2022 7-Round NFL Mock Draft: Aidan Hutchinson, Kenny Pickett first at their positions

It's once again time for a full 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Where do things stand on the draft board as we approach the new year?

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32

Let’s move on to the second half of Round 1 in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, where two more teams find potential franchise QBs. Remember, the draft order is current as of Friday, December 10. Check back in the late afternoon on Tuesday (December 14) when our newest mock draft is released based on the conclusion of Week 14’s action.

17) Cleveland Browns: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

The Browns’ offense is a full-blown soap opera, but we’re not going over there just yet. The Browns have impending needs on both sides of the ball. And while wide receiver was an option here, the value of the board fell particularly well at one specific position: Defensive lineman.

With Jadeveon Clowney potentially leaving in the offseason, and a pre-existing need on the interior, DeMarvin Leal is a very exciting fit in Cleveland. At 6’4″, 290 pounds, he has the size to play inside. But he’s also athletic enough to play the big edge role that Clowney plays. Leal is a versatile catalyst in the trenches, and he helps unlock the unit’s full potential.

18) Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Even with two picks completed, the Eagles are still in BPA mode. In truth, they might be in that mode for another year or two. Stingley and Williams are nice adds, but neither is as highly rated as Kyle Hamilton on our Pro Football Network Big Board.

Hamilton falls for two reasons in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. His injury, which has knocked him out for the latter portion of the season, could prove problematic for some teams. Additionally, safeties tend to be devalued in Round 1 for whatever reason. Positional ambiguity is a likely culprit, but that ambiguity is actually Hamilton’s strength. He’s incredibly versatile and can play several roles at a high level with his athleticism, instincts, and range.

19) Miami Dolphins: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Tua Tagovailoa has been playing well as of late — perhaps well enough to extinguish any talks of moving on from him before the conclusion of his rookie contract. Tua clearly isn’t the problem on offense. The Dolphins’ offensive line has been subpar, and there’s room to upgrade at almost every spot.

With the 19th pick in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the Dolphins pick Tyler Linderbaum, who happens to be the highest-rated offensive lineman left on the board. Linderbaum ideally replaces Michael Deiter. Deiter can fall back into a depth role with his positional versatility. Meanwhile, Linderbaum immediately boosts the Dolphins’ line. The Iowa product is supremely smart, athletic, and physical, and can be a nightmare in open space.

20) Washington Football Team: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

I still don’t think Taylor Heinicke is good enough to rule out a quarterback here — but I also don’t think this QB class is good enough to rule out riding another year with Heinicke and addressing the position in 2023. Heinicke has played well enough as of late and has the confidence of the team. Let’s say Washington sticks with Captain Clutch for another year. That frees them up to address other areas with this pick.

Linebacker may seem like an odd selection after Jamin Davis went in Round 1 last year, but Nakobe Dean is just what the doctor ordered for this defense. While Davis is still raw, Dean has exceptional instincts and processing ability. He plays like he has a jetpack underneath his shoulder pads. He’s dense, physical, and explosive — but more importantly, he forms a potentially elite trio with Davis and budding star Cole Holcomb.

21) Cincinnati Bengals: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

A slightly down year has generated pause regarding Jessie Bates’ future with the Bengals — or perhaps, it’s the other way around. Bates has said that his contract status has affected his play at times. Whatever the case, at this point, it’s hard to be optimistic about Bates and the Bengals coming to an agreement. Thus, Cincinnati will be in the market for a new rangy playmaker in the 2022 NFL Draft.

At No. 21 overall in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker makes a ton of sense. Brisker is a long and athletic safety who saved his best for last in 2021. With his initial explosiveness and closing speed, he arrives at plays briskly — if you will. But beyond his range in the box, Brisker also has the fluidity, twitch, and speed to cover ground in coverage. His playmaking ability allows him to cook opposing QBs like brisket.

22) Los Angeles Chargers: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

The Chargers are frustrating this year. One week, they’re one of the best teams in the league. The next, they’re struggling to compete against comparable competition. It looks like Brandon Staley’s squad may need another year before it’s ready to truly compete for a title. And it doesn’t hurt to add more offensive line help along the way.

Particularly at guard, the Chargers still have room for improvement. An offensive line is a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine. While Rashawn Slater and Corey Linsley have helped in 2021, one weak point can doom the unit. By drafting Kenyon Green, the Chargers ensure they won’t have any weak points. Green profiles as an excellent guard prospect. He’s dense and well-leveraged but also powerful, balanced, and violent in his motion.

23) Buffalo Bills: Drake London, WR, USC

Drake London recently announced his intent to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft — not that it was any surprise. All you had to do was turn on a USC game this fall and see London attract targets like a black hole attracts matter, and you knew this man wasn’t going to stay for long. Provided that his health checks out, London is an easy first-round pick. For the Buffalo Bills, he’s a very exciting fit.

The Bills have other needs besides wide receiver, but London has unreal upside in this spot. With Stefon Diggs commanding attention elsewhere, London could draw plenty of one-on-one opportunities in this offense. And for the 6’5″, 210-pound WR, a 50-50 ball is more like an 80-20 ball. London can help unlock Josh Allen’s fiery side once again. He’s a WR who can convert on Allen’s downfield chances better than anyone else in this class.

24) Detroit Lions: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

On an anonymous pre-draft poll, only two players put “kneecaps” as their favorite midday snack: Aidan Hutchinson and Matt Corral. Joking aside, this might be one of the best possible scenarios for Detroit. Despite his winning performance against Minnesota, Jared Goff remains a stopgap. The Lions need a new QB, but it’s better to wait until later in the first round to see what’s left. The class isn’t worth passing up a blue-chip edge talent.

