2022 NFL Mock Draft | 17-32
Who makes their way into the bottom half of Round 1 in our latest 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft? Please note that the draft order used throughout this mock draft is current as of the completion of Week 5.
17) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Bengals’ offensive line is slowly coming along. It’s still not a great unit, but things have noticeably improved this season. Jonah Williams and Quinton Spain are playing well on the left side. On the right side, Jackson Carman has played admirably on the interior when available, and right tackle Riley Reiff has been serviceable. Still, the Bengals can upgrade at the center position. Luckily for them, Tyler Linderbaum is still around.
Few prospects this year can say that they’re the consensus top option at their position, but Linderbaum can boast that claim at center. He’s a little bit undersized, but that’s one of the only bad things you can say about him. He’s an outstanding athlete who carries a great deal of strength and power within his frame. Linderbaum’s motor runs at 110% on every play, and his wrestling background allows him to out-leverage opponents with ease.
18) New Orleans Saints: Drake London, WR, USC
No college football wide receiver has dominated to the degree that Drake London has this year. London has been the lifeblood of the USC offense, and he could do wonders for a team like New Orleans that’s currently starved for wide receiver depth. At 6’5″, 210 pounds, London brings Mike Evans-like size to the table.
While London isn’t at Evans’ level as a prospect, he is a potential first-round pick in his own right. He’s a good athlete with smooth mobility and RAC potential, but his best work comes at the catch point, where he can box out defenders and outmuscle them in 50-50 situations. He’s a fun fit with Jameis Winston, who’s had success with this kind of receiver in the past.
19) Tennessee Titans: Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA
The Titans are in an awkward position when it comes to their line. They have a few young pieces with upside, but no one — aside from Taylor Lewan — is good enough or secure enough long-term to preclude them from seriously upgrading the unit in the 2022 NFL Draft. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they select Sean Rhyan, a tackle who fits their offensive identity.
As this season has shown, Derrick Henry remains the engine of Tennessee’s offense, even as the NFL evolves. With his athleticism, core strength, and mauler mentality, Rhyan can help pave open lanes for Henry and make this offensive attack even more potent. Rhyan’s length isn’t elite, but that’s one of the only bad things you can say about him. He’s a player.
20) Denver Broncos: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Teddy Bridgewater may ultimately do enough to earn some discussion regarding his future in Denver. But when your divisional opponents have Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr, that discussion ultimately becomes moot. The Broncos need a better quarterback to compete in the loaded AFC West. And with his breakout season, the question must be asked — can Kenny Pickett be that guy?
Personally, I’m a fan of Pickett. He may be nearing 24 years old, but he’s a great positional athlete with an elastic arm and high-level off-script ability. He’s also tough, a quick processor, and has drastically improved his process this year. Right now, he’s this class’ closest thing to a Joe Burrow. Nevertheless, there are questions with Pickett. His arm may not be elite, and his hands are also small enough to raise concerns about his NFL transition. So far, however, he’s proved it’s a non-issue at the collegiate level.
21) Carolina Panthers: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
I know the Panthers need offensive line help. I also know they don’t have any second- or third-round picks at the moment, which makes their decision in Round 1 that much more important. Nevertheless, the possibility of adding Daxton Hill to the Carolina defense proved too enticing to pass up in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. The Panthers’ defense is known for its athleticism at all three levels. Now, they add Hill, who had a 4.32 40-yard dash and a 43-inch vertical jump out of high school.
Hill has elite closing speed, and this year, he’s taken a visible jump up as a processor on the back end. With his explosiveness, he can close on plays in a flash, and he also has the short-range burst and range to make plays on the ball in coverage. In a secondary that has Jaycee Horn, Stephon Gilmore, C.J. Henderson, Donte Jackson, and Jeremy Chinn, Hill might be Carolina’s most versatile defensive back. He makes Carolina very hard to throw against.
