1-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Lions select Malik Willis, Panthers pick Kenny Pickett in the top 10

Combining team needs, short- and long-term trajectory, and talent available, here is an NFL landscape-altering 1-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32

There were some chalky picks in the first half of this 1-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but the back half has a few surprises up its sleeve.

17) Los Angeles Chargers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

The Chargers re-signed WR Mike Williams and fortified the defense with CB J.C. Jackson, EDGE Khalil Mack, and multiple DT signings. Thus, they can shift their focus to the offensive line. Currently, Storm Norton is slated as the team’s starting right tackle. That can’t be the case in Week 1. So, LA takes perhaps the third-best OT in the class in Charles Cross. He is seasoned in pass protection with length and top-tier mirroring ability.

18) New Orleans Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Saints re-upped with Jameis Winston and need to give him some more weapons on the outside. Garrett Wilson gets to join Buckeye alum Michael Thomas, offering Winston two stellar separators to target. Wilson may struggle with physicality early on, but his receiving prowess downfield and along the sidelines is exceptional.

19) Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Chris Olave and Wilson are often ranked one spot above or below each other, and that’s how it shakes out in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Besides DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, Jalen Hurts doesn’t have much. Quez Watkins showed flashed, but Jalen Reagor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside haven’t panned out. Consequently, Philly takes Olave to stress defenses and give Hurts another reliable option.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Mitch Trubisky will battle with Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph for the starting role in 2022. But how about in 2023 and beyond? The Steelers have been linked to Malik Willis throughout the pre-draft process, but they are unlikely to draft him unless they make a huge trade up.

So why not stay put and select Desmond Ridder? He is a quick processor/passer with the legs to threaten defenses. I’m not sure how much he can improve on ball placement issues, but the overall package is enticing for QB-needy teams.

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

The Patriots could go WR or CB, but if Devin Lloyd is still on the table, expect Bill Belichick to call an audible. Lloyd can do wonders in the Dont’a Hightower role, taking snaps all over in the box. Lloyd can drop into coverage, rush the passer, or sniff out runs all the same. He is an intelligent football player through and through — the type New England tends to value highly.

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

The Packers love bigger receivers that can run slants. Well, Treylon Burks is your guy at No. 22. His Combine performance left much to be desired, but Burks possesses a powerful lower body with easy movability. His size/speed combination will cause mismatches, and Aaron Rodgers needs a new target with Davante Adams a Raider.

23) Arizona Cardinals: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Chandler Jones is gone, and J.J. Watt isn’t getting any younger. The secondary can use some help, but Arizona takes advantage of the sheer amount of EDGE talent in the 2022 NFL Draft and chooses George Karlaftis. Watt and Karlaftis overpowering offensive linemen will be a sight to behold in the desert.

24) Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

The Cowboys’ offseason has been full of ups and downs. But losing La’el Collins and Amari Cooper for a fifth-round pick is abysmal. While receiver, safety, and defensive line are all in play with their first-rounder, I believe Dallas ultimately decides to add some protection up front. Tyler Linderbaum is truly a “generational” center prospect. He only falls this far due to positional value, but what he can do for the Cowboys’ front is well worth the No. 24 selection.

25) Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

If a running back goes in the first round, it will presumably be to the Bills. Devin Singletary played well in 2021, but Buffalo may view Breece Hall as the final piece to their offensive puzzle. You can’t argue with his production, as Hall generated 1,400+ yards and 20+ TDs in each of the last two seasons.

Additionally, the Iowa State RB ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at 5’11” and 217 pounds. Hall has legitimate three-down ability at the next level, which may just be enough to warrant a first-round selection.

26) Tennessee Titans: Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa

If the Titans like a QB here, they should pull the trigger. Ryan Tannehill’s contract is about to get ugly for two years, and Tennessee should move on. Regardless, they have holes on the offensive line that could use some filling.

Tyler Smith has been rumored to go in the back end of the first round, and he gels with Tennessee’s ground-and-pound offense. He could start at guard and even battle with Dillon Radunz for the right tackle role. Still, it should be noted that Smith’s pass-blocking skills are very much a work in progress.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

The Buccaneers are quite literally in win-now mode with Tom Brady un-retiring. Ali Marpet retired, and Alex Cappa signed with the Bengals. Tampa filled one of those guard spots by trading a Day 3 pick for former Patriot Shaq Mason. Nevertheless, the other guard position is wide open for Zion Johnson to step into. Johnson’s game truly has few weaknesses to it. Brady would certainly appreciate having such a consistent presence up front.

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

Krys Barnes has performed admirably as an undrafted rookie, but the Packers must upgrade at linebacker. Nakobe Dean will get knocked for his size and not testing at the Combine or Georgia’s Pro Day. However, the tape doesn’t lie. Dean is actually my LB1 over Lloyd due to his otherworldly instincts, knowledge of offensive schemes, and movement skills coming downhill and sideline to sideline.

29) Kansas City Chiefs (from SF via MIA): Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

This pick will be mocked up until the draft. Kansas City needs a corner, and Kaiir Elam is one of the best in the class. Following the Tyreek Hill trade, the Chiefs need to hit on their 2021 first-rounders to keep their Super Bowl window as open as it has been the last three years. Elam has struggled with injuries, but he is battle-tested in the SEC and makes receivers work for every inch of space.

30) Kansas City Chiefs: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

This has to be the best-case scenario first-round haul for the Chiefs. After shoring up their CB room, KC beefs up their WR corps with Jameson Williams. His national championship ACL tear may cause him to miss significant time as a rookie. Yet, once healthy, Williams can be a dangerous deep threat with the ability to work in the intermediate areas of the field as well.

31) Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Bengals will still likely select an interior offensive lineman later in the draft, but they’ve done enough in free agency not to reach for one in the first round. As a result, they can attack their next biggest need: cornerback. Andrew Booth Jr. is seemingly dropping in NFL rankings, but he is a special player in the secondary.

32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Detroit selected their face of the franchise with Willis, but David Ojabo could be the face of the defense. His Achilles tear likely renders him a redshirt player in Year 1, but Ojabo’s ceiling is on par or greater than Hutchinson and Thibodeaux.

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