Pre-Season 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Some of the members of the Around The Block scouting department have put together a way-too-early 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Each member was given 3-4 NFL teams to be the General Manager and final decision maker for. The draft order was taken from Tankathon. This is an early look at who might be taken and what positions teams may target next April. Happy Mock Draft Friday everyone!

1.) Houston Texans

Spencer Rattler, Quarterback, Oklahoma

“As of right now, it is safest to operate under the assumption that Deshaun Watson will not play for the Houston Texans by the time the 2022 NFL Draft roll around. Therefore, even in a relatively weak quarterback draft class, the Texans need a new face of the franchise. Spencer Rattler is among the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football, on the ground and through the air, and has a good chance to lead the Sooners to a national title this year. He is an excellent cornerstone on which to rebuild this franchise.” – Mitchell

2.) Detroit Lions

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge Rusher, Oregon

“The Detroit Lions are in the beginning of a new rebuild under Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. Instead of forcing a quarterback here they opt to take Kayvon Thibodeaux, maybe the best prospect in this class. Thibodeaux’s blend of get off speed and strength helps him dominate as a pass rusher and a run defender. Dan Campbell seemingly wants to play smash-mouth football and Kayvon Thibodeaux helps in that department.” – Ryan

3.) Cincinnati Bengals

Derek Stingley jr., Cornerback, LSU

“Derek Stingley Jr. is a potential lockdown corner in the NFL. The Bengals just lost William Jackson III and have a massive need at corner. While they have other needs as well, Stingley is the best player available.” – Daniel

4.) New York Jets

Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

“Going into the ‘21-‘22 CFB season, Kyle Hamilton may be the single best player in the entire draft class. While examining the fit with the New York Jets defense under Robert Saleh, Hamilton would be a near perfect fit. This fit would likely be an expansion of a role similar to that of safety Jimmie Ward; a multiple safety within the 49ers defense between ‘17-20 while Saleh was the defensive coordinator.

Hamilton at 6’4” and 218 lbs has tremendous ability to play downhill in the run game while matching elite receivers for opposing offenses without compromising size. The selection of Hamilton gives GM Joe Douglas a two way go in the Safety room, allowing for Marcus Maye to be resigned and play alongside Hamilton or have Hamilton serve as a replacement for Maye.

Derrick Stingley Jr. would have also been a great pick here for the Jets but with him off the board the decision was easy; Kyle Hamilton would be a home run pick for the New York Jets.” – Marcus

5.) Jacksonville Jaguars

Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

“The Jaguars came go into the 2022 offseason with contracts to re-sign, and with the Jaguars contract situation being as wishy-washy as it is with Cam Robinson, it’s safe to assume the organization may look to go in a different direction.

That direction is Neal, a 6’7, 380 pound offensive tackle from Alabama. Noted for his physicality and athleticism, Neal has been named the number one offensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft by Pro Football Focus.” – Derrick

6.) Philadelphia Eagles

Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty

“If the Eagles are drafting in this spot, it’s safe to say that hurts did not play well. The Eagles take an athletic specimen in Willis, who has some accuracy problems. Hopefully, during the 2022 season, he can iron those out. Willis’ big arm working with Devonta Smith would be electric to watch on Sundays.” – Luke

7.) Atlanta Falcons

Carson Strong, Quarterback, Nevada

“With a new head coach in Arthur Smith, and new general manager in Terry Fontenot, it’s not hard to imagine that the two may look for Matt Ryan’s successor in 2022.

Coming out Nevada, the Falcons opt for Nevada Wolfpack quarterback Carson Strong. The 2020 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien Quarterback Class of 2020 member threw for 27 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions in his 2020 campaign. On a 70% completion percentage, Strong showed off great care with the football. He is exactly what the Falcons need to carry them into the future.” – Derrick

8.) Las Vegas Raiders

Kenyon Green, Offensive Lineman, Texas A&M

“The Las Vegas Raiders did some retooling along the offensive line this offseason. While their coaching staff seems to have faith in the players currently on the roster, the results this year could shake that faith. Kenyon Green is among the best talents in this entire draft class regardless of positional value. He will play left tackle for the Aggies this year after two seasons at guard, but should be a good to great player at either spot. With Mike Mayokck (and possibly Jon Gruden) on the hots eat, shoring up the trenches is a major necessity for the Raiders.” – Mitchell

