2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32
Who else cracks the first round of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft?
17. New England Patriots: George Karlaftis, DL, Purdue
As a true freshman in 2019, George Karlaftis generated 17 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble. The keyword, of course, is 2019. 2020 wasn’t nearly as productive for Karlaftis, mainly due to injury. Nonetheless, if Karlaftis can get back to his 2019 form, he can easily break the first-round boundary.
The Patriots present an intriguing fit for the Purdue defensive lineman, as he’ll get to play opposite from Matt Judon. Karlaftis complements Judon well, with excellent size at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds. In addition, he provides some inside/outside versatility. He’s athletic and flexible but powerful and forceful as an edge defender. His well-rounded skill set should afford him plenty of opportunities at the next level.
18. Los Angeles Chargers: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
The Chargers have one of the league’s best edge rushers in Joey Bosa, but they lack presence across from him. With the pieces starting to fall into place on the offensive side of the ball, Brandon Staley can turn his attention back to the defense. If he keeps producing at his current clip, South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare could challenge for a spot in the first round.
Interestingly enough, Enagbare is a bit larger than your usual edge rusher, but he moves better than many who are smaller than him. Standing at around 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Enagbare has a thick, dense frame but moves with eye-catching grace. He’s flexible and consistent with his effort. If Enagbare continues to play up to his size and exert more power, he can be a playmaker on Sundays.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
The Cowboys did address their cornerback room in the 2021 NFL Draft, adding Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright. They also re-signed Jourdan Lewis. Even so, I don’t think their work is done quite yet. Cornerback isn’t a position you want to be complacent at, and with the chance to add a tantalizing talent like Andrew Booth, the Cowboys pull the trigger.
Simply put, Booth has some of the highest upside in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s the only cornerback near Stingley when it comes to ball skills and instincts at the catch point. On top of those traits, he’s an extremely explosive and twitchy athlete. With Derion Kendrick heading to Georgia, Booth has an opportunity to break out as a starter. By drafting Booth, the Cowboys would make CB a definite strength, with Trevon Diggs and Joseph still ascending.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA): Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
Brandon Graham, Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, and Genard Avery are all due to hit free agency in 2022. Call it a hunch, but I think EDGE will be a need for the Eagles’ next draft. There’s a chance they bring a few of those players back, but there will eventually be a passing of the torch. Veterans like Graham and Kerrigan may soon start to fade.
Here, the Eagles get a potentially enticing value deal by selecting Zach Harrison. As of now, Harrison isn’t at the level of Thibodeaux or Jackson. Regardless, the former five-star recruit has a chance to be a big riser this coming season. Standing at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, Harrison owns a long, imposing frame and flashes the necessary explosiveness to generate disruption.
21. Tennessee Titans: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Titans lost Corey Davis to the Jets after his career season. They signed former Rams receiver Josh Reynolds and drafted Louisville product Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round to recoup that loss. Despite their new questions, the Titans will be searching for more firepower outside of A.J. Brown in 2022.
With just one wide receiver off the board thus far, the Titans can sift through the positional ranks for top-end talent. Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson has an excellent chance to go this high next April. He predominantly worked in the slot in 2020, but he’s versatile enough to line up on the boundary. He’s agile, juiced up, and sure-handed, but his ability to make acrobatic catches with focus and body control is his trademark trait.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The Colts are an intriguing team every year when it comes to the NFL Draft. They’re well-coached, and they’ve showcased the ability to develop homegrown solutions at several positions. Still, some groups require a high-value investment year in and year out — the offensive line is one of those areas.
Longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo retired this past offseason, and the Colts brought on Sam Tevi and Eric Fisher as potential replacements. However, neither may be a long-term option. Kenyon Green offers plenty of appeal for a team with questions on the line. He’s already an elite interior offensive line prospect, but he’s kicking out to left tackle this season. By next April, we could view him in the same light as Alijah Vera-Tucker in 2020 — a high-level player at both alignments.
23. New York Jets (via SEA): Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
There may not be a cornerback room more barren than New York’s. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Robert Saleh’s staff in San Francisco was incredibly proficient at developing low-cost athletes at the position. With the sheer volume of receiver talent increasing each year, it would be wise for the Jets to capitalize on another strong cornerback class in 2022.
Most of the top players have been taken by this point in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but one remains in Ohio State’s Sevyn Banks. The Buckeyes have a firmly established pipeline of cornerback talent, and Banks has a chance to be the next elite product. He shows off impressive athleticism on tape, but he’s also densely built at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. He has a multi-phase impact that not all CBs can match.
24. New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Saints quietly have one of the most uncertain receiving groups in the NFL. Aside from “Slant God” Michael Thomas and Pro Bowl return specialist Deonte Harris, New Orleans doesn’t have established talent in their pass-catching group. Tre’Quan Smith is a decent ancillary threat, but the Saints need more beyond that, especially if Jameis Winston will move forward as the starter.
Viewed as a potential first-round prospect in 2021, Chris Olave will likely have a similar reputation next offseason. The Ohio State starter doesn’t have one dominant trait, but he’s an incredibly well-rounded receiver. He’s a strong route runner, a fierce competitor in contested situations, and plays with a smoothness that helps him provide consistent value.
25. Cleveland Browns: Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma
There isn’t much to complain about when looking at Cleveland’s roster. They boast plenty of promise on both sides of the ball. Their offensive line is still one of the best in the league, and their defense could take a step up this year with added talent. But even for the best teams, it’s vital to self-analyze and see where further improvements could be made. One such area for the Browns might be the interior defensive line.
