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The81Nation's 2022 Mock Draft 2.0
Published at 4/11/2022 1:20:27 PM
A 2022 draft without trades, as they are too random to predict. Making picks based on analysis and team needs. Feel free to comment, criticize and critique!
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Jacksonville has their franchise quarterback, but that did not stop their trend of mediocrity. Terrible offensive line play and a sub-par defense set Trevor Lawrence up for failure. Cam Robinson was just signed to a massive extension and Brandon Scherff was signed in free agency to help boost the line. I'm not high on Robinson at all and could see Jacksonville using this pick to protect their quarterback with either Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal. However, the hype train always surrounds the number 1 pick, and Aidan Hutchinson is riding the wave. He has an elite build, unstoppable motor and incredible intangibles and all of those things are elements this Jaguars defense desperately needs.
The Lions have a lot of work to do, but they made no real splashes in free agency other than signing DJ Chark. Clearly they are committed to building through the draft, and they start in my mind by picking the highest-rated pass rusher available. Kayvon Thibodeaux has an incredible build and elite pass-rushing skill but is coming off an injury. He should be 100% by the regular season and if he is as disruptive at the NFL level as he was in college, then Detroit may have found a defensive cornerstone.
Houston has a LOT of work to do. And I mean a LOT. Their offensive line is abysmal, they have no definite starting quarterback, running back or tight end and their best receiver is Brandin Cooks. And that's just the offense! It needs help and help quick. Evan Neal is an incredibly versatile lineman who played both guard and tackle and should be a plug-and-play immediately for the Texans O-line.
The Jets did very well in free agency bolstering their offensive line. I think with this draft they focus on defense and getting Zach Wilson some weapons. First, they start with Derek Stingley, a pure cover corner who started since his freshman season and only allowed a 41.1% completion percentage for his entire collegiate career. He hasn't played in some time, but he has the potential to be a force that the Jets have missed since Darrelle Revis left.
This is a difficult pick for me because The Giants have a lot of potential to use with both of their first-rounders and it seems redundant every year when they need to pick a tackle. But it's true. They seem committed to giving Daniel Jones one more honest shot of a season, and if they do they will want to protect him. Ikem Ekwonu is a dominant run blocker and a prototypical right tackle to play right away. Paired with last year's first-rounder, Andrew Thomas, Jones should have a solid pair of young tackles and no excuses left.
This pick has so many different paths it could go on. Carolina desperately needs better offensive line play, and they need to replace pass-rushing specialist Hasaan Reddick, but the big question lies at quarterback. I am not high at all on this QB class, and I would be amazed if Carolina uses the 6th overall pick on any passer other than Kenny Pickett. I could easily see Carolina trading down and selecting a franchise man, but if they don't, Charles Cross would be a good option. He only gave up 16 pressures last season and against the elite defenses of the SEC. That's no small accomplishment.
I'm not going to lie, I am VERY tempted to put Tyler Linderbaum here. The Giants just signed Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski who can play guard and the picks of Ekwonu and Linderbaum would complete the set. That being said, doubling down on the offensive line when you have two top-ten first-round picks is not wise at all. The Giants could use Devin Lloyd's rare blend of athleticism and hitting power as a leader on this defense.
Atlanta takes a much-needed risk. With their only viable receiving option gambling (pun intended) on other career options, they need a number 1 receiver and fast. Drake London was destroying defenses last season before he broke his ankle. If he can come back to 100%, Matt Ryan may extend his career a few years.
I do not trust Drew Lock as far as I can throw him. I know he was part of the Russell Wilson trade, but so was this pick. The QB class this year is confusing because each brings a different thing to the table. Howell is a playmaker that can extend plays with his legs, which should sound familiar to the Seattle crowd. If they can get him to come off his first look and improve his decision-making, Howell could be a fine starter.
This is incredibly out of character for the Jets, but here they go with a safe pick. After adding Stingley at 4, they can start to get weapons for Zach Wilson, and Garrett Wilson is a consistent producer. His production doesn't drop wherever you line him up and that's a key factor in today's offenses.
Say what you want, I think the Commanders (that's right it's the Commanders, @WalterFootball fix your website) came out on top with the Carson Wentz trade. He produces on the field consistently and they were able to keep their first-round pick. The Commanders' secondary needs some work, and they couldn't be happier that Hamilton fell this far. He could start at either safety spot, as his versatility and work ethic are both extremely high.
The Vikings are my pick to be sneaky good this season. If they shore up their guards (they didn't have a guard rated in the top 50 eligible players) and defensive backfield... watch out. Ahmad Gardner is a beast of a corner (he allowed only 131 yards all last season) who fills a need immediately.
I don't buy any hype about starting Davis Mills. I don't buy it. Mills played ok as a starter, with nice games against New England and Tennessee, but it was not enough to establish himself as "the guy" in Houston by any stretch. If anything, I can see him as a game-managing backup. Matt Corral was a top 5 pick before going into last season. He's a true dual-threat but needs to be able to hang in the pocket to allow his smooth release to work. He should bring some excitement to this offense.
Baltimore suffered from injuries and very inconsistent quarterback play. Lamar Jackson definitely regressed this season as a passer and he will need to play better in 2022. Adding another receiver to compliment Marquise Brown will be important, and Treylon Burks does just that. His size for blocking and potential as a vertical threat should fit in this offense nicely.
The Eagles' offense has to add a receiver and some guards but they should absolutely grab Nakobe Dean if he's available. He has incredible playmaking skills and is consistently around the football. He would form a solid corps with TJ Edwards and Kyzir White.
The Saints have many needs and many unknowns moving forward. Their left tackle and tight end positions are up for grabs and the linebacking corps could use more star power, but the ultimate questions lie in the receiving corps and who will start at quarterback. Jameis Winston is going to be given the first crack and Taysom Hill is being moved for a try at tight end, so I think they use their first pick on a compliment to Michale Thomas, who has been nothing but sheer disappointment for the last two years. Olave is a crisp route runner with excellent hands and can give the Saints' future QB, whoever it may be, an honest shot.