9.) New York Giants

Drake Jackson, Edge Rusher, USC

“The Giants, on paper, seem like a solid unit at every position, especially after investing so heavily on their defense the last two years. However, the EDGE position is still lacking a premiere player at this point. A guy like Drake Jackson could be a solution to that issue. Jackson is long, possesses adequate strength, and the motor that head coach Joe Judge would love. Jackson’s athleticism helps him fit the blended style the Giants’ pass rushers play with, essentially providing them an immediate starter that can bookend 2020 second rounder Azeez Ojulari.” – Felix

10.) Carolina Panthers

Sam Howell, Quarterback, North Carolina

“Carolina and Matt Rhule opted to pass on a Quarterback in the 2020 draft and chose to trade for Sam Darnold instead. If Carolina is picking in the top 10 again next year the Darnold experiment probably didn’t go as planned and they’ll be looking for a younger, cheaper option with more potential for the future. Howell will have a lot to prove at UNC this season with his top four weapons all getting drafted last April, if he succeeds this season Howell could propel himself into the top 3 next April.” – Ryan

11.) New York Giants (via Chi)

Christian Harris, Linebacker, Alabama

“Similar to the pick of Jackson, the Giants have added many players, but outside of starting inside linebacker Blake Martinez, there is a sore lack of depth/talent. Christian Harris has the potential to be an immediate starter inside. With a solid frame, good athleticism and short area quickness, he would be a tremendous fit within defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme. Going defense may irritate some fans, but bolstering the depth of the team’s strength makes sense long-term, especially with the high talent of Jackson and Harris.” – Felix

12.) Arizona Cardinals

Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, Florida

“Arizona let Patrick Peterson walk in free agency after 10 great seasons with the organization. Arizona has spent plenty of draft capital on defense in recent years but they must replace Peterson’s wide-receiver-erasing presence to truly be a championship-caliber defense under Vance Joseph. Kaiir Elam has NFL bloodlines through his father, Abraham and Uncle Matt Elam. Kaiir has the size (6’2” 195lbs.) and speed to potentially fill the role as a lockdown cornerback.” – Ryan

13.) Washington Football Team

Phil Jurkovic, Quarterback, Boston College

“The QB I think will have the biggest rise on draft boards goes to Washington. Whether Phil Jurkovec is sitting behind Fitzpatrick for a year or battling it out with Taylor Heinicke, he is a great fit in Washington. His big frame and strong arm give off Rothlisburger vibes coming out of Boston College.” – Luke

14.) Minnesota Vikings

Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

“Minnesota has two more seasons of Kirk Cousins before they have to decide if Kellen Mond is the quarterback of the future. The best chance the Vikings have at maximizing Kirk Cousins and helping Kellen Mond become their franchise quarterback is by surrounding them with talent at the skill positions. Olave joins rookie sensation Justin Jefferson and former all-pro Adam Thielen to form a great trio of receivers. Each being able to play any position that is asked of them. Olave brings smooth route running and blazing speed to the Minnesota offense running an unofficial 4.38 last off-season, a perfect compliment to Jefferson and Thielen.” – Ryan

15.) Pittsburgh Steelers

Andrew Booth jr., Cornerback, Clemson

“The Pittsburgh Steelers let two of their starting corners walk in free agency this offseason, leaving the future of the cornerback position very much in question. Joe Haden is on the wrong side of the 30 and Pittsburgh needs someone to groom behind him and eventually become the #1 CB. Booth hasn’t played that much for the Tigers, but he’s been excellent in a small sample size. If he can continue along that trajectory in 2021, he could be a great fit for the Steel Curtain, both in the short and long run.” – Mitchell

16.) Denver Broncos

Adam Anderson, Edge Rusher, Georgia

“The Broncos have an aging edge rusher in Von Miller and Adam Anderson can help fill that role. Anderson needs to put on more muscle, but is already an extremely effective pass rusher with a quick first step.” – Daniel

17.) Los Angeles Chargers

Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

“Mike Williams is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and Los Angeles must continue to surround their budding star quarterback Justin Herbert with weapons. Even if Williams is re-signed, Garrett Wilson would still be a perfect compliment to Williams with his ability to beat coverage defensive backs on all levels of the field. Keenan Allen would move seamlessly into the slot and create maybe the best wide receiver trio in the NFL in a couple of years.” – Ryan

18.) New England Patriots

Zach Harrison, Edge Rusher, Ohio State

“The Patriots are always a wild card team in terms of their draft selections, so selecting a player that, at least, made sense was the best option here. Harrison is a high potential, high-motor player that has flashed the ability to play in space, with a hand in the dirt, and to wreak havoc in the backfield. With that kind of versatility, head coach Bill Belichick would appreciate this pick.” – Felix

19.) New Orleans Saints

Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Arkansas

“Micky Loomis did it again. He got the Saints under the cap while retaining key pieces such as QB Jaimes Winston and DS Marcus Williams. However, in that effort to get under the cap in the same offseason the Saints lost Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees and DE Trey Hendrickson.

