2022 NFL Mock Draft: Chris Olave lands in the top five

Defense dominates early in our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, and we're beginning to see a consensus QB1 emerge from the pack.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | 17-32

While there were no trades in the first half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we see some in the second half.

17) Cincinnati Bengals: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Now that the Joe Burrow-to-Ja’Marr Chase combination has hit its stride, it’s time to get a player to protect Burrow. Charles Cross is a name that not many have going in the first round consistently, but he is a first-round talent. He gets plenty of opportunities to pass block in Mike Leach’s Air Raid system (545 pass attempts), so the question with him will be how well he can run block (211 attempts).

18) Las Vegas Raiders: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

It’s been a rough 2021 season for the Raiders. First, they fired their head coach. Then they cut two former first-round picks for various reasons. One of them was cornerback Damon Arnette. With a big hole remaining in the secondary, drafting a corner appears the way to go. Andrew Booth Jr. has been out of the spotlight due to Clemson’s struggles, but he’ll get a chance to show what he can do soon enough.

19) Carolina Panthers: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Unless the Panthers believe Cam Newton Part 2 is the long-term answer, a quarterback becomes the most likely pick for them in the draft. Should Carson Strong drop to them, it would be incredible luck. Strong’s been making some amazing throws in 2021, and he’s en route to posting career numbers.

20) Kansas City Chiefs (from LAC): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

In one of my previous 2022 NFL Mock Drafts, I sent Treylon Burks to Kansas City without a trade. In this simulation, the Chiefs didn’t want to wait, and I can see why. Burks gives them a big target at 6’3″ and 225 pounds, meaning they’ll have a big receiver who can balance the speed already on the roster. Burks can run too, but he brings size that guys like Tyreek Hill don’t possess.

21) Baltimore Ravens (from NO): Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

It feels like there aren’t a ton of top-tier options at offensive tackle, so trading up to snag one seems like a smart move. Sean Rhyan continues to be one of the least talked about first-round prospects in the upcoming draft, and the team taking him hopes it stays that way. He’s not the flashiest player in terms of pancakes and highlight-reel plays, but he’s great at getting the job done.

22) New England Patriots: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

We haven’t heard much from Jordan Battle this year, and a first-round selection would definitely surprise many. New England’s had a history of finding upside in players not many else do, so Battle might just be the perfect pick. He’s a good leader for the Crimson Tide defense and can give the Patriots a versatile player at safety.

23) Los Angeles Chargers (from KC): Ikem Ekwonu, G, NC State

Ikem Ekwonu‘s rise to a first-round pick went so fast. Before this season, not many knew who he was, let alone that he would be a potential first-round selection. Now, he’s almost a guaranteed first-rounder. He started by driving opponents into the ground frequently, and now he’s worked to elevate his game as a whole. Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense would love adding Ekwonu to their front line.

24) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

With Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II on the roster, it’s weird to think the Bucs would take a running back. Yet, it wouldn’t be a bad selection. Isaiah Spiller‘s shown that he can do it all for the Aggies this year, and Tom Brady wouldn’t mind having a new skill set join him in the backfield.

25) Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

From one black and gold team to another, Tyler Linderbaum would be the perfect Steeler. He brings a lunch-pail attitude to his game, and you could make a 10-minute highlight reel from all of the pancakes he’s generated for the Hawkeyes. He’s a nasty player who doesn’t stop until the whistle blows, and he’ll bring the right attitude to spring a guy like Najee Harris loose in Pittsburgh’s offense.

26) New Orleans Saints (from BAL): Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati

Not many have elevated their draft stock like Myjai Sanders. While Cincinnati has its sights set on a College Football Playoff appearance, Sanders and the defense continue to thwart every offense they face. He’s a player with great length and would give the Saints another AAC defensive lineman with impressive size. New Orleans selected Houston DE Payton Turner in the first round last season.

27) Detroit Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

If there’s an argument for someone as the best linebacker in the country who’s not named Nakobe Dean, I’ve yet to hear it. Dean leads an absolutely loaded Georgia defense, so it’s easy to see why he is a late riser. With so many potential draft picks on one unit, it’s tough to stand out.

Not only has Dean stood out, but he continues to be the Bulldogs’ most important defender. A leader before the snap, Dean ensures that Georgia is in the correct position everywhere on the field, and flies as soon as the ball is snapped. Do you want him to tackle the running back? He’s got you. Drop back in coverage and make a play on a pass? He’s got you. Detroit’s getting a great player who can do it all.

28) Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

I’d be surprised if Jordan Davis fell this far. To me, he’s a top-10 talent that will get plenty of attention when we get closer to the NFL Draft. Davis brings unique athleticism for a guy that stands 6’6″ and 340 pounds. That is something the Cowboys would gush over if he fell to them at 28. Davis has been a menace for every single team he’s faced, and it will be fun to see what he can do on Sundays.

29) Buffalo Bills: Drake London, WR, USC

An injury was the only thing that could slow down Drake London‘s season, and he still might lead the country in receiving yards despite it. A phenomenal 50/50 receiver, London is the ultimate safety blanket for any quarterback.

Questions about his ability to separate will come into play, but sneaking into the first round wouldn’t be that much of a surprise. With teams trying to focus on Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen would welcome the addition of London — especially when the future rookie could expect plenty of one-on-one opportunities.

30) Arizona Cardinals: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina

All I’m picturing is a J.J. Watt and Kingsley Enagbare combination for the Cardinals, and that’s almost as exciting as the Kyler Murray-DeAndre Hopkins duo. Enagbare is set to post career numbers in his final season with the Gamecocks, and his play has made an impact in several games so far this year.

31) Tennessee Titans: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

Justyn Ross just went down with a lower body injury this weekend, so it’s going to be interesting to see where teams project him. A first-round selection seems unlikely unless the right team really wants to snag him. Ross has great athletic ability, but injury concerns could push him out of the first round. Here, Tennessee likes the upside that should help take some of the load off Derrick Henry’s shoulders.

32) Green Bay Packers: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Opinions of Ahmad Gardner vary quite a bit. Some believe he’s the best cornerback in the draft. Others think he’s a Day 2 pick. The sweet spot figures to be somewhere in between. Green Bay already has Kevin King and Eric Stokes behind Jaire Alexander, so adding Gardner would give them plenty of depth at the position. Gardner’s a long corner capable of breaking up any pass, so it wouldn’t hurt to add his skill set in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.