2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32
The first half of Round 1 is in the books, but the second half is just as exciting.
17) Los Angeles Chargers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The “Pancake King,” Ikem Ekwonu‘s tape at NC State is plain fun to watch. And while that is an overused phrase in the football world, the meaning doesn’t wane here. Ekwonu proved he deserves a shot at tackle after obliterating his opponents in 2021. Justin Herbert could be even more dangerous with Rashawn Slater and Ekwonu protecting his bookends.
18) New Orleans Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Saints could reach for a QB here, but the MDS has them staying put and selecting a new weapon for (presumably) Jameis Winston. Garrett Wilson beats defenders at every level with relative ease, whether it is with route running, speed, or catch-point prowess.
19) Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Outside of DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, Jalen Hurts has few reliable weapons. As a result, the Eagles aim to provide their signal-caller with some reinforcement. Chris Olave is a speedy receiver with all the production you could ask for from a four-year player. Olave amassed 2,709 yards and 35 touchdowns on 176 receptions (15.4 per catch).
20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Jameson Williams tore his ACL in the national championship, but he already put enough on tape to earn a Round 1 selection. The early 20s should be his floor due to his top-end speed, aggressiveness at the catch point, and start-stop ability.
21) New England Patriots: Drake London, WR, USC
Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Jakobi Myers. That is the trio New England trots out at receiver. While all of them can start for most teams, none is a true WR1. So, the Patriots draft Drake London to be Mac Jones’ favorite target. London can high-point passes at 6’5″ with impressive jumping ability. Furthermore, he can line up in the slot or out wide, as he won from both with the Trojans.
22) Las Vegas Raiders: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
The Raiders have holes all over their roster. Daxton Hill would join Trevon Moehrig in the defensive backfield, forming one of the best safety tandems in the league. Both can play in the slot, single high, or split the field together, creating tight windows downfield.
23) Arizona Cardinals: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Due to injuries, the Cardinals are able to stay put 23 and nab Kaiir Elam. He has largely shut down his side of the field over the past three years at Florida. His length and athleticism allow him to thrive in man coverage, though he can also produce in zone with a high football IQ.
24) Dallas Cowboys: Nakobe Dean, LB Georgia
This is a dream come true for Dallas fans, even if they don’t like it initially. Sporting a 4.0 GPA, Nakobe Dean is one of the brightest minds on the football field. Moreover, his ability to read, react, and attack is beyond most others in the class.
Dean may only be 6’0″, but he more than makes up for his height with his play speed. The leader of Georgia’s national championship-winning defense, Dean is also beloved for his intangibles and would destroy backfields next to Micah Parsons.
25) Buffalo Bills: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
If there is one thing the other 31 teams don’t want, it is Josh Allen and the Bills drafting another offensive playmaker. Gabriel Davis lit the Chiefs up for 4 TDs in the Divisional Round, Dawson Knox is a reliable pass-catching tight end, and Stefon Diggs is a threat wherever he lines up. Adding Treylon Burks to the mix is borderline overkill. He separates from defenders with straight physicality and athleticism. With NFL coaching, he could dominate with Allen for years to come.
26) Tennessee Titans: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Harold Landry is a free agent, leaving Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry as the only pass-rush presence for the Titans. They can generate enough pressure on their own, but Jermaine Johnson II would open new doors for Mike Vrabel’s defense. Johnson tore it up at Florida State after spending time as an ancillary piece at Georgia. If he can recreate his play for Tennessee, their defense will be improved in 2022 and beyond.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travon Walker, DT, Georgia
No defensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft possesses a quicker get-off than Travon Walker. Like his Georgia teammate, Walker plays exceptionally fast when he has eyes on the ball. And he is excellent rushing the passer from either defensive tackle or on the edge.
28) Green Bay Packers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Will Aaron Rodgers and/or Davante Adams be in Green Bay in 2022? Who knows. But one thing is for certain — the Packers need O-line help. Trevor Penning is a hard-nosed OT who plays through the whistle. David Bakhtiari is coming off a season-ending injury, and Elgton Jenkins played out of position at tackle. Penning can lock down the RT spot and form a top-tier front in the NFL.
29) Miami Dolphins (from SF): Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
The Dolphins need offensive line reinforcements, but their stable of running backs also left much to be desired. Isaiah Spiller can come in, lead the backfield, and become a staple of the offense in Year 1. He is a violent rusher that has enough wiggle to spring long runs even behind a poor OL.
30) Kansas City Chiefs: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
The Chiefs folded against the Bengals, losing 27-24 in an AFC Conference Championship where they led 21-10 at halftime. While Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are mostly to blame for their offensive collapse, the defense could use help next year. While they played admirably down the stretch, they simply don’t have the players to maintain success.
Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill are stout safeties, but Jaquan Brisker adds a much-needed element. He can fill the box and aid in run defense. He is also athletic and instinctual in coverage at any alignment and rarely allows big plays.
31) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Tyler Linderbaum could fall down boards due to positional value (centers aren’t usually a first-round investment) and his smaller stature. Regardless, he plays with a nasty mean streak and consistently bullies whichever unfortunate soul is across from him. Linderbaum has been compared to All-Pro Jason Kelce, and they fit similar schemes.
32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Jared Goff played well in spurts this season, but I think everyone knows his days as a starter are numbered. The Lions sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams, and they are in the Super Bowl. Detroit needs to nail their next franchise QB, or they may not recover. Kenny Pickett has small hands, but his 2021 tape is better than any other quarterback in the class.
He has enough athleticism to move in the pocket and run when needed. But Pickett’s real draw comes from his right arm, which he used to dot the field with NFL-level throws all year.
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