22) New York Giants (from Chicago): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Andrew Thomas has shown progression this year, but on the other side of the line, aging veteran Nate Solder is struggling. Daniel Jones has done enough to earn more time so far this season, but the Giants can’t keep taking his protection for granted. It’s time to once again invest in the offensive line. And at this point in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the best available tackle is Charles Cross.
Cross started off the 2021 season on a shaky note, but he’s since taken his game to another level. He has a wiry upper body, but his lower body is strong and well-proportioned. He brings great length, but his defining trait might be his athleticism. Cross is spry laterally, and he’s smooth in recovery. If he can add a bit more upper-body strength, the tools are there for Cross to become one of the better tackles in the league.
23) Cleveland Browns: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
I swear I’m not a Browns fan. This 2022 NFL Mock Draft just happens to include what might be a best-case scenario for Cleveland. Among the top needs for the Browns are wide receiver and edge rusher. And in this mock, one of the best players at EDGE falls to the 23rd pick. He also happens to be an excellent team fit. His name? George Karlaftis.
The Browns generally look for heavier edge rushers, and Karlaftis certainly brings that within his arsenal. He stands at a thickly built 6’4″, 275 pounds, and within that frame, he brings immense power and strength. Karlaftis doesn’t quite have the bend that other edge rushers do, but he’s fairly explosive for his size, and he can be a handful in both phases.
24) Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Lions have their quarterback in Corral. Now, it’s time to add more talent to the roster. Detroit did a nice job in the 2021 NFL Draft, but the work isn’t done yet. Perhaps most importantly, Dan Campbell needs more weapons in his offensive arsenal. And here at 24th overall in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, one of the draft’s top options is still on the board.
Depending on who you ask, Chris Olave is WR1 in the 2022 NFL Draft. Personally, he’s my WR2 behind Wilson — but I absolutely see the appeal. Especially for the Lions — who’ve quickly shown a preference for speed at WR under general manager Brad Holmes — Olave brings a valuable skill set. He has great speed and explosiveness in open space, but he’s not just a big-play threat. He’s a smooth technician as a route runner, and he can contort for higher passes. He’s exactly the steady, high-upside weapon the Lions should look to add this offseason.
25) Las Vegas Raiders: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Maybe now that Jon Gruden and his 51% influence is gone, the Raiders can finally take the right cornerback in Round 1. Trayvon Mullen was a good find in Round 2, but Las Vegas needs more quality talent at one of the most important defensive positions. At this point in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Trent McDuffie could be a steal.
McDuffie isn’t quite as long as players like Stingley, Elam, Gardner, and Booth. Thus, he gets mentioned a breath behind them. But make no mistake — McDuffie can be a stellar defender at the next level. He’s an elite athlete with superb explosiveness and fluidity, and he’s also sharp mentally. McDuffie is a quick processor who plays fast, and that style can be a welcome asset for Gus Bradley’s defense.
26) Buffalo Bills: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Georgia’s defense legitimately has at least two draft prospects at every level. Ask five people who’s the best prospect of the bunch, and they’ll probably say defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The 6’6″, 340-pound behemoth has been tremendous this season. His 1.5 sacks and 3 tackles for loss don’t jump off the page, but Davis has been great at creating disruption and encumbering blockers for his teammates.
For the Bills, Davis can be a great addition inside. He has the athleticism to move around the line, and his heavy, violent hands translate from a number of different alignments. Furthermore, the Georgia product could feasibly play at a lighter weight, perhaps unlocking more of his athleticism. He could be the missing piece for a growing Bills front.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Teams shouldn’t get in the habit of making luxury picks when they have other needs. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still excluded from that conversation. The Buccaneers are one of the league’s strongest teams, and they’ve shown that they can work around the cap to bring back as many of their guys as possible. Thus, they have some flexibility here. With that flexibility, Tampa Bay selects Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III.
Walker may end up being a better player than Tampa’s current RB1, Leonard Fournette, when it’s all said and done, too. Walker needs to show more on receiving downs. But there’s a case to make that he’s the best runner in the class. Walker has good size at 5’10”, 210 pounds. And with that size, he brings a high-level combination of vision, burst, contact balance, elusiveness, and drive.
