Teams around the NFL make picks in the NFL Draft based on players’ talents and projections. Comparisons to others who have had success are a big part of the scouting process. Teams don’t look at players for what they are now, though, when they make these comparisons. They tend to try and tap what the highest level of potential could be.
So that’s what we’ll be doing here as well. However, there’s not just stylistic comparisons for players in how they play. There’s also physical comparisons for their athleticism. And that’s also part of the process, because that factors into the overall potential.
This mock is an NFL mock draft with player comparisons. It will also explore not just team needs but use a bit of the philosophy of the decision makers involved to try and select who fits their team the best.
No. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Stylistic Comparison: Patrick Kerney
Physical Comparison: T.J. Watt
The Jacksonville Jaguars have needs all over the roster and taking the best players they can and letting it play itself out would be their best move. Aidan Hutchinson is arguably the best overall prospect and player in the draft despite his short arms. Much like another player with 32-inch arms in Patrick Kerney, he might be better off playing a 5-technique or 6-technique defensive end role in a 3-4 or a 4-3 than playing the true stand up edge in a 3-4.
In Jacksonville, he would have complementary edge rushers in Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson to help him attack quarterbacks. On base sets, Hutchinson would be a great fit as a defensive end for the 3-4 looks since the Jaguars will be running a more offset 3-4 than a true two-gap 3-4. Then in nickel sets, rotating Hutchinson, Chaisson and Allen at edge rusher will help keep fresh rushers getting after the passer every play.
No. 2 Detroit Lions: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
Stylistic Comparison: Bruce Smith
Physical Comparison: J.J. Watt
As was noted before, these comparisons are being made for overall potential. Travon Walker didn’t shine as the primary pass rusher at Georgia, but he has all the tools to be great. He also had a selfless attitude about himself to let other players around him make the plays even if he didn’t. But in the pros, he’s going to be a star, and if he reaches his true potential, he could be the next Bruce Smith regardless of alignment.
Detroit would give him the perfect spot to really shine. He could play as a 4-3 defensive end who will sometimes 5-technique, but will primarily hold down the strong side of the defense while also being able to get after the quarterback with Charles Harris and the Okwara brothers. This would also let Brockers slide inside to a more 3-technique role that will serve the defense better as a whole. Walker should be a great fit for the Lions for the long term.
No. 3 Houston Texans: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
Stylistic Comparison: Leonard Davis
Physical Comparison: Cordy Glenn
The Texans have a need on the offensive line to help out their young quarterback and having a talented guard or tackle come in would really help build the infrastructure for the quarterback to succeed. Evan Neal has a ton of talent and can play either guard or tackle in the NFL. With Laremy Tunsil manning the most important spot on the line at left tackle, they can put Neal at either left guard, right guard or right tackle to have him help where needed.
Athletically, his film is very similar to Cordy Glenn’s. While Glenn didn’t have the best combine, he still had a successful career as an offensive lineman and should be considered the floor of what Neal could provide. Neal has the kind of talent that brings to mind Leonard Davis, a guy who played for the Cowboys and Cardinals at three separate spots and went to the Pro Bowl multiple times throughout his career.
No. 4 New York Jets: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Stylistic Comparison: Chandler Jones
Physical Comparison: Gaines Adams
The Jets are on the path to a really good future if they can figure out the holes in their roster. Zach Wilson is bad, but they’ll have to figure that out in their own time before this staff loses their job. On the other side of the ball, they don’t have a primary pass rusher on the roster yet. Carl Lawson is a great complementary pass rusher and having that premiere pass rushing beast across from him will help. That’s where Kayvon Thibodeaux would come in.
The interior trio of Jonathan Franklin-Myers, Sheldon Rankins and Quinnen Williams will benefit greatly from an outside rusher. Thibodeaux is great as a pass rusher and has the athleticism to really set the outside edge. Much like Chandler Jones, he could lead a pass rush that would have quarterbacks running for their lives. Thibodeaux would instantly upgrade the Jets defense and this would be a perfect situation for him.