At the conclusion of the ‘21-‘22 NFL season, the Saints are projected to be well past striking distance of a young top tier QB but I don’t think that matter to much because Jamies Winston is going to ball out.

Adding WR Treylon Burks of Arkansas to the Saints brings size (6’3” 230lbs) to an offense that needs a number two WR to complement Michael Thomas. Burks is a receiver that can be utilized across an offensive formation both outside and in the slot while threatening vertically.

Ultimately, going with Burks was best player available and a pick could be justified at about any position group other than offensive line for the Saints. Burks would be a force in the same offense at Kamara, Thomas. Trautman and others.” – Marcus

20.) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami)

Demarvin Leal, Defensive Lineman, Texas A&M

“Demarvin Leal goes to Philly to learn from Fletcher Cox. Cox is getting up there and Philly might be looking to move on soon. Leal comes right in, learns from one of the best and his athleticism does the rest. Leal could be a cornerstone for the future of the Eagles.” – Luke

21.) Dallas Cowboys

George Karlaftis, Edge Rusher, Purdue

“The Cowboys have a massive need at edge rusher opposite Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence’s best season came when he had Robert Quinn on the other side of him. George Karlaftis has a lot of upside and can be highly effective, especially as a second edge rusher. He did not play much in 2020 due to injury, COVID, and the shortened season, so this is a projection based off of his freshman season in 2019. He has a chance to go much higher if he can live up to expectations in 2021.” – Daniel

22.) New York Jets (via Sea)

Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Lineman, N.C. State

“When looking at the draft eligible OL in ‘21-22 CFB season, Ekwonu stands out from the rest of the group due to his size (6’4” 320lbs) and particular ability to be a devastating run blocker. While examining the fit with the New York Jets offense, understanding that GM Joe Douglas prioritizes adding to the OL makes this pick all the more clear.

Building a strong OL unit around Zach Wilson will allow for him to light up the offense just as he did at BYU. Ekwonu would also help open up rushing lanes in the outside zone scheme with his ability to finish blocks and dominate defenders on the second level. Adding Ekwonu to an OL group with Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker on the “cheap” for three years would be unfair and something that any football fan would want to see.

Adding a pass rusher such such as Cincinnati’s Myjai Sanders and Michigan’s Aiden Hutchinson would likely give pause to selecting Ikem Ekwonu. However, ultimately Joe Douglas is likely to choose to protect his franchise quarterback before anything else.” – Marcus

23.) Tennessee Titans

Brandon Joseph, Safety, Northwestern

“Brandon Joseph is a versatile, do-it-all safety for Northwestern. He was an extremely productive as a redshirt freshman last year. He can play next to Byard as the Titans look to rebuild their secondary along with 2021 1st round pick Caleb Farley at corner.” – Daniel

24.) Philadelphia Eagles (via Indy)

DeMarvion Overshown, Linebacker, Texas

“Overshown is the steal of the first round. Super talented athlete you can build a defense around. I want to see his play recognition improve this season but that comes with time and reps. If the Eagles manage to get Leal and Overshown their defense completely changes course for the future.” – Luke

25.) Cleveland Browns

John Metchie III, Wide Receiver, Alabama

“What do they have in the Alabama Crimson Tide water?!? John Metchie III is a tantalizing WR prospect that is next up from Alabama following a line of accomplished young WRs in the NFL.

When looking at the roster in Cleveland, there exist very few roster holes that need to be addressed looking at current construction. However at the end of next season, GM Andrew Berry will need to be fiscally mindful as it will be time to consider pending free agents such as OL Wyatt Teller and DS Ronnie Harrison and upcoming contracts for the Browns franchise cornerstones of Denzel Ward and Baker Mayfield. With the play speed and route running of Metchie III, the integration with the Cleveland offense would be near seamless. Methcie III fits the draft profile of athleticism, character and age of a round one pick.

