Wakefield’s October Mock Draft Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my October Mock Draft, if you missed Part 1 yesterday get it HERE.

But now you’re all caught up, let’s just get straight into the picks… Nobody reads these intros anyway.

17. Cincinnati Bengals – Tyler Linderbaum, Interior Offensive Line, Iowa

The Bengals offensive line has been a bone of contention for a number of years now but the unit does seem to have taken a step forward this year. Whilst it’s not been perfect, Joe Burrow has been afforded enough time and space to work his magic through five weeks of the year and Cincinnati has a decent record at 3-2.

That being said there is always room for improvement and I feel like they would be wise to continue to progress and build upon what is an improving line. Jonah Williams looks to have the left side of the line locked down, and the Bengals have also invested a group of day three picks in their line over the past few years with the likes of Hakeem Adeniji, Trey Hill, D’Ante Smith and Jackson Carmen. If one of those guys blossom, then the Bengals have the making of a nice, young line.

However, alongside the solid pieces you need a couple of stars, which is where Tyler Linderbaum comes in.

Simply put he’s the best center in college football, and the best player on the #2 ranked team in the country.

Linderbaum is a superb zone scheme center who excels in wide zone run schemes, made popular in recent years by the likes of Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, and one that Zac Taylor is very familiar with. A new best friend for Joey B, as well as Joe Mixon.

18. New Orleans Saints – Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

The Saints need some offensive playmakers, man. In terms of elite playmakers, Alvin Kamara is the mainstay and at the moment is the offense. Michael Thomas is still on the roster (how long until toys are ejected out of the pram again though?) and… well, that is about it.

The Saints need another dude, just because two isn’t enough but also because they need to insulate themselves from the possibility of losing Michael Thomas.

Olave can be a playmaker in the same kind of mould as Thomas in the NFL, and whilst Olave isn’t as big as Thomas both in terms of height and weight, he wins with similarly crisp route running, which when mixed with his bevvy of releases of the line, equates to him consistently being able to create separation from defenders.

Sean Payton is still one the premier offensive minds in the NFL and he would surely be able to make things happen with a space creator like Olave.

19. Tennessee Titans – Christian Harris, Linebacker Alabama

Another one of my favourite players of the draft class so far – This past summer, I was in love with Christian Harris’ tape and had a late first round grade on him, making him the best linebacker I had scouted.

Harris and fellow linebacker Henry To’oTo’o have formed a dynamic, sideline to sideline duo at the heart of the Crimson Tide defense this year and both look like NFL players playing amongst boys at times.

Harris, if selected here, would likely replace former Alabama linebacker and impending, Rashaan Evans.

Evans has been good, not great in his time in Nashville which may be part of the reason why Tennessee declined to pick up his fifth-year option. I feel like Evans could be in that no-man’s land of being good but not good enough to be kept around at a higher asking price, which is what it would take upon his renewal.

Those snaps need to go somewhere and to someone who is a starting calibre linebacker.

Job done. 

20. Denver Broncos – Sean Rhyan, Offensive Tackle, University of California, Los Angeles

Rhyan is a player who I am a fan of; I think he has NFL size and build as well as a good anchor, and requisite athleticism for the tackle position in today’s NFL, he’s also a powerful dude who can move people.

The issue with this pick is that Garrett Bolles signed a 4-year $68m contract last year, so this would be asking Rhyan to switch positions early in his career – And just ask Penei Sewell how easy that is.

The thing that I feel makes this work is that Bolles was an older rookie, making his first start after the age of 25, and just for a strange comparison to illustrate how old that is, Lamar Jackson isn’t even 25 yet, and this season is his fourth year.

In 2023 Bolles dead cap also drops to a more manageable level and it does so again in 2024, so by the time this is rolling around, Bolles is going to be playing either his age 31 or 32 season. By this time it could be time to cut bait and graduate Rhyan to the left side.

Rhyan’s power and run blocking ability could make him a nice fit on the right side of the line too.

21. Carolina Panthers – Kenyon Green, Offensive Line, Texas A&M

The fifth player on this list and we are already on the third offensive linemen, if you can’t tell just yet, this class is full of offensive line talent.

Kenyon Green is a violent and nasty lineman who was a star on the interior prior to this year and has kicked outside to left tackle for the 2021 season.

The aggression and nastiness manifests itself as controlled aggression too, which is fantastic to see and means that he’s not lunging or getting himself out of position too often, which would leave him and his QB open. Green is a finisher too, he will drive a defensive lineman, or god forbid a linebacker into the ground no problem at all.

To complete the list of strengths for Green is that he also has the requisite athleticism too – Which is probably what made A&M comfortable to put it outside rather than keep him inside, to me it probably wasn’t just a case of him being just their best lineman.

Carolina would get to add Green to their roster and they instantly become better and more versatile; Green could even be an Elgton Jenkins type of player who could play anywhere on the line to a high level, although I will caveat that by saying I don’t think he’s played center and would need to slim down a touch, but he’s that talented.