28) Green Bay Packers: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
Few edge rushers in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft have the sheer upside that Kingsley Enagbare boasts. Although it’s a strong class, many of the edge rushers within follow certain archetypes. Some are speed rushers, while others are long, high-motor terrors. Enagbare mixes a little bit of everything into his game, and that’s what makes him such an enticing prospect. At his best, he could be one of the top players from this class.
Enagbare has more room for refinement than some edge rushers, but he has great size at 6’4″, 265 pounds, and he wears his weight well. He’s explosive and light on his feet, and he flashes great ankle flexion and torso flexibility around the edge. He’s also shown he can accelerate around the edge as he shrinks under tackles — a rare and valuable trait. The Packers already love bigger edge rushers, but Enagbare brings additional elements of finesse within his strong frame.
29) Los Angeles Chargers: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
The Chargers have been one of the NFL’s pleasant surprises this year. But even good teams have areas to keep an eye on for the future. Among other things, the Chargers could use another versatile interior lineman to help their front compete on three downs. Although the 2022 NFL Draft’s interior class is relatively weak, Perrion Winfrey might be a wise investment.
Behind Leal and Davis, Winfrey is the most inspiring interior prospect by far. At 6’4″, 292 pounds, Winfrey has an interesting profile. He’s wide and compact, and also has excellent proportional length. On top of that, Winfrey is incredibly twitchy off the snap, and his motor runs hot. He already has 4.5 sacks and 6 tackles for loss on the year. He’s had help from the other prospects on Oklahoma’s line, but Winfrey himself opens up a lot for that unit.
30) Dallas Cowboys: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Miami Hurricanes had two edge rushers drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jaelan Phillips went to the Dolphins; Gregory Rousseau went to the Bills. We didn’t expect to see that happen again so soon, but Michigan has a legitimate chance to accomplish that in 2022. Hutchinson is the player everyone knows, but David Ojabo is the player everyone needs to know.
Hutchinson was on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks list, but Ojabo may be even freakier from an athletic standpoint. Ojabo has great size and length at 6’5″, 250 pounds. But he’s also explosive, flexible, and possesses high-end lateral agility. He can bend underneath tackles and accelerate around the edge, and he also has a developing pass-rushing arsenal. Ojabo has exploded in recent weeks: 4.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2 forced fumbles in six games. If he keeps this up, Round 1 is very much in the conversation.
31) Baltimore Ravens: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Ravens’ linebacker group has taken a step back this year. It may just be a sophomore slump for Patrick Queen, but nevertheless, Baltimore could use an upgrade behind a strong defensive front. The line has been disruptive, and the secondary has held strong even after losing Marcus Peters. If they can shore up the second level, they can sustain success for years on end.
In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, it’s hard to say who LB1 is. Christian Harris was the favorite heading into the year, but he hasn’t shown linear growth. Henry To’o To’o is rising, but he doesn’t quite have Harris’ athletic gifts. Devin Lloyd is an option, but even he hasn’t been as consistently excellent as Nakobe Dean this year. While Dean is a bit smaller, he plays like an armored Energizer bunny. He’s constantly fast and physical, and he processes quickly. Behind Baltimore’s line, he could be the piece the Ravens need.
32) Arizona Cardinals: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
As we pass into Week 7, the FBS’s foremost sack producer isn’t a household name like Thibodeaux or Hutchinson. Instead, it’s Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. Johnson, a former Georgia community college commit, has 6.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss through his first six games. He’s on a tear, and he could ultimately enter the first-round conversation with his play.
Johnson isn’t just a producer. He’s flashed a number of coveted traits within his long 6’5″, 260-pound frame, among them explosiveness, flexibility, and hand usage. With Chandler Jones’ long-term future still uncertain, the Cardinals shouldn’t neglect the edge. Johnson has a lot of upside as well as a proven track record of production. He checks more boxes than most.