1-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson, and the EDGE class dominate the top picks

The 2022 NFL mock draft circuit is in full swing, and this latest iteration sees four edge defenders taken in the first four picks.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32

Five edge defenders and two quarterbacks were off the board in the first half of Round 1. What positions take the highlights in the bottom half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft?

17) Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

After attacking free agency with gusto, the Los Angeles Chargers are left with few needs this offseason. Jordan Davis presents a big upgrade and filler in the middle of an incredibly talented defensive front. Davis can occupy interior linemen and free up favorable matchups for Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack off the edge. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the AFC West quarterbacks.

18) Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The aforementioned defensive overhaul comes back into play for Philadelphia. Devin Lloyd is the top linebacker in the class, and he commands attention from opposing coordinators. He can go sideline to sideline better than anyone in the class but excels in coverage. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham sang his praises, stating that Lloyd can do things on the field he’s rarely seen. He’s a special talent.

19) New Orleans Saints (from PHI): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

A speedster with elite traits like his former college teammate, Chris Olave is ready to take the WR1 role all the same. Olave, like Wilson, also has little he can’t do on the football field. He’s effortless in his routes and has sure hands. His speed was never a concern, but his blazing Combine performance added a new potential wrinkle to unlock in New Orleans.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

The quarterback of the future in Pittsburgh hails from the ACC, but it’s Sam Howell from North Carolina, giving the Steelers a second UNC Tar Heel in their backfield alongside Mitchell Trubisky. Likely their bridge quarterback, Trubisky was never the long-term answer — Howell can be. He’s got a tremendous arm and better athleticism to extend plays from within the structure or out.

21) New England Patriots: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Trent McDuffie heads to the New England Patriots to bolster the secondary following the loss of J.C. Jackson. McDuffie hails from Washington and the pro-ready Huskies secondary. He has the ability to stick with receivers on the outside and plenty of speed and agility to latch onto smaller receivers from the slot. McDuffie is versatile athletically and schematically.

22) Green Bay Packers (from LV): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Though Jameson Williams may not be cleared for a full rookie season, his deep speed and all-around ability are too much to pass up for the Green Bay Packers. Williams has the class’ best deep speed and route combination. He also has the ability to elevate a receiving corps and become the team’s de facto WR1 when healthy.

23) Arizona Cardinals: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Speaking of not playing a full year, David Ojabo is too good to pass up here by the Arizona Cardinals despite suffering a torn Achilles in March during Michigan’s Pro Day. Ojabo has incredible versatility to rush with his hand in the dirt or potentially off the ball. He fits into any defensive scheme in the NFL and could learn a thing or two about his ascending game as he returns to form with J.J. Watt in a mentor role.

24) Dallas Cowboys: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

The Dallas Cowboys need a few positions on their offensive line — Zion Johnson is the pick in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Johnson is ready to take the reins of either guard spot in the NFL and gets to pair his skills next to Zack Martin’s. The big man from BC is a mauler in the run game, but his pass protection skill set against interior pass rushers is next-level terrific.

25) Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

An ascending talent, apparently, Andrew Booth Jr. comes with injury concerns. Yet, those didn’t stop him from having a tremendous season in 2021. Booth can cover any type of receiver, and his ball skills may be some of the best we’ve seen in some time. He also has tremendous athleticism that allows him to make up any lost ground and cover even more through the air.

26) Tennessee Titans: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Needing a linebacker, the Tennessee Titans pull the trigger on Nakobe Dean at the tail end of Round 1. A smarter player there is not, Dean routinely is seen calling out the offense’s play call before the snap. He also has great instincts as he fits the rushing lanes with ease or takes away underneath passing lanes all the same.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

With a tremendous first step, Devonte Wyatt is ready for the NFL today. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers get younger on the defensive line for another Super Bowl push, with Wyatt’s insurgence allowing favorable matchups for their edge rushers. Wyatt also presents a challenge in the run game as he easily eats up double-teams.

28) Green Bay Packers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

It may not be the short-term answer they need, but this Packers team is ready for repeated trips deep into the playoffs as long as Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback. They need an upgrade at right tackle, and as Trevor Penning adjusts to the NFL speed, he can adjust to a new position. He’s a nasty, mean lineman similar to his new teammate in David Bakhtiari. Penning will fit right in with the Packers and their fan base.

29) Kansas City Chiefs (from SF via MIA): Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Sure, they signed Justin Reid, but the loss of Tyrann Mathieu is essentially like losing two players. As such, the Kansas City Chiefs grab Daxton Hill to play opposite Reid and allow both to be freed up for favorable matchups in the secondary. Hill, who plays downhill among the best in the class, also can line up in the box and take away underneath passing angles like a linebacker.

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

They need to get better and younger off the edge — that’s just what Boye Mafe does for Kansas City. Mafe is an athletic freak who can dominate when matched up 1-on-1 against tackles. He’ll bend around the edge or push through smaller tackles. His athletic frame allows him a combination of strength and speed like few others.

31) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Despite attacking their offensive line through free agency, the Cincinnati Bengals were left with seemingly one hole left to fill. As Tyler Linderbaum slides to them here at pick No. 31, it’s a no-brainer for the Bengals to complete their offensive line overhaul. He understands leverage and how to utilize his strength better than anyone in this class. He will become a candidate for All-Pro sooner as opposed to later.

32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

After news came to light that Desmond Ridder has first-round grades from most teams, the Detroit Lions pull the trigger on him here at pick No. 32 instead of waiting to pick No. 34. This pick in the first round also gives them the team option of a fifth year on the contract should things work out for Ridder in Detroit. Despite all his success, Ridder’s inaccuracy is his biggest drawback. Yet, he’s a winner and a leader. Detroit needs the latter more than ever.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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