No. 5 New York Giants: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Stylistic Comparison: Warren Moon
Physical Comparison: Tyrod Taylor
If your team doesn’t have a quarterback, you should go out and get one. The smoke of Malik Willis to the Giants isn’t out there, yet. But the fit just makes sense. Giants head coach Brian Daboll likes to take quarterbacks with the raw tools and make them great. Putting Willis with Tyrod Taylor and Daniel Jones in New York to learn from for a year and really develop into a pro is the right way to go. Willis would be an upgrade over Jones after his first year.
The comparison for Willis being Warren Moon may seem lofty. And he’s definitely a boom or bust type guy. Willis has all the same tools Moon had as a player. From the cannon arm to the mobility and intelligence in his reads, he can really develop into the right quarterback at an NFL level for any team. Daboll would love his tools and could mold him into an All-Pro the way he did with Josh Allen in Buffalo with the Bills.
No. 6 Carolina Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Stylistic Comparison: Joe Flacco
Physical Comparison: Teddy Bridgewater
I have a saying, “NFL teams do stupid things.” The Carolina Panthers are one of those teams that continually do stupid things. In this situation, the smart thing of getting a quarterback to try and keep the jobs of the GM and coach makes sense for the Panthers brass. Sam Darnold hasn’t worked out. Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t worked out. And ideally, the Panthers would understand that Pickett is probably a third or fourth round talent at best.
Pickett at his best would be a Joe Flacco level guy who’s a purgatory level quarterback of the likes of Andy Dalton who could potentially go unconscious one postseason and win a Super Bowl. He’s not a top five quarterback in the NFL potential guy, though. The Panthers will make a mistake in this draft, and that mistake will end up being Kenny Pickett at No. 6.
No. 7 New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
Stylistic Comparison: Jake Matthews at LT/Joel Bitonio at LG
Physical Comparison: Rodger Saffold
The Giants have one piece on their offensive line that’s worth having start for them in Andrew Thomas out of Georgia. They did bring in Mark Glowinski, Jon Feliciano and Max Garcia in the offseason, but adding someone who can really solidify the left side of the line and that guy is Ikem Ekwonu. Adding a franchise quarterback and a starting left guard in the same draft will only strengthen the Giants for the long term.
Ekwonu is a very unique player because he can play either guard or tackle at level that would put him in the top 10 players at his position in the league. He’s got the size, strength, speed and technique to step right in and start. If Evan Neal wasn’t in this draft, he’d be the highest rated offensive lineman with no questions asked. Ekwonu, Andrew Thomas, and the best three of the remaining offensive linemen could give the Giants a solid overall line to work behind.
No. 8 Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
Stylistic Comparison: John Abraham
Physical Comparison: Danielle Hunter
The Atlanta Falcons need a true pass rusher. They have needs all over the roster and need to add to the roster in the best player available fashion. This is a situation where Jermaine Johnson would be a better fit for what the Falcons do than Kyle Hamilton or any of the quarterbacks remaining. Malik Willis would be the best fit at quarterback for them out of the entire group, but he was taken three picks ahead of them.
Johnson is a true weak-side defensive end or outside linebacker who could really make sense for the defense in Atlanta. He’d be a big upgrade to the Falcons pass rush off the edge. He would complement Grady Jarrett more than the current stable of pass rushers and has the potential to lead the entire group. He also has the local connection that could help the fan base support him early on as well. The Falcons have a lot of options and are the wild card of the draft.
No. 9 Seattle Seahawks: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Stylistic Comparison: Kam Chancellor
Physical Comparison: T.J. McDonald
The Seattle Seahawks are in the middle of a full rebuild. They need a bit of everything, including a true defensive leader who can bring back the old ways of the Legion of Boom. And with Kyle Hamilton’s extremely high level of talent, it’s too tough to pass on him at this point for Pete Carroll. Hamilton will remind him as a true replacement to Kam Chancellor but he has a bit more athleticism than Chancellor. Carroll loves players like Hamilton.
