GTM Mock Draft: Jaguars Go Offensive Line
NFL Super Bowl - On November 1, 2021, the Los Angeles Rams posted a three-word Tweet: "We're all in." After blockbuster trades for cornerback Jalen Ramsey and quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams were officially declaring that adding edge rusher Von Miller in another trade meant they were definitely Super Bowl or bust. And they did not disappoint! This Super Bowl-winning result will go a long way to validating the strategy of Rams general manager Les Snead to mortgage the team's future in favor of the present. One has to wonder if other teams will take up that mantle in future seasons.
For fans of the Rams and Bengals, welcome to draft season. Actually, that welcome really only applies to Bengals fans—the Rams don't have a first-round pick this year or next thanks to the aforementioned Matthew Stafford trade, and they don't have a pick at all in this draft until the supplemental draft selections at the end of the third round (which they received due to the Lions hiring current general manager Brad Holmes). Good times!
And what is the age-old sign of the start of draft season in the Internet age? The avalanche of mock drafts that are released after the Super Bowl. So let's dig into that. Before I start this mock draft, let's set some ground rules about what this no-trade mock draft will be based on:
- Each player's Grinding the Mocks Expected Draft Position (EDP).
- The drafting team's most mocked players and positions.
- The drafting regime's history of selecting players earlier or later than EDP.
- The approximate breakdown of players by Expected Draft Round (EDR) for actual first-round draft selections at this point in the draft process.
According to this chart, this mock draft should approximately include:
- 23 players with a first-round EDR (I decided it would be too difficult to try to find the needle in a haystack for the player who wasn't eligible for an EDP yet).
- Six players with a second-round EDR.
- Two players with a third-round EDR.
- One player with a fourth-round EDR.
And away we go!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
After the 2021 NFL season, it's hard not to feel like the Urban Meyer/Trent Baalke regime wasted a precious year of Trevor Lawrence's development. And while Doug Pederson should help provide Lawrence with a more stable environment, wide receiver feels like a much bigger need than offensive tackle for the 2022 Jaguars. However, no wide receiver is rated high enough in Grinding the Mocks to justify using the top overall pick on him, so the top quarterback-adjacent player is Alabama's Evan Neal. Neal is no consolation prize, though. He was the top player on Bruce Feldman's Freaks List last summer and projects to anchor the Jaguars offensive line for years to come.
2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, ER, Michigan
The Lions are in the midst of a full-blown rebuild and there's no denying that they're working to build the foundation of a strong team. They're relatively flushed with draft capital (in the 85th percentile according to an analysis by Arjun Menon) but lack a top-flight quarterback to build around. Unfortunately, this class doesn't highlight a quarterback prospect worthy of this high a draft selection. So this decision assumes that they decide to add on to the investments they began in last year's draft, when they selected linemen with their first three draft picks, by selecting the top edge rusher in this year's class, Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson was one of the nation's top players, finishing second in Heisman Trophy balloting, and a top athlete to boot—he was the second player listed on Feldman's Freaks List.
3. Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Texans are in a weird place. Davis Mills was largely ineffective this season (he finished 24th in DVOA) with a roster that had strong expansion team vibes. The Texans have once again put their future in the hands of a Bill Belichick acolyte, but this time in the front office with the hiring of Nick Caserio instead of on the sidelines (Romeo Crennell, Bill O'Brien, etc.). The Patriots have historically built their teams from the back to the front with a large emphasis on strong secondary play. So who is the top secondary prospect in this class? Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton. The future of the Texans hinges largely on what kind of deal they can strike for their Schrödinger's cat of a quarterback, Deshaun Watson. But in the meantime, they should try to build the best team they can, and Hamilton is a good place to start.
4. New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, ER, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux entered the 2022 NFL draft process as the Grinding the Mocks Pre-Season Top 32's top edge rusher prospect, and also as the top non-quarterback prospect, so this is a little bit of a fall for him. He had a solid season for Oregon as they fell short of winning the Pac-12 title, but his performance paled in comparison to Aidan Hutchinson's. His relative "fall" is a boon for the Jets, who, after spending their first four selections of the 2021 draft on offensive players, have the fortune of having two top-10 picks in a defense-rich draft.
