7-round Mock Draft for the Cincinnati Bengals

The lead-up to the 2022 NFL Draft has been a very weird and unfamiliar experience for Bengals fans. In recent years, we’ve started looking deeply at the draft by mid-November or earlier. What’s the point in waiting when they have virtually no chance to make the playoffs? Back in the day we usually got to wait until at least December or early January, but having to wait until February this year left a lot of us playing catch up. The Bengals’ scouting department has had to play catch-up too due to a short offseason.

Now, we’ve all had roughly two months to play catch-up to this draft class. The Bengals did an excellent job addressing most of their needs in free agency, so they can have the luxury of focusing on quality prospects rather than needs. They’re still hoping to address minor holes like CB2, TE2, offensive line depth, wide receiver depth, and defensive line depth. But, the nice thing is there are no glaringly obvious holes like they’ve had to address the last few years. You can thank their success in free agency and the draft over the last few years for that.

My original plan for doing a 7-round mock for the Bengals ahead of tonight’s draft was to do it on my YouTube channel. Unfortunately, a particularly noisy fridge is destroying any hope of great audio quality, so we’re going to break down my selections as I imagine myself in the position of Bengals’ general manager. The following picks are made in the spirit of the Bengals’ particular need vs BPA ratio that they tend to follow. But, the final say is entirely what I think would be the best for the team. Think of it as an educated wish list. 

I also plan on releasing a full first-round mock of what I think all 32 teams will do later today. You might want to check that out too because it’s quite possible I will have a different selection for the Bengals in that article than in this one. But, without rambling any further, lets jump into these selections.

Using Pro Football Focus’s 7-round mock draft simulator as a basis for these selections, here is what we’re looking at initially.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like PFF’s simulation was terribly kind to me as Tyler Linderbaum went two picks ahead of us at 29 to the Chiefs. They, of course, received that pick from the Dolphins for Tyreek Hill. I was also hoping to get guys like Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam and Zion Johnson, who are also gone. According to PFF, the best prospects available are wide receiver Skyy Moore, safety Lewis Cine and nose tackle Travis Jones. This would be a classic situation where trading down would be in the Bengals best interest. But, will they? I doubt it. I kind of like guys like Arnold Ebiketie, Nik Bonitto, and David Ojabo here. But, I can’t lie. I already know who I’m going with.

I know he didn’t test particularly well at the combine, and I’m sure most of you reading can figure out who I’m talking about based on that alone. Personally, I’m enamored with Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon. PFF has him ranked as the 58th best prospect in this draft. But, the way I see it, he has shown everything you need to succeed at the cornerback position.

Sure, he might need a bit of time to adjust to NFL speed. Luckily, the Bengals have a great No. 1 corner in Chidobe Awuzie and a serviceable No. 2 option in Eli Apple. Don’t get me wrong, picking Gordon at No. 31 comes with the intention of him taking Apple’s spot this season. However, it doesn’t HAVE to be Week 1. For that reason, I’m cool with betting on the upside. He won’t be available when we pick again at 63. So, ideally, we’d trade down. But, in this scenario I’m just going to take him.

Moving along to pick 63 in the second round, I’m still having pretty terrible luck with who is available.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

I was definitely hoping to see someone like EDGE Nik Bonitto, tight end Trey McBride, or defensive lineman Logan Hall. Nope. They’re all gone. Yikes. The two remaining players I’m interested in are Kingsley Enagbare, the pass rusher from South Carolina and Dylan Parham, the interior lineman from Memphis. I’m really of a split mind on this one but I think I’m going to go with the guy who can bolster the Bengals’ pass rush.

I’m really confident in Joseph Ossai going forward. But, you can never have enough pass rushers, and Enagbare was one of the best in the country at that particular role. My issue with Parham is I feel he’s a bit of a project and after taking Jackson Carman last year I’d rather not risk Joe Burrow third season to more speculation on the offensive line. Not to mention, I like the depth that exists at interior OL more than I do the depth at edge. So, I’m taking Enagbare with pick 63.

Now we’re moving along to pick 96 and, would you look at that! There wasn’t a massive run on players I’m looking for!

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson did go to the Titans at 90. But, to be honest there’s another Kentucky prospect I’m eyeballing with this pick. I’m tempted to go with Virginia tight end Jelani Woods here because he has so much upside. At some point, I’m hoping to find a tight end to compliment Hayden Hurst because I REALLY don’t want to rely on Drew Sample, if possible. But, I think finishing the rebuild of this offensive line is imperative… especially going into Joe Burrow’s third season.

I’m picking up Luke Fortner here because, quite frankly, I’ve heard him described as a poor man’s Tyler Linderbaum. As a Kentucky fan, I can vouch for his consistency at the position. Personally, I’m 100 percent into the idea of taking a chance on him. If he’s ready to start right away, great! If not, Ted Karras can hold down the center position for now and Quinton Spain is still available to come back and solidify that left guard spot.

We’re moving along to the depths of the fourth round now and, once again, we’re back to slim pickings.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

After losing Auden Tate to the Falcons, I think the Bengals could really use a really good fourth option at wide receiver. Perhaps I’m weird in thinking that Stanley Morgan Jr might actually be able to step into that role quite nicely. But, it might also be worth adding some talent. That’s why I’m looking at Velus Jones Jr from Tennessee.

He’s likely a developmental slot receiver at the NFL level, but that’s ok for me. Tyler Boyd only has two years left on his contract and this wide receiver room is about to get EXPENSIVE with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins needing re-upped around that time. Jones could be a limited contributor for now and, perhaps, when the time is right, provide an insurance policy in case Boyd decides to move on in a few years.

All that said, the biggest reason I’m excited for Velus is his prowess as a kick returner. Y’all remember relying on Darius Phillips and Stanley Morgan to return kicks last season? Yeah. Muffs cost us a win against the 49ers. Darius Phillips is gone. Brandon Wilson, while reliable as a returner, doesn’t really add much value to the team at his natural position of safety. Picking Velus in the fourth round might be seen as a bit of a reach but I really don’t feel like he’ll still be there at 174. I’m making an executive decision. Let’s go.

As we move to the fifth round, it’s still looking pretty slim. I wouldn’t call this my ideal mock for the Bengals at all, but it is quite possible the real draft this weekend could play out like this.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

Based on the list of available players I’m seeing here, I think most Bengals fans would want me to pick up nose tackle Curtis Brooks from UC. Personally, I don’t really get that. Definitely not in the fifth round. Yeah, sure, he’s athletic and tested very well. But, if the Bengals are going to pick up a defensive tackle I think they would probably be better off targeting a 3-tech rather than nose tackle. They’re pretty set with DJ Reader and Josh Tupou right now. Not to mention, it’s really hard to project what Brooks’ role would be in the NFL. Maybe if we see him again in the sixth round I’ll consider it but I think I’ll pass in the fifth.

I’m actually going to throw  a bit of a curve ball here. I’m going to take Brian Robinson Jr, the running back from Alabama. Why? Quite frankly I’m not a fan of Samaje Perine. I love Chris Evans, but Robinson provides a completely different set of skills than Evans. Notably, PFF calls him the best short-yardage bruiser in the draft class. Y’all remember when the Bengals couldn’t pick up one yard on three tries on the last drive of the Super Bowl? Pepperidge farm remembers. And Pepperidge farm ain’t gonna let that happen again. So sue me, I’m taking a running back.

