2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32
The second half of the first round of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft sees a run on wide receivers, while another franchise takes a plunge into the quarterback class to find their signal-caller of the future.
17) Los Angeles Chargers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Head coach Brandon Staley has made no secret that the Los Angeles Chargers will seek to address the defensive front during either free agency or the 2022 NFL Draft. While this has been a common landing spot for Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, they could just as easily add an edge rusher to play opposite Joey Bosa.
That’s exactly what they do in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft with the selection of George Karlaftis. The “Grecian Goliath” is a top-10 prospect on my Top 300 Big Board with his alluring combination of size, speed, and strength. He’s a destructive and dominant force both as a pass rusher and against the run.
18) New Orleans Saints: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
With the departure of Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints go into this season with a new coach. Will they also have a new quarterback by the end of April? Jameis Winston is a free agent. Taysom Hill is currently the leader of a quarterback room that doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in returning to the days of Super Bowl contention.
Matt Corral has certainly proven himself to be a leader during his Ole Miss career, both vocally and physically. While he’s not without his flaws, Corral has exceptional arm talent in terms of his ability to zip the ball into tight windows and fling the pigskin from multiple arm angles. Like Howell taken above him, he’s added a gritty run game to his armory this season. Having Alvin Kamara as a quick pass option out of the backfield will be key to his success.
19) Philadelphia Eagles: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
It’d be negligent if the Eagles don’t address the secondary if one of their first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Firstly, they allowed the highest completion percentage to opposition quarterbacks last season. Secondly, almost the entire starting secondary is out of contract, including Anthony Harris and Steven Nelson.
Reuniting Georgia safety Lewis Cine with teammate Dean in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft would be obscene. An aggressive run-stopping athlete who plays the game with a jolting physicality, Cine’s athletic profile also translates well to coverage. He’s a versatile chess piece with leadership qualities that will help secure this Eagles secondary.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
While there is a lot of noise at this time of year, all the soundbites coming out of the Pittsburgh Steelers make it appear that there is faith in Mason Rudolph to be the successor to the recently retired Ben Roethlisberger. If that is to be believed, using a first-round selection on a quarterback seems unlikely.
While they do add a signal-caller later in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the Steelers’ first move is to ensure that one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines gets an immediate upgrade. According to early reports, some scouts have a higher grade on Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning than Alabama’s Neal. While I find that hard to believe — and his impetuous nature at the Senior Bowl should cause pause to his ascension — Penning is a strong, savage offensive lineman with the athleticism you’d expect from a Northern Iowa product.
21) New England Patriots: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
With J.C. Jackson saying this week that the New England Patriots haven’t even been in contact about a new contract, it would appear that Mr. INT is on his way out of Foxborough. If that does happen (and maybe even if he stays), cornerback should be one of the most significant needs in this year’s draft.
That said, adding a receiver of the caliber of Garrett Wilson would be infinitely more valuable to Mac Jones’ development as a quarterback. For me, Wilson’s route-running savvy, ability at the catch point, and run-after-the-catch threat make him the top receiver in this 2022 NFL Draft class.
22) Las Vegas Raiders: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
We don’t need to dwell on how the Las Vegas Raiders got to the point of needing a wide receiver this offseason. We will say that they have a type of pass catcher — that involves having a speedy deep threat to stretch the field vertically. Right now, those options are DeSean Jackson and Zay Jones. With all the best will in the world, Jackson and Jones aren’t long-term, elite options.
Jameson Williams is. It remains to be seen if the Alabama wide receiver recovers fully from an ACL tear in the 2021-2022 CFP National Championship defeat to Georgia. If he does, he’s an explosive speed threat with impressive route-running nuance for someone with relative inexperience. If it weren’t for his injury, he’d potentially be selected much earlier than where the Raiders snag him in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
23) Arizona Cardinals: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Chandler Jones’ contract has caused many conversations this season. J.J. Watt is an aging pass rusher whose best football is behind him. The Arizona Cardinals have multiple needs to fill this offseason. But finding their next great pass rusher is chief among them. Jermaine Johnson II has the potential to be an elite defensive player in the NFL for years to come.
Schematically versatile from his experience at Georgia and Florida State, his transfer to the Seminoles for this season allowed him to establish himself as a dominant playmaker this season. An exceptional Senior Bowl allowed him to elevate his status to new heights. Strong, athletic, and with an arsenal of refined pass-rush moves, Johnson also exhibits excellent ability against the run.
24) Dallas Cowboys: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Devin Lloyd emerged as one of the best linebackers in the nation as Utah imposed their will on the conference this season. Boasting an NFL-ready frame with exceptional length, Lloyd is a forceful presence at the heart of the defense. He also possesses an athletic profile that results in teleportation-esque ability to appear anywhere the ball is.
