Maurice Jones-Drew 2022 NFL mock draft 1.0: QBs Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis go in top 10

The free agency frenzy and ALL the blockbuster trades have reshaped rosters across the league. How could all of these moves impact Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft?

Here’s my first crack at forecasting how the first 32 picks will shake out in Las Vegas on April 28.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Travon Walker

With general manager Trent Baalke working to sign Cam Robinson to a long-term deal, the Jags go defense with this pick. Walker is coming off a great combine performance that has the scouting community buzzing, according to my colleague Bucky Brooks. The Georgia product gives the Jags a major boost up front as a versatile defender capable of playing anywhere on the D-line.

Detroit Lions

Aidan Hutchinson

There’s no disputing Hutchinson’s talent, but what scares me is that he only produced big numbers in his final year at Michigan. Hutchinson can rush the QB and stop the run — two things Detroit struggled to do last season.

Houston Texans

Kayvon Thibodeaux

In order for Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 scheme to be successful, Houston must pressure the quarterback. Thibodeaux gives the Texans a key building block up front.

New York Jets

Kyle Hamilton

After letting Marcus Maye walk in free agency, the Jets land a versatile, young safety who can play a Kam Chancellor-like role in Robert Saleh’s defense to pair with the newly signed Jordan Whitehead.

New York Giants

Evan Neal

The Giants’ biggest priority this offseason is protecting Daniel Jones and putting top-notch talent around him. As one of the most physically gifted players in this class, Neal improves the offensive line from the jump.

Carolina Panthers

Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh
·
QB · Senior (RS)

The Panthers had a front-row seat at Pickett’s pro day, and Matt Rhule seemingly liked what he saw. The Panthers have had a different starting QB in each of Rhule’s two seasons as head coach. Let’s make it three straight! (Hopefully this one sticks.)

New York Giants

Jermaine Johnson II

Florida State
·
Edge · Senior (RS)

The Giants turn to the defensive side of the ball with their second top-10 pick. They need an edge rusher who can get to the quarterback and help stymie the run game. Johnson does both.

Seattle Seahawks

Malik Willis

Liberty
·
QB · Senior (RS)

It makes no difference that the Seahawks have Drew Lock and are interested in re-signing Geno Smith. Seattle needs a franchise quarterback, and Willis could be the guy as an athletic, dual-threat playmaker. He will help the run game, force defenses to account for him and can heave it deep. Sound familiar, 12s?

New York Jets

Sauce Gardner

Robert Saleh and the Jets nab the top cornerback in the draft. Gardner gives them a productive defender who’ll be tasked with locking down Stefon Diggs twice a year.

Washington Commanders

Ickey Ekwonu

Ekwonu still has room to develop but boasts the intangibles to become a mainstay up front for the Commanders. With Brandon Scherff‘s exit in free agency, I could see Sam Cosmi sliding inside to fill the void at guard, giving Washington a solid right side in front of new QB Carson Wentz.

Minnesota Vikings

Derek Stingley Jr.

New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah takes Stingley with his first draft pick in an effort to find the team’s new CB1. The LSU product comes with questions, but he has the natural talent to end the Vikings’ multi-year search for a top-tier cover man.

Houston Texans

Andrew Booth

The Texans continue to add to Lovie Smith’s defense with a cornerback boasting good ball skills to play opposite of newly added Desmond King.

Baltimore Ravens

Garrett Wilson

The Ravens need more talent around Lamar Jackson, so they add a top receiver prospect in Wilson, who is a polished route runner and at his best after the catch. 

Philadelphia Eagles

George Karlaftis

The Eagles had a measly 29 sacks in 2021, the second-lowest mark in the league. So, after signing Haason Reddick in free agency, they also add a reliable power rusher who can create havoc in the backfield like he did at Purdue. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Devonte Wyatt

Even with Fletcher Cox‘s return, the Eagles need a long-term answer on the interior. Wyatt will have the privilege to learn from the six-time Pro Bowler and develop into a big-time pass rusher — an area in which he has a ton of potential.

Los Angeles Chargers

Jordan Davis

With Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack coming off the edges, the Chargers need a player who can push the pocket back into the quarterback. Davis can do it regularly while clogging up multiple gaps in the run game. He’s the real deal. Toss in free-agent addition Sebastian Joseph-Day, and the Bolts’ defensive front looks quite imposing.

New Orleans Saints

Charles Cross

Mississippi State
·
OT · Sophomore (RS)

Needing a replacement for the departed Terron Armstead, New Orleans gets a quality tackle prospect with an ideal frame who consistently played at a high level at Mississippi State.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jameson Williams

No linebackers in the first round for Philadelphia. Sorry, Gio. Instead, the Eagles add a wide receiver with a high ceiling. Philly fans might have to wait a bit to see Williams get on the field, as he’s recovering from an ACL tear, but he’s electric. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Trevor Penning

Northern Iowa
·
OT · Senior (RS)

Pittsburgh snags one of the toughest and most physical players in this year’s draft class to bolster the front line. His grit fits in perfectly with Mike Tomlin’s bunch.

New England Patriots

Devin Lloyd

Lloyd is a high-IQ leader in the middle of the defense, filling a hole left by the presumed departures of Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins in free agency. He steps right in to play alongside — and learn from — veteran Matthew Judon.

Arizona Cardinals

Trent McDuffie

The Cardinals find a solid cornerback to play opposite Byron Murphy. This pair will team up to stall the talented wideouts across the NFC West.

Dallas Cowboys

Tyler Linderbaum

The Cowboys need to bolster their offensive line in an effort to protect Dak Prescott and help the run game, especially after the release of La’el Collins. Linderbaum is the top interior blocker in this class and he’ll continue to improve at the next level.

Buffalo Bills

Breece Hall

Buffalo hasn’t featured a 1,000-yard rusher since Shady McCoy in 2017. Hall is a chain-mover who gives the Bills the hard-nosed, downhill run game they’ve lacked since Josh Allen‘s arrival.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Zion Johnson

Boston College
·
IOL · Senior

Filling the void left by Ali Marpet, Johnson is tasked with keeping the G.O.A.T. upright in his Age 45 season.

Green Bay Packers

Treylon Burks

The Packers add another talented wideout for their MVP quarterback. The big-bodied Burks is a guy who can win the contested catch in the red zone. Plenty of future Lambeau Leaps for this guy.

Kansas City Chiefs

(via 49ers through Dolphins)

Christian Watson

North Dakota State
·
WR · Senior (RS)

Tyreek Hill is now in South Beach. So why not bring in a guy who ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine? Watson is a great route runner who can stretch the field and a playmaker with the ability to contribute in many ways.

Kansas City Chiefs

Roger McCreary

The Chiefs are extremely thin at the cornerback position. They add a press-man CB who’ll be challenged in the AFC West.

Cincinnati Bengals

Jamaree Salyer

The Bengals have already bolstered their offensive line with some key pickups in free agency. To no one’s surprise, they add more help up front in the first round.

Detroit Lions

Carson Strong

Nevada
·
QB · Junior (RS)

In a surprise move to some, the Lions select a strong-armed quarterback to learn under Jared Goff for a year before taking the reins in 2023. 

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