Wouldn’t you know it, the sixth round is actually shaping up the way we want! If only the earlier rounds were like that.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

Curtis Brooks is still here! I’m not going to lie though I’m still wondering about the value of taking a nose tackle, especially when the Bengals still need to shore up their offensive line depth. I’ve got my eye on offensive lineman Zachary Thomas here. He can play all five positions as a rotational backup if need be. Is that enough promise to betray all the UC fans who are probably screaming at me to take Curtis Brooks? Yes, I think it is. Sorry guys, I just think nose tackle is the one position we’re set at on the defensive line. Why take the chance with poor offensive line depth again when it literally cost us the Super Bowl? I’m going with Zachary Thomas here.

The Bengals actually have two picks in the seventh round this year and I think a lot of Bengals fans are wanting to use one of those picks on PUNT GOD Matt Ariaza. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s no longer on the board.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

Honestly, that’s fine with me. Ariaza might be really good. But, it seems like the Bengals’ coaching staff really likes Drue Christman. We can probably find some solid competition for him in UDFA. Also, Curtis Brooks is gone too. Sorry, UC fans. 

Perhaps this is another curveball but I’m actually going to take Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy here. I was also thinking about Miami safety Bubba Bolden here but the Jags took him at the top of the round. The reason I’m thinking Purdy here is because.. let’s face it… Brandon Allen is a limited quarterback. He’s probably the best backup we’ve had since AJ McCarron, but that’s not saying much. He’s solid with his legs but he has accuracy issues and, for that reason, I don’t see any reason he shouldn’t have some real camp competition this year.

Years ago I thought Purdy was going to be a stud of a future NFL Draft prospect. He never quite hit that level, but I still think he’s really talented. I think he’ll adjust to the NFL extremely well and should be the kind of guy who can give you 70 percent of what Joe Burrow gives you in case Burrow has to miss time for any reason.

Finally, we’re moving to the Bengals’ final pick at 252 overall in the seventh round. Essentially, you’re just getting a head start on undrafted free agency here, so let’s see who is left.

PFF.com 7-round Mock Draft Simulator

I wanted to bring in a piece to compete with Drew Sample earlier in the draft. Unfortunately, the way things shook out, there were other great options available when I had the opportunity to take guys I really wanted like Colorado State’s Trey McBride, Virginia’s Jelani Woods, or Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely. So, how about we go get Iowa State’s Chase Allen? He’s not going to wow you in any particular category but he’s a decent blocker and a decent underneath receiving option. At the very least, as I said, he can give Sample a run for his money. Plus, we can pair him back up with Brock Purdy.

So, there you have it. A full seven-round mock draft for the Bengals. I have no idea what they’re actually going to do for most of the draft. So, maybe it will be fun to go back and compare my mock to the actual results after the draft is completed. 

Hopefully I have a less noisy fridge by then and we can take the party back to YouTube. But, for now, this is what we’re working with and these are some of the players I think would make sense for the Bengals in 2022.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Mitchell Wolfe’s Predictive Final Mock

How will Thursday’s draft shape out?

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We are now less than a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft. By this time, the number of 2022 NFL mock drafts is reaching critical mass. But with such little time until Roger Goodell takes the podium and declares the draft officially open, too many mocks focus on what the writer would do. Now is this the time for more predictive 2022 NFL mock drafts.

This 2022 NFL Mock Draft is more focused on the predictive aspect of mock drafts, as opposed to my personal feelings or seamless team fits. In the coming days before the actual draft, there will most likely be a significant uptick in rumors surrounding certain draft picks and players. Generally, smoke coming out during draft week is just that.

One more note: this 2022 NFL Mock Draft will not try to predict any trades. While there will certainly be several major moves made on draft night, it is simply too difficult to predict the exact moves or terms of the deal. Therefore, the order reflects the standings as of April 25th.

Mitchell Wolfe’s Predictive 2022 NFL Mock Draft

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

At this point, just over a week before the 2022 NFL Draft, the #1 overall pick seems pretty set. Entering the 2021 season, some expected Hutchinson to be a first-round pick, returning to his 2019 form when he was healthy. But even with rumors of dominant testing, most would have been surprised to learn that come April, Hutchinson had all but locked himself into being the first pick in the draft. 

Hutchinson’s ascension is partially due to a weak quarterback class and multiple teams in the top five. He is a dominant run defender with significant pass-rushing upside. He may not have the elite ceiling of other edge defenders, but his floor is exceptionally high. Hutchinson should also take a major leadership role for Jacksonville’s defense. 

2. Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux, OLB, Oregon

The Kayvon Thibodeaux “nose dive” is starting to level out as we approach draft day. Thibodeaux may have earned excessive hype due to his recruiting process and early success. Injuries and unwarranted concerns about his attitude and motivation caused him to slip down the board in mock draft and edge defender rankings. However, the cycle of non-sensical draft takes might be turning the corner at the perfect time for Thibodeaux, as those issues are making increasingly fewer appearances. 

While Thibodeaux is not the elite edge prospect of years past (e.g., Young, Bosa, Garrett), he is still one of the premier players in this class. He is a game wrecker in all aspects of defense such that offenses will have to gameplan around him. Thibodeaux has apparently met with the Lions multiple times this draft cycle. There’s a decent chance that he and head coach Dan Campbell hit it off, especially since the Lions desperately need a premier pass rusher. 

3. Houston Texans – Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux have ridden opposite trajectories during the draft process. Where Thibodeaux has been slowly falling, Walker has been rising rapidly. He has tested like an athletic marvel and is a unique physical specimen. When it comes to edge defenders, teams are willing to bet on insane traits, even if the player does not have great production. The Texans need talent across their entire roster. Luckily, they have been successful at drafting edge defenders. Walker fits seamlessly into two archetypes that Houston’s decision-makers want in an edge defender. There’s a decent chance that Walker will be the best player in this class. 

4. New York Jets – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

This mock draft is meant to be predictive instead of what I would do if I ran each team. Therefore, I do not necessarily agree with this pick. I do not think tackle is among the Jets’ most pressing needs, especially with the players remaining on the board. But George Fant is certainly upgradeable, and there seem to be some issues with Mekhi Becton. Furthermore, I do not believe Ekwonu is the best offensive tackle on the board. Nevertheless, I think Joe Douglas will flex his decision-making muscles and use this pick to help rebuild the trenches and protect Zach Wilson. 

5. New York Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Moving onto my top offensive tackle and my top offensive lineman overall, the Giants dip into the SEC well again to continue rebuilding their offensive line. Evan Neal is nearly the platonic ideal of an NFL right tackle. He played left tackle this past year but also played right tackle and left guard for the Crimson Tide. He is not a perfect tackle prospect, as he has some consistency and technical issues to fix. But he’s still young and has excellent physical tools. 

Predictively, I could see this being a prime trade-down spot. Even though this quarterback class is not as strong as previous ones, teams will always be greedy for them. The Panthers have been at the forefront of investigating the quarterbacks in this class. Therefore, jumping in front of the Panthers would allow that team to steal their preferred quarterback.

