Way Too Early 2022 Mock Draft

Welcome to Draft Season!

2022 Draft Season. We all know that the draft season never sleeps and today, Monday 3rd May 2021 is the very first day of the 2022 draft season.

Feeling bummed out at your team’s draft selections this weekend? Well you’ve come to the right place!

Disclaimer – The draft order is taken from the reverse Vegas odds, so don’t tweet at me if you think your team is picking too high because, yeah, you could be right.

  1. Houston Texans, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

The Texans lost JJ Watt to the Cardinals this offseason and haven’t had the draft capital to do so this weekend. Thibodeaux will enter the season as one of the most feared edge defenders in college football and whilst he’s a different kind of player to Watt, he should be able to add juice to the Texans front again.

  1. Detroit Lions, Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

Does anyone believe that Jared Goff is the long-term answer in the Motor City?

Goff was a makeweight in the deal that took Matt Stafford to LA, in order to give him a chance to actually win some games. Goff’s contract is a hefty one and he’s not a terrible QB but Rattler is probably the most naturally gifted of this coming year’s QB crop.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals, Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

With the selection of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase the LSU to Cincinnati connection is running strong these days. The Bengals go back to that well here and pick up the number one cover corner in college football in Derek Stingley Jr.

  1. New York Jets, Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Kyle Hamilton will be one of the best safeties to enter the league in a number of years when he comes out after the next season. This may feel high for a safety, but in the NFL in 2021, certain players transcend the pigeonholes of positions – Kyle Pitts wasn’t “just a Tight End”, right?

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars, Drake Jackson, Edge, Southern California 

A team can never have enough pass rushers and even though the Jaguars recently selected K’Lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen, there is absolutely no harm in adding another. Jackson could come into that rotation adding even more speed and quickness to the Jaguars front 7. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles, Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

If Philadelphia is picking at 6th overall in the 2022 draft, the Jalen Hurts experiment probably didn’t go so well. Sam Howell could be the pick for the Eagles as they look to sink a premium draft pick into the position by selecting the strong-armed and athletic UNC QB. 

  1. New York Giants, Kedon Slovis, QB, Southern California

Much like their divisional rivals in front of them, if the Giants are back picking in the top 10, Daniel Jones has flopped and is probably on his way out on the Big Apple. This, of course, means that it’s time for a new era under center for Big Blue. The next QB off the shelf could be Kedon Slovis so long as he rediscovers his Freshman form.

  1. Atlanta Falcons, Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Falcons need to stop just getting by on the boundaries with corners that they pick in the mid-rounds. Elam is a long and rangy corner who will add some star power to the Falcons cornerback room. Watch out for Elam on the Gators this coming season, he should be one of the better corners in college football.

  1. Carolina Panthers, Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

This could also be a QB depending on how Sam Darnold plays in 2021 but I am doing to give the reclamation project and give the Panthers a player who will make his life easier.

Measuring up at 6”7 and weighing in at 360lbs, Neal is a physically imposing tackle prospect with experience playing multiple spots on the offensive line, but he’ll be the left tackle in Charlotte.

  1. New York Giants, LaBryan Ray, IDL, Alabama

Back-to-back Alabama players in the trenches as the Giants, true to form, draft a giant. Ray will come in and supplement the investment they have made in the contract that they awarded to Leonard Williams and also the selection of Dexter Lawrence in 2019. 

  1. Washington Football Team, Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

Brandon Scherff is a free agent and Ereck Flowers has $0m of dead cap after this season and will save the Football Team just south of $10m of cap space.With this in mind it will be a prudent selection for Washington to take an interior lineman in 2022 so they are going ahead and taking a guy who is potentially one of the best at the position next year. Boston College’s offensive line should be absolutely stacked since they brought everyone back – Side note, watch out for this team, running back David Bailey and of course, Phil Jurkovec at QB.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders, Nik Bonitto, Edge, Oklahoma

Nik Bonitto is another off the production line from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A disruptive outside linebacker who will add some star power to Gus Bradley’s defense and be that movable, stand-up piece off the edge for the Raiders.

