Daniel Jeremiah 2022 NFL mock draft 1.0: Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis among 3 QBs taken in Round 1

The NFL has released the list of underclassmen who have been granted early entry to the 2022 NFL Draft, marking the official start to Mock Draft Season! With 97 days until Round 1 kicks off in Las Vegas, here’s my first look at how the top 32 selections could play out.

NOTE: The order of the final eight spots below will be determined by the outcome of the remaining playoff games.

Jacksonville Jaguars

SELECTION: Evan Neal, OT

  • School: Alabama
  • Year: Junior

Jacksonville needs to use this offseason to provide some help for Trevor Lawrence. Jags GM Trent Baalke is very close with Bill Parcells, who, as EVP of football ops for the Dolphins in 2008, used the first overall pick on Jake Long — a big, physical tackle from a powerhouse program. I could see Baalke making a similar move here.

Detroit Lions

SELECTION: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge

  • School: Michigan
  • Year: Senior

The Lions shouldn’t waste any time turning in the card if the Jags pass on Hutchinson. The Heisman Trophy runner-up is a perfect fit for their needs and the culture they are building. 

Houston Texans

SELECTION: Kyle Hamilton, S

  • School: Notre Dame
  • Year: Junior

Hamilton feels like the “Patriot pick” for NE South. He’s big, fast, versatile and smart. Those characteristics are highly valued in New England, where Texans GM Nick Caserio spent two decades honing his craft.

New York Jets

SELECTION: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge

  • School: Oregon
  • Year: Junior

I’d be very tempted to take Ikem Ekwonu here (I have the N.C. State tackle as my top offensive lineman), but the Jets defense was notoriously awful last year. They will get Carl Lawson back (Achilles), but they still need more pass rush. I could see Thibodeaux sliding, but his blend of length and burst is impressive.

New York Giants

SELECTION: Ikem Ekwonu, OT

  • School: N.C. State
  • Year: Sophomore (RS)

This would be a home-run pick for a team in need of upgrades along the offensive line. Andrew Thomas has emerged as a legit starter, but the Giants need more help for Daniel Jones. Ekwonu is strong, powerful and nasty. 

Carolina Panthers

SELECTION: Ahmad Gardner, CB

  • School: Cincinnati
  • Year: Junior

The Panthers will likely have their pick of any quarterback in the draft class, but, barring an unexpected move, they’re committed (at least financially) to Sam Darnold for one more season. Gardner is the most gifted cornerback in the draft and would team with Carolina’s 2021 first-rounder, Jaycee Horn, to give the Panthers the best young duo in the NFL. 

New York Giants

SELECTION: Devin Lloyd, LB

  • School: Utah
  • Year: Senior (RS)

Lloyd is a fun player to study. He flies around the field and makes a bunch of plays on the ball. His intangibles are off the charts. I could see the 2021 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year emerge as a key leader for the Giants’ defense. 

Atlanta Falcons

SELECTION: Treylon Burks, WR

  • School: Arkansas
  • Year: Junior

The Falcons have some uncertainty at the wide receiver position, and they need to add more firepower to their offense. Head coach Arthur Smith had tremendous success with A.J. Brown in Tennessee, and Burks is a taller version (6-foot-3, 225) of the third-year Titan. He is incredibly strong at the catch point and his blend of speed and strength creates huge plays after the catch. 

Denver Broncos

SELECTION: Kenny Pickett, QB

  • School: Pittsburgh
  • Year: Senior (RS)

I’m sure the Broncos will pursue a trade for a premier quarterback (Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson) this offseason, but if they are unable to land one, Pickett is the best option in this draft class. He is ready to play right away. The Pitt product doesn’t have a huge arm, but he can make all the throws and he’s proven he can create when the pocket breaks down. 

New York Jets

SELECTION: Trent McDuffie, CB

  • School: Washington
  • Year: Junior

McDuffie is an ultra-clean player on tape. He’s quick, fluid, tough, rarely out of position and can play the ball. He’d upgrade the Jets’ intriguing mix of talented young players at the position. 

Washington Football Team

SELECTION: Matt Corral, QB

  • School: Ole Miss
  • Year: Junior (RS)

Corral is a playmaker at the position. His size (6-2, 205) is a concern for some around the league, but he’s accurate, has a live arm and would bring some juice to the offense. 

Minnesota Vikings

SELECTION: Derek Stingley Jr., CB

  • School: LSU
  • Year: Junior

Stingley is a wild card in this draft class. If you watched him solely as a freshman, you think he is a lock to go top five. If you watched him over the last two seasons, though, you probably think he’s a borderline first-rounder. He has the tools to be successful at the next level, but I have concerns about his inconsistent effort and play strength. 

Cleveland Browns

SELECTION: Travon Walker, Edge

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Junior

Walker has as much upside as any pass rusher in this draft class. He did a lot of things in Georgia’s system (see him diving, tipping a ball in the middle of the field vs. Florida), which limited some of his pass-rush production. He’s a physical freak and could rise into the top 10 after the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Baltimore Ravens

SELECTION: Trevor Penning, OT

  • School: Northern Iowa
  • Year: Senior (RS)

Some guys just look and play like Ravens. That’s Penning. He’s big and nasty and could step in immediately at right tackle, opposite Ronnie Stanley

Philadelphia Eagles

SELECTION: George Karlaftis, Edge

  • School: Purdue
  • Year: Junior

The Eagles need to add some young talent to their defensive line; Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham can’t play forever. I wish Karlaftis were longer, but I love his leverage and power as a rusher, and he has some inside/outside flex. 