6. Carolina Panthers – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The Panthers have been putting some smoke out into the world about their interest in the other quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, namely Malik Willis and Matt Corral. At the end of the day, however, I’m not buying it. Matt Rhule and Kenny Pickett have a very long relationship, and the Panthers’ brass was heavily involved during Pickett’s pro day. While he does not have the highest upside among the quarterbacks this year, Pickett would bring an immediate level of competency to Carolina’s quarterback room. 

Obviously, most teams want a little something more than “competency” from a top-10 selection, especially for a quarterback. One might argue that investing in one of the quarterbacks with higher upside might buy Rhule more time, as most consider him to be on the hot seat this season. However, that strategy did not save Matt Nagy last year, and he even had a competent backup in Andy Dalton. Rhule needs to get this team out of the basement and make them competitive this season; Pickett offers them the best opportunity to do that. 

7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears) – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

With their second first-round pick, the New York Giants find their lockdown corner of the future. Ahmad Gardner is one of the best press corners to come down the draft pipeline in many years. With that being said, if any of the top three edge rushers fall to this spot, New York could select one of them instead. 

Due to his cap hit, James Bradberry will most likely be on the move soon, whether by trade or cut. Therefore, the Giants will need a new number one lockdown corner; even if they retain Bradberry, pairing him and Gardner would make an incredible duo. Regardless of Bradberry’s status, Gardner is an excellent fit in Don “Wink” Martindale’s scheme. Wink relies heavily on blitzes with man coverage behind it, perfectly matching Gardner’s skillset. 

8. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Atlanta secures the steal of the draft, acquiring my #1 overall player with the eighth pick. The Falcons are generally devoid of talent, especially on defense. For this reason, they can adhere closely to the “best player available” strategy, as they need help everywhere. Luckily, they also have a dire need at safety; two career special teamers (Erik Harris and Dean Marlowe) are the projected starters, with young players (Jaylinn Hawkins and Richie Grant) backing them up.

Hamilton would bring an immediate impact to Atlanta’s defense. The regime in Atlanta is young, but this pick meshes with Atlanta’s strategy from last year. Despite perhaps more pressing needs at more valuable positions, the Falcons took Kyle Pitts, an uber-athletic freakish hybrid player. That description fits Hamilton as well, despite what his testing numbers indicate.

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft – Hussam Patel 
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Even though Seattle seems interested in giving Drew Lock a fair shake at quarterback, they still need to look towards the future in finding their franchise QB. Luckily, with Lock and Geno Smith on the roster, Malik Willis would not need to play in his first year with Seattle. Additionally, given the Russell Wilson trade, it seems clear that the Seahawks’ ownership is comfortable letting John Schneider and Pete Carroll manage the rebuilding process. 

Willis should work well with Carroll and the Seahawks in terms of fit. He brings a lot of the same physical and mental characteristics that Wilson brought. Willis obviously needs significant polishing and refinement. But Seattle is well-positioned to give Willis enough time to marinate while rebuilding the rest of the roster around him. Therefore, when he is ready to ascend to the starting quarterback position, he will inherit a well-rounded team. 

10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Once again, the New York Jets make a selection at a position that they don’t direly need. However, based on recent news, the Jets may be looking for a speed threat to help Zach Wilson. New York lost the Tyreek Hill trade sweepstakes, but had they been successful, one has to imagine that this pick was part of the trade deal. Therefore, securing the most dangerous speed threat at wide receiver makes sense for the Jets.

An ACL tear notwithstanding, Jameson Williams is still my WR1 in this class. He is a one-year wonder, but that one year was truly…wonderful. Williams possesses foot speed unlike any other receiver in this class. He was able to consistently separate from SEC defenders with speed alone but also has good hands, surprisingly good route running, and excellent toughness. Even if he misses the first few weeks of the season, Williams will be a major asset to Zach Wilson’s development. 

11. Washington Commanders – Drake London, WR, Southern California

Frankly, the Washington Commanders are in a bit of a pickle here. One could argue that they’ve been brining in one for years, but I digress. Regarding the draft, the Commanders do not have many immediate pressing needs; where they do have needs, their positioning in the first round and the distribution of talent among the class do not align very well. Furthermore, the Washington brass is, shall we say, relatively unpredictable, making this prediction somewhat tricky. 

With all that being said, Washington grabs a big, deep ball, contested-catch specialist for Carson Wentz. This season, after serving as a dynamic “big slot” matchup nightmare for USC, Drake London transitioned into an outside deep threat, routinely Mossing defenders up and down the field. Carson Wentz likes these big targets because he can throw up deep balls to them, hoping for chunk plays. There is no better receiver in this class more perfectly situated for that role. 

12. Minnesota Vikings – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Louisiana State

Another massive steal at the defensive back position. By now, everyone knows Derek Stingley’s story. If not for injuries and illness the past two seasons, Stingley would most likely have continued the trajectory established by his spectacular 2019 season. While the past two seasons have raised some questions and concerns about Stingley, he’s still a great athlete with a year of some of the best cornerback tape in the last decade. Furthermore, he would be able to learn directly from his LSU brethren, Patrick Peterson, in Minnesota, a team that desperately needs cornerback help. 

13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

As previously mentioned, the Texans need help across almost their entire roster. There was some smoke that the Texans could take an offensive tackle with their earlier first-round pick. However, I think the upside of going edge, then tackle, is higher than the inverse. Furthermore, Charles Cross can fill in at multiple positions along the offensive line. His future at left tackle could materialize soon, as Laremy Tunsil’s contract becomes unsustainable very soon. Therefore, selecting Cross here fills needs in the short and the long term. 

14. Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Johnson, OLB, Florida State

As a Steelers fan, I hate making this pick, mainly because it just makes so much sense. But Jermaine Johnson is a fantastic prospect, and his slide ends here. He’s a great run defender with pass-rush upside defined by strength and technique. Johnson is a perfect complement to athletic freakazoid Odafe Oweh, who wins with elite burst, bend, and athleticism. But Johnson is no slouch of an athlete himself and should fit well as an outside linebacker in Baltimore’s 3-4 defense.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Even though the Eagles may have a more pressing need at cornerback, and they have another pick coming up very soon, they need to take a #2 WR here to pair with Devonta Smith. Both the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers would be interested in taking a wide receiver in the next two picks. Therefore, the Eagles need to get their guy here instead of waiting until 18.

Olave gives the Eagles a serious deep-speed threat that should help open up their offense. Few teams will be equipped well enough in the secondary to cover both Smith and Olave, the latter of which has met with the Eagles multiple times in the pre-draft process. 

16. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts) – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

As previously mentioned, the New Orleans Saints will most likely be very interested in drafting a wide receiver. Their trade with the Eagles could be interpreted as a move to ensure they get one of the top four or five WRs. Luckily, one of them falls to 16. Like I said with the Eagles, they would need to prioritize receiver here, so their target does not get sniped by the Chargers or the Eagles. 

New Orleans would likely prefer Chris Olave, but Garrett Wilson is more than an adequate consolation prize. He might be an even better complement to Michael Thomas. Whereas Thomas wins with route running and physicality, Wilson wins body control and after-the-catch skills. The Saints love their Buckeyes, so pairing Wilson with another one should be fruitful. 

