2022 NFL Mock Draft | 17-32
A couple of surprising picks headlined the first half, but can it be topped in the second?
17. New England Patriots: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Ahmad Gardner will help any team he joins, but joining the Patriots feels like a great fit. At 6’2″, Gardner’s length helps him cover any receiver he faces. His long arms allow him to press and defend in man coverage well, making life easier for his teammates.
Cincinnati’s benefited from his raw athleticism, but he’s also added film study and route recognition to his game. Should he fall this far, the Patriots would be more than happy to snatch him up.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
It’s tough to see the Steelers staying put with some great defensive players on the board, but they have to figure out who will take over for Ben Roethlisberger as the future long-term quarterback.
How about drafting another Group of Five QB with tremendous upside? Carson Strong completed over 70% of his passes last year and showcased a strong arm capable of making every throw. Roethlisberger isn’t going away quickly, so at worst, they can let Strong sit and learn from him until Big Ben’s ready to hang up the cleats.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
With two first-round picks, it’s tough to see the Eagles keeping both selections. However, they might do so if the right players fall to them, which they do in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
There isn’t anything Christian Harris can’t do athletically. As a former safety, he can drop in coverage better than most linebackers at any level. His speed and quickness allow him to cover ground in coverage and move sideline to sideline.
He’s just learning how to finish plays more consistently, given that he’s still learning his new position. Still, the upside here makes it challenging for the Eagles to pass on Harris.
20. New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Drew Brees might come out of retirement if the Saints land Chris Olave. Pairing him with Michael Thomas gives New Orleans a formidable combination for anyone throwing them the football. Olave makes highlight-reel plays look normal, and his ability to put stress on a defense vertically opens things up for Thomas and the rushing attack.
21. Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The former basketball player should see his stock rise with another great season. Jordan Davis doesn’t fill up a stat sheet by any means, but he doesn’t lose many battles.
Teams also can’t send extra help his way, thanks to Devonte Wyatt and a plethora of elite edge players on the Bulldogs’ roster. So expect teams to get a good look at what Davis can do on the field. At 6’6″, 340 pounds, teams won’t miss him, and his potential upside is something teams will rush to add to their rosters.
22. Tennessee Titans: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
If this many Aggies go in the first round of the draft, then you would think that the team made a serious run in 2021. With a new quarterback entering the picture for Texas A&M, guys like Jalen Wydermyer become vital for their development.
Already a balanced player as a blocker and pass catcher, he’d thrive with the Titans. With Julio Jones and A.J. Brown commanding the attention from opposing defenses, Wydermyer would see plenty of open space on the field.
23. New York Jets: Jahleel Billingsley, TE, Alabama
Again, NFL teams love potential. And it wouldn’t be the first time the Jets take a chance on a guy. Jahleel Billingsley could also return kicks, something you don’t usually see from tight ends.
His athleticism makes him a nightmare to cover for any linebacker or defensive back. The most significant thing he’ll need to focus on is his blocking. He’s a little slim in his frame, so adding some size would help him tremendously. A breakout year almost definitively puts Billingsley in Round 1, and his natural talent paired with good coaching gives teams plenty to love for his future in the league.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
Anyone paired with Quenton Nelson should succeed, so why not add another Nelson? Zion Nelson has a big year ahead of him, and he’ll get the chance to showcase what he can do early when the Canes face Alabama in Week 1.
Nelson’s still somewhat raw as a prospect, so there’s plenty of room for him to grow and learn from one of the best players in the entire league. If he’s able to develop, one side of the Colts line will be unstoppable.
25. Miami Dolphins: Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
While everyone gushed over Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson, Tyler Linderbaum was busy becoming an All-American himself. The Hawkeyes center will draw the attention of numerous NFL teams thanks to his tenacity.
You’re in for a long game if you don’t bring your best when you face Linderbaum. He’s not afraid to plant his man into the turf, thanks to a wrestling background. He’s also a plug-and-play, Day 1 starter for any team that drafts him.
26. Cleveland Browns: Jarrett Patterson, OC, Notre Dame
Baker Mayfield can always use another offensive weapon, even if that means on the line. Jarrett Patterson might be sliding out to tackle this year to help the Irish, but center will most likely be the position he plays at the next level.
Patterson took over as a freshman on an experienced and talented line that featured multiple NFL Draft picks, and he’s the latest. His experience at Notre Dame gives him a mindset that will help him succeed at the next level too, and we’ve seen how quickly he can pick things up.
27. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Remember when you could draft the Bills’ defense for fantasy football and expect at least 15 points? Andrew Booth Jr. can bring those days back.
While he’s capable of making highlight-reel interceptions regularly, his game is more than just a highlight. Man coverage is where he thrives, thanks largely to his instincts and athleticism. His rise to becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the country is only getting started.
28. Detroit Lions: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
Zach Harrison still has plenty to prove on the field, so this might be considered a reach. When Chase Young left for the NFL, nearly everyone pointed to Harrison as the next great pass rusher for the Buckeyes. In 2021, he has another chance to prove that he can be.
Ohio State’s defensive line features some talented players, so it will be tough to stand out. But Harrison has a full year of experience under his belt and can use that to his advantage this year.
29. Baltimore Ravens: DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
At 6’4″, teams quickly realize why they’re intrigued with DeMarvion Overshown as a prospect. Overall, he’s still raw, but he did show signs of improvement as the season progressed.
Overshown proved that he could make plays in coverage, but his instincts and ability to finish plays could use more consistency. With his length, more certainty in his reads gives him incredible range on the field to make plays from sideline to sideline.
30. Green Bay Packers: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Whether the quarterback is Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love, protecting them remains the top priority for the Packers. Insert the 6’9″, 375-pound Daniel Faalele, who has incredible upside.
The Gophers LT returns to play after sitting out the 2020 season due to COVID and could even elevate his stock to be the best linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft class. He’s extremely athletic for his size and knows how to use his size and power to dominate any matchup he faces.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
An RB from seemingly a random school feels like the correct pick for a team with Tom Brady as its quarterback. More specifically, a running back from a Midwest team. So it almost feels like a 2022 NFL Mock Draft is actually a reality.
Breece Hall led the entire country in rushing and is back for one more season with the Cyclones. Iowa State’s hoping that return leads to a College Football Playoff appearance. The Bucs, meanwhile, hope that his game helps keep their offense operating at a high level.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
What a story this would be if Justyn Ross gets drafted in the first round. After nearly losing football due to a neck injury, his return to the game puts the NFL back on the table.
With Clemson desperately needing a reliable deep threat, Ross’ return benefits the Tigers’ offense more than anything. We’ve seen what he’s capable of doing on the biggest stage, and another big year could vault him into Round 1 to a team that knows a thing or two about offense.
Joe Broback is a College Football Writer at Pro Football Network. You can find him on Twitter @joebroback.