5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Giants hoped that they would be picking later than this coming into the 2021 NFL season, but unfortunately, thanks to poor drafting and incompetent head coaching, they find themselves drafting in the top 10 for the fifth year in a row and with a new general manager and head coach to boot. The Giants have made no secret their desire to use the draft to improve their offensive line, which has had a lot of trouble protecting for lame duck potential franchise quarterback Daniel Jones or opening up running lanes for oft-injured top-two pick Saquon Barkley. This pick adds to the investment Big Blue made in drafting Andrew Thomas in 2020 by pairing him with a versatile and productive offensive lineman who, according to PFF, excelled in the run game.
6. Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
This is the first spot where a team could legitimately change the course of the draft with its decision to draft a quarterback or not. The Panthers famously let Justin Fields and Mac Jones pass them when they drafted Jaycee Horn with their 2021 first-round selection. Will they do the same in a class where the quarterback group is not nearly as well regarded as last year's? I wouldn't put it past them, but I want to see more data before I peg a quarterback to them in a mock draft. In this scenario, I think they stay with Cam Newton and Sam Darnold for one more year as they try to shore up an offensive line with Mississippi State's Charles Cross. Not the most sexy choice, but the Panthers haven't earned the right to draft for need yet—they need to build up the team's foundation for whomever their quarterback of the future is.
7. New York Giants (via trade with CHI): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
In somewhat of an upset, Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner is the first cornerback off the board in this mock draft. LSU's Derek Stingley started the process as the top cornerback and was even the third-ranked player in the Grinding the Mocks Pre-Season Top 32, but the lack of a healthy and productive junior year, despite his potential as a big-time defensive playmaker, leaves the door open for Gardner. Gardner has been the best player on a University of Cincinnati squad that will have as many as seven players drafted this year. An incredible rise for an incredible talent.
8. Atlanta Falcons: David Ojabo, ER, Michigan
There is a ton of uncertainty surrounding the Falcons as they navigate a period of transition. They traded away Julio Jones to the Titans and drafted unicorn tight end Kyle Pitts, but will need to extend Calvin Ridley if he wants to return to the team. Once that situation with Ridley resolves itself, they'll have a clearer picture of how to attack this draft. Until then, I'll assume that things will stay relatively stable, which allows the Falcons to address a lack of pass rush after free-agent signing Dante Fowler never lived up to his big-dollar billing. 2020 first-round selection A.J. Terrell has developed into a top cornerback and while LSU's Derek Stingley is enticing, the NFL is even more infatuated with the skill set of Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo. After playing very sparingly in Michigan's pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Ojabo really blew up in 2021 alongside teammate Aidan Hutchinson, becoming one of the draft's top risers.
9. Denver Broncos: Jermaine Johnson, ER, Florida State
The Broncos continue to be patient as they approach the 2022 NFL season with an eye on the free-agent quarterback market. They were patient in 2021 when they drafted top cornerback Patrick Surtain, and they will continue to be patient in 2022 under second-year general manager George Paton and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. In this scenario, they look to improve their defense after spending a good amount of draft capital and cap space to sign wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick to extensions, and hope for the continued improvement of 2020 selections Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler behind TBA at quarterback.
10. New York Jets (via trade with SEA): Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
The Jets reap the final rewards of trading Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks with this pick and use it to draft Derek Stingley, who as a freshman had one of the best seasons by a cornerback ever in the SEC. Why isn't he going higher than 10? Injuries and inconsistency have pushed his draft stock down a smidge. Also, LSU defensive backs have had a rough go of it in the draft as of late, with former prospects Grant Delpit, Greedy Williams, and Kristian Fulton all going later than their EDP. Robert Saleh will love to have Stingley shoring up the back end of his coverage unit for years to come!