Lloyd lands with the Dallas Cowboys in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft as the heir apparent to Leighton Vander Esch. Putting him in a linebacker unit alongside standout rookie Micah Parsons is a tantalizing prospect for Cowboys fans.
25) Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
With Levi Wallace set to hit free agency, the Buffalo Bills turn their attention in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft to finding an elite cornerback piece to play opposite Tre’Davious White. Although injury hampered his ability to elevate his stock in this class, Florida’s Kaiir Elam has many requisite traits to be just that at the next level.
Boasting impressive size at 6’2″ and 193 pounds, Elam is an exceptional athlete. Like Booth and Stingley in this cornerback class, his experience as a wide receiver makes him a dangerous threat at the catch point. The Florida cornerback also projects as a scheme-versatile piece with experience in both man and zone coverage.
26) Tennessee Titans: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
The Tennessee Titans are considered a potential landing spot for one of the class’ elite wide receiver prospects. After losing Jonnu Smith last season, they could also be one of the first teams to strike for a tight end. Multiple potential linebacker departures could see them strike for a replacement in the first round if the board falls right for them.
However, that isn’t the case in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Instead, they ensure that Derrick Henry continues to have huge holes to run through and Ryan Tannehill has improved pass protection. Considered a top-10 talent prior to the season, a difficult year has impacted Kenyon Green‘s stock. Despite this, Green is an elite guard prospect with savagery in the run game and a rock-solid anchor as a pass protector.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
Anyone surprised by Perrion Winfrey‘s domination at the Senior Bowl clearly hasn’t been paying attention to the Oklahoma defensive tackle’s college career. Winfrey is a rare build, standing at 6’3″, 303 pounds, and over 35″ arms. He’s explosive at the point of attack, and he puts his length to devastating use on his way to the opposing backfield.
With multiple potential departures from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive front, including Ndamukong Suh, he would make an immediate impact alongside Vita Vea.
28) Green Bay Packers: Drake London, WR, USC
As Aaron Rodgers whips up a social media storm around his future with the franchise, it would be a bittersweet irony if the Green Bay Packers used a first-round pick on a wide receiver, something that has long been a cause of some alleged friction between franchise and the face of it.
Drake London offers a rare talent to whoever lines up under center for the Packers next season. A contested-catch monster at 6’5″, he also has the ability to add yardage after the catch with an athleticism rarely seen by a man of his size. Injury may have ended his final season for USC, but there doesn’t appear to be any sign of it impacting his NFL Draft stock.
29) Miami Dolphins (from SF): Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
The NFL made a huge mistake in letting Creed Humphrey slip out of the first round last spring. Hopefully, his sensational rookie campaign for the Kansas City Chiefs helps eradicate the opinion that the center position isn’t worthy of first-round value when it comes to the 2022 NFL Draft.
A top-10 prospect on my big board, positional value sees Tyler Linderbaum slide a little down the draft. However, the Miami Dolphins halt that slide in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. The Dolphins seek to overhaul their offensive line by inserting a powerful piece at the pivot. An exceptional athlete with strength beyond his slender size, Linderbaum’s experience as a wrestler helps him with the leverage battle in the trenches.
30) Kansas City Chiefs: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Reports out of Kansas City earlier this week suggest that the Chiefs will address the wide receiver position within the first three rounds this April. While they do that in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they wait until the third round, choosing to address some more significant needs with their first two selections.
With mystery surrounding the future of Tyrann Mathieu, they also have Armani Watts and Daniel Sorensen out of contract. Inserting Michigan safety Daxton Hill alongside Juan Thornhill in the secondary would give the Chiefs one of the most athletic safety duos in the NFL.
31) Cincinnati Bengals: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
Although addressing the offensive line is obviously the biggest offseason project for the Cincinnati Bengals, the way the board has fallen in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft means that the Bengals are a victim of their own success and miss out on some of the top talents at both the tackle and guard positions.
Instead, they use their first-round selection to fill another area of need. Kyler Gordon might not be the Washington cornerback that people expect to see in the first round. However, his elite athletic profile — combined with impressive football intelligence and a bone-shaking physicality — gives him the upper hand as a more complete cornerback prospect.
32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Despite the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown, wide receiver projects to be the biggest need outside of quarterback once the Lions have selected Thibodeaux with the first of their picks in the 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Quarterback is still a possibility here, but with Willis and Howell — two of the QBs they worked with at the Senior Bowl — gone, it seems unlikely.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks gives the Lions a physical, athletic anomaly. Burks can be used in multiple ways to create yardage. As a result, Burks is something of a fantasy football darling, but he belongs in the conversation as one of the best receivers in the class regardless. Jared Goff dumping it off to Burks to take it some 50+ yards could become a common sight in the NFL.