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Daniel Garrett
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Moving into the second half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the board did not fall particularly well for the Chargers. After going on a spending spree on defense, they most likely planned to use the draft to help build the offense for Justin Herbert. However, Jordan Davis is one of the most dominant prospects in this entire draft class. He also fits the defense that Brandon Staley wants to run.

I think this selection is less likely given that LA signed Sebastian Joseph-Day, who fills a similar role. But with how poor the Chargers defended the run last year, extreme measures might have to be taken. Lining Davis up next to SJD would allow the Chargers’ edge defenders and linebackers much more freedom to make plays with those two behemoths eating up multiple blockers. 

18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints) – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

The Philadelphia Eagles put up some very specific guardrails for their first-round picks, not only for certain positions but ones that exclude others entirely. While the Eagles have dire needs at linebacker and safety, do not expect the Eagles to use premium selections at these positions. Conversely, corner is a position where they have been willing to invest. Plus, they also have a pressing need there. 

Andrew Booth has had a wild ride this season. Going into the year, some draft pundits ranked Booth as their top corner in the class. He had a solid season, despite Clemson struggling. But injuries in the postseason, which prevented him from working out, have seemingly tanked his draft stock. There’s a possibility that Booth falls out of the first round altogether. But the Eagles have not shied away from injured prospects before, specifically at the corner position. 

19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles) – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

New Orleans assuages their other most pressing need at left tackle. Trevor Penning is far from a finished product. But surrounded by veteran talent on the line with an experienced coaching staff, they should be able to get him up to speed quickly. His rookie season could be a bit bumpy due to penalties and just adjusting to the speed of the NFL. But by the end of his rookie contract, Penning could very likely turn into a long-term starter for New Orleans. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

With only one of the top group of wide receivers remaining, I would expect this pick to be traded. While the Steelers could use receiver help, Treylon Burks is a bit of an asymmetric fit. Furthermore, several teams in the 20s might be willing to part with significant assets to jump ahead of each other.

While I hope the Steelers would end up trading down with this pick, that is something they rarely do. There is also the distinct possibility they choose a quarterback. In this scenario, two quarterbacks are gone, but I could still see the Steelers picking Ridder. I would be pleased if they traded down and then decided to take Ridder. 

Nevertheless, I have the Steelers taking Lewis Cine here. Cine checks lots of boxes the Steelers have for first-round picks: Power-Five (ideally SEC) school, incredible athleticism, and experienced but young. He also fits a very pressing need for Pittsburgh as they currently do not have a legitimate Week 1 starter at strong safety. They still have time to sign Tyrann Mathieu or bring Terrell Edmunds back. But they could be interested in deploying more three-safety packages this season. 

21. New England Patriots – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The New England Patriots are traditionally challenging to mock draft for. They primarily draft for value, but Bill Belichick is obviously a tough nut to crack. Given that the Patriots have a few apparent needs (CB, WR, OG), I would expect multiple teams to try to trade up in front of 21 to secure certain players. Therefore, while I’m not predicting a specific trade, I’m operating somewhat under the assumption that one will be made. 

Devin Lloyd is slowly falling down draft boards as people continue to sour on the positional value of linebackers. However, I think this is due in part to unrealistic expectations. I have seen comparisons where Lloyd is held up against Fred Warner and Micah Parsons. He is neither of these players, either as NFL players or as draft prospects.

With that being said, I still really love Lloyd’s game. He offers exceptional versatility, something Belichick covets. Lloyd doesn’t have the size or strength to perfectly replicate D’onta Hightower. But he could be a Jamie Collins type.  

22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders) – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas 

Stop me when you’ve heard this before: the Green Bay Packers need to draft a wide receiver early in the draft. We’ve been saying this for years, yet the Packers have avoided it for as long as possible. Now their primary receivers are Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins. By acquiring so much capital in the Davante Adams trade, Green Bay could trade up to secure a receiver of their choice instead of waiting to see who falls to them.

Nevertheless, Treylon Burks is a perfect scheme fit for the Packers and is an excellent value selection here. The Packers essentially require that their receivers weigh more than 200 pounds. Burks might be the heaviest wide receiver in the draft class, but he has excellent speed for his size and great run-after-catch ability. This comparison is rapidly becoming overused, but Burks could become the Packers’ version of Deebo Samuel. 

23. Arizona Cardinals – Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

Despite desperately needing cornerback help, I expect the Cardinals to target offensive prospects early in the 2022 NFL Draft. They seemingly need to placate Kyler Murray; even though he would probably enjoy a receiver more, reinforcing the offensive line should also make him happy.

Zion Johnson would be an ideal fit with the Cardinals. He is powerful and technically refined. He’s also a pretty good athlete, which fits nicely in the Cardinals’ running game that is primarily Zone-based. Even though Johnson doesn’t have the ceiling of previous elite guard prospects (e.g., Zack Martin and Quenton Nelson), he should be a good starter in the league for the next decade, something Arizona desperately needs. 

24. Dallas Cowboys – Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

The Dallas Cowboys let two of their primary starters walk in free agency, and thus need help rebuilding their once-vaunted offensive line. They have reportedly been very interested in both of the top guards in this year’s draft class. Both Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green have met with Dallas multiple times.

With Johnson off the board, Green is the logical selection. He is bigger than Johnson and could legitimately play offensive tackle in the NFL. But for now, Green can slide right into the left guard position. Assuming Tyron Smith stays healthy (a dubious assumption), Green could be the final piece of the Cowboys’ offensive line puzzle.

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft with Comparisons – Scott Carasik
25. Buffalo Bills – Devonte Wyatt, DT, Buffalo

We now enter the home stretch of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. This final group of teams has few needs and might be looking to trade out of the first round, exchanging talent for value and depth. The Buffalo Bills have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. One of their few holes is at defensive tackle, especially regarding a run-stuffing 1T.

Luckily, the board fell perfectly for Buffalo, as arguably the best defensive tackle in the class fell right in their lap. Due to his pass-rushing ability, some prefer Devonte Wyatt to his Georgia teammate, Jordan Davis. But he is truly a complete player and will be a three-down defender for the Bills. His power and strength will most likely command double teams, opening up more opportunities for Ed Oliver and the other young defensive linemen. 

26. Tennessee Titans – Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

This is a pick that I’m sure will happen but will be one of the worst picks in the first round. The Titans desperately need a new right tackle. Tennessee looks for three qualities when drafting offensive linemen: big, strong, and angry. Tyler Smith is all of these things. He’s young and extremely raw, but the Titans’ scheme might be able to mask some of Smith’s most glaring flaws. In the long term, maybe he can even switch sides and take over for Taylor Lewan in a few years. 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have very few pressing needs. They also need players that can help their team immediately. Luckily, the Bucs are getting most of their cornerback room from injury this season. With that being said, you can never have enough good cornerbacks. Furthermore, two of their starters, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, are entering contract years. Kaiir Elam has a similar skillset to the three prominent Tampa Bay corners, making him a seamless fit with this team. He might not play a lot this year, but he will gain valuable experience if someone gets hurt. 