11. Washington Commanders: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
This is where the first quarterback falls in this mock draft scenario. The Commanders seemed like a decent shot to win their division going into 2021 until injuries at the quarterback position derailed their season. With largely the same team returning for 2022, the main missing ingredient is at quarterback. Kenny Pickett is coming off a tremendous senior campaign (small hands be damned) that has catapulted him into first-round consideration. He'll be expected to hit the ground running in Scott Turner's offense and provide the Washington faithful with stability at the game's most important position.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Vikings are at a crossroads. After firing general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer for not living up to expectations, many are clamoring for newly installed general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensa and head coach Kevin O'Connell (assuming he's ever officially hired) to start a full-blown rebuild of the roster. However, the hiring of O'Connell, who was current Vikings' quarterback Kirk Cousins' coach in Washington, seems to signal that they will keep Cousins for at least another season. With that in mind, the Vikings decide to bolster their wide receiver corps with Ohio State's Garrett Wilson, who was Grinding the Mocks' preseason WR1. Wilson will add new blood to the Vikings' receiving corps as Adam Thielen continues to get up there in age and relieves pressure on Justin Jefferson, who has blossomed into one of the NFL's top wide receivers.
13. Cleveland Browns: Drake London, WR, USC
Wide receiver is far and away the biggest hole on an otherwise deep roster for the Browns. They have often been paired with Ohio State's Garrett Wilson, who was just selected by the Minnesota Vikings in this scenario, so here they choose USC's Drake London. A misunderstood criteria for the Browns in their draft process is their belief in choosing younger players with high growth potential, and as the youngest top wide receiver prospect in this class, London fits the bill. An injury that cost him five games was the only thing stopping him from being a Biletnikoff Award finalist, but it didn't stop him from being named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Baker Mayfield will love having a big-bodied target like London running routes for the Browns in 2022.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
The Ravens were ravaged by injuries in 2021, to the point where they were trotting out third- and fourth-string cornerbacks down the stretch. It has been a long time since the Ravens were drafting this high, and they aim for it to be a long time before that ever happens again. All season long, Andrew Booth, Derek Stingley, and Ahmad Gardner battled for the CB1 spot that ultimately went to Gardner. But don't let that fool you, this 2022 draft class has great depth at cornerback, and Booth held down a championship-level Clemson defense that continues to pump out draft prospects in the secondary at a high level.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with MIA): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
It's hard to know where to begin with the Philadelphia Eagles given that they have THREE top-20 selections in the draft. So instead of beating around the bush, let's start with hitting on one of their most prominent needs as determined by mock draft data: the linebacker position. Devin Lloyd was the best player on a Utah team that hammered a quality Oregon team in back-to-back games to clinch a Pac-12 title and played Ohio State very close in the Rose Bowl. In this mock draft, Lloyd adds his name to the list of first-round linebackers called Devin (see White and Bush, 2019). This also would be the first time in 40-plus years that the Eagles have drafted a first-round linebacker.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with IND): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
From a position that the Eagles haven't used a first-round selection on in 40 years to a position that the Eagles have addressed in the first round of the last two drafts, the Eagles return to the wide receiver position. This could have been avoided if they had drafted LSU's Justin Jefferson with their 2020 first-round pick, but instead they reached for TCU's Jalen Reagor. Time has shown that to be a poor decision, but it is a sunk cost. The Eagles need to have a clear evaluation on Jalen Hurts in order to decide if they plan to stick with him as their franchise quarterback, and Williams, who is on schedule to make a full recovery from the ACL injury he suffered in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Georgia, can allow for that while also enabling DeVonta Smith more opportunities to reach his full potential in second-year head coach Nick Sirianni's offense.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The mock drafts cry for Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis to be the selection here, but the Chargers realize what they have with Justin Herbert and want to give him the type of weapons he needs to hit his ceiling while he still is on his rookie contract. Treylon Burks has a unique blend of speed and size that will be intriguing to a vertical passing attack that the Chargers are hoping to unlock. They will be able to address their defensive shortcomings in free agency and later in the draft. In the meantime, more teams with established top quarterbacks will seek to emulate the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals by attempting to find the right mix of a serviceable offensive line and elite weapons to maximize their quarterback's potential.