  1. Denver Broncos, Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

Ohio State has another batch of top class offensive linemen on the verge of entering the NFL and Nicholas Petit-Frere is right up there with the best of them. NPF is pegged as the right tackle in Columbus next year – a position that may be up for grabs if Ja’Wuan James doesn’t perform in Mile High next season.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers, Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

The Chargers didn’t address the defensive line at all this weekend, and the only pass rusher they added was the intriguing yet vastly undersized Chris Rumph II out of Duke. Hutchinson would give the Bolts a high quality edge defender who could make a long term book end to Joey Bosa. In Brandon Staley’s defense Bosa would be the star, stand-up rusher and Hutchinson would add to the likes of Jerry Tillery and Justin Jones as down linemen who move around to create one-on-one match ups across the line of scrimmage. Adding a lineman like Hutchinson would mean havoc and chaos ensued on most snaps.

  1. Minnesota Vikings, Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

Mike Zimmer has two types in the first round of the NFL draft; athletic offensive lineman or long athletic cornerbacks. Josh Jobe falls into the latter category!

Jobe will be heading into his senior season as the CB1 in Tuscaloosa which usually means with a good season, you’re heading for the NFL via a premium pick within the top 50 of the draft.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers, Desmind Ridder, QB, Cincinnati 

Ben Roethlistburger is probably going to hang them up at the end of this coming NFL season which means Mike Tomlin will be bringing in a fresh era of Pittsburgh Steelers football this time in 12 month.

With another really positive step forward throughout the next college football season, Desmond Ridder can cement himself as a first round QB for the 2022 draft.

He’s got everything teams are looking for in a modern NFL QB.

  1. Arizona Cardinals, Myjai Sanders, Edge, Cincinnati

Back-to-back Bearcats for me in the middle of the first round! Which speaks to the amount of buy-in I have for this team in 2021. If Cincy can ride the wave of last season and their big players can continue to carry this team they will continue to get drafted, they’ll continue to be ranked and Head Coach Luke Fickell will be going to the NFL with them.

Sanders is an undersized and bendy edge defender who could replace Chandler Jones

  1. Tennessee Titans, Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa 

Dillon Radunz was the sole investment in the Titans offensive line over the weekend, and even though I say that, it isn’t exactly a unit in need of an overhaul or even massive strengthening. Linderbaum should be one of the better centers in the 2022 crop and it would be prudent if Tennessee continued to keep Derrick Henry’s blockers fresh.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins), DeMarvin Leal, Edge, Texas A&M

It’s well and truly rebuilding season in the City of Brotherly Love, with this selection being the first of three first round picks that the Eagles currently hold. After snagging their QB of the future earlier in the first round, they make a move to refresh their defensive line – Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett are free agents after this coming year.

  1. Dallas Cowboys, George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

Isn’t it about time that the Cowboys got a running mate for DeMarcus Lawrence? I really feel like they have neglected the edges of their defensive line. The ‘Boys have invested on the interior with the likes of Trysten Hill, Neville Gallimore and now Osa Odighizuwa but outside of mid-round selections, there hasn’t been that same commitment to the edges. Karlaftis gives them another physical presence off the edge to really round off the defensive line in Dallas.

  1. New Orleans Saints, Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Long time listeners to the podcast will know that I am no big fan of Jameis Winston and the other “quarterback” in New Orleans is a tight end, so the logical pick is to take a player who can both pass and run, combining the two supposed skill sets of Winstom and Taysom Hill.

Malik Willis is that guy.

Yes, he only plays for Liberty but if he and the Flames have another season like they did last year, Willis will be a hot commodity come draft weekend.

  1. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks), Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Jets opened up this past weekend but taking their franchise QB and then spent a number of picks making his life easier by way of offensive lineman, a running back and a speedy slot receiver, in Alijah Vera-Tucker, Michael Carter and Elijah Moore.

However, despite drafting Denzel Mims in 2020 and bringing in Corey Davis in free agency, the Jets will still need more firepower if they are aiming to compete with the Bills and Dolphins at some point in the future. Chris Olave will be the guy for the Jets and take the offense to another level.

