Lance Zierlein 2022 NFL mock draft 3.0: Panthers pass on QB; Chiefs trade up for WR help

Since my last mock draft in March, the Saints and Eagles exchanged a bevy of picks — setting New Orleans up to select a QB-WR combo for the future in my newest mock draft below.

With the 2022 NFL Draft drawing closer, here is how I see things playing out. And as always, I am projecting where I believe players will go, not necessarily where I think they should go.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Travon Walker

In a draft without a clear-cut top dog, this Dawg offers outstanding measurables and explosiveness, with high-end upside to cultivate.

Detroit Lions
Aidan Hutchinson

Dan Campbell’s squad fought hard all year in 2021. Adding Hutchinson at a position of need does nothing but bolster the culture the Lions are building.

Houston Texans
Evan Neal

Neal is big (6-foot-7, 350 pounds), athletic and technically sound. He can play both tackle or guard spots and would be the eventual starting left tackle if Laremy Tunsil were to move on.

New York Jets
Sauce Gardner

Taking Gardner here gives the Jets the top CB in the class while allowing them to search for a talented pass rusher at No. 10 overall.

New York Giants
Kayvon Thibodeaux

The Giants need more pass rush, and they’ll hope to find just that with this two-way defender who boasts untapped rush potential.

Carolina Panthers
Charles Cross

Mississippi State · OT · Sophomore (RS)

The Panthers choose to add immediate help rather than draft a developmental quarterback. Cross may be more game-ready as a left tackle than Ickey Ekwonu would be.

New York Giants
Ickey Ekwonu

Ekwonu is a guard/tackle prospect with a healthy mean streak and exciting upside, if he can learn to play with more consistency in pass protection.

Atlanta Falcons
Garrett Wilson

The Falcons will likely shop this pick, as they have an abundance of needs, but they must come away with a wideout either way — and the earlier, the better.

Seattle Seahawks
Derek Stingley Jr.

Seattle has needs at cornerback, tackle and quarterback. After his strong pro day, Stingley is likely to carry the highest grade of the remaining talent at those positions.

New York Jets
Jermaine Johnson II

Florida State · DE · Senior (RS)

Johnson is a plus run defender who flashed exciting upside as a pass-rusher at the Senior Bowl.

Washington Commanders
Drake London

London gives Carson Wentz a big (6-5, 210) possession target to throw to while also taking some defensive attention away from Terry McLaurin.

Minnesota Vikings
Kyle Hamilton

Hamilton’s pedestrian 40 time causes a mini-slide and allows the Vikings to scoop him up and pair him with Harrison Smith on the back end.

Houston Texans
Devonte Wyatt

This could be a trade-in spot for a team looking to add QB. But if the Texans stand pat here, they could roll with Wyatt, a three-down talent with gap-winning quickness who has the run-stopping ability to play along with Maliek Collins.

Baltimore Ravens
George Karlaftis

Karlaftis is a rugged edge defender who can play with a hand down or standing up. He’d fit the Ravens’ culture and has underrated power rushing talent.

Philadelphia Eagles
Trent McDuffie

Philadelphia has an obvious void at one cornerback spot, and McDuffie gives the Eagles one of the stickiest, toughest man corners in the draft.

New Orleans Saints
Malik Willis

Liberty · QB · Senior (RS)

I’m sure New Orleans came into the draft expecting to take a left tackle or receiver with this choice, acquired in a trade earlier this month with the Eagles, but passing on Willis will likely be too difficult if he’s there.

Los Angeles Chargers
Trevor Penning

Northern Iowa · OT · Senior (RS)

This could be a trade-in spot for someone else if tackles fly off the board at a quicker rate than projected. Otherwise, Penning is an easy plug-and-play option for the Chargers.

Philadelphia Eagles
Treylon Burks

Jalen Hurts needs another weapon on offense, and Burks is one of the most well-rounded in the draft, combining size (6-3, 225), athletic ability, play strength and run-after-the-catch capability.

New Orleans Saints
Jameson Williams

If New Orleans takes Willis at No. 16, it would only make sense to pair him with a speedy home-run hitter he could grow with over the long haul.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh · QB · Senior (RS)

Outgoing general manager Kevin Colbert might be salivating over the prospects of adding Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis here, but Pickett is an ascending talent who could compete for a starting spot this season.

New England Patriots
Kenyon Green

Total Patriots pick right here. Green is big (6-4, 325), tough and reliable, with multi-position flexibility if needed. He’s an early starter with Pro Bowl potential.

Green Bay Packers
Jordan Davis

Green Bay needs a receiver, but the Packers won’t reach for one if they see a better player on their board. Davis has rare traits, and his best football may be in front of him.

Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Olave

PROJECTED TRADE WITH ARIZONA CARDINALS

You didn’t think GM Brett Veach was going to just sit and wait at the back of the draft with all that capital (12 total picks, including Nos. 29 and 30 and six within the first 103), did you?

Dallas Cowboys
Bernhard Raimann

Central Michigan · OT · Senior

The choice here could come down to Zion Johnson or Raimann. The latter is the better athlete and can play left guard or tackle, which gets him the nod.

Buffalo Bills
Kaiir Elam

What pick do you give the team that has the fewest holes to fill in the draft? It’s not an easy call, but Elam is a quality corner with outstanding football IQ.

Tennessee Titans
Devin Lloyd

Lloyd could be targeted well before this, but if he’s still on the board, he’s a better option than what the Titans have currently. He’s a Mike Vrabel-level tough guy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Travis Jones

Connecticut · DT · Senior

The big (6-5, 333), long and disruptive Jones should step quickly into the void left by Ndamukong Suh‘s departure to help Tampa maintain its defensive standards.

Green Bay Packers
Christian Watson

North Dakota State · WR · Senior (RS)

Doesn’t Watson just feel like a Packer? He’s a little raw but ridiculously athletic, with the type of size (6-5, 208) that Aaron Rodgers seems to do well with vertically.

Arizona Cardinals
Breece Hall

PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Trading back with the Chiefs give Arizona additional draft capital — and the Cardinals still get to add a full-package runner with the ability to impact the game on all three downs.

Kansas City Chiefs
Boye Mafe

Minnesota · Edge · Senior (RS)

With receiver out of the way, the Chiefs turn to bolstering the edge. Mafe’s explosiveness and power are exciting traits for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to mold.

Cincinnati Bengals
Kyler Gordon

Washington · CB · Junior (RS)

With offensive line addressed via free agency, the Bengals add a talented but inconsistent cornerback with tremendous upside to help slow down the quarterbacks of the AFC.

Detroit Lions
Matt Corral

Mississippi · QB · Junior (RS)

I have a funny feeling that the Lions may get frisky and jump up the board for a QB at some point, but if they sit tight, Corral has plenty of talent to become their future starter.

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