18. New Orleans Saints: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Another quarterback domino falls. But will there be more? Only time will tell. The Saints need to start a full rebuild and the departure of Sean Payton gives them some room to reset as a franchise. According to draft scouts, Malik Willis offers the biggest upside of any quarterback in this class, but he is in need of quite a bit of refinement in his overall game. What better opportunity than to come to a team that is in the process of retooling and sit under the tutelage of a veteran quarterback for a year and develop? The Saints have been fairly heterodox in who they target in the first round in recent years, but Willis would give the Saints a lottery ticket with a massive payoff if they can develop the right team around him.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis, ER, Purdue
With the final of their three first-round draft selections, the Eagles dedicate another pick to the rebuilding of their defense with the addition of Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis. Prepare for many Greek Freak and Ryan Kerrigan references due to Karlaftis' Greek heritage and his status as one of the better white edge rusher prospects since the aforementioned Kerrigan was drafted by Washington in 2011. The Eagles could use help at any position along the defensive line, and Karlaftis is too good an athlete and a value to pass up!
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Steelers surprised everyone and no one by selecting Alabama running back Najee Harris in last year's draft as a last-ditch effort to give Ben Roethlisberger another weapon in their final push for a Super Bowl. While Harris did rush for more than 1,200 yards as a rookie, they were often not easy to come by given the poor state of the Steelers' offensive line. The Steelers are a patient franchise and won't draft a quarterback just to draft one. I believe they'll see what they can do in free agency or wait until next year's class (with the likes of C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young, among others) to draft their next quarterback of the future. In the meanwhile, they draft the athletic Tyler Linderbaum out of Iowa in hopes of improving their running game by using the "best player available" strategy.
21. New England Patriots: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Patriots' decision to draft Mac Jones in 2021 immediately paid dividends with the team's return to the playoffs one year after losing Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the Patriots' spending spree in free agency last year did not return the results they were hoping for as they stayed behind the Buffalo Bills in the pecking order in the AFC East. Normally Bill Belichick prefers big "thumper" type linebackers, but he loves to draft players from SEC powerhouses Alabama and Georgia in the first round, and decides to roll the dice on the talented, athletic, albeit undersized Nakobe Dean.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: Arnold Ebiketie, ER, Penn State
The Raiders, like the Texans, are going full Patriots. Exit Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock, enter David Zeigler and Josh McDaniels. While I don't project the Raiders to return to their old "overdrafting" ways, I do project them to address the trenches this offseason. Ebiketie transferred from Temple to Penn State and immediately shone on a Nittany Lions team that projects to have at least four players drafted from their defense alone in 2022.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Zion Nelson, G, Boston College
One of the biggest risers coming out of this year's Reese's Senior Bowl, Zion Johnson's talent and versatility is too big to ignore. I don't foresee the Cardinals' drafting a defender again after using their past two first-round picks on linebackers, but I don't foresee them using another high draft selection on a wide receiver either. Therefore, I project them to use this pick to help satiate Kyler Murray, who benefited greatly in 2021 from the infusion of Rodney Hudson Jr. into the Cardinals' starting lineup, and would also benefit from extra protection to help plays develop downfield in Kliff Kingsbury's "horizontal raid" offensive attack.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Travon Walker, ER, Georgia
The Cowboys defense went from middle of the pack in defensive DVOA in 2020 to first in 2021 thanks in large part to the selection of Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons in last year's draft and a reliance on turnovers. With a lot of decisions to make about the future of the team in the offseason, the Cowboys would benefit greatly from some cost control on their defensive line, where they might have to make some cuts going into the 2022 season. Walker has both the college football pedigree and the athletic traits that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the Cowboys personnel staff desire for their squad.