28. Green Bay Packers – Dax Hill, DB, Michigan

In some ways, Dax Hill is almost the defensive mirror of Treylon Burks. Hill is an undersized safety, recruited as a corner, that mainly played in the slot. But he can also play in the box and help stop the run. He certainly won’t be a Landon Collins or Johnathan Abram type, but he won’t be a significant liability against the run when appropriately used. He’s also excellent in coverage, especially from the slot, where so many teams play their best receiver.

Drafting Hill accomplishes two goals for the Packers: it allows them to keep Jaire Alexander on the outside instead of playing the slot. It also softens the possible blow of Adrian Amos’ departure at the end of next year. 

29. Kansas City Chiefs (from Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Many expect the Kansas City Chiefs to use one of their first-round picks on an offensive weapon for Patrick Mahomes, gained in the wake of trading Tyreek Hill. I’m not so sure. The Chiefs haven’t used a first-round pick on a receiver since 2011, when they selected Jonathan Baldwin.

The last receiver they used a premium selection (i.e., first three rounds) on was Mecole Hardman. They also signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Juju Smith-Schuster. While neither of those receivers is a genuine #1 threat, Patrick Mahomes should be able to elevate these weapons to a higher level. 

Furthermore, the Chiefs have significant needs on defense, especially now that they are in the throes of a deadly arms race in the AFC West. The depth charts at cornerback and defensive end are very concerning. Luckily, one of the best corners in the draft fell right into Kansas City’s lap.

Trent McDuffie is relatively undersized, but this is not something the Chiefs have cared about in the past. Furthermore, they previously had great success with a cornerback from Washington: Marcus Peters. McDuffie is an excellent technician and will not give the Chiefs any of the headaches that Peters provided. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs – George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

With all that being said about the Chiefs not taking an offensive player, they could always trade up for one. They have six picks in the first three rounds, so they have plenty of ammunition. Then again, this also means they have plenty of opportunities to pick a receiver in the next two rounds. Conversely, the chance to get a premier edge defender rarely comes along.

George Karlaftis is one such defender. While he is not an explosive speedy pass rusher, he is very powerful and will be a strong run defender. I would expect the Chiefs to draft another lighter edge rusher in the later rounds, allowing them to move Karlaftis inside on passing downs, where he is arguably at his most dangerous. 

31. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Thanks to a massive spending spree in free agency, the Bengals don’t necessarily need to take an offensive lineman in the first round anymore. They don’t have that many pressing needs, to begin with. Unfortunately, those needs don’t align with how the board fell to them. They do need an outside corner, but the top five are gone.

This might need to be a case where they reach for need instead of taking the best player available, as the BPA might not provide much value in terms of that player seeing the field.

Luckily, taking Kyler Gordon is a pretty solid solution. He tested below expectations at the Combine, but it was reportedly because he got very sick that week. Gordon is an excellent man coverage corner with great footwork, hand usage, and athleticism on the field. The Bengals like to mix up the coverages on the backend but getting a reliable, shutdown man corner would be very useful. 

32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) – Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

There was some smoke that the Lions could take a quarterback, most likely Malik Willis, at #2 overall. This always seemed a little far-fetched, given that Detroit is still pretty far away from legitimately competing. Even though Willis needs time to develop, Detroit would be better served by getting an elite, immediate impact starter.

With that being said, getting a QB with the final pick of the first round is a nice alternative. Desmond Ridder is certainly far from a perfect prospect. But he could give Jared Goff a run for his money for the starting job and allow the Lions to move on from Goff after this season, saving over $20 million with only $10 million in dead cap.

Typically, these things are overblown, but Ridder was a major part of returning Cincinnati to prominence. He’s a highly competitive winner, which the Lions desperately need.

2022 NFL Draft: Scott Carasik’s Final Mock Draft

The 2022 NFL draft is on Thursday and teams will be trying to make the best selection for their needs and improve their overall talent level. The best picks will be those made that can contribute early on and help boost teams to the playoffs and potentially even past the first round. All the picks made will be based on what the teams will likely do, not what we would do in their place.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Al Goldis

The 2022 NFL draft is on Thursday and teams will be trying to make the best selection for their needs and improve their overall talent level. The best picks will be those made that can contribute early on and help boost teams to the playoffs and potentially even past the first round. All the picks made in this mock draft will be based on what the teams will likely do, not what I would do in their place.

No. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

The Jaguars haven’t really been secretive about this selection. They need help all over the roster and Aidan Hutchinson is universally regarded as the best player in the draft. He’s going to truly help the pass rush in Jacksonville to help build that unit even more.

No. 2 Detroit Lions: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

The Lions have a great situation to have a young, developmental starting quarterback sit for a season and then have him start after that. Malik Willis is the best quarterback in the draft, and sitting a year behind Jared Goff could be the best thing for his development.

No. 3 Houston Texans: CB Derek Stingley, Louisiana State

Houston has been somewhat secretive of their plans, but with reports that Derek Stingley is being rumored as a top three pick, he makes a ton of sense for them here. Houston doesn’t have the true shut-down cornerback they need for the long-term health of their defense.

No. 4 New York Jets: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

The Jets don’t have a prime pass rusher for Robert Saleh’s defense. Carl Lawson was supposed to be that guy, but he needs someone across from him who can also attack the quarterback. Travon Walker will come right in and be a great run defender. As he develops more pass rush moves, he’ll end up being a 10-plus sack player every year.

No. 5 New York Giants: OL Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State

The Giants have a couple of solid pieces on their offensive line with Andrew Thomas and have brought in Max Garcia, Jon Feliciano, and Mark Glowinski to help round out the middle of it. They need a true bookend on the other side of the line for Thomas, and Ikem Ekwonu is the best tackle in the draft.

Sean Gardner / Getty Images
No. 6 Carolina Panthers: QB Matt Corral, Mississippi

NFL teams make poor decisions all the time. The Carolina Panthers haven’t figured out what kind of quarterback they should actually get in the first two years under Matt Rhule. This would be a bad pick because Matt Corral isn’t ready, but Carolina doesn’t have a competent coaching staff and front office.

No. 7 New York Giants: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

The Giants have the kind of roster where coaching should help make improvements, but adding play-makers is also important. Kyle Hamilton is the biggest defensive play-maker in the draft and would start right away at safety for the Giants. The Giants might luck out into the best player in the draft.

No. 8 Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

A lot of people point to the Falcons wide receiver corps as their biggest need, but they’re ignoring that the only edge defenders of consequence on the roster are Lorenzo Carter and Adetokunbo Ogundeji. If Kayvon Thibodeaux is there at No. 8 overall, the Falcons will sprint to the podium to select him.

No. 9 Seattle Seahawks: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

After trading away Russell Wilson, the Seahawks need to fill the hole for a franchise quarterback. Pete Carroll has a knack to pick guys that make sense for a run-heavy offense and should be able to lead the offense to wins with timely, accurate throws. Desmond Ridder has exceptional leadership and, while a reach, fits perfectly for the Seahawks.

No. 10 New York Jets: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

The Jets need a true No. 1 wide receiver to give to their mistake from 2021, Zach Wilson. Jameson Williams plays most similarly to Tyreek Hill in this draft and would be an ideal fit for the Jets offense. This might be a bit higher value than expected because of his injury, but he’ll live up to it more than the rest of the wide receivers in the draft.

