun to use with Kamara and Taysom Hill for this season. Looking to rebuild around one of the guys from this QB group could be risky for a team like the Saints. Especially using a 1st round pick.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have strengthened both sides of the ball with their first 2 picks. They can’t go get a wide receiver with a 1st round pick again. Possibly could trade for Calvin Ridley if available. Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox have been good CBs for Philly, but are they true number 1 material? Andrew Booth Jr. has the potential to be a number 1 cornerback in the NFL. A bit to his game to figure out but he is already a talent.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Does Mike Tomlin really believe in Mason Rudolph to be his QB1? I’m not buying it and free agency is a possibility for a quick fix. Matt Corral surprisingly is still there for the Steelers, A very different QB to what has come before in Big Ben, but I think Tomlin would enjoy using Corral. They have enough weapons around, just need some help in the trenches with FA and later picks.
21. New England Patriots
The defence didn’t show up in the play-offs for the Patriots. There are a lot of old heads on that side of the ball, especially at the line backer position. Nakobe Dean is a Bill Belichick type player, intelligent, high tempo and excellent against the run. Dean also is good in coverage and with a handful of ILB hitting FA, it seems an easy and sensible selection.
22. Las Vegas Raiders
This probably should be offensive line, but Drake London would make this offence very hard top stop. If you are a Raiders fan just picture Waller, Renfrow and London lining up against defences, that’s exciting. At 6’5” and 210 lbs, he is a contested catch machine but is also so much more.
23. Arizona Cardinals
Is Kyler Murray the latest quarterback to have off season drama? Likely a move to get paid. The Cardinals need to look at the defence with this pick. Trent McDuffie is not to be underestimated and this is not a reach. McDuffie is versatile and fits the high-octane mould of how the Cardinals play on defence. They already have two Washington Huskies at the DB position that have been nothing short of top level players.
24. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas needs to get better in the secondary and Daxton Hill would be an excellent fit in the Dan Quinn defence. Hill plays at a rapid pace, buzzing around the field making plays. The Michigan safety has seen time in the slot and can be used in a handful of positions. If Amari Cooper is cut to make cap space, this pick could change.
25. Buffalo Bills
With one of the strongest rosters in the NFL, the Bills do have a few areas that need to get better. One of those is at offensive guard, where nobody has tied down a spot. Kenyon Green can play guard and tackle on both sides of the line. Guard is where he will be needed and should fix the inconsistency on the right side especially.
26. Tennessee Titans
After securing the number 1 spot in the AFC, the Titans went out with a whimper against the Bengals. It will be interesting to see what they do with Julio Jones, but even if he stays, they need more at receiver. Chris Olave is versatile and comes into the league as probably the most refined receiver. Olave has high end football IQ and knows how to get open, whatever scheme he’s up against.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 2021 champions have lost the GOAT at QB. On top of all that they have a lot of players to pay and they wont be able to retain them all. The defensive line seems to be worse affected with JPP, Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston’s contract’s up. Cameron Thomas out of San Diego State is an edge that would be drafted higher if playing for a power 5 school. Thomas played mostly in a 4-3 scheme but I see the abilities in his game to play in the Bucs 3-4 scheme.
28. Green Bay Packers
There will be lots more to digest than most teams before the 2022 NFL Draft takes place for the Packers. My prediction is Jordan Love will be QB1 for Green Bay next season, therefore get players that will give him a shot at succeeding. The Packers don’t get chance to draft players of Jameson Williams qualities picking at the back end of the 1st round. His injury is a problem but having to wait a little longer potentially for his first start would be worth it. Even if it’s Rodgers, i think he would approve.
29. Miami Dolphins via San Francisco
It looks like new HC Mike McDaniel is investing in Tua and that means they must start protecting him. Darian Kinnard is a RT who many believe would be a better NFL player if he switched inside. Wherever the Dolphins line him up, he can play the run and pass very well and moves exceptionally well for a big man.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
Although spending a lot of money on the defensive line in 2021, it didn’t get the production they had hoped. Signing a true DE to play opposite Frank Clark would be a start, meaning Chris Jones could flip back inside permanently. Boye Mafe is an athletic freak who is coming off an impressive Senior Bowl. Mafe might be a bit far off the finished article, but the Chiefs will be happy enough to sit and wait for it all to come together.
31. Cincinnati Bengals
Even if the they won it all you wouldn't need to guess where the Bengals are going with this one. Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning is as aggressive as they come, trying to make sure the opposition defender is on the floor at the end of the play. The Bengals need to improve pretty much all over the offensive line and Penning can play either tackle positions.
32. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams
The Rams Super Bowl victory gives the Lions the 32nd pick. I think they can hang on another year with Jared Goff. Last year’s fourth round pick Amon-Ra St Brown looked a great selection late on in the season. Pairing him with Purdue’s David Bell would be a step in the right direction on offence. Bring back Josh Reynolds and the Lions have a nice wide receiver set, even for a new QB next season if they choose that route.
39. Chicago Bears
The new regime is in place at the Bears and one of the first tasks on their list is protecting second year quarterback Justin Fields. 2021 2ND round pick Tevon Jenkins battled injuries early but did show glimpses of a starting tackle. Zion Johnson would be a smart pick here. The Boston College OG even took snaps at centre at the Senior Bowl, offering potential versatility. Where did new GM Ryan Poles play his college football? Boston College on the offensive line.
41. Seattle Seahawks
Lots of changes on the Seahawks staff, but HC Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider remain. Every season is important, but this seems significant for both. Russ wants to stay, but will he? If he does, I think giving him what he wants is important. I’ve said that many times before. Sean Ryhan out of UCLA projects as a day 1 starter at LT and has all the tools to be a success at the next level.
47. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts lost their 1st round pick to the Eagles after QB Carson Wentz played 75% of the Colts snaps. A clause that was agreed when the trade happened. Wide receiver Paris Campbell hasn’t worked out how they wanted with injuries. TY Hilton and Zach Pascal are FAs, that leaves Michael Pittman Jr. Christian Watson showed his capabilities down in Mobile. He is so much more than downfield speed, but the Colts need somebody to stretch the field.
61. San Francisco 49ers
It was close but no cigar with Jimmy G again. Now everything seemingly points to 2021 3rd overall pick Trey Lance being the starter in 2022. Although the offensive line needs some work, the corner back situation is dire. Kyler Gordon is starting to project some talk. Gordon put up excellent coverage numbers at Washington alongside McDuffie and wasn’t overshadowed. Gordon is a physical corner, just how the 49ers like them.
104. Los Angeles Rams
Your first pick being In round 3 doesn’t seem bad when you’ve just won it all. I’m not going to say a 3rd round pick is going to fill the boots of the legend Andrew Whitworth right away. Rasheed Walker is a talent and has all the attributes you want in a tackle, moves well, long arms, good pad level etc. It may take him time to refine his tools but he has the making off a damn good football player.