25. Buffalo Bills: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Bills learned the hard way the value of a good secondary in 2021 when they lost top cornerback Tre'Davious White to injury. Despite fielding the top defense by DVOA, the Buffalo Bills were gashed in the playoffs by the Chiefs' passing attack. They need to reload in the secondary in the 2022 draft like they reloaded their defensive line depth in 2021, and they can do that by drafting Auburn's Roger McCreary. He might be a little undersized, but the Bills had no problem with that when they drafted the aforementioned White out of the SEC; just like McCreary.
26. Tennessee Titans: Myjai Sanders, ER, Cincinnati
The Titans lucked into the No. 1 seed in the playoffs this year but ran into the buzzsaw that was Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. No consensus on which position for the Titans to target has emerged, so they continue to invest in their defense with the selection of Myjai Sanders. Sanders impressed in Cincinnati's appearances against SEC talent in the postseason and at the 2022 Senior Bowl, showing off his impressive athleticism and pass-rushing technique that gave the Alabama offensive line (including top pick Evan Neal) fits.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
Derion Kendrick's year has probably been a rollercoaster of emotions: from leaving Clemson because of disciplinary issues in 2021 to being part of one of the best defensive units in recent college football history and winning a national championship at Georgia. Assuming that the Buccaneers deal otherwise with the quarterback position after the retirement of Tom Brady, they decide to address a defense that regressed a bit in 2021 from their 2020 Super Bowl-winning ways.
28. Green Bay Packers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
If you told me a month ago that Jordan Davis wasn't the first Georgia player to come off the board, let alone the first Georgia defensive tackle, I don't think I would have believed you. However, in a league where pass rush is at a premium, especially from the defensive tackle spot, players that can play all three downs are a must, Davis' teammate Devonte Wyatt outshines him. In addition to being the fifth player listed on Feldman's Freak List, Wyatt dominated at the Senior Bowl and should flash his superior athleticism at the combine next month. He would make a perfect complement to Kenny Clark in Green Bay's defense.
29. Miami Dolphins (via trade with SF): Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
Chris Grier won the war of attrition with Brian Flores and thus his unorthodox ways of using Miami's draft capital will continue. The Dolphins aren't afraid to target players from small schools like Mitchell, whose former teammate Robert Hunt was drafted by Miami in the second round in 2020. The Dolphins need to get their offensive line situation right as the Mike McDaniel era begins and for the sake of Tua Tagovailoa's long-term development as a quarterback.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
The Chiefs avoided using early picks on offensive weapons, with the exception being the surprise drafting of LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in 2020. With the impending free agency of Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs look to add a player who can complement the skill sets of the players currently on the roster (with the hope of also providing an upgrade over much-maligned older players like safety Daniel Sorensen) in Baylor's Jalen Pitre. Another Senior Bowl rising star, Pitre would add a complementary skill set to an important position in the Chiefs' defensive backfield while reverting to their historic behavior of drafting players earlier than their EDP.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
Interior offensive line is probably top of mind for most Bengals' fans fresh after their loss in the Super Bowl, but offensive tackle should be as well. The Bengals have shown a penchant for drafting players at premium positions to help provide Joe Burrow with the weapons he needs to succeed. Now they should apply that same philosophy to the offensive line. The Bengals hope that they will get more out of 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman in 2022 and bring in offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann (whom I totally didn't mock in the first round because he knows how to code in R and is completing a Master's Degree in Applied Statistics) who showed a lot of promise this year at Central Michigan and could grow into an elite offensive lineman.