Getty Images
No. 11 Washington Commanders: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati

The Commanders need more defensive talent, and Ahmad Gardner is the best cornerback in the draft. Gardner fits the long, fast cornerback that Ron Rivera likes for his defense. Gardner would instantly upgrade that defense and allow the Commanders pass rush to have a little more time to get to the quarterback.

No. 12 Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

The Vikings take a Minnesota native in Jermaine Johnson with this pick to help improve their pass rush. He would instantly start at edge defender for them and would complement Danielle Hunter in their defense. Johnson would start his career as a great run stuffer and should easily make an impact as a pass rusher.

No. 13 Houston Texans: OL Evan Neal, Alabama

The Texans have some talent on their offensive line, but if they are truly committed to helping Davis Mills long-term , they should continue to build out the offensive line. Evan Neal is a steal here, and would be the best player they could add. He could play any of four offensive line spots outside of center and would start in 2022.

No. 14 Baltimore Ravens: DL Jordan Davis, Georgia

The Baltimore Ravens love to take the best player available, especially when he is a freak athlete like Jordan Davis is. Davis would start his career rotating in with Michael Pierce and could eventually take the starting role when Pierce is gone. He’d do best playing on a limited snap count early.

No. 15 Philadelphia Eagles: WR Drake London, Southern California

After missing on Jaelen Reagor with the first round pick in 2020, the Eagles need a contested catch wide receiver who can replace him in the starting lineup. Drake London has a lot of Keyshawn Johnson in his game and would be that perfect possession wide receiver for the Eagles.

Gregory Shamus / Getty Images
No. 16 New Orleans Saints: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

The Saints need a complementary wide receiver to Michael Thomas, and Garrett Wilson is a great fit in New Orleans. Wilson can do it all at wide receiver, but he’s not the largest receiver and he’s not the strongest guy at the position. He will add a deep-ball option for the Saints.

No. 17 Los Angeles Chargers: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State

The Chargers need to continue to surround the franchise quarterback, Justin Herbert, with talent, and adding an offensive tackle to bookend from Rashawn Slater is a wise move. Charles Cross is insane value here, and would instantly start at right tackle for the Chargers.

No. 18 Philadelphia Eagles: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

The Eagles need some depth at defensive line with Fletcher Cox on the last year of his contract. Devonte Wyatt is a great penetrator in the center of a defense and would fit in well with the Eagles defensive schemes. Wyatt can play any technique from a nose tackle role to a 3-4 defensive end role.

No. 19 New Orleans Saints: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

James Hurst is a terrible NFL offensive tackle and has no business starting for the Saints. Trevor Penning is a great athlete who has somewhat of a nasty streak, but he’s not a polished product at all. Penning would fit in well with the Saints offensive line and would help them have the infrastructure for a young quarterback to be successful.

No. 20 Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

In 1983, the Pittsburgh Steelers passed up on hometown talent Dan Marino for a defensive tackle. They never truly had a franchise quarterback from then until they took Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers should make amends for that selection with Kenny Pickett. He’s a hometown guy who could develop into a franchise guy with the right support around him.

John Quackenbos / Boston College Athletics
No. 21 New England Patriots: OL Zion Johnson, Boston College

After the Patriots traded Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers, they have a massive hole on the offensive line at guard. Zion Johnson is easily the best guard in this class and should be able to slot right in in Mason’s old spot. He’d start at right guard and be a 10-year starter for the Patriots.

No. 22 Green Bay Packers: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

After trading away Davante Adams, the Packers need to do right by Aaron Rodgers. They should focus on adding receivers from this exceptional draft class. One of those options should be Chris Olave, who is a beastly speedster who will allow them to continue to burn teams deep.

No. 23 Arizona Cardinals: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

The Cardinals don’t have a starting cornerback who can be a lock-down guy on the defensive side. Trent McDuffie is a unique cornerback who may never be that shut-down corner, but could be a primary corner for a team. He would start with the Cardinals and be their No. 1 cornerback as a rookie.

No. 24 Dallas Cowboys: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

The Dallas Cowboys need a pass rusher to complement Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons in the rotation. Dante Fowler has been mediocre during his time in Atlanta and may not be that guy anymore. George Karlaftis is a good fit for Dan Quinn as a pass rusher and would start in base sets for the Cowboys.

No. 25 Buffalo Bills: CB Andrew Booth, Clemson

The Buffalo Bills don’t have a top-tier cornerback outside of Tre’Davious White. Adding Andrew Booth to the defense would give them a pair of cornerbacks who could help strengthen the defense for those crucial moments at the end of games when they need them. Like that AFC Championship game.

Sam Craft / Associated Press
No. 26 Tennessee Titans: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

The Titans need to have someone replace Rodger Saffold, who left them for the Bills. Kenyon Green can start right away and add some power to the inside of the offensive line that they will be missing without Saffold. He’s the perfect kind of blocker to fit in with the Titans offense.

No. 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

The Buccaneers lost Ali Marpet to retirement this off-season and replaced him with Shaq Mason. However, they already had a hole at left guard. They also have Ryan Jensen nearing the end of his contract and should look to the future. Tyler Linderbaum is the best interior offensive lineman in the draft and could play left guard for a year before sliding over to take over for Jensen.

No. 28 Green Bay Packers: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

After taking Chris Olave, the Packers should continue to look for more receivers for Aaron Rodgers. Treylon Burks is another receiver who can beat teams deep, but he also does well as a big slot receiver who can attack the seams and help Rodgers have the best possible options when combined with Olave.

No. 29 Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jahan Dotson, Pennsylvania State

After losing Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs never replaced his skill set. Dotson has a similar skill set, even though he doesn’t have the top-end speed. He’s best as a yards-after-catch receiver who takes slants and screens and turns them into long catches. He can burn a defense, but that’s not where he wins the most.

No. 30 Kansas City Chiefs: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

The Chiefs are a great team without a ton of holes, but adding the best player they can in Devin Lloyd would be amazing for them. Lloyd can start out the year rushing the passer in some sets, while also playing in coverage in some nickel sets. The Chiefs have great talent everywhere, but adding Lloyd here would continue to enhance their talent.

Douglas DeFelice / USA Today Sports
No. 31 Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE Boye Mafe, Minnesota

The Cincinnati Bengals need to improve the depth of their roster overall. Boye Mafe has the potential to be a great pass rusher in the NFL, but he’s very raw at this point in his development. Mafe would do well sitting behind Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson for a season or two and eventually realizing his potential.

No. 32 Detroit Lions: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

When building a team, get the quarterback and then get players who can affect the quarterback on the opposing team or help the quarterback you got. The Lions have a No. 1 wide receiver and a couple of good offensive tackles, but they need a No. 1 corner and a top pass rusher. Kaiir Elam would be the No. 1 cornerback and would help fill the second of the five “pillar pieces” needed.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Daniel Garrett’s Final Mock Draft

2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 Setup

We are finally in draft week. The 2022 NFL Draft is on Thursday, and we take a shot at predicting the unpredictable. To do the mock, and to maintain some semblance of order, I used nflmockdraftdatabase.com. To see how it’s changed from previous mocks, view Mock Draft 1.0 and Mock Draft 2.0. All RAS cards come courtesy of our friend Kent Lee Platte, and his website ras.football. With that being said, let’s get started with my 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0.

