2022 NFL Mock Draft: The trenches take center stage

In our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, a quarterback is taken in the top 10, and teams start to focus on the trenches.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 17-32

There will be plenty of talent left in the second half of the first round — let’s see who comes off the board in the latter part of Round 1 in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

17) Los Angeles Chargers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Karlaftis fits the Chargers’ mold with his power-based game.

Excerpt from George Karlaftis’ NFL Scouting Report: Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 275 pounds, Karlaftis is easily recognizable on the end of the Purdue defensive line. In fact, the Purdue product puts the “big” in big defensive end.

His predominant use during his freshman season was on the edge, although he did see some usage inside. Last season, he saw more time inside as Purdue switched to an odd front for their defensive line. Put simply, his size means that Karlaftis will be scheme versatile at the NFL level, increasing his value in the draft.

With size comes impressive strength. Karlaftis’ high school heroics in track and field are a testament to his incredible upper body strength. The Purdue DE uses this on the football field, with multiple examples of him walking opposing linemen back towards the quarterback when hitting them square on.

18) Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Lloyd is a plug-and-play defender. His speed is what Jonathan Gannon needs.

Excerpt from Devin Lloyd’s NFL Scouting Report: Lloyd stands around 6’3″, 232 pounds, and sports a long, fairly compact frame, which helps to maximize his range in various situations. He has the size to linger closer to the line as an extra edge defender, and the length and explosiveness to knock linemen off-balance when engaging.

Beyond his size, Lloyd has promising movement ability. The Utah LB possesses exceptional lateral explosion and twitch, with solid closing speed when honing in on the catch point. He undoubtedly possesses a degree of sideline-to-sideline range. With his high-end explosiveness and solid long speed, he can be a tackling threat wherever the ball ends up.

19) New Orleans Saints (from PHI): Drake London, WR, USC

The Saints could use a go-up-and-get-it type.

Excerpt from Drake London’s NFL Scouting Report: Standing at 6’5″, you don’t have to look hard to find the USC WR amongst his teammates on tape. That size has some drawbacks, as we will get to later, but it also gives him some distinct advantages. London can use his significant size, combined with impressively long arms, to pluck the ball out of the air.

He’s displayed the ability to go up and secure the ball in contested-catch situations with ease. This is best demonstrated with his touchdown grab in double coverage against Arizona State.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Rather than reach for Matt Corral, the Steelers are better off waiting for the right quarterback and investing in their receiving corps with a player who will be great once he’s healthy.

Excerpt from Jameson Williams’ NFL Scouting Report: Williams is uncommonly explosive out of his stance, and he has legitimate game-breaking speed in space. His long, energetic strides are absurdly efficient, and he can gain separation with his elite acceleration alone. Williams is very dangerous when schemed into space, but he also has the skill set to create space on his own.

When he’s not taking the top off of defenses, Williams has proven to have strong run-after-catch ability. The Alabama WR has impressive lateral agility and elusiveness. He’s a jittery RAC threat who also has incredibly fluid hips. He can shrink himself and make sharp direction changes with ease. Williams is a sudden and twitchy receiver but also incredibly smooth and natural stacking moves.

21) New England Patriots: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Davis put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. He would be a great fit for the Patriots’ front seven.

Excerpt from Jordan Davis’ NFL Scouting Report: Size in itself doesn’t necessarily equate to success. Thankfully, Davis has a solid anchor that, once again, helps him to be an immovable object.

There were very few examples of him giving up ground to aggressive linemen at the point of attack. He combines that with a powerful profile that allows him to force offensive linemen back upfield or laterally if required.

In addition to being strong in both his upper and lower body, Davis exhibits powerful and violent hands. He also demonstrates excellent technical ability, routinely disengaging from blockers with smart hand usage.

22) Green Bay Packers (from LV): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Packers need to replace Davante Adams. Olave’s explosive presence allows them to accomplish that goal.