Hamilton is the same kind of ball hawk that Chancellor was but also has that attitude and explosion in his tackles that the former Seahawk did as well. Teams love Hamilton, and it would be shocking to see him fall to nine. However, with him sitting there at nine, it would be very tough for the Seahawks to pass on the second coming of their biggest chess piece on their championship defense. Hamilton would be an instant star in Seattle until they draft a new quarterback.
No. 10 New York Jets: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Stylistic Comparison: Laremy Tunsil
Physical Comparison: Taylor Decker
The New York Jets need to finish setting up their offensive line to try and have the best support system for last-year’s misguided quarterback selection of Zach Wilson. Charles Cross would be a great fit for the Jets as a true left tackle that would allow them to have Mekhi Becton play a more natural role at right tackle. They went out and got Laken Tomlinson in the offseason and Conner McGovern was a solid center for them in 2021.
The Jets could have the protection Wilson needs to succeed. The former BYU quarterback was at his best in college when the team protected him for his passes. New York makes sense for Cross and could really help them fix the team as a whole. Putting him Alijah Vera-Tucker on the offensive line would give the Jets a true pass blocking contingent that all fit the zone blocking scheme that Mike LaFleur is running there.
No. 11 Washington Commanders: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
Stylistic Comparison: Richard Sherman
Physical Comparison: Akhello Witherspoon
The Washington Commanders have needs all over the roster, but with their current cornerback situation, they should love the idea of the super athletic Sauce Gardner falling to them. They have William Jackson III and Kendall Fuller, but Fuller profiles better as a free safety and Jackson is just one side of the field. Adding Gardner could really improve the Commanders defense as whole and would give them a true No. 1 cornerback.
Gardner has one of the best profiles for a cornerback prospect in years. He’s arguably the best cornerback prospect since Darrelle Revis with his combination of film, athleticism, length and overall attitude. Teams love his competitive fire. His football intelligence shows that he can play either nickel or either outside cornerback position in the NFL and be a playmaking defender. Gardner will be a multi-time Pro Bowl defender.
No. 12 Minnesota Vikings: NT Jordan Davis, Georgia
Stylistic Comparison: Dontari Poe
Physical Comparison: Dontari Poe
The Minnesota Vikings made their bones under Mike Zimmer with a great defense. However, with new coach Kevin O’Connell, things might be a bit different to where they would focus on the offensive side of the ball. With how this draft falls, the best pick for them will be the one that really makes the biggest impact on the field, though. Jordan Davis would transform any defense he joins, but few more than Minnesota.
The Vikings brought in Harrison Phillips and have Dalvin Tomlinson on the line already, but adding a true freak athlete at nose tackle could really help those two have more single blockers against them. Danielle Hunter and new addition Za’Darius Smith should also see fewer double teams than they would be projected to see at this time because of the space eating abilities Jordan Davis has shown in his time at Georgia and could translate into the pro game.
No. 13 Houston Texans: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Stylistic Comparison: Tyler Lockett
Physical Comparison: Devin Hester
The Texans need to really surround their future quarterback if it’s not Davis Mills with weapons. Mills had a solid rookie year, though and could be a solid quarterback for them. They have some solid receivers with Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins, but they don’t have a true No. 1 guy. While there is no premiere Julio Jones or A.J. Green level wide receiver in this draft, the two guys closest to that are Garrett Wilson and Drake London.
Wilson is very similar to Tyler Lockett as a deep threat who can attack the shorter areas as a yards-after-catch kind of guy. He’s very good as a true No. 1 who can help a team with contested catches as well. The best part of Wilson’s game though is his feel against zone defense. He knows how to find the soft spots and sit there. For a young quarterback, that’s what you need to help him succeed during the early stages of his development.
No. 14 Baltimore Ravens: CB Derek Stingley, Louisiana State
Stylistic Comparison: Patrick Peterson
Physical Comparison: Trae Waynes
Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta comes from the Ozzie Newsome school of taking the best player available even if it’s a position of strength for your team. This is definitely another situation like that. However, when looking at the Ravens depth chart for 2023, the cornerback position stood out as a spot they could attack. Marcus Peters is going to be out of his contract and the need at cornerback will be prominent then.