  1. New England Patriots, Drake London, WR, Southern California

The Patriots are another team who don’t have a dominant wide receiver on the roster right now. They don’t have a pass catcher that defenses will fear, especially given the level of the best defenses in the division in Miami and Buffalo.

Drake London gives the Patriots a Mike Evans-style body type on the outside and is primed for a breakout season at USC next year. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (via Indianapolis Colts), Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M

Nick Sirriani and the Eagles will be running a good amount of two tight end sets and will be on the lookout for another one as 2021 is almost certainly the final year of Zach Ertz in Philadelphia.

Jalen Wydermyer comes into the season as one of the best draft eligible tight ends and should be primed for a big year on the Texas A&M team who should be on for a big year.

  1. Cleveland Browns, John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

The Browns have a heck of a lot of money tied up in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021 but after that, both of their contracts become much easier to move on from. John Metchie III could be a fantastic replacement for either of the aforementioned veterans – He’ll be the number one target for Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide, so he’ll be another player who is primed for a big year and one that’ll take place under the glare of the national spotlight.

  1. Buffalo Bills, Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

The Bills didn’t address the running back room this weekend, which leaves their top three running backs are Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and Matt Breida.

Is this good enough if you want to have a dominant running game? I’m not sure.

The Bills have got a stacked roster in almost every way and with another season of dominance from Hall at Iowa State and he could be the first running back taken in the 2022 draft.

  1. Green Bay Packers, Thaylor Munford, OT, Ohio State

Green Bay brought in a lot of offensive linemen this weekend; Josh Myers at center, Royce Newman at tackle and Cole Van Lanen on the interior. Add these to studs like David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins and the Packers look like they may have a strong and deep offensive line for a few years. So what better to do than to continue to keep adding strength on strength?

Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to be in Green Bay forever (or for long, one of the two) so the keys to the offense will get turned over to Jordan Love at some point and a solid offensive line will make his transition from the bench to the field much easier.

The pick of Ohio State left tackle, Thaylor Munford gives then a right tackle right now and an heir to Bakhtiari in future, which is a great investment.

  1. Baltimore Ravens, Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

Just before draft weekend, the Ravens traded Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs and despite the strong rumours that the Ravens are about to sign Alejandro Villanueva, this isn’t a long term solution, plus Villanueva did not perform at a high level last season in Pittsburgh.

Walker is a premier tackle in the college football ranks in terms of pass protection, he’s also really athletic and intelligent. He needs to develop his body and also as a run blocker but he can do that over the next 12 months.

  1. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams), Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

The Lions made a heavy investment in their defense over the past few days in the mid-rounds. This will add depth and they should get a good contribution from the likes of Ifeatu Melifonwu, Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeil on the front and back ends of the defense.

However, they did not invest at linebacker – Christan Harris should be the next linebacker off the conveyor belt at Alabama and will be the leader of that unit this coming year.

  1. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers), Kryen Williams, RB, Notre Dame 

The Dolphins may have been gazumped by the Denver Broncos for Javonte Williams in the second round and didn’t address the running back position until round 7 where they took Gerrid Doaks.

Much like division rivals the Buffalo Bills, this pick is about adding star-power to an offense which looks pretty much set everywhere else.

The Notre Dame offense will be much changed with regards to the quarterback and offensive line. Williams will be the star of the show and should make life easier for Jack Coan under center.  

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Could the Bucs keep Chris Godwin again after this season? They also brought Antonio Brown back on a 1-year deal. So there could be an opening or two at the receiver position.

The Bucs could use a pass rusher, they could also use a replacement for Ryan Jensen At center but whilst Brady is in Tampa, he’s going to want weapons so he can continue to operate in a high-powered offense until the day that he hangs it up.

Garrett Wilson helps to fill the void and give Mike Evans another partner in crime for the foreseeable future.

  1. Kansas Chiefs, Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

The Chiefs reacted to their Superbowl loss and the manner of it, by investing in the offensive line this offseason.

The Chiefs swung from the fences and brought in Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Kyle Long and then drafted Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith.

Kenyon Green gives them another premier option on the interior of the line – He’s got the nasty and the athleticism for an Andy Reid offense.

By Lee Wakefield (@Wakefield90)

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