32. Detroit Lions (via trade with LAR): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
The Lions continue to draft building block players for the future of their franchise. While the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown was a pleasant surprise, especially late in the season, there's no guarantee that he will continue to improve. Bringing in a player like Penn State's Jahan Dotson, who was one of the most electric players in college football after the catch, would add another offensive weapon to a young roster that is getting awfully close to being a good quality quarterback away from being contenders in an Aaron Rodgers-less NFC North. Plus, it was semi-embarrassing to see the names of players that the Lions turned to at wide receiver last season, especially once injuries began to take their toll.
|Mock Draft Results (EDP Data as of 2/8/2022)|
(* = Trade)
|1||JAX||Evan Neal||OT||Alabama||1 (OT1)|
|2||DET||Aidan Hutchinson||ER||Michigan||2 (ER1)|
|3||HOU||Kyle Hamilton||S||Notre Dame||5 (S1)|
|4||NYJ||Kayvon Thibodeaux||ER||Oregon||3 (ER2)|
|5||NYG||Ikem Ekwonu||OT||NC State||4 (OT2)|
|6||CAR||Charles Cross||OT||Mississippi State||6 (OT3)|
|7||NYG*||Ahmad Gardner||CB||Cincinnati||11 (CB2)|
|8||ATL||David Ojabo||ER||Michigan||10 (ER4)|
|9||DEN||Jermaine Johnson||ER||Florida State||9 (ER3)|
|10||NYJ*||Derek Stingley||CB||LSU||7 (CB1)|
|11||WAS||Kenny Pickett||QB||Pittsburgh||12 (QB2)|
|12||MIN||Garrett Wilson||WR||Ohio State||16 (WR2)|
|13||CLE||Drake London||WR||USC||18 (WR3)|
|14||BAL||Andrew Booth||CB||Clemson||23 (CB3)|
|15||PHI*||Devin Lloyd||LB||Utah||20 (LB1)|
|16||PHI*||Jameson Williams||WR||Alabama||22 (WR4)|
|17||LAC||Treylon Burks||WR||Arkansas||14 (WR1)|
|18||NO||Malik Willis||QB||Liberty||8 (QB1)|
|19||PHI||George Karlaftis||ER||Purdue||13 (ER5)|
|20||PIT||Tyler Linderbaum||C||Iowa||17 (C1)|
|21||NE||Nakobe Dean||LB||Georgia||24 (LB2)|
|22||LV||Arnold Ebiketie||ER||Penn State||54 (ER9)|
|23||ARI||Zion Nelson||G||Boston College||29 (G2)|
|24||DAL||Travon Walker||ER||Georgia||28 (ER6)|
|25||BUF||Roger McCreary||CB||Auburn||37 (CB7)|
|26||TEN||Myjai Sanders||ER||Cincinnati||74 (ER13)|
|27||TB||Derion Kendrick||CB||Georgia||77 (CB10)|
|28||GB||Devonte Wyatt||DT||Georgia||36 (DT3)|
|29||MIA*||Max Mitchell||OT||Louisiana||113 (OT11)|
|30||KC||Jalen Pitre||S||Baylor||57 (S5)|
|31||CIN||Bernhard Raimann||OT||Central Michigan||38 (OT5)|
|32||DET*||Jahan Dotson||WR||Penn State||34 (WR6)|
Benjamin Robinson is a data scientist living in Washington D.C., and the creator of Grinding the Mocks, a project that tracks how NFL prospects fare in mock drafts. You can follow him on Twitter @benj_robinson and find the Grinding the Mocks project at grindingthemocks.com.
48 comments, Last at 16 Feb 2022, 5:44pm
#15 by theslothook // Feb 15, 2022 - 12:29pm
The only trades you can reasonably forecast are quarterback needy teams in the middle of the draft and teams with high picks but have a QB they like along with top prospects worth trading for. If there was a slam dunk candidate, the Jags would be a likely trade candidate.
#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 15, 2022 - 11:13am
After firing general manager Chris Spielman
Although he did draft like he was a long-time Lion.
Prepare for many Greek Freak and Ryan Kerrigan references due to Karlaftis' Greek heritage and his status as the best white edge rusher prospect since the aforementioned Kerrigan was drafted by Washington in 2011.
I'm sure it comes as news to Aidan Hutchinson that he's not white.
#5 by dmb // Feb 15, 2022 - 11:30am
Thanks! I imagine the fact that Kerrigan and Karlaftis both hail from Purdue would be the more significant cause of comparisons. When Chase Young came out, a lot of draft coverage was comparing and contrasting him to his Ohio State predecessors.
