2022 NFL Mock Draft: Senior Bowl performances vault Sam Howell, Malik Willis into Round 1

Four quarterbacks are taken in the first round of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, including two quarterbacks who excelled at the Senior Bowl.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32

Two more quarterbacks are selected in the back half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Both of those quarterbacks had their moments at the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

17) Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Jordan Davis is the first defensive interior big man selected in this draft. The Los Angeles Chargers nab Davis to replace the departing Linval Joseph. Davis is a mammoth of a man, yet has a terrific multi-faceted skill set for his size. He can rush the passer with nimble feet or simply bully smaller interior linemen with his frame. Davis is also no slouch in run defense as he comes down the line of scrimmage with a vengeance.

18) Arizona Cardinals (from NO): David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Trade: Arizona sends pick 23 and a 2023 second-round selection to the Saints in exchange for New Orleans’ pick 18.

It may seem like a lot, but the Arizona Cardinals are more than warranted to jump up and grab David Ojabo by sending their first-round and second-round selections to move up five spots. Ojabo wins with speed and has this draft class’ best spin move. In fact, his spin move is so good, it may be the best we’ve seen in some time. His ceiling is still climbing as well as the man from Aberdeen, Scotland, has improved in every game, every year at Michigan.

19) Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The second Ohio State receiver taken and the third receiver overall, Chris Olave finishes Philadelphia’s first-round haul. Olave has a well-rounded set of skills at the receiver position, including a full route tree. He also has underrated body control that he uses very well along the sideline and in the end zone. Olave set the Ohio State record for career receiving touchdowns thanks in large part to his overall game that has no flaws.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Don’t worry, the Pittsburgh Steelers get their quarterback in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. It just isn’t at pick No. 20. Instead, Pittsburgh opts to protect their future franchise quarterback with the likes of NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu.

Penciled in as a potential mover to the interior at the beginning of the season, Ekwonu more than proved capable of handling his duties at left tackle in 2021. His strong and well-built frame allows him to take on a variety of defensive linemen, but getting Ekwonu in space is a scary thing for defenders.

21) New England Patriots: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

There are a few positions the New England Patriots could look to grab here, but Daxton Hill‘s polished game is too much to pass up. Hill comes downhill in both facets of play incredibly well and like the first safety selected — Hamilton — closes space in the blink of an eye. Hill doesn’t quite have the commanding size of Hamilton, but his ball skills at the catch point are on par, if not better than Hamilton’s.

22) Las Vegas Raiders: Drake London, WR, USC

A midseason injury shut down Drake London‘s potential historic 2021 season. Yet, the USC receiver led the Pac-12 in receiving yards all the same. London is a vertical threat with an ever-evolving route tree and the best yards-after-catch ability in this draft class. London’s athleticism is exceptional as the former dual-sport athlete can, quite literally, jump out of the gym. Or in this case, off the field.

23) New Orleans Saints (from ARI): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Saints have the luxury of trading back from their spot at No. 18 to No. 23 as they still likely are able to land a talented WR here. They do, in fact, land their man as Treylon Burks immediately poses a challenge for NFC South defensive backs on the outside.

Finding ways to get Burks open will be the name of the game as he expands his route tree. But in the meantime, he’s a contested-catch nightmare and true burner when he’s on his game.

24) Dallas Cowboys: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

With a few holes here and there on this Dallas Cowboys team, picking at No. 24 may not be where they want to look for certain positions. Instead, with how this draft class falls, DeMarvin Leal is the selection. Carlos Watkins is out, and they need to add a talented interior presence. That’s exactly what Leal is as he even has the potential to be the first interior defender taken come April.

25) Buffalo Bills: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Pairing former teammates together again, the Buffalo Bills select Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning to anchor their offensive line for years to come. With a nasty streak in him, Penning is a menace to defensive lines and second-level defenders. He also rejoins Spencer Brown as the duo were teammates at UNI just two seasons ago.