Excerpt from Chris Olave’s NFL Scouting Report: One of Olave’s best attributes is his athleticism. We can break this down into several critical areas, starting with speed. A former high school sprinter, Olave exhibits excellent play speed. It’s unlikely that he will be the fastest receiver at the NFL Combine, but he has the play speed to cause problems for defensive backs.

More impressive than his overall speed is his burst. Olave demonstrates a stellar ability to blast past defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. Using a combination of his explosion, play speed, and incredible fluidity of movement, Olave creates separation. His footwork at the line of scrimmage is impressive, allowing him to gain an immediate advantage, which he solidifies with extraordinary route-running prowess.

23) Arizona Cardinals: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

The Cardinals lost Chandler Jones in free agency. Drafting Ojabo, whose medical outlook is solid, allows them to build for the future.

Excerpt from David Ojabo’s NFL Scouting Report: At 6’5″, 250 pounds, Ojabo has impressive length and a fairly dense frame. That length provides a dangerous conduit for power. Additionally, he uses that length proactively to produce turnovers and disrupt passers in structure.

Ojabo’s frame is made even more dangerous by the exceptional athleticism contained within it. He has top-tier explosiveness off the snap, and he also has great torso flexibility. He can accelerate quickly while reducing his surface area and pinching the corner. Furthermore, he has a devastating ghost move, with which he uses his burst and contortion to shade by tackles with minimal contact.

24) Dallas Cowboys: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

Johnson is strong, athletic, and a great complement to Zack Martin to run the football.

Excerpt from Zion Johnson’s NFL Scouting Report: With two years of experience in a triple-option offense and one in Steve Addazio’s power-run scheme, it should come as no surprise that Johnson does his best work in the run game. The Boston College guard can play both gap and zone schemes, presenting a valuable level of versatility.

Johnson’s athletic ability helps ensure success in the run game. He has been used as a pulling guard and owns the speed to get out to the second level. In addition to the physical tools to succeed as a puller, the Boston College guard showcases an excellent understanding of lanes and angles.

25) Buffalo Bills: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

The Bills need more weapons to go with Stefon Diggs. Watson has shined throughout the draft process.

Excerpt from Christian Watson’s NFL Scouting Report: Watson’s speed makes him an incredibly versatile NFL Draft prospect. He’s been used in almost every conceivable offensive alignment. Watson has been deployed outside both to the boundary and field, in the slot, and in the backfield. NDSU utilizes him in motion in a multitude of ways. Additionally, he’s a dangerous kick returner.

With the ball in his hands, Watson has many appealing qualities. He possesses an arsenal of skill moves, including hurdles, jukes, and cuts. The NDSU WR is also extremely physical, possessing a nasty stiff-arm to fend off opponents. This physicality is also demonstrated by how difficult he is to bring down. Watson showcases impressive contact balance, rarely being stopped on the first attempt.

26) Tennessee Titans: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi

It’s time for the Titans to plan ahead. Corral can be the succession plan.

Excerpt from Matt Corral’s NFL Scouting Report: Poise plays a huge role in quarterback success, and Corral has shown dramatic improvements in this area of his game. Last season, when the going got tough, he was prone to making boneheaded decisions. This year, he’s been more measured and methodical in his approach when tasked with playing from behind.

Although he was the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class, Corral can make plays with his legs. The Ole Miss QB routinely uses athleticism to evade pressure in the pocket. His footwork is solid, enabling him to be agile in the pocket. Furthermore, he is elusive in the open field once out of the pocket.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

The Buccaneers retained Ryan Jensen but need an influx of size and talent around him.

Excerpt from Kenyon Green’s NFL Scouting Report: Green has an excellent stance. He lines up noticeably lower than his teammates, sinking his behind at the line of scrimmage. Green routinely proves the adage that the low man wins in the trenches, and it all begins with his stance. Additionally, he consistently plays with low pad level, allowing him to get up and under his opposition, manipulating them with handwork, leverage, and strength.

