2022 3-Round NFL Mock Draft: Round 1 | Picks 17-32
The run on wide receivers begins now!
17) Los Angeles Chargers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
There’s not a single first-round fit that feels better than Jameson Williams becoming a Charger. They have a need at the position, and Williams’ skill set perfectly fits what the Chargers are looking for from a receiver. And the best part about Williams is he has the potential to develop into a legitimate WR1. He’ll become an immediate vertical stretcher while filling LA’s long-term WR1 need.
18) Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Drake London, WR, USC
Yes, this has been a LOT of wide receivers for Philadelphia early in the draft over the years. That’s partly why this pick makes sense. They’re not afraid to invest in the position early. However, they’ve also stunk at evaluating the position, sans DeVonta Smith.
Drake London is an alpha receiver. He’s arguably the best contested pass catcher in recent history, but that’s far from the only highlight of his game. London is flexible and explosive in and out of breaks, and his understanding of how to attack defenses underneath in both man and zone improves weekly.
19) New Orleans Saints (from PHI): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Commanders aren’t the only team stacking Ohio State receivers. Chris Olave joins Michael Thomas as the second Buckeye receiver on the Saints roster. His play strength will need to improve to attack press coverage consistently, but teams can’t play press on every rep, and offenses aren’t static. Olave was a touchdown machine in college, thanks to his route running in the red zone and impressive catch radius.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Pittsburgh Steelers can’t sell hope on Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky. While Desmond Ridder isn’t the same caliber of prospect as any of the top 2021 QBs, he has a ton to like on tape. He’s mechanically proper with good athleticism and flashes an outstanding process. However, while he’s an aesthetically pleasing passer, Ridder’s accuracy is consistently inconsistent. If he can improve on that, he’ll end up being the Steelers’ franchise QB.
21) New England Patriots: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Andrew Booth Jr. feels like a perfect fit for Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense. He is a moldable ball of clay. Athletically, there’s nothing he can’t do. He’s endlessly fluid and possesses outstanding explosiveness. Booth displays good route anticipation but can be a bit jumpy at times on double moves. As he becomes more consistent, he could be one of the better cornerbacks in the league.
22) Green Bay Packers (from LV): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Green Bay Packers already needed help at wide receiver, and then they lost Davante Adams in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. Treylon Burks must arrive in Green Bay as a ready-made WR1, at least in his ability to eat a massive amount of targets. He’s not Adams in any way, shape, or form, but he helps Green Bay infuse some talent in an underwhelming unit.
23) Arizona Cardinals: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Arizona Cardinals don’t necessarily need a starting right tackle immediately, but they’re getting one here. Kelvin Beachum will be 33 soon, and he is in the final year of his deal. Trevor Penning provides an immediate upgrade and a bit of comic relief whenever the tower of a man stands next to his quarterback.
One thing is certain — no matter how good or bad Penning is as a pro, he’ll protect Kyler Murray all the way to (and through) the whistle. And the first time Murray is hit late on a slide, look for Penning’s skyscraper frame to lug across the field and light up the transgressive defender.
24) Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
The Cowboys have practically telegraphed their direction for Round 1. While Zion Johnson could very well be the pick here (and might be the better guard), Kenyon Green has the positional flexibility Dallas loves. With no current high-end option as a swing tackle, Green could be that if/when Tyron Smith has to miss a few games with injury.
25) Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Kaiir Elam has consistently slipped in mock drafts throughout the 2022 NFL Draft cycle, but why? He has everything you’d want in a cornerback prospect. The only downside to his game is his tendency to be a bit physical downfield. But Jaycee Horn was physical downfield, too, and went eighth overall. Elam could stand to play a bit more controlled, but having safeties like Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde to help him out will be a huge benefit.
26) Tennessee Titans: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Aside from being an older prospect, there are really no issues with Devin Lloyd. He’s the cleanest of the linebacker prospects in the class and the most natural coverage player among the group. He doesn’t necessarily play with much power, but his length helps him ward off blockers, as does his lateral agility. Tennessee has a massive need for linebackers, and they get the best one in the draft late in Round 1.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Maybe it’s the Tom Brady effect, but the Buccaneers sure seem dipped in it, don’t they? After Brady announced his return, they brought nearly the whole band back together. The only missing piece was Ali Marpet following his surprising retirement. Now, they’ve upgraded at right guard with the Shaq Mason trade and nabbed arguably the best interior blocker in the class with Zion Johnson.
28) Green Bay Packers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
George Karlaftis has seen his stock fall and rise like a roller coaster. His game might be perfect for the Packers. He’s athletic enough to play as an OLB occasionally, and he’s big and physical enough to where his best spot might be as a 5-technique. His explosiveness jumps off the tape, and while he doesn’t have ideal anatomical length, Karlaftis excels at getting into the chest of blockers and converting speed to power with a single long-arm move.
29) Kansas City Chiefs (from SF via MIA): George Pickens, WR, Georgia
The Chiefs lack a top-end receiver following the departure of Tyreek Hill. While he won’t replace Hill, George Pickens has legitimate WR1 potential. He has excellent size and athleticism, and he does a great job tracking the football, which fits Patrick Mahomes’ playmaking ability.
30) Kansas City Chiefs: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
Tariq Woolen must grow mentally before he sees consistent playing time, but the Chiefs have a knack for taking unbelievable athletes and turning them into competent NFL cornerbacks. They did it with L’Jarius Sneed, and Woolen is a ridiculous athlete. Because of his height (6-foot-4), he might always struggle to mirror smaller, shifter receivers. However, they don’t teach his athletic profile, and the NFL is sure to love his potential.
31) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
On tape alone, Tyler Linderbaum is one of the best players in the class. However, center is the least-drafted position in the first round, and Linderbaum doesn’t exactly hit all the NFL’s archaic measurement thresholds. A year after seeing Creed Humphrey fall to the end of Round 2, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Linderbaum meet a similar fate. But if the Bengals do not draft him, they’ll regret it.
32) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Jahan Dotson is one of the most sudden receivers in the draft. He also has some of the softest hands in the class. He can play anywhere on the field and is a good complement to Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark. A year after having one of the most underwhelming receiving corps in league history, the Lions turn around and add enough talent to be respectable at receiver for 2022.