26) Tennessee Titans: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

One of the more talented players in this entire draft goes at pick No. 26. Tyler Linderbaum fills a huge need for the Tennessee Titans. With Ben Jones departing, the Titans have a need at center, and they grab this draft’s top center with little resistance. Linderbaum will anchor the Titans line for years to come as he’s one of the best interior run-blockers that we’ve seen in some time.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

Gene Deckerhoff would be proud of this Florida State to Tampa Bay selection. And honestly, so should the Bucs’ fans. Jermaine Johnson II was very clearly the best of the edge rushers at the Senior Bowl, proving his worth from the very first rep. He was selected as the representative of the defensive unit to end the first practice in a push-up challenge.

Johnson has a high motor, an increasing pass-rushing skill set, and a durable frame. His ceiling is rising with his draft prowess.

28) Green Bay Packers: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

As strong as an ox, the Green Bay Packers nab Nakobe Dean with their first-round pick despite needs elsewhere. Included in those needs may be a quarterback depending on where the team feels Jordan Love is or if Aaron Rodgers is even on the roster come April.

Without that knowledge at hand, the mock draft simulator grabs Dean, who immediately stands in as a Day 1 starter. Dean can go sideline to sideline like Lloyd but has tremendous football intelligence. He’ll be routinely seen calling out play calls and formations ahead of the snap and making perfect post-snap reads to disrupt plays at will.

29) Pittsburgh Steelers (from MIA): Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Trade: Pittsburgh sends picks 52 and 84 in 2022 as well as a 2023 second-round selection to Miami in exchange for the Dolphins’ pick 29 in 2022.

See, told you the Steelers grabbed their quarterback. They had to trade three Day 2 picks, but they move up and grab the potential future of the franchise in Carson Strong from Nevada.

If one thing was apparent in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, it’s the fact that the football just leaves the hand differently from Strong. His arm strength is at the top of the class, and his accuracy is growing over time. He had his moments during his career at Nevada and can hit every level of the field with ease.

The Steelers have had their fair share of success selecting small-school quarterbacks in the past. Why won’t it work again?

30) Kansas City Chiefs: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Travon Walker can play a bevy of positions for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his experience and ability off the edge is what makes him such an enticing prospect. Walker has the ability to bend around tackles or push right by them. He can also drop in space and play an underneath brand of coverage like an off-ball linebacker. Walker fits into quite literally any system with his versatility, and Kansas City certainly needs his assistance in all facets.

31) Cincinnati Bengals: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

The Cincinnati Bengals look to be a lock to return to glory in the AFC North and possibly represent the AFC for years to come with their offensive stronghold. While there are some minor gaps here and there, they have the luxury like many other top-tier teams to grab the best player available.

Perrion Winfrey fits that but also fits the need of a pass rusher and mauler in the middle for the Bengals. Winfrey was dominant at the Senior Bowl and should fit right in on the interior of the Cincinnati defensive line.

32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Here we are with the Detroit Lions grabbing a quarterback with their first-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams. They grab Malik Willis after the Liberty quarterback put on a display in Mobile this past week.

Willis rebounded from a slow day — well actually it was a day of fastballs rather than accurate passes — on Day 1 of the Senior Bowl. He had a dominant set of practices that showcased his accuracy and arm talent while isolating him from showing off his best attribute: his legs. He’s a dual-threat with a pass-first mentality that may have the highest ceiling in this class.

2022 NFL Mock Draft Day 2 selections

The following teams didn’t grab a player in the first round but made these selections as their first picks in this simulation.

Chicago Bears: Pick 39 — Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

Seattle Seahawks: Pick 41 — Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

Indianapolis Colts: Pick 47 — Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati

Miami Dolphins: Pick 50 — Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky

San Francisco 49ers: Pick 61 — Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Los Angeles Rams: Pick 100 — Isaiah Thomas, EDGE, Oklahoma

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