Adding someone like Derek Stingley to the depth would be exceptionally intelligent and would allow the Ravens to have a talented player to replace the former Pro Bowl corner Peters. Stingley has all the tools to be the star of the Ravens defense at cornerback. His long-term potential is that of a Patrick Peterson. A true shut-down type corner would be the best way to describe the former LSU Tiger.
No. 15 Philadelphia Eagles: CB Andrew Booth, Clemson
Stylistic Comparison: Darius Slay
Physical Comparison: Darius Slay
Speaking of Darius Slay, if you already have one, why not have two of them? Slay is one of the best all-around cornerbacks in the NFL and pairing him with a younger version of himself only makes sense. Andrew Booth fits in well with the Eagles as a starting cornerback across from Slay and should be an upgrade over 2021 fourth round pick Zech McPhearson. Booth has the same kind of tools and raw ability Slay had coming out.
However, his technique needs a lot of work. He’s better in man than Slay was early on, but he’s a malleable ball of clay at this point and should be able to pick up NFL coverage concepts easily. Booth has the potential to be a multi-time Pro Bowl player and could give the Eagles a second shut-down level cornerback if he reaches his potential sooner rather than later. The Eagles still have another first round pick later on to continue to add to their team.
No. 16 New Orleans Saints: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Stylistic Comparison: Taylor Lewan
Physical Comparison: Robert Gallery
Imagine losing one of the best left tackles of the last decade because the cap room just isn’t there. That’s what happened with the Saints in the 2022 offseason. So they traded their 2023 first round pick to get another first round pick and see if they could end up replacing him or potentially sending a package up for a quarterback. In this situation, they nab Trevor Penning who profiles as a 10-year starter at left tackle in the NFL.
As a player, he comes off like a fringe Pro Bowl starter the way that Taylor Lewan did. A powerful, nasty, quick offensive lineman who can pass block well and shows off the dawg that he is in the run game. Penning would instantly slot next to Andrus Peat on the left side and continue to give the Saints a well-rounded offensive line in all spots. Penning has the athleticism of a Robert Gallery, but his career should line up to be better.
No. 17 Los Angeles Chargers: OL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Stylistic Comparison: Chris Chester
Physical Comparison: Chris Chester
The Chargers need more offensive line help to protect franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. While they would have probably preferred a tackle like Trevor Penning, the best offensive lineman available is Tyler Linderbaum, a center from Iowa. Linderbaum athletically on film looks just like Chris Chester, a former long-time starter for Washington and Atlanta. Linderbaum can play any of the three interior spots.
On top of that, Linderbaum would be an instant competitor for the starting role at either guard spot and could help solidify the blind side for Herbert if he’s played on the left side. Linderbaum is a former wrestler as well, so his use of leverage should help him. Working with Rashawn Slater and Corey Linsley, the Chargers could have at least three NFL above average starters on a line that will need to hold up against the exceptional pass rushes that are in the AFC West.
No. 18 Philadelphia Eagles: WR Drake London, Southern California
Stylistic Comparison: Keyshawn Johnson
Physical Comparison: Marques Colston
The Eagles first pick was on defense, but their second pick should be to find a complement to Devonta Smith at wide receiver. Smith is a smaller, faster receiver who’s better at finding the soft spots in the zone but doesn’t go up for contested catches as much. Drake London is the opposite of that. He’s a larger, stronger receiver who is going to attack the ball over the middle and win those contested catches that no one on the Eagles roster can get.
Adding London would also help the young quarterback that Philadelphia has in Jalen Hurts. London is a true No. 1 receiver, but he doesn’t need to be the No. 1 for the Eagles, and that will help his development. Combining London’s skills with the current corps should help the Eagles get more out of both Smith and London, but it should also open up the field a little better for Dallas Goedert as well. The tight end should see a lot more looks in the seams with London there.