Tommy Togiai, Jordan Elliott, and Sheldon Day all have upside. And Andrew Billings offers utility as a nose tackle. There’s also veteran Malik Jackson and former second-round pick Malik McDowell. Yet, this rotation could become more robust with rising talent. In a year, we may see Perrion Winfrey as the solution. Winfrey is explosive with excellent proportional length. The former JUCO star possesses the lateral athleticism to fill gaps and penetrate inside.
26. Miami Dolphins (via SF): DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
For the first time since 2019, the Dolphins don’t have two draft picks in the first round. That shouldn’t be a problem for Miami at this point. Ideally, Tua Tagovailoa will take the next step in 2021, and a solid roster will help the Dolphins stay in contention. However, the team-building process is never truly complete.
With Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts both scheduled to hit free agency in 2022, linebacker is one area that deserves attention. One player who needs to be discussed is Texas LB DeMarvion Overshown. The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder was once a safety. In 2020, his first season at LB, he compiled 8 tackles for loss, a sack, 2 interceptions, 7 deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. Overshown is an extremely athletic and versatile piece. He’ll only keep trending up as he grows more comfortable with his new role.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
After trading away Orlando Brown to the Chiefs, the Ravens’ tackle situation is precarious. Ronnie Stanley is coming back from a season-ending ankle injury and veteran Alejandro Villanueva was willingly let go by a Steelers team in need of tackle help. Ultimately, the Ravens may need to address this position next year.
At this point in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross is one of the more intriguing tackles left on the board. Cross will only be a redshirt sophomore in 2021, but he has the upside to be taken in Round 1. Long and athletic, the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder owns a solid physical foundation. Furthermore, he flashes impressive technical refinement for his age.
28. Detroit Lions (via LAR): Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
The Lions selected my guy Amon-Ra St. Brown in this year’s draft. As much as I love St. Brown’s game, one receiver isn’t enough to fix an entire unit. Outside of St. Brown, the Lions’ receiving corps is a mix of underwhelming has-beens like Geronimo Allison and Tyrell Williams and unproven young guns like Jonathan Adams, Quintez Cephus, and Sage Surratt.
Even if one of the aforementioned players provides value, the Lions will need more receiving talent in 2022. If he returns to his pre-injury level of play, Justyn Ross can be the playmaker Detroit requires. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Ross has exceptional size, which he can use to be a threat on the boundary. Beyond that, the Clemson wideout is smooth and precise before the catch and elusive after it. He’ll have a chance to resurrect his stock as D.J. Uiagalelei’s top returning weapon.
29. Green Bay Packers: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
Across from David Bakhtiari, the Packers have an interesting situation unfolding at the right tackle spot. Royce Newman will reportedly get an opportunity to play tackle. Billy Turner, who performed admirably in relief last year, will also likely receive exposure. Even then, there’s a chance that the Packers will seek more starting utility in 2022. If they eventually transition to Jordan Love after the Aaron Rodgers situation, they can’t settle in the trenches.
NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu hasn’t garnered first-round buzz to this point, but another strong season could help remedy that. Ekwonu is an athletic, physical, and aggressive offensive lineman with playing experience at both tackle and guard. His contagious mauler mentality stands out in an uncertain line class, and his ability to play multiple spots could grant him plenty of support next April.
30. Buffalo Bills: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
The Bills have a solid duo at tight end in Dawson Knox and Jacob Hollister. That said, Hollister will be a free agent in 2022, and Knox will be due for a new contract just a year after that. If Knox doesn’t develop as desired, it might be in the Bills’ best interest to find a new tight end.
In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the board falls their way, and the Bills walk away with the best tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft. Texas A&M standout Jalen Wydermyer, like Knox, is an athletic mismatch at the position. Moreover, Wydermyer displayed immense run-after-catch ability and awareness as a route runner. He can be another stellar weapon in Josh Allen’s arsenal.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aidan Hutchinson, DL, Michigan
The Buccaneers picked an edge rusher in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, taking Washington’s Joe Tryon with the 32nd overall pick. On the surface, that might dissuade them from addressing the position again in 2022. However, with Jason Pierre-Paul and William Gholston both set to hit free agency, drafting a versatile lineman could bode well for Bruce Arians.
Late in the first round, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson provides utility in the desired mold. Standing at 6-foot-6, 269 pounds, he can line up on the edge, or rotate inside to a 3-technique or 4i position. His motor always runs hot with surprising lateral mobility and flexibility. After missing all but three games due to injury in 2020, he’ll be looking to bounce back with a vengeance.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ainias Smith, WR/RB, Texas A&M
I bet you’ve never seen this name in a Round 1 mock before. If you haven’t, allow me to be the first to introduce you to Ainias Smith, the Aggies’ most versatile — and arguably most dynamic — offensive weapon. Smith is only 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, but he offers tremendous explosiveness, elusiveness, and extension ability. He owns formidable top-end speed and is a keen-eyed route runner who knows how to deceive.
As of now, Smith doesn’t have much first-round hype. Yet, the same could be said about former Gators gadget player Kadarius Toney. Then 2020 happened and Toney went in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft to the New York Giants. With his universal playmaking ability, Smith has that same kind of upside. And with a change at QB coming, Jimbo Fisher will no doubt rely on his playmakers.
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