Philadelphia Eagles

SELECTION: Drake London, WR

  • School: USC
  • Year: Junior

London gives the Eagles a big-frame wideout with an enormous catch radius to complement Devonta Smith’s pristine route running. London reminds me of Mike Williams coming out of Clemson. It’s almost impossible to overthrow him, and he dominates 50-50 balls. 

Los Angeles Chargers

SELECTION: Bernhard Raimann, OT

  • School: Central Michigan
  • Year: Senior

I’m higher on Raimann than most evaluators, but I believe in his play strength (his hands and core strength jump off the screen) and instincts. He starts Day 1 at right tackle and would team with 2021 first-rounder Rashawn Slater to give the Chargers excellent bookends to protect Justin Herbert

New Orleans Saints

SELECTION: Garrett Wilson, WR

  • School: Ohio State
  • Year: Junior

Wilson plays with aggression. He attacks the ball in the air and he’s very competitive after the catch. The Saints love shopping at Ohio State. 

Philadelphia Eagles

SELECTION: Kenyon Green, OG

  • School: Texas A&M
  • Year: Junior

The Eagles will likely need to replace future Hall of Famer Jason Kelce, who’s 34 and set to become a free agent. They already have his heir apparent in the building in Landon Dickerson, last year’s second-rounder, whose move to center would create room for Green at guard. Green is an outstanding athlete with ideal size (6-4, 325) and temperament. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

SELECTION: Charles Cross, OT

  • School: Mississippi State
  • Year: Sophomore (RS)

Cross is a solid player on tape. He plays with balance and possesses quick feet. The Steelers need to continue to upgrade their offensive line, and Cross is ready to play right away. 

New England Patriots

SELECTION: Jordan Davis, DT

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Senior

The Patriots love big guys with unique strength/power. Think back to Vince Wilfork. Davis would team up with Christian Barmore to dominate against the run and provide some pocket push against the pass. 

Las Vegas Raiders

SELECTION: Chris Olave, WR

  • School: Ohio State
  • Year: Senior

Olave is going to run REALLY fast. The Raiders have had an obvious need for that element in their passing game since Henry Ruggs’ release in November. DeSean Jackson was a short-term fix. 

Arizona Cardinals

SELECTION: David Ojabo, Edge

  • School: Michigan
  • Year: Sophomore (RS)

Ojabo is a polarizing player in league circles. I love his get-off quickness and ability to bend at the top of his rush, but he’s going to need some time and reps to improve against the run. Chandler Jones is a free agent and the Cardinals need to add some youth up front. 

Dallas Cowboys

SELECTION: Nakobe Dean, LB

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Junior

Dean is one of my favorite players in the 2022 class. He oozes instincts and playmaking. However, his lack of ideal size (6-0, 225) will probably cause him to drop a little bit. Landing Dean this low would be a steal for the Cowboys. It would free them up to use All-Pro Micah Parsons more on the edge as a pass rusher. 

NOTE: The order for picks 25-32 will be determined by the remaining postseason games. For now, they are presented based on final regular-season record and strength of schedule.

Cincinnati Bengals

SELECTION: Tyler Linderbaum, C

  • School: Iowa
  • Year: Junior (RS)

How high do you take a center? That’s a good debate in draft rooms. Usually, the top pivot comes off the board in the late teens (SEE: Ryan Kelly and Garrett Bradbury). In this scenario, the Bengals luck out. Linderbaum would fit perfectly in their scheme, teaming up with Joe Burrow for the next decade.

Miami Dolphins

SELECTION: Daniel Faalele, OT

  • School: Minnesota
  • Year: Senior

The Dolphins have thrown a lot of resources at the offensive line, but they’ve yet to solve the problem. Faalele is a true giant of a human being, listed by Minnesota at 6-9 and 380 pounds. I’m shocked by how athletic he plays at that size.

Buffalo Bills

SELECTION: Kyler Gordon, CB

  • School: Washington
  • Year: Junior (RS)

The Bills’ roster is in excellent shape. They can sit and take the best player available. Gordon has size, length and ball skills. He’d make a ton of plays behind Buffalo’s defensive front.

Tennessee Titans

SELECTION: Quay Walker, LB

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Senior

Walker gets lost in the discussion of top defensive prospects because he was surrounded by so many studs on the Georgia D. If Walker had played on a less-talented college team, we’d be talking about him as a potential top-15 pick. Listed by UGA at 6-4 and 240 pounds, the man can fly! Rashaan Evans is a free agent after this season. Walker would slot right into the starting lineup.

Detroit Lions

SELECTION: Malik Willis, QB

  • School: Liberty
  • Year: Senior (RS)

The Lions’ situation would be perfect for Willis: Jared Goff can handle the starting duties until the LIberty passer is ready to play. I love Willis’ arm strength and athleticism, but he needs to clean up his decision-making and accuracy. He has the most upside of the QBs in this class. 

Kansas City Chiefs

SELECTION: Jameson Williams, WR

  • School: Alabama
  • Year: Junior

This just seems too perfect to not happen. Williams will slide after tearing his ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship. God help the rest of the AFC if this speed merchant lands with Patrick Mahomes

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SELECTION: Jahan Dotson, WR

  • School: Penn State
  • Year: Senior

Dotson has outstanding hands and route-running skills. The Bucs could lose Chris Godwin in free agency, and Dotson could slide right in to replace his fellow Penn State wideout. He doesn’t have the same size/strength as Godwin, but offers more over-the-top speed.

Green Bay Packers

SELECTION: Devonte Wyatt, DT

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Senior

Wyatt will gain more steam as we go through the process. He can win as a pass rusher with quickness or power. He easily holds the point of attack. All that said, the Packers have a loaded roster and could definitely trade out of this pick if another team wants to come up for a quarterback.

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