#43 by dmb // Feb 16, 2022 - 12:40am
I'm not sure J.J. was (or is) considered a pure "edge rusher," given that he's always profiled closer to a prototypical 3-4 DE -- even though he does line up outside reasonably frequently.
T.J. its certainly a better player than Kerrigan ever has been, but given that T.J. lasted until the 30th pick, I don't think he was really considered a better prospect.
#6 by theslothook // Feb 15, 2022 - 11:53am
All of these mock drafts from now until its over are going to depress me. I am at this point convinced Wentz is murphy's law incarnate. The one damn year he's healthy enough to play all of it and it completely screws the Colts.
#7 by Pat // Feb 15, 2022 - 11:59am
let's start with hitting on one of their most prominent needs as determined by mock draft data: the linebacker position.
I mean, you say it right in the comment, but... the Eagles aren't going to draft a first-round linebacker. They're just not going to. They've had people screaming "dude you need linebackers" for decades. Doesn't matter. They don't do it. 40 years. Not gonna happen. Not drafting a linebacker for 10 years is normal. 20 years is a random fluke. 40 years says you don't care about linebackers.
Honestly the Eagles not drafting linebackers is one of the first things that made me realize institutions change way less than people think (that, and "Chicago QB"). They've never drafted a linebacker that high as long as Lurie's been the owner. Not gonna change now.
I mean, it's right in your mock needs list. Slay is 31 and a billion dollars. Three picks, three big needs: WR, DB, DE. Higher rounds start bringing in OL/DT need. They freaking always need linebackers.
#25 by Pat // Feb 15, 2022 - 1:35pm
I just feel like some people think that it's some weird fluke they haven't taken a linebacker in the first round or something. Like, oh, maybe it's because they got their great linebackers in free agency or something.
Hell no. They don't care about linebackers. At all. If they drafted a LB midway in the first round it'd be one of the highest contracts they've given to a linebacker - adjusted for cap inflation - behind only Kendricks, Nigel Bradham, and maybe DeMeco Ryans. And this is the era of cheap rookies!
#40 by mehllageman56 // Feb 15, 2022 - 6:50pm
I think the original poster was claiming the Bears hadn't drafted a good quarterback in 70 something years. They've drafted six quarterbacks in the first round in the Super Bowl era: Fields, Trubisky, Grossman, Cade McNown, Jim Harbaugh and Jim McMahon. I would argue McMahon was good, but got injured too much.
#23 by theslothook // Feb 15, 2022 - 1:29pm
Safety has always been a problematic position to judge.
Compare it to guard for example. It appears there are 2-4 terrific guards that everyone knows and the rest are either jags or major liabilities. The same appears true for safeties as well. However, unlike a guard, a top line Hof safety impacts the game more than the top line guard does.
That's what makes them tantalizing as high picks.
#29 by Joey-Harringto… // Feb 15, 2022 - 1:58pm
Yea, it’s a huge risk (compared to a higher value position like EDGE, QB, LT, etc). He doesn’t even really need to be a bust for it to not be worth it. If he’s only a really good safety instead of a “game-changer”, well then you burned a top 5 pick on something you could have gotten on day 2 or 3. If I were a GM, I’m not sure I’d have the stones to pull the trigger on that.
#30 by Pat // Feb 15, 2022 - 2:21pm
If he’s only a really good safety instead of a “game-changer”, well then you burned a top 5 pick on something you could have gotten on day 2 or 3.
It's just a question of likelihoods. Top 5 picks don't need to be Hall of Fame or perennial All Pros, they just need to be solid starters. A perennial All Pro would be like, a negative-2nd round pick. A really good safety as a top 5 pick is still a solid pick. The downside is you don't save any money, since a "really good safety" makes about as much as a top-5 pick.
Safety's a really rapidly appreciating position, though. Part of it depends on what "a really good safety" is. Is it Malcolm Jenkins? Devin McCourty? Both of those guys would easily be worth a top-5 pick (younger, obviously).
