1-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans surround Davis Mills with talent following Deshaun Watson trade

The Houston Texans surround quarterback Davis Mills with talent following the Deshaun Watson trade in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32

Several wide receivers find a new home in the second half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals replace some pass-rush production from free agency departures.

17) Los Angeles Chargers: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

If defense wins championships, we should probably just hand the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Los Angeles Chargers right now after their sensational start to free agency. Strengthening their offensive line should be a priority in the NFL Draft. Boston College’s positional and schematically versatile Zion Johnson offers an instant upgrade on the interior. A guard by trade, he can push out to tackle or stand in at center if required.

18) New Orleans Saints: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The quest to find a franchise QB after Drew Brees continues. If the New Orleans Saints don’t land Watson in the coming hours, could they strike for a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft? This could be an ideal landing spot for Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, with a solid offensive line and a reliable pass-catching running back in Alvin Kamara to smooth his transition to the NFL. It could also be a potential destination for one of the top tackles.

19) Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The temptation to fill the linebacker need for the Eagles here is overwhelming, especially with two of the best in the class still on the board in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. However, as Pro Football Network’s Lead National NFL Reporter Mike Kaye so eloquently puts it: “They haven’t drafted an off-ball LB in the first round since 1979 and in the second round since 2012. Don’t hold thy breath.”

Instead, the Eagles pull the trigger on a potential game-changing cornerback. Some concerns over injuries may cause Andrew Booth Jr. to fall in April, with some NFL teams reportedly having a third-round grade on the Clemson CB. For me, I believe Booth is the best CB in the class, as he plays the game with the physicality and ball skills of a wide receiver.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Pittsburgh Steelers made one of the first eyebrow-raising moves of NFL free agency when they handed out a two-year deal to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. While there’s little chance he becomes the next Ben Roethlisberger, it could prevent the Steelers from reaching for a passer in this class. Investing in protection would be wise, especially if Trevor Penning is available. The Northern Iowa tackle’s violent disposition is almost a prerequisite for success in the AFC North.

21) New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

It feels like the New England Patriots have an almost unprecedented amount of needs early in the new league year. Wide receiver, cornerback, offensive line, the list goes on and on. Right now, however, the most glaring need appears to be at linebacker, where there’s no certainty on the future of Dont’a Hightower or Ja’Whaun Bentley. Plugging Devin Lloyd into that unit would give the Patriots a ferocious downhill presence who combines physicality with football intelligence to deliver in coverage as well.

22) Green Bay Packers (from LV): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Originally belonging to the Las Vegas Raiders, this pick would have seen Las Vegas add a wide receiver. However, with the trade for Davante Adams, the Raiders have their receiving threat. Now, it’s time for the Green Bay Packers to find his replacement. Despite a less-than-impressive Combine performance, Treylon Burks offers the Packers a physical pass-catching threat with after-the-catch ability. Meanwhile, he can be used creatively from multiple alignments.

23) Arizona Cardinals: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Chandler Jones and the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t see eye to eye on his contract through the season, and the two-time Pro Bowler promptly signed a big-money deal in Las Vegas. The Cardinals could go multiple ways in April, but in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they find a pass-rush replacement in George Karlaftis. The “Grecian Goliath” has deceptive athletic ability for his size, using that alongside his power to be disruptive at the point of attack.

24) Dallas Cowboys: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

The Dallas Cowboys are putting together a “how not to” masterclass in free agency. After reportedly attempting to tamper with an agreed contract, they lost Randy Gregory to the Broncos. Von Miller was a reported target, but he signed a huge deal with the Buffalo Bills. If the Cowboys could land David Ojabo in the 2022 NFL Draft, however, all might be forgiven. There might not be a pass rusher with more upside than the Michigan man who tallied 12 tackles for loss and 12 sacks for the Wolverines this season.

25) Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

With the signing of Miller, the Bills’ defense is officially scary. They also added reinforcements to the offensive line, negating the potential to reach for a guard in the first round. It wouldn’t be a surprise, therefore, to see Buffalo in the CB market for a complement to Tre’Davious White. Florida’s Kaiir Elam possesses NFL size, athleticism, great ball skills, and physicality against the run.

26) Tennessee Titans: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Considered a potential landing spot for one of the top interior offensive linemen prior to free agency, the Tennessee Titans’ recent moves may see them shift focus in April. They re-signed center Ben Jones and released wide receiver Julio Jones just one year after trading for him. Although he won’t replace Jones as a big-bodied threat, Ohio State’s Chris Olave gives the Titans a speedster with football intelligence who has the ability to breeze past defensive backs and make impressive sideline catches with regularity.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The return of Tampa Bay Tom Brady has had a knock-on effect for the Buccaneers’ free agency and draft plans. Ryan Jensen followed Brady back to Tampa, and Rob Gronkowski could do the same. There are still potential departures from the defensive front. However, at the current time, adding a playmaking cornerback to the roster seems a priority. Trent McDuffie would give them a highly intelligent, hyper-athletic, run-stopping cornerback with excellent coverage ability.

28) Green Bay Packers: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

With the 28th overall pick of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, and their second first-rounder following the Adams trade, the Packers have the luxury of matching need with best player available. Inserting Georgia’s Nakobe Dean alongside De’Vondre Campbell would give the Packers an excellent inside linebacker duo. Dean’s intelligence and insane athleticism ensure he can read the game and execute at a high level. A monster against the run, Dean has also showcased impressive coverage ability this last season.

29) Miami Dolphins (from SF): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Adding Connor Williams to the offensive line in free agency was a step in the right direction for the Miami Dolphins. Nonetheless, there’s much work to be done between now and the start of the season if Mike McDaniel’s first season in charge is to be a success. Finding an upgrade at the pivot like Tyler Linderbaum in the 2022 NFL Draft is essential. An elite athlete who excels in the run game, Linderbaum’s wrestling background ensures he frequently dominates in the trenches.

30) Kansas City Chiefs: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

The addition of Justin Reid in free agency should allow the Kansas City Chiefs to turn their focus to finding a pass rusher in the draft. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, that comes in the form of Minnesota’s Boye Mafe. The former Gopher is flying up draft boards after dominating at the Senior Bowl and excelling at the NFL Combine. Out to prove he’s more than just a raw prospect, Mafe is explosive, powerful, and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

31) Cincinnati Bengals: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

After watching Joe Burrow get his backside sent to the turf for the past two seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals added Alex Cappa and Ted Karras early in free agency. While they still need to secure a right tackle, there are Day 2 draft options like Abraham Lucas or Darian Kinnard to prevent them from reaching here. Therefore, attention turns to upgrading the cornerback position. Roger McCreary has showcased excellent ball skills and fluidity as an impactful cornerback at the highest level of college football.

32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Detroit Lions finish off this 2022 NFL Mock Draft with an almost inevitable selection. Although they added DJ Chark Jr. this week, his one-year deal doesn’t change their need to add a pass catcher in April. If anything, it strengthens the need to find a long-term option. With Chark as their big-bodied pass-catching threat, Jahan Dotson gives the Lions a smaller, speedier weapon who showcases exceptional body control and the vertical agility to go up and snag the ball well above his frame.

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