But here, the Lions get the best of both worlds. Hutchinson sets the tone on defense, while Corral gives Detroit a high-upside passer to groom under Goff. The physical traits are there with Corral. He’s athletic and high-energy as a runner. As a passer, he has a crisp, elastic arm with easy velocity. Corral needs to improve as a processor and field manipulator, but some time behind Goff will help with that.

25) Dallas Cowboys: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

I don’t know why I did this. I’m not a Cowboys fan. And I wasn’t bribed by any of our resident Cowboys believers. The thought of Treylon Burks lined up on the same offense as Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb is simply too enticing. Many 2022 NFL Mock Drafts have the Cowboys going defense here. However, time and time again, the Cowboys have proven they’ll avoid direct needs to add a dynamic talent.

In my opinion, Burks isn’t quite in the WR1 conversation like Wilson and Williams are. Nevertheless, he is still a tremendous talent at the WR position. Burks has stellar size and length at 6’3″, 225 pounds, with the explosiveness to get upfield and stack defenders. His dual-sided RAC and downfield ability make him a constant big-play threat. With Cooper and Lamb drawing attention, he’d surely be hard to stop in this offense.

26) Kansas City Chiefs: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

The slide ends here for George Karlaftis, who goes to the Chiefs at 26 in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. The Purdue edge rusher is viewed as a potential top-10 pick in some corners, but the rise of players like Hutchinson and Ojabo has pushed him down the board a bit. Nevertheless, Karlaftis is still a tremendous talent and a great fit for what the Chiefs look for.

At 6’4″, 275 pounds, Karlaftis has rare size for an edge rusher. He’s incredibly dense and powerful but can levy surprising explosion into point-of-contact force. A group with him, Chris Jones, and Frank Clark may just have too much size to handle for opposing offensive lines.

27) Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Brandon Williams and Justin Ellis — the top two players at nose tackle on Baltimore’s depth chart — are set to be free agents after this season. They could come back, but the Ravens have a chance to add the best nose tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft right here. And that’s exactly what they do in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Welcome to B-More, Jordan Davis.

Davis has been one of the most hyped players down the stretch in this draft cycle, and that’s not by accident. Although he doesn’t play all the snaps stylistically, Davis’ hulking 6’6″, 340-pound frame is near impossible to move. On top of holding his ground, Davis flashes exciting athleticism as well. Davis can eat up double teams and free up opportunities for Justin Madubuike and Calais Campbell — but he also has potential on his own as a pass rusher.

28) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

The Washington defense pipeline is strong for Jason Licht’s Buccaneers. And so far, it hasn’t let them down. Vita Vea is a monster on the interior, and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has a lot of promise on the edge. Licht goes back to that pipeline in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, selecting ascending cornerback Kyler Gordon at No. 28 overall.

In my opinion, Gordon has the upside to be picked in the top 10 of this class. He has great size at 6’0″, 200 pounds, and he’s expected to test out of this world. His elite athleticism shows up on tape. Gordon closes extremely quickly, can deliver jarring hits at the contact point, and also has the ability to make plays on the ball. With Carlton Davis set to be a free agent, Gordon can effectively be his successor.

29) Tennessee Titans: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

The Titans have been demolished on the offensive side of the ball this year. After losing Derrick Henry and being without Julio Jones and A.J. Brown, Ryan Tannehill has shown his limitations in such a deconstructed setting. It doesn’t help that the offensive line hasn’t been great, either. The Titans can bank on their playmakers being healthy again next year, but they need to invest in improving the line to make Tannehill comfortable.

Nicholas Petit-Frere might not be a consistent starter out the gate, but there are several traits to mold. His performance against Hutchinson caused his stock to fall, but it’s important not to write off a player for one game. Petit-Frere needs to work on how he responds to power. But with his athleticism and violent style, he’s already a high-level run blocker, and he has upside in pass protection with his long 6’5″, 315-pound frame.

30) Green Bay Packers: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

There’s a good chance that both Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith are nearing departures from Green Bay. Unfortunately, there aren’t any “Smiths” at EDGE worth this pick. But Johnson is an equally generic last name, and Jermaine Johnson II has equally exciting upside to his NFL counterparts.

Johnson exploded in 2021 after transferring to Florida State from Georgia. In doing so, he flashed many desirable traits. Johnson fits the Packers’ mold at edge rusher, being around 6’5″, 260 pounds. He’s long, reasonably explosive, strong, and flashes some flexibility around the edge. Add in his working arsenal of hand moves, and he could be a valuable piece.

31) New England Patriots: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Good coaching alleviates some of the pressure on draft night. There’s always a desire to hit home runs on picks, but Bill Belichick has proven he can keep his Patriots team afloat regardless. Thus, there’s some flexibility here at 31 overall in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft. The way the board fell, however, it seems prudent to add a weapon to Mac Jones’ stable.

The Patriots may soon see some turnover with a WR group that includes Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor. Chris Olave helps soften the blow of any losses, and he himself has the potential to be better than all of them. Olave is a great route runner and a dynamic speed threat. His pure reliability as a separator meshes well with Jones’ “take what they give you” style.

32) Arizona Cardinals: Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

The Cardinals love versatility on their defense. It’s been a staple in recent years. Isaiah Simmons, drafted as a linebacker, can drop back in coverage and mirror receivers. Zaven Collins, meanwhile, can feature as an extra edge rusher while also playing off-ball. Even Byron Murphy can play on the slot and on the boundary. Versatility is key in the arid west, and Travon Walker helps maintain that theme.

Walker has not so quietly been a menace next to Davis on Georgia’s line. Standing around 6’5″, 275 pounds, Walker has the length and power to line up just about anywhere, but he also has the athleticism to shade out to the edge. His ability to move around the line and manipulate different attack angles is incredibly unique. At his peak, he can be a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive linemen.

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