2022 NFL Mock Draft | 17-32
With five quarterbacks hearing their names called in the first 16 picks, will anymore come off the board in the second half of Round 1?
17. New England Patriots: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Ohio State receivers go back-to-back in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft as the Patriots select Chris Olave. Although Wilson is an excellent route runner, Olave is the best in the class and has no issue creating separation. He could have departed for the NFL in 2021, but Olave stated he has “unfinished business” with the Buckeyes.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
What is the first thing you think of when you hear “Pittsburgh Steelers?” Toughness? Grit? Destroying opponents in the trenches? Well, Ikem Ekwonu fits all of the above. He was built to be a Steeler. Ekwonu lined up at tackle for NC State last year, but at 6’4″, 320 pounds with shorter arms, the “most feared lineman in the ACC” is destined to play inside. He needs to improve as a pass protector, but he’s as good as it gets in the ground game.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami): Mike Jones Jr., LB, LSU
Philadelphia needs help in the coverage department as much as they need brotherly love. While a corner to pair with Darius Slay would be nice, the hole at linebacker is gaping. To remedy both issues, the Eagles simply take the best coverage linebacker in the class.
Mike Jones Jr. played the Isaiah Simmons role at Clemson before announcing that he would be transferring to LSU. Clemson defensive coordinator Brett Venables stated, “He wants to move inside the box and this is just what he felt like was best for him.” Jones wants to prove his ability in the box, and if he does in 2021, he could be the first LB off the board.
20. New Orleans Saints: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Michael Thomas has dealt with his fair share of injuries, and outside of Alvin Kamara and Adam Trautman (I expect him to break out this year), Thomas has no Robin to his Batman. Subsequently, the Saints select Arkansas WR Treylon Burks in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
Burks is a physical specimen at 6’3″ and 225 pounds. He can go up and come down with contested catches, rack up yards after the catch, and stretch the field — a perfect complement to Thomas’ skill set.
21. Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
The Cowboys made 11 selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, with eight belonging to the defensive side of the ball. Yet, not a single pick was spent on a safety. No problem, as Dallas uses their first pick in 2022 on the second-best safety in the class. What Jordan Battle lacks in coverage ability — which isn’t a lot — he makes up for in size and versatility.
22. Tennessee Titans: Drake Jackson, DE, USC
The Titans have been searching for a premier pass-rush presence since Jurrell Casey. Drake Jackson has shown flashes of being prominent in this regard, but he still has a ways to go. Still, his bend and flexibility dipping around the edge are tremendous. Additionally, he is superb against the run, which Tennessee will need with both their starting linebackers projected to hit free agency in 2022.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle): Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
After targeting the defensive side of the ball early in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the Jets opt to add more firepower to the offense. Despite tight end Chris Herndon exhibiting some talent, he has not lived up to the hype. As a result, New York pairs their new franchise QB with an elite safety blanket.
Jalen Wydermyer is a willing blocker who excels running routes from in-line. He is the TE1 and is the complete package at the position.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
If the Colts are selecting in the 20s, their pick will likely head to Philadelphia. However, that requires Wentz to play 75% of the team’s snaps this season. Not only has he met that threshold just once in the past three years, but Wentz recently went down with an ankle injury.
At any rate, the Colts use the pick on Mississippi State OT Charles Cross. Cross has already gained some muscle this offseason that was needed to be a Day 1 prospect. He has the length and athleticism to crack the first round, but he needs to tidy things up in pass protection.
25. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco): Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
The sixth offensive lineman selected in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Rasheed Walker provides QB Tua Tagovailoa much-needed help upfront. At 6’6″ and 320 pounds, Walker owns the requisite size to play tackle in the league. He earned third-team Big Ten recognition in 2020, but with 22 starts at left tackle under his belt, Walker could take a leap this season.
26. Cleveland Browns: Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina
The Browns need to secure a pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett. Why not match one athletic freak with another? Kingsley Enagbare is a vicious edge rusher standing at 6’4″ and 270 pounds. What pops out most is Enagbare’s relentless motor. There is rarely a snap where he is not making noise somewhere on the field.
27. Buffalo Bills: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Tackling doesn’t matter too much among cornerback prospects until it does. Trent McDuffie is one of the best tacklers in the class, period. He is slightly shorter (5’11”), but he can stick with taller receivers due to his physical tools. Still, he may be best used in the slot or even as a safety. Regardless of where he lines up, McDuffie will make plays in the secondary.
28. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
There are ankle-biters, and then there are ankle snatchers. Nakobe Dean explodes off the ball and launches opponents right out of their cleats. He plays with an intensity and speed that seemingly no one else does. Dean makes up for his size (6’0″) with jaw-dropping play speed, exceptional read-and-react ability against the run, and considerable coverage prowess.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Zion Nelson, OT, Miami (FL)
After trading away Orlando Brown, the Ravens have a hole on the right side of their line. Stealing Alejandro Villanueva from the Steelers was a quality move, but he is not the long-term answer. Baltimore decides Miami’s Zion Nelson is the answer they are searching for in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Nelson might be the most athletic tackle in the class, and he has been ascending since a horrendous 2019 campaign.
30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
With Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams seemingly leaving next season, the Packers need to surround Jordan Love with as many weapons as possible. Jalen Tolbert is the most productive receiver returning to college football, reeling in 64 receptions for 1,085 yards and 8 touchdowns last season. The South Alabama product has dominated Group of Five competition. All he needs to do is continue that dominance to cement his first-round ability.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
There isn’t another QB worthy of first-round consideration. Yet, if Tom Brady continues to deny Father Time’s advances, the Buccaneers should acquire assurance upfront. Tyler Linderbaum is the best interior lineman in the class, regardless of position. Pairing him and former Iowa teammate Tristan Wirfs provides Tampa Bay with two cornerstones on the o-line.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Adam Anderson, DE, Georgia
Adam Anderson could go even higher in the first round or fall out of Day 1 entirely. It is up to him to produce in 2021. Nevertheless, he has looked dangerous rushing passers off the edge in limited reps. The former five-star recruit can build on his frame (6’5″) this offseason and thrive with increased playing time this year.