2022 NFL Mock Draft | 17-32
The NFC East ruled the top half of the first round. Is there any one division that dominates the second half?
17) Cleveland Browns: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal is likely to continue to see his draft stock climb the closer we get to the 2022 NFL Draft. Not only has he been absolutely dominant on the field, but he was also just named a semifinalist for the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award. The Bednarik Award is given out to one defensive player who exemplifies all the traits necessary to make an impact on the field. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Leal is still available at No. 17 and is an absolute steal for the Browns.
18) Kansas City Chiefs: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
The Kansas City Chiefs probably did not expect to be selecting this high in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, they have struggled this year, and a big reason has been their defense. They are allowing 404.6 yards per game (31st in the NFL). Bringing in Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. will make an immediate impact.
Booth is a redshirt junior, so he still needs to actually declare. However, given how well he has been playing this season, he will likely enter the draft.
19) Carolina Panthers: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Carolina Panthers are in quite the predicament. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we assume that Sam Darnold has broken out of whatever funk he has been in these last few games and cemented himself as their starting QB. So instead of drafting his replacement, the team decides to bring in another weapon in Garrett Wilson.
20) Los Angeles Chargers: Ikem Ekwonu, OG, North Carolina State
The Chargers have their franchise QB in Justin Herbert. Now, they need to continue to protect him. North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu will pair well alongside Rashawn Slater to ensure that the left side of Herbert’s offensive line is perfect. The guard class falls off significantly after Ekwonu, so the Chargers will jump at the chance to get him in the latter half of the 2022 NFL Draft.
21) Pittsburgh Steelers: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line has been an issue all year. They are ranked near the bottom of PFN’s offensive line rankings — and for good reason. It has been a problem for both Ben Roethlisberger and Najee Harris, as the OL has struggled to perform while constantly under pressure. Here, the Steelers take a step in the right direction by bringing in Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele. Faalele is a mountain of a man, measuring 6’8″ and 380 pounds. He will be a welcome addition to this offensive line.
22) Cincinnati Bengals: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
The Bengals’ offense has been putting it together in 2021. They drafted the likely Offensive Rookie of the Year in Ja’Marr Chase, who is putting up record numbers. Joe Burrow looks like he is healthy again, and now, the team needs to focus on improving their defense. Hodgkinson had this to say about Lewis Cine when watching his tape so far this season:
“Lewis Cine may be the hardest hitter of any of the top safeties in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has displayed unparalleled physicality throughout his short career with the Bulldogs, screaming downhill to deliver earth-shattering collisions regularly.”
23) New Orleans Saints: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
The New Orleans Saints are in a bit of a conundrum. They have a roster that is built to win now, but they have a cap space problem. They also just lost starting QB Jameis Winston to a torn ACL. He will miss the remainder of the year, meaning Taysom Hill is the starting QB moving forward. Going out and getting Nevada’s Carson Strong will give the Saints a possible starting option in 2022. Strong’s stock has dropped over the last few weeks, but he still has the attributes to become a reliable starting QB under HC Sean Payton.
24) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to protect their would-be 45-year-old QB. They have given Tom Brady all the weapons a gunslinger could ask for, and now, they need to make sure he stays upright. If Brady is still their QB in 2022 (all indications are that he will be), Tampa Bay’s offensive line needs to be the focus. Nicholas Petit-Frere has seen his draft stock soar with his play at Ohio State this season. He will pencil in nicely to help protect the future Hall of Famer.
25) Buffalo Bills: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Buffalo Bills need help at the cornerback position. Luckily for them, one of the top CB prospects falls into their laps at No. 25 in Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner. Excelling during the Bearcats’ undefeated season, Gardner has a knack for finding the football and has terrific intelligence. Given his great movement for a man his size, Gardner at the back half of Round 1 would be great value for the Bills and their secondary.
26) Las Vegas Raiders: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
The Las Vegas Raiders love quick, shifty WR prospects. However, they also like to make terrible draft decisions. Well, in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they finally get one right by drafting South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert. According to PFN’s draft experts, Tolbert has excellent twitch and suddenness off the line. He can stack crisp feet motions to earn early separation, employing short bursts of energy in rapid succession. Tolbert is South Alabama’s career record holder in every major receiving category.
27) Dallas Cowboys: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
The Dallas Cowboys are a very good football team, and it is no surprise that they are picking at the bottom of the first round in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. One of the biggest reasons for their success has been their improved defense. Dallas’ defense was historically bad in 2020, but new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been able to turn things around this year.
After addressing the defensive line with the addition of Micah Parsons in 2021, the Cowboys decide to finally tackle a position that they have seemingly ignored the past few years — safety. Michigan’s Daxton Hill is one of the top safety prospects in the draft behind Kyle Hamilton. With Lewis Cine going four picks earlier, the Cowboys jump at the chance to add Hill. With him and Trevon Diggs roaming the secondary, Dallas’ defense might just get that much better in 2022.
28) Green Bay Packers: David Bell, WR, Purdue
The Green Bay Packers have a lot of questions heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. If Aaron Rodgers does decide to leave the team, they will need to go into a full rebuild. However, if Rodgers and the Packers continue to play the way they are and make it to the Super Bowl, tensions may thaw. If so, Purdue WR David Bell might further entice Rodgers to remain in Green Bay.
For years, the Packers have had an issue finding a legitimate WR2 behind Davante Adams. Bell can come in and cement himself in that role right away. If Rodgers ultimately does not stick around, this pick might instead be used on finding a QB to replace him.
29) Baltimore Ravens: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Baltimore Ravens are a good football team that loves to run the ball. They have shown that even with extensive injuries at the RB position, their scheme works with any ball carrier. For that to continue, they need to keep investing in their offensive line. That is exactly what they do in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft by bringing in Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.
30) Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams): Nakobe Dean LB, Georgia
The Detroit Lions started by adding the best player in the 2022 NFL Draft and then close out the first round bringing in another piece on the defensive line. According to Hodgkinson and our Mock Draft Simulator, Georgia’s Nakobe Dean has impressive football instincts as a run-stopping linebacker. He has a remarkable knack for diagnosing the play, working through traffic, locating the ball, and making a play.
31) Tennessee Titans: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Tennessee Titans need to be better on defense. To do so, they use their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Mock Draft on Georgia’s Jordan Davis. Davis is a 340-pound manimal who stands at an imposing 6’6″. He will be useful as the Titans try to improve at defending against the rush.
32) Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
The Arizona Cardinals brought in TE Zach Ertz this season after Maxx Williams went down with a season-ending injury. Ertz is not the long-term answer at the position, so the Cardinals decide to finish off the first round by drafting Jalen Wydermyer as the first tight end off of the board. Standing at 6’5″ and 255 pounds, he is an imposing physical specimen. He will be a welcomed weapon to add to Kyler Murray’s arsenal.