Green explodes out of his stance with athleticism and violence. He quickly gets his hands on his opponent, displaying a violent, strong, initial punch.

28) Green Bay Packers: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

The Packers lost Za’Darius Smith in free agency. Mafe represents an intriguing replacement.

Excerpt from Boye Mafe’s NFL Scouting Report: Mafe is as explosive as advertised on the field. He sports a torrid first step off the line, accelerating upfield quickly. His sheer explosiveness allows him to shoot through lanes and destroy blocking angles. And his closing acceleration, combined with his length, makes him difficult to evade as a pursuit defender.

As explosive as Mafe is, he’s not just a straight-line athlete. He has the lateral athleticism to veer across gaps and manipulate leverage at a moment’s notice. He’s also a twitched-up athlete who’s surprisingly sudden for his 6’4″, 255-pound frame. Mafe has a ton of potential energy stored within his frame on any given snap. He can use that twitch to generate displacement and explode around the edge.

29) Kansas City Chiefs (from SF via MIA): Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

Smith is simply too good to pass up.

Excerpt from Tyler Smith’s NFL Scouting Report: Smith has a strong base and a dense frame, with excellent core strength and power absorption capacity. He also has the high-level strength and power capacity to redirect players and drive them out of plays. But for his size, he’s also an eye-catching athlete.

The Tulsa OT explodes out of his stance heading upfield. He gears up quickly and carries great momentum into his blocks. Moreover, he’s an energetic, twitched-up athlete who easily flows to the second level.

30) Kansas City Chiefs: Logan Hall, DE, Houston

The Chiefs need to plan ahead with Frank Clark’s play in decline, which is why Logan Hall makes sense for the team looking to get back to the Super Bowl.

Excerpt from Logan Hall’s NFL Scouting Report: Hall possesses great initial explosiveness and burst, generating displacement quickly. He’s quick and energetic off the snap, which helps him build momentum and carry it forward into blocks.

The Houston DL also has the lateral athleticism to slip by punches and penetrate gaps in the running game. Furthermore, with his lateral athleticism, Hall stunts and covers ground swarming the pocket, and he can also execute spins after exerting his power and driving players back.

Speaking of power, Hall has tons of it. With his explosiveness and length, his speed-to-power conversion can be devastating for linemen. He can outmuscle weaker opponents with his sheer power and length in both phases, but his bull rush and long arm moves are dangerous. He has excellent leg drive when anchored and can bury defenders with his burst and power capacity.

31) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

The Bengals need to keep building their offensive line to protect star quarterback Joe Burrow.

Excerpt from Tyler Linderbaum’s NFL Scouting Report: The first thing that stands out about Linderbaum when you turn on the tape is his athleticism. He explodes out of his stance with exceptional fluidity. Once he’s out of his stance, he’s always moving, always on his feet. Linderbaum gets out to the second level exceptionally well in the run game, easily outpacing his compatriots on the offensive line. He demonstrates phenomenal play speed for a guy who is listed at 289 pounds.

Whether you are an offensive line expert or an untrained eye, the other thing that stands out is Linderbaum’s competitive toughness. The Iowa C plays hards on every single play. He looks to finish his opponent on every snap, leading to some impressive takedowns away from the action.

32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

We close out this 2022 NFL Mock Draft with the Detroit Lions. Having already drafted Thibodeaux, the Lions could use more help on defense — Hill will do just that.

Excerpt from Daxton Hill’s NFL Scouting Report: When Hill plays at full speed, he moves at a pace that few can match. Expectedly, the Michigan product has elite explosiveness and pursuit speed. These qualities combine into impressive range, both downfield and side to side.

Hill is an extremely twitchy athlete who possesses ample amounts of constant potential energy. He has the athleticism to quickly adjust his angles in tight spaces, and his speed and explosiveness allow him to make up ground when he reacts late. The Michigan S shows off intense closing burst at the tackle point, and his impressive proportional length allows him to handle 1-on-1 situations.

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