Adding a pass rusher such such as Cincinnati’s Myjai Sanders and Michigan’s Aiden Hutchinson was tempting. However, adding an explosive playmaker on offense is more impactful towards overall team success.” – Marcus

26.) Green Bay Packers

Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC

“It has been a running joke that Green Bay and Brian Gutekunst have refused to give Aaron Rodgers any weapons for the past few NFL Drafts. Green Bay has not spent a first, second or third round draft choice on a wide receiver since selecting Davante Adams 53rd overall in 2014. Gutenkunst and Matt LaFleur know that the 2021 NFL season will most likely be the last season they have Aaron Rodgers on their team and they need Jordan Love to work out badly so they don’t look too bad for running one of the best quarterbacks of all-time out of town. Davante Adams future is also in question because of contract disputes, even if Adams were on the team past 2021 Green Bay needs more weapons for their young quarterback. Drake London is a monster target at 6’5” and 210lbs. London will provide Love (or for the more optimistic Packers fans, Aaron Rodgers) a huge sideline target with Mike Evans-esque jump ball ability every where on the field, especially the red area.” – Ryan

27.) Miami Dolphins (via SF)

Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa

“Miami is building a wall in front of Tua Tagovailoa, selecting five offensive linemen in the past two NFL drafts. However, none of those offensive linemen have played center for a full season in college or the NFL and Miami has a hole at the position currently with Matt Skura being on a one year deal. Tyler Linderbaum is the best player available at a position of need for a team that has shown commitment to spending resources on the trenches. This is a match made in heaven, even if it isn’t the sexist pick of the draft it might be one of the best. Linderbaum is one of the best linemen in the draft, offensive or defensive. Linderbaum is an ex-wrestler who understands how to use leverage, his mean streak attitude is exactly what you need if you want to be a perennial pro-bowl offensive lineman, and he’s well coached coming from Iowa, also known as Offensive-Line University.” – Ryan

28.) Baltimore Ravens

Aidan Hutchinson, Defensive Lineman, Michigan

“Baltimore’s Modus Operandi (M.O.) is to sit back and take whichever talented player falls to them, if it’s a position of need even better. Aidan Hutchinson could be viewed as the best player available here and also could fill an incoming hole on their defensive line. At 6’6” 270lbs. Hutchinson could fill in for Calais Campbell if Baltimore isn’t able to re-sign him, although Campbell is currently 35 years old so expecting more years out of him is a gamble. Hutchison could pair with Justin Madubuike and form a young and fearsome front seven with Odafe Oweh and Patrick Queen also being recent first round draft picks.” – Ryan

29.) Buffalo Bills

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati

“Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati: “The Buffalo Bill have one the best rosters in the NFL, both on offense and defense. But the cornerback spot across from Tre’Davious White is a glaring weakness on an otherwise Super Bowl-caliber roster. If the Bills want to continue to contend with the Chiefs for supremacy in the AFC, improving their pass defense is crucial. Sauce Gardner is a big, long corner who would fit very well into the Bills’ zone-heavy defense. He’s a bit grabby, but working with Sean McDermott and learning from White should help him rectify that issues, giving Buffalo one of the best corner tandems in the conference.” – Mitchell

30.) Detroit Lions (via LAR)

Kedon Slovis, Quarterback, USC

“Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell stay patient with their second overall selection and it pays off. Kedon Slovis had one of the most impressive true freshman season we have ever seen, throwing with pinpoint accuracy and great decision making, looking like he would be easily in contention for a top 5 selection when he was draft eligible. Unfortunately Slovis had a rough sophomore season, throwing 7 interceptions in only 6 games and looking lost at times. However, it was later found out that he had been dealing with a shoulder injury the entire season which makes this 2021 season very important for him. Slovis must go back to looking like he did in his freshman season to have a chance at being selected in the first round next April.” – Ryan

31.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jalen Wydermyer, Tight End, Texas A&M

“The Buccaneers have a lot of superstars, but with Rob Gronkowski in-and-out of retirement, slowed production from OJ Howard on the last season of his contract, Tampa Bay is in the market for a young playmaker.

Wydermyer, the star tight end out of Texas A&M, is the next man up. At 6’5, 265 pounds, Wydermyer brings incredible length and route running abilities with him, as well as capabilities as a blocker. The 2020 Second Team All-SEC star caught 46 passes for 506 yards and six touchdowns in his 2020 sophomore campaign.” – Derrick

32.) Kansas City Chiefs

Myjai Sanders, Edge Rusher, Cincinnati

“Sanders has quick feet and decent fluidity in his hips to handle duties in space or to read/react to plays in the backfield. But most impressive is his first step quickness, able to knife through holes or around tackles both inside and out. While he’s rather thin in his lower half, he plays with his head on fire, and that’s something the Chiefs need desperately at the edge position. Outside of Frank Clark and newly added rookie Joshua Kaindoh, there isn’t much in the EDGE cupboard for Kansas City. Sanders this late is a no-brainer for them.” – Felix

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