22. New York Giants via Chicago Bears – Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati

Just like their city neighbours the Jets, I have the Giants opting to double down on defense, with one selection in the trenches and another in the secondary.

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is a long, lean man-coverage corner who is former wide receiver and one of the stars of an ascending Cincinnati Bearcats programme who just this past weekend went ahead and won their fifth straight game to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Whilst the Giants have spent a good amount of free agency and draft capital on the cornerback position in recent times, I see no reason why having good players should stop them from drafting a potential great one – Especially in a division with Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, DeVonta Smith and… actually that’s it, Smith is the Eagles only guy.

To guard all of these guys your secondary needs a diverse group of corners; Big Blue has James Bradberry who is a very good corner, Adore’e Jackson who can look after the speedsters, and a twitchy slot guy like Darnay Holmes. Garner would add length to that group at 6’3 and he also raises the ceiling of the group too – Sauce is a true CB1 in waiting, and if he can tailor his game so that he’s still as effective but can dial down the physicality a  notch, he’ll be a star in the NFL.

23. Cleveland Browns – Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Does anyone feel sorry for Odell Beckham Jr. in Cleveland

I feel like he looks a shadow of himself right now and after the loss to the Chargers there were multiple media members who were pointing out that Beckham just seems to lack chemistry with Baker Mayfield.

Even in a game where 89 points were scored and over 1,000 yards of offense generated, OBJ accounted for 20 yards off of two catches?

Is it time to get rid? Maybe. He has just turned 29 and from next year his contract has zero deadcap.

Even if Beckham is on the Browns next year, it might be time to start looking for the next era now and get Donovan Peoples-Jones a running mate, because Jarvis Landry is the same age and in a similar contact situation.

Enter Ohio State wide receiver, Garrett Wilson.

Wilson is a route runner of the highest order in college football but he also has the athleticism to boot. Wilson also has inside/outside versatility and can do the funky stuff too, such as line up all of the formation, run reverses and is just a joy to watch with ball-in-hand.

I feel the contrast of styles and strengths between someone like Peoples-Jones and Wilson would make this a very tasty tandem on the shores of Lake Erie. 

24. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams – David Bell, Wide Receiver, Purdue

In terms of skill set, I could copy and paste the above from Garrett Wilson and apply the same right here to Purdue’s David Bell.

Bell is taller and thicker but has the same YAC-ability that Wilson possesses too – incidentally, both of these receivers were offered basketball scholarships coming out of high school too, so this speaks to their fleet-footedness and elasticity when running routes to leave defenders in their wake.

From a team building standpoint I feel like this pick makes a lot of sense too.

Firstly, if you take a rookie QB, he’s going to want a receiver who he can come of age with and build chemistry with from day 1, even if he isn’t starting because once he is exposed to the harsh realities of the NFL, he’s going to want a guy he can trusts out there.

Secondly, the Detroit receiver room is bottom of the league so go and get a guy, which is what David Bell can be.

25. Las Vegas Raiders – Akayeb Evans, Cornerback, Missouri

Yeah, this is probably a round early but it’s also the Raiders. Although after the… shall we say, happenings of the past few days in Vegas, the draft strategy could change before April.

I think this just feels like a Raiders kind of pick; a 6’2, long, rangy corner who can play press-man but is also comfortable in zone too (which might be more relevant is Gus Bradley survives the shuffle), add in the fact Evans can run too, and you have a pick that can be made, albeit as mentioned too early at this stage.

Evans has made the step up from Tulsa to Missouri and he’s settled into life in the SEC well, which I feel shows that the ceiling hasn’t yet been reached.

I am jesting (a little) about this pick being a little early but truth be told, Evans is a player I am high on, maybe more so than others, I think he really does have all the ingredients to be a high level NFL corner.

From a team point of view, I don’t feel like the Raiders have anyone at corner who they can really hang their hat on either, so Evans has the potential to elevate that group and be the CB1 early in his career.

26. Buffalo Bills – Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, Washington

Washington produces really top quality defensive backs, year in and year out but they do seem to drop to the second round; Buddha Baker, Byron Murphy, Sidney Jones, and even to the third in the case of Elijah Molden.

But no more.

Trent McDuffie is another one off the production line from the Pacific Northwest and he could be the best of the lot. Undersized but plays much bigger than he is, McDuffie can be an outside corner in the NFL with the flexibility to play inside when needed.

McDuffie understands route and concepts, he is smooth and has good change of direction skills, so he can combine his understanding with those oily joints to stick with receivers.

He could do with having an uptick in ball production and splash plays but really that’s one of the only downsides to his game.

Buffalo would add strength on strength here adding McDuffie to a talented secondary – But in the AFC with all the QB talent and high-powered offenses, a deep defensive backfield is very necessary.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derion Kendrick, Cornerback, Georgia

Another talented corner comes off the board in the first round here and this time it’s former Clemson, now Georgia corner Derion Kendrick.