No. 19 New Orleans Saints: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
Stylistic Comparison: Tyreek Hill
Physical Comparison: Tiquan Underwood
The New Orleans Saints need a true deep option and speed option at wide receiver who can complement Michael Thomas. There are no better options there than Jameson Williams who is one of the fastest, smartest players out there. He was once buried on the Ohio State depth chart, but found his best production in a role at Alabama. There are few guys who can burn a defense like Williams can, and he just happened to be behind those at Ohio State.
That being said, Williams can do everything those guys can do, but he’s faster and understands the weak points of a defense better. The transfer did him well, because he can find seams to burst through after the ball is in his hands. That will help the Saints with their lack of explosion on offense. There are few quarterbacks who can complement a receiver that can burn a team as well as Williams can, but Jameis Winston has the arm to do it. The fit here is perfect.
No. 20 Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Stylistic Comparison: Marcus Mariota
Physical Comparison: Joshua Dobbs
Long-time quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger retired this past season, and the Steelers need to find his replacement. Desmond Ridder may not be a true No. 1 quarterback in the NFL, but he’s someone who should fit right in with the Steelers. He can learn how to be great with a solid coaching staff like Pittsburgh, and he has better overall tools than Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph will ever have.
Ridder knows how to make the best out of a tough situation and has shown that he can lead a deficient team to great heights in Cincinnati. However, the NFL is a whole different game. There will be some growing pains and sitting for a season would be best for Ridder. The Steelers have a well-structured organization with the right coaches and some talent around the quarterback that knows how to get open and create with the ball in their hands.
No. 21 New England Patriots: OL Zion Johnson, Boston College
Stylistic Comparison: Kevin Zeitler
Physical Comparison: Joel Bitonio
The Patriots just traded away one of the best offensive linemen in the league in Shaq Mason. That opens up a massive hole for them at right guard, and they’ll need some talent to compete there. The best guard in the NFL draft is likely Zion Johnson. He’s got all the tools and compares best to another long-armed beast in Kevin Zeitler with the advanced physical tools of a Joel Bitonio. That’s a dangerous combination.
Bill Belichick is known for focusing on his offensive and defensive lines at the top of the draft historically, and Johnson won’t change that. Johnson slides right in between Trent Brown and David Andrews and should be a decade long starter the way Logan Mankins was for the Patriots. Add in the Boston connection, and there’s few guys who fit in as well for the Patriots as Zion Johnson does for Belichick’s crew.
No. 22 Green Bay Packers: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Stylistic Comparison: Ryan Shazier
Physical Comparison: Dan Connor
There are few players who are as well-rounded at their position in the 2022 NFL draft as Devin Lloyd is. He’s one of the best all-around linebackers whether it is blitzing, covering zones or trying to slip into the backfield against the run. Lloyd has a ton of similarities to Dan Connor as an athlete, but he’s closer to a Ryan Shazier in his style of play. Shazier was a similar guy before his neck injury, and much like Lloyd, he had no trouble laying out opposing players.
The Packers are in a unique spot here. Sure, they have a need at wide receiver, but they also could use more defensive playmakers and have a second first round pick. And sure, De’Vondre Campbell was great in 2021, but they need more than just him in the middle level of their defense. Lloyd is a perfect complement to Campbell, and they could be a heart and soul type combination for that defense. Adding Lloyd to Campbell will strengthen a packers defense.
No. 23 Arizona Cardinals: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
Stylistic Comparison: Tre’Davious White
Physical Comparison: Desmond Trufant
Trent McDuffie is a unique case in this draft. He had some real buzz before the combine as potentially the highest drafted cornerback. It’s calmed down recently, but he still has a high level of talent and is very similar to Desmond Trufant in his play as a corner who is equally adept in man and zone. He’s also similar to Tre’Davious White in that he’s a physical cornerback who can support the run just as well as the pass.
The team that ends up with McDuffie will end up with a great talent for the position, but he’s not exactly a shut down guy at the level of a Derek Stingley or Sauce Gardner. In this situation, the Cardinals should look at him heavily. Their starting cornerbacks are Jeff Gladney—a cast off due to off field issues—and Byron Murphy a second round pick. McDuffie would start on the outside in both nickel and base sets and give the Cardinals a specified piece to work with.
