2022 NFL Mock Draft: An unheralded passer goes first overall

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1, Picks 17-32

How does the rest of the first round shape up?

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State

The Chargers got a quality CB in the 2021 NFL Draft when they picked Asante Samuel Jr. However, Chris Harris Jr. is set to be a free agent in 2022. Sevyn Banks helps fill the void and provides a high-upside defender in Brandon Staley’s zone-based scheme.

18. New England Patriots: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Chris Olave was considered a potential first-round prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. As long as he continues to be a top target for the Buckeyes, that shouldn’t change. With his savvy and hand-eye coordination, he’d be a valued target for Mac Jones.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Cade Mays, OG, Tennessee

Connor Williams is set to be a free agent in 2022. Thus, if the Cowboys want to keep the wheels churning on offense, they may have to reinvest in the offensive line. Cade Mays is a high-quality blocker with a massive 6-foot-6, 325-pound frame.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA): Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

The Eagles will soon experience major turnover on the edge, and they need to be ready. Versatile defensive lineman Drake Jackson provides the boost they seek in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, he’s a heavy-handed player with great urgency and force.

21. Tennessee Titans: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M

The Titans have yet to fill the void left by the departure of Jonnu Smith. If they want to add a new playmaker in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Jalen Wydermyer is an excellent choice. He’s an elite athlete with great natural receiving skills, and he’s also a threat after the catch.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Zion Nelson, OT, Miami

The Colts chose to go in heavy on the defensive side of the ball early in the 2021 NFL Draft. Thus, they bypassed a glaring hole at tackle. In 2022, Zion Nelson, a 6-foot-5, 312-pound mauler, gives them the upside they need to keep the unit stable in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

23. New York Jets (via SEA): Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Iowa State’s do-it-all running back finished sixth in Heisman voting last year, and he’s one of the favorites to start the season as RB1. With solid explosiveness, contact balance, vision, and extension ability, Hall can help lift some pressure off the shoulders of Zach Wilson. He’s dangerous in a pairing with Michael Carter.

24. New Orleans Saints: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

Justyn Ross chose to return for another year, after at first being considered a 2021 NFL Draft prospect. He’ll have a chance to play again after missing the 2020 season with an injury. When he does, he may remind the nation of his natural playmaking ability and smooth athleticism.

25. Cleveland Browns: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

Getting Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft was an all-out steal for Cleveland. However, there’s still room for growth at linebacker. Christian Harris, with his size and denisty, can complement the flexible style of JOK well.

26. Miami Dolphins (via SF): Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

Standing at 6-foot-3, 297 pounds, Perrion Winfrey is an explosive defensive tackle who fits well as a three-technique in the Dolphins’ scheme. The Dolphins’ overall roster solidity gives them some flexibility here, so they strengthen their interior rotation.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Brenton Cox Jr., LB, Florida

The Baltimore Ravens get a dynamic running mate for 2020 first-round pick Patrick Queen here. Cox is an athletic, versatile linebacker who can provide value both as an off-ball linebacker and as a pass rusher for the Ravens.

28. Detroit Lions (via LAR): George Pickens, WR, Georgia

It remains to be seen if George Pickens will declare for the 2022 NFL Draft after suffering a torn ACL earlier in April. It’s an unfortunate occurrence, but by now, teams know how talented Pickens is. Were he to declare, his athleticism and acrobatic ability would speak for itself.

29. Green Bay Packers: Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn

Once the top outside linebacker recruit in high school, the 6-foot-1, 222-pound Owen Pappoe has the sideline-to-sideline range and the compact build to be an intriguing 2022 NFL Draft prospect. The Packers, who still need help at linebacker, could use his talents.

30. Buffalo Bills: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

Josh Jobe could have been a Day 2 pick had he declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, he went back to school, and that move could be good for him. He’s an excellent athlete and a tenacious competitor, and more refinement of his game could land him in Round 1.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Ryan Jensen’s contract expires next year, so the Buccaneers may have an issue to address on that front. Even if they re-sign him, drafting Tyler Linderbaum would serve the purpose of adding high-quality depth and versatility on the interior.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Aidan Hutchinson, DL, Michigan

For the Chiefs, there’s room to improve their pass rush on the edge. Furthermore, they’ll have a few interior linemen hitting free agency in 2022. Standing at around 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Hutchinson has the versatility to help in both phases, and his motor always runs hot.