Kendrick is a first round talent but he needs to keep proving his commitment to the game and his team after leaving Clemson under a cloud last year.

Kendrick has a background of playing QB and wide receiver so he understands offensive football and uses that advanced understanding to his advantage when identifying concepts and plays that the opponent is running.

He was actually recruited to Clemson as a wide receiver and played the position for a year before switching to defense. This means he is still learning the position and it can show at times in his technique as a corner, so perhaps not overloading his plate in year 1 in the NFL would be needed but the ceiling is sky high and for a team like Tampa, they already have a bevvy of young and talented DBs.

28. Green Bay Packers – Nicholas Petit-Frere, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State

Nicholas Petit-Frere is a former five-star recruit whose journey at Ohio State has been a little bit of a slow burn, however, he is now really starting to show exactly what he can do and is blooming right before our eyes.

NPF started as a right tackle for the Buckeyes but this year he has been switched with Thylor Munford and now resides on the left side of the line, and he is having a great year!

Already possessing an NFL body-type, good technique, anchor and understanding of leverage, it feels like he’s another lineman who is good to go at the next level and another lineman in a super-impressive class.

Green Bay could start him on the right side and allow him to cut his teeth over there before taking over from David Bakhtiari on the left in years to come.

Having Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and NPF might even be enough to make Aaron Rodgers stay another year.

29. Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, Interior Defensive Line, Georgia

As much as the Chargers are having a great start to the season and look to be set for a great year, there is one thing his defense needs and it’s a big body in the middle of the defensive line.

Davis is 340lbs, he’s huge, he’s dominant in the run game but he can also move.

Whilst I feel he can play as a 0 or a 1 technique in the middle of the line, I have seen him moved around on the line, which will be music to the ears of Brandon Staley and will also mean that he retains value as a three down player despite being well over 300lbs.

Power is the name of the game for Davis, although at 340lbs that is no shock, what is a nice surprise however is the consistent effort and a little bit of a pass rush arsenal that he possesses.

Not a stat stuffer by any means and probably won’t ever break 6 sacks a season but he’ll do the dirty work and provide the Bolts with a younger alternative to Linval Joseph.

30. Dallas Cowboys – Georgia Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

As much as I have spoken about this being a good offensive line class, well it needs to be because the class of 2022 is also full of good edge defenders too, with George Karlaftis being the first of three to finish off this first round mock.

Dallas needs a running mate for DeMarcus Lawrence, they’ve lacked one the whole time Lawrence has been around (sorry Robert Quinn) and it allows other teams to game plan for Tank and take him out of the game.

Karlaftis is a hugely powerful player who can bullrush and collapse the pocket, and these skills have led to a highly-productive college career, which should translate to the NFL nicely in an even front such as what the Cowboys run.

Personally I’m not huge on Karlaftis, as I don’t see a huge amount of bend in his hips and ankles, and feel he’s a quite linear player, however, I feel like the NFL will love him when he destroys the combine in March.

31. Baltimore Ravens – Drake Jackson, Edge, University of Southern California

Compared to Karlaftis, Drake Jackson might as well be playing a completely different sport.

Whereas Karlaftis has the height and weight of a typical edge rusher, Jackson is far more slight coming in at around 250lbs to Karlaftis’ 275. 

Jackson wins in completely different ways too; he is all about bend and ankle flexion, and doing everything he can to flatten the arc to the QB and take him down.

Jackson also possesses a nasty inside-spin move that he can unleash after setting up the tackle by threatening his outside shoulder beforehand.

I like that he has this kind of pass rush plan and is clearly thinking on the field, instead of simply running at the guy with the ball in his hands.

I feel like he’s a great fit for the Ravens with the speed he possesses too, as well as his fit in an odd front and ability to drop into coverage if needed.

Odafe Oweh and Jackson would make just about the speediest edge duo in the league!

32. Arizona Cardinals – Nik Bonitto, Edge, Oklahoma

And finally, another edge defender in Nik Bonitto who again is almost a third different kind of pass rusher than the previous two yet again.

Bonitto is another slim and thin edge, who possesses a lot of speed and bend, much like Drake Jackson, however, he is only 6’2, as opposed to the 6’4 that Jackson and Karlaftis measure up at, and he’s another 15lbs lighter than Jackson.

Bonitto has the added skill of being extremely comfortable in space when dropping into coverage.

Arizona would have a crazy diverse linebacking room with the likes of Isaiah Simmons, Zavon Collins and then Bonitto too!

Bonitto is definitely an edge, just to reiterate but Vance Joseph would be able to mix up some funky front and looks, which could confused the QB as he wouldn’t know who is coming and who is dropping with those linebackers as well as the likes of JJ Watt and if he sticks around and re-signs, Chandler Jones.

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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