No. 24 Dallas Cowboys: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Stylistic Comparison: Terry McLaurin
Physical Comparison: Johnny Knox
Chris Olave is a very dynamic receiver who can align all over a formation and burn a defense deep or with yards after carry in the open space. He would be best on a team that has an option to help him by opening up the middle of the field for him to work. Much like Terry McLaurin, though, he is best when working with a group of talented receivers that will take pressure off of him being the primary playmaker every down.
The Dallas Cowboys traded away Amari Cooper to free up cap space to build their roster. But in doing so, they got rid of a major target for the talented Dak Prescott to throw to. Olave is a great value here at the latter part of the first round, and he fits in well with the Cowboys as either a slot receiver, outside receiver or option that aligns in the backfield at times in shotgun sets to create plays. The Cowboys should add Olave to Ceedee Lamb and Michael Gallup.
No. 25 Buffalo Bills: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
Stylistic Comparison: Warren Sapp
Physical Comparison: Amobi Okoye
Devonte Wyatt is a world disrupter on the interior of a defense. Much like Warren Sapp or Aaron Donald, he creates a ton of pressure on the interior of a defense and attacks quarterbacks and the run game equally as well. Physically, he compares well to Amobi Okoye who is one of the better athletes at the position of all time. Wyatt is a nasty pass rusher with violent hands and the ability to shed interior blocks against the run well.
The Buffalo Bills don’t have a ton of needs on their roster, but adding to their pass rush is never a bad idea. Wyatt could join Ed Oliver in the middle of a Buffalo defense that has already added Von Miller to create a formidable rush. Miller and Rousseau as part of the first wave with Wyatt and Oliver should be able to handle the speed and scrambling ability of the AFC’s best quarterbacks. The Bills should have a better defense with him on it.
No. 26 Tennessee Titans: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
Stylistic Comparison: Andrew Norwell
Physical Comparison: Darryl Williams
Kenyon Green is a very athletic offensive lineman, but he’s not testing well, which is very similar to Darryl Williams, a former offensive tackle with the Panthers who moved to guard with Buffalo. Green is a better pass blocker than most of the players coming out this year and fits best as a guard at the next level. He is more of a powerful offensive lineman than a technician and should see his time spent holding the depth of the pocket against defensive tackles.
The Tennessee Titans lost their starting guard Rodger Saffold to the Buffalo Bills in the offseason after cutting him for cap reasons. Saffold was a long-term starter for them and would be tough to replace if there wasn’t a perfect fit like Green available out there. Green would start on the left side, though and allow the Titans to continue to have a nasty run game contingent on that side behind Green and long-time left tackle starter Taylor Lewan.
No. 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
Stylistic Comparison: Demarcus Lawrence
Physical Comparison: Bradley Chubb
George Karlaftis is an interesting case on film. He’s a true power pass rusher who gets to the quarterback by throwing the defensive end in front of him and has a limited pass rush set. Much like when Demarcus Lawrence was coming out, he’ll have to develop. But he has the athleticism to be great as shown by his physical comparison to Bradley Chubb. Teams will appreciate how well he can set the edge and should be very high on him.
The Buccaneers lost Jason Pierre-Paul during the offseason to free agency, but they could still bring him back. That or they can do the smarter thing and draft a guy with similar tools that can win in similar ways. Karlaftis has the bull rushing and run defending down pat. He will have to develop a set of moves to help him get to the quarterback, but the Buccaneers have the right support system to help him get there.
No. 28 Green Bay Packers: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Stylistic Comparison: Plaxico Burress
Physical Comparison: Justin Blackmon
After trading away Devonta Adams this offseason, the Packers need someone who can make a difference as an outside receiver. They need someone who will fit in with Aaron Rodgers and can go up and get the ball when Rodgers throws into traffic. Since drafting Rodgers in 2005, the Packers haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. They need to show that they can provide Rodgers with some support in his last years of his career and this would do that.