Daniel Garrett’s Mock Draft 3.0

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia
Travon Walker RAS Card
Travon Walker RAS Card

There seems to be an internal struggle over who the number one pick will be. It could be Aidan Hutchinson, but the coaching staff reportedly wants tackle Ikem Ekwonu and GM Trent Baalke wants Travon Walker. The GM wins out in the draft, and so Walker is the selection.

2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
Aidan Hutchinson RAS Card
Aidan Hutchinson RAS Card

Dan Campbell, meet your new favorite player. Aidan Hutchinson has a very high floor and can come in and be immediately productive. He doesn’t have the upside of Walker or Kayvon Thibodeaux, but his floor will make him an intriguing option for the Lions. I’d expect all three edges to be in play at two depending on who’s available.

3. Houston Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Evan Neal is an absolute freak without a discernable weakness. He can play four different positions along the line and can help give the Texans their best five.

4. New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux RAS Card

Both GM Joe Douglas and HC Robert Saleh want to build through the trenches, and Saleh gets his star edge rusher to go opposite Carl Lawson in Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux has the highest upside of any edge rusher in this class.

5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
Ikem Ekwonu RAS Card

The Giants absolutely need a tackle opposite Andrew Thomas. Ikem Ekwonu is a good run blocker and has the positional flexibility to play four spots on the line.

TRADE:

The Carolina Panthers have traded the sixth overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for picks 20 and 84 as well as a 2023 1st round selection.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis

It isn’t a secret that Mike Tomlin loves Malik Willis. The only question is are they willing to trade up for him. In this one, a Panthers team is willing to trade out because of a complete dirth of day two selections.

7. New York Giants: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The Giants may be looking for a long-term replacement for James Bradberry, who is reportedly available. Corner is an extremely important position in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s system.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State
Jermaine Johnson RAS Card

The Falcons have so many needs that they should simply go best player available at a high-value position. Jermaine Johnson is an athletic and productive edge rusher, and the Falcons have no one there currently.

9. Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Charles Cross RAS Card

The Seahawks currently have no left tackle. Charles Cross is, in my opinion, the second-best offensive tackle in the class, and so they’re getting great value here. They could also go cornerback with Derek Stingley Jr. still on the board.

10. New York Jets: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The Jets already added an edge rusher, and Saleh has a history of getting a lot out of a defense without highly drafted corners, so they don’t necessarily need one here. Instead, they focus on helping Zach Wilson, and with the top three offensive tackles off the board, they give him an explosive deep threat.

11. Washington Commanders: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Garrett Wilson RAS Card

The Commanders have invested in quarterback with the acquisition of Carson Wentz, and now may be looking to add another playmaker for him. Kyle Hamilton will also probably be highly considered.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. RAS Card

This is Derek Stingley’s floor, simply put. The Vikings have a massive need and he’s too good of a player to slide any further. He could very easily go in the top 10.

13. Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, Saf, Notre Dame
Kyle Hamilton RAS Card

The Texans have no positions at which they are set, and just select the best player available here. Kyle Hamilton is a good value in terms of skill level, but will fall due to positional value and, oddly enough, athletic concerns.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, iDL, Georgia
Jordan Davis RAS Card

The Ravens are in need of defensive line help and Jordan Davis is a freak athlete at nose tackle. He will need to work to maintain his conditioning to be a better contributor on passing downs.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
George Karlaftis RAS Card

Howie Roseman loves the trenches, and George Karlaftis will be hard for him to pass on. He has more upside than anyone currently on their roster.

16. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Trevor Penning RAS Card

The Saints need an offensive tackle with the loss of Terron Armstead, and Trevor Penning is clearly the top one available. He is a developmental player and has major penalty issues, but has a chance to be a quality starter.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Chris Olave RAS Card

The Chargers lose out on a right tackle, but get a playmaker to put next to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Chris Olave gives them a speed element they currently lack.

18. Philadelphia Eagles: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Trent McDuffie RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Trent McDuffie RAS Card

The Eagles need a corner badly. Trent McDuffie is a good corner who may fall a bit due to length concerns, but the Eagles have started corners of a similar size in the past who are much less skilled.

19. New Orleans Saints: Drake London, WR, USC

The Saints need a receiver opposite of Michael Thomas. While Drake London is another big-bodied receiver, he can operate down the field as well as be good with the ball in his hand.

20. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Kenny Pickett RAS Card

The Panthers trade down, add a day two selection as well as a future first-round pick, and still get a quarterback. I believe it is about 50/50 whether or not they select a quarterback or a tackle. If they go quarterback it will more likely than not be Kenny Pickett.

21. New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Devin Lloyd RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Devin Lloyd RAS Card

The Patriots have a hole at linebacker and Devin Lloyd is clearly the top linebacker in the class. He has versatility and good athleticism. The number one concern for him is his age at 23 years old.

22. Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Treylon Burks RAS Card

The Green Bay Packers have specific size requirements at receiver that they’ve followed, and that will eliminate a few players who could be available here. Treylon Burks is a massive player who is fantastic with the ball and can be versatile in his alignment.

23. Arizona Cardinals: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Zion Johnson RAS Card

The Cardinals have had a very public saga with Kyler Murray, and they need to give him all the help they can. Zion Johnson is a quality guard who will be a day one starter.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Kenyon Green RAS Card

The Cowboys have a need at guard and Kenyon Green can be a plug-and-play starter. He has his issues, but he will be an improvement for them. He is less of a risk than the other options at edge rusher or along the offensive line.

25. Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Breece Hall RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Breece Hall RAS Card

The Bills could use more help at running back. They don’t have a ton of major needs outside cornerback (just additional depth, upgrades, or being a year early). Breece Hall is the best, most explosive back in the class and can add an interesting element to their offense.

26. Tennessee Titans: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
Tyler Smith RAS Card

Tyler Smith can play either guard or tackle, and the Titans need help along the offensive line. Smith is a project for sure, but he has pretty sizeable upside.

27. Tampa Bay Bucaneers: Devonte Wyatt, iDL, Georgia
2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 RAS Card
Devonte Wyatt RAS Card

With Ndamukong Suh not under contract, the Bucs could use another defensive tackle and seem to be looking for a penetration-style tackle. Devonte Wyatt fits that to a tee. However, he has previous off-the-field issues and is also very old in terms of the draft.

28. Green Bay Packers: Daxton Hill, Saf, Michigan
Daxton Hill RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Daxton Hill RAS Card

Daxton Hill is an extremely versatile player who can play any spot in the secondary. The Packers can mainly use him as a nickel this season, and eventually be the Adrian Amos replacement.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Jahan Dotson RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Jahan Dotson RAS Card

The Chiefs still need a receiver. They have signed a couple of complementary pieces, but lack explosiveness. Jahan Dotson can help provide that.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

Kansas City needs edge rusher help, and David Ojabo is the top edge available. He will miss a majority of the season, but when he comes back he can provide instant pass rushing juice.

31. Cincinnati Bengals: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Kaiir Elam RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Kaiir Elam RAS Card

The Bengals are starting Eli Apple. Kaiir Elam is available, and Andrew Booth has injury concerns. The Bengals are starting Eli Apple. That will be all.