#32 by Pat // Feb 15, 2022 - 3:03pm
Oh, obviously. But that's a question of ceiling more than floor. Yes, you're absolutely giving up the chance of getting an extremely high value position, but with lesser-valued positions there's often less risk.
It's really just the Kyle Pitts argument again.
#35 by Joey-Harringto… // Feb 15, 2022 - 4:19pm
"It's really just the Kyle Pitts argument again."
Exactly. There was for, for the most part, agreement that Pitts was so good that he transcends positional value. There seems to be a lot more disagreement about Hamilton.
#44 by theslothook // Feb 16, 2022 - 12:20pm
I still felt like the Pitt's decision was a bad one without hindsight and probably still a poor decision overall.
Every hyped matchup nightmare tight end in the draft has disappointed. All of the Superstar tight ends except for Tony Gonzalez have come later in the draft. The track record just wasn't there.
But even with pitts panning out, he doesn't fit their timetable. I think at this point Matt Ryan is not the quarterback he was and certainly unlikely to produce enough seasons of pairings with pitts where it's worth it.
Without hindsight, I would have drafted a QB or traded down and recouped more draft equity.
#47 by Pat // Feb 16, 2022 - 3:32pm
Totally agree. Plus there's no guarantee they'll be able to keep him past his rookie contract: it's one thing to be a defender, RB, or offensive lineman where you can still stand out even with no QB, but a pass catcher? He'd be totally right to leave if they don't have a future in place.
Plenty of other teams, sure, but Atlanta was just weird.
#34 by mehllageman56 // Feb 15, 2022 - 4:14pm
So the Jets got one all-rookie year, one second team All-Pro year, one first team All-Pro year, 2 first round picks and one third round draft pick for taking Jamal Adams 6th overall. The opportunity cost was not drafting DeShaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. Was it a good pick?
#17 by NYChem // Feb 15, 2022 - 12:39pm
I like this analysis, way more measured than a lot of the mocks I've seen projecting the steelers to trade up to make a risky QB pick. I mean, not to say we wouldn't or even shouldn't, but generally the steelers don't trade up unless they REALLLY like a guy (e.g. Polamalu) and I don't see much reason to trade up for any of these guys.
Besides, Linderbaum could fit into the rich All-Pro tradition of Steelers Centers, from Mansfield, through Webster, Dawson, and most recently Pouncey. 5 decades plus with only a few off years! if he slides and they DON'T pick him I'm going to be furious!
#19 by andrew // Feb 15, 2022 - 1:03pm
I just don't see it. If I had to list all their needs... and there are many.... WR would probably be at the bottom of my list for them along with RB. Thielen is a little older but KJ Osborn started coming through as their WR3 and 2 when Thielenbwas hurt and ISM even contributed some.
#33 by mehllageman56 // Feb 15, 2022 - 4:09pm
I don't feel Neal is the best player in this draft, and I'm not sure he's the best tackle. Cross played better this past year. Watch the footage from Alabama vs Miss, I'm not sure he allowed a pressure while the rest of the line fell apart around him. Bama would put Tim Anderson (who was a monster this year, ask Michigan) against Cross and Anderson would get nothing. Then they'd shift Anderson somewhere else and he'd get a sack.
Neal leans too much for my liking. I think he will be good at the NFL level but he may be a right tackle, not a blindside guy. I prefer the top two Edge rushers and Sauce Gardner to him. I realize no one is taking a cornerback that high, but I have Revis vibes about Gardner. If he runs better than people think at the combine he's going to go really high.
I understand why people love Hamilton but watch the tape from the Cincinnati game. It's not good.
#41 by ImNewAroundThe… // Feb 15, 2022 - 10:16pm
In fact, everyone?
His slide is absurd to me. Yes I know it has to do more with others rising but WR6 is insane. All he did was lead his team in rec TDs...again.
But Jordan Davis was always overrated due to his abnormal size. Getting winded after 9 snaps shouldn't surprise people. Draftable but hardly ever DT1.