Treylon Burks may not be the best athlete at the position, but similar to Justin Blackmon, he makes it work. He wins in the same kinds of ways Plaxico Burress does, though. He’s more physical; he high-points the ball and catches defenders off-guard. He can find the soft spots in zones while in the red zone, and at his best, he can burn a defense deep with his route running and ability to create separation by running routes that throw off the men guarding him.
No. 29 Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jahan Dotson, Pennsylvania State
Stylistic Comparison: Calvin Ridley
Physical Comparison: Davon Grayson
Jahan Dotson is being talked about as a potential first round pick because of his ability to create after the catch, and his exceptional route running. His ability to attack teams deep or in the soft spots of their scheme really helps boost his value. He may not be the biggest or strongest or fastest guy at the position, but he’s one of the toughest and can create big plays out of thin air. The Chiefs would absolutely love having him because of his west coast offense fit.
The Chiefs are in need of a wide receiver. Marques Valdes-Scantling is the only starting caliber wide receiver under contract after 2022. They’ll need to take a wide receiver who can fit in as one of Patrick Mahomes’ primary options in the passing game, and Dotson fits that very well. Dotson would start out as a No. 2 receiver to Valdes-Scantling and could develop into that true No. 1 for the Chiefs once he fully develops his game.
No. 30 Kansas City Chiefs: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
Stylistic Comparison: Xavien Howard
Physical Comparison: Xavien Howard
Kaiir Elam is one of the best press cornerbacks in the draft in 2022. Elam has exceptional speed and agility and has shown that he can shut down a side when he’s able to press the receiver. The best player comparison for Elam is Xavien Howard, a multiple-time Pro Bowl cornerback known for being a great press cornerback. Adding Elam will help the Chiefs for the long term considering they don’t have any true No. 1 cornerback and no one under contract worth the role.
Elam would instantly start as the No. 1 cornerback for a depth chart that is currently highlighting Deandre Baker, Rashad Felton and L’Jarius Sneed. The Chiefs for the long-term do need that featured cornerback for the defense and bringing in Elam would give them that. A wild possibility for the Chiefs could be doubling up on wide receivers here as well with an extreme talent like George Pickens or Christian Watson to be another larger option for them.
No. 31 Cincinnati Bengals: OL Tyler Smith, Tulsa
Stylistic Comparison: Kelechi Osemele
Physical Comparison: Jamon Brown
Tyler Smith was a tackle in college, but projects better as a guard in the pro level just like Jamon Brown and Kelechi Osemele were. They are his best professional comparisons as well. Brown was a solid, but unspectacular starter during his time and is probably the worst case scenario. Smith’s play is a bit nastier than Brown’s is, however. That’s where the Osemele comparison comes in. Osemele would destroy the competition just like Smith does.
The Bengals need a mauler on their offensive line to solidify the front next to Jonah Williams at left guard. With Jonah Williams at left tackle and bringing in La’El Collins at right tackle, the Bengals are finally getting a line built to protect one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Joe Burrow. Adding more competition at center and right guard would help build the line further, but Smith is that piece at left guard for years.
No. 32 Detroit Lions: QB Matt Corral, Mississippi
Stylistic Comparison: Christian Ponder
Physical Comparison: Andy Dalton
Matt Corral is a quarterback who could sneak into the first round. The former Mississippi quarterback is a potential starter in the NFL. He’s able to read defenses well and has the moxie to be a leader, but there’s a lot missing with his accuracy and arm strength on his film. He’s got solid athleticism, but he’s not the best athlete. He comes off more like an Andy Dalton who can use the athleticism in the NFL to create passing lanes more than a true dual threat.
The Detroit Lions are in amazing need for the quarterback of their future. Especially one that fits in well with their star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Lions currently have Jared Goff as their starter and a bunch of terrible replacement level players on the roster. They would do best to bring in a guy with a fifth year option that needs the development but has a ton of potential. That guy is Matt Corral.
Be sure to check out some of the other mock draft on atbnetwork.com and be on the lookout for more as the draft comes.