32. Detroit Lions: Lewis Cine, Saf, Georgia
Lewis Cine RAS Card 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Lewis Cine RAS Card

The Lions need help everywhere except the offensive line. Lewis Cine is a fantastic football player who can help improve this defense and is overall a great value.

That is the last pick of the 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0. Please check out our other draft week content, as well as the sites used to make this mock draft possible: nflmockdraftdatabase.com and ras.football.

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: How Matt Ryan Trade Affects Plans

The Atlanta Falcons traded Matt Ryan to the Colts for the No. 82 pick in the 2022 NFL draft. His era is now over in Atlanta, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Falcons of all time. To replace him, they will have to look to a combination of the NFL draft and the signing of Marcus Mariota. Mariota looks like a mentor for whoever they end up drafting.

To explore what the draft could look like, we employed the Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine to develop a realistic Atlanta Falcons mock draft scenario. General Manager Terry Fontenot has stated that he employs a Best Player Available draft strategy, but in reality, he will likely focus on finding a quarterback since he doesn’t have that franchise guy right now.

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft

Malik Willis, first pick in this Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft
Photo Credit: G. Fiume/Getty Images

Round 1, No. 8 overall: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Sure, the Falcons signed Marcus Mariota to start for the 2022 season. And that will be fine for until the next quarterback is ready. But they should look into someone who can not just be the guy who fits what head coach Arthur Smith likes, but be the guy who can help Smith expand his playbook.

Some guys will fit that mold in this draft later on, but if you like a guy enough to take him in the first, take him at your first round pick. We’ve done just that for this Atlanta Falcons mock draft.

The guy who truly fits the Falcons as a team, a city, and an organization is Malik Willis. He’s an Atlanta native who played at a pair of high schools in Atlanta before moving to Auburn and later on Liberty in college. He has the off-field credentials that would fit in well in with the Falcons as a leader for the locker room for years. And on-field, he has the rocket arm, exceptional mobility, and football IQ to be a premier quarterback in today’s NFL.

Malik Willis could be the long-term future in Atlanta. Photo by G. Fiume, Getty Images
Pickens would instantly be the No. 1 receiver in Atlanta. Photo by Curtis Compton, UPI

Round 2, No. 43 overall: WR George Pickens, Georgia

The Falcons currently have just 32 catches, 420 yards and three touchdowns of wide receiver production returning to the team in 2022 from their 2021 corps. The only two wide receivers of note on the Falcons current roster are Olamide Zaccheaus and Frank Darby. The signing of KhaDarel Hodge isn’t a needle-mover, either. Because of that, the Falcons should be in search of a man who can be a No. 1 wide receiver not just in on-field ability, but attitude.

George Pickens from Georgia is that guy in true form. He’s a 6-foot-3 receiver with some of the best speed in the draft. He can burn a defense deep and has the ability to go over the middle that will be needed for coach Smith’s schemes. Pickens has had some injury issues, and without those issues, he would probably be going top 10 in this draft. The Falcons should take advantage of this slip and hope he can avoid injury moving forward.

Travis Jones could be a dominant force next to Grady Jarrett. Photo by Kirby Lee, USA Today

Round 2, No. 58 overall: DL Travis Jones, Connecticut

The Falcons do have five defensive linemen on the roster now, but they could use a primary nose tackle-type to fit into the rotation with Anthony Rush, Marlon Davidson, and Ta’quon Graham. The player next to Grady Jarrett needs to be quick, strong, and large. Travis Jones fits that to a tee. He also matches the scheme defensive coordinator Dean Pees runs at the position.

Primarily someone who will eat double teams in Atlanta, Jones should open up Grady Jarrett to more one-on-one matchups with offensive linemen. Those double teams he eats should keep the linebackers behind him cleaner and the pass rushers next to him with more one-on-one matchups, as well. While an edge rusher would be helpful here, the pass rush is a multi-year project. Jones will help it more long-term than a first-year edge rusher.

Darrian Beavers is the ideal Dean Peas MIKE. Photo by Benjamin Solomon, Getty Images

Round 3, No. 74 overall: LB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati

With the loss of Foye Oluokun, the Falcons will need someone to take over the middle linebacker role left in the void. Darrian Beavers fits in well with the Falcons’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees role at Mike. The Falcons would get a leader for their defense. Beavers understands the adversity of playing on a roster that may not be the most talented. He’ll be able to get the most out of the players around him.

Nik Bonitto (11) could be a star in Pees scheme. Photo by Tom Pennington, Getty Images

Round 3, No. 82 overall: EDGE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma

The Falcons added to their edge room with the signing of Lorenzo Carter and addition-by-subtraction of letting Dante Fowler go. Carter and Adetekunbo Ogundeji will likely be the starters, but adding a pass rusher like Nik Bonitto to the rotation would only help. It does seem like this is a minor addition to be the direct compensation for Matt Ryan, as this was the pick gained in that trade, but Bonitto has the potential to be a vital piece of a pass rush.

Alec Lindstrom re-unites with his brother in Atlanta. Photo by AP

Round 4, No. 114 overall: OL Alec Lindstrom, Boston College

The Atlanta Falcons need to enhance the talent along the offensive line. What better way to do that than to bring in the little brother of the best offensive lineman they have? Alec Lindstrom can fit in well in the zone blocking scheme as he’s a quicker, more technical lineman. He also can play either guard or center position and allow Atlanta some competition for Matt Hennessy, Drew Dalman, Jalen Mayfield, and the rest of the interior line roster for a starting role in 2022.

Coby Bryant could be an intriguing projection. Photo by Jonathan Bachman, Getty Images

Round 5, No. 151 overall: CB/S Coby Bryant, Cincinnati

Based on the Falcons needs, bringing in someone like Coby Bryant to help the safeties room makes a lot of sense. Now that may sound a bit off because Bryant was a cornerback in college, but he was an extremely strong run defender and reliable tackler. More importantly, he was exceptional in zone coverages and a little weaker in man-to-man. The Falcons bringing in Bryant as a safety to be the free, deep defender makes sense as a projection this late.

Tyquan Thornton and George Pickens can burn defenses. Photo by Jerome Miron, USA Today

Round 6, No. 190 overall: WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor

Because of the lack of wide receiver depth on the Falcons roster, adding another receiver in the sixth makes sense for that purpose. Tyquan Thornton was the most athletic receiver in the draft and at 6-foot-2, he has the height to help out the new quarterbacks make those throws needed in the red zone. Thornton is a bit rough around the edges as a route runner, but he fits in well with the schemes in Atlanta and can stretch the field.

Jalen Nailor could be a great fit in the slot long term. Photo by Chris Peterson, Getty Images

Round 6, No. 213 overall: WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State

Our Atlanta Falcons mock draft ends the way it began: on offense. The slot receiver could also use an upgrade and bringing in someone like Jalen Nailor would help that depth there. Nailor has great big-play ability due to his run-after-catch ability to excel in the Falcons offense.

He will remind some of Russell Gage, but more polished as a route runner. The speed is there to torch a defense, and he’s great as a vertical receiver as well. Adding Nailor, Thornton, and Pickens would really give the Falcons larger, faster receivers to work with.