Three-Round Mock: From Aidan Hutchinson to JoJo Domann
NFL Draft - How far will Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux fall? Who will draft top quarterback prospects Malik Willis of Liberty and Kenny Pickett of Pitt? How will the Green Bay Packers offset the loss of Davante Adams? What will the New Orleans Saints do if they cannot trade up for the next Drew Brees?
The answer to all of those questions, and many more, can be found in Walkthrough's definitive THREE-ROUND mock draft.
This mock draft was assembled using a simulator to make sure I didn't miss anyone; you haven't really lived the NFL writer experience until you have turned in a 5,000-word multi-round mock draft, only to get a note from your editor that you accidentally skipped Khalil Mack. I made all the selections myself based on team needs, draft histories, and
some calculated efforts to engage and outrage local fan bases gobs of insider info.
Teams are listed in first-round order, with teams that don't pick in the first round listed in their second-round order, and so forth until we reach the Los Angeles Rams. Let's get drafting!
As always, Football Outsiders' 2022 NFL draft coverage is presented by Underdog Fantasy!
1. Aidan Hutchinson, ER, Michigan
33. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
65. Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
70. Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
Kayvon Thibodeaux may be the better defender once all the smokescreens clear. Evan Neal or Ickey Ekwonu might be more logical choices for a team hoping to restore Trevor Lawrence to near-mint condition. But Aidan Hutchinson is a helluva player, and he's the consensus first overall choice among those who choose not to think too hard about such matters, most importantly Trent Baalke.
Cine is a long, lean, ultra-speedy slot defender. Dulcich provides a TE1 for Lawrence after Evan Engram either: a) enjoys a breakout season and re-enters free agency in 2023 (20% chance) or b) drops two wide-open deep passes and gets demoted to towel sanitizer (80% chance).
Petit-Frere was one of the best talkers at the scouting combine; he sounds like the ultra-earnest-yet-relatable youth pastor who convinces all the middle schoolers to renounce bullying forever. (Check out his entire 22-minute media availability here.) He's also a credible left tackle prospect with size and athleticism but iffy fundamentals.
Combine this draft with a busy-if-frenetic free agency period and the Jaguars will have significantly upgraded their roster. The problem is that we can say the same damn thing about them almost every offseason.
2. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
32. Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
34. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
66. Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
97. Sam Williams, ER, Ole Miss
The Lions either fell in love with Willis at the Senior Bowl or are pretending that they fell in love with Willis in the vain hope of drumming up some trade interest in the second overall pick. Willis feels like a reach that high, but goofing off at quarterback for multiple years because the stars are not aligned is a great way to end up on the hot seat at the end of your second season.
Brisker is a versatile, experienced safety who can handle man coverage or deep zones and does a fine job blowing up plays in front of him. Moore is typecast as a slot receiver, but he's a nifty route-runner with WR1 upside. Tindall has sideline-to-sideline range and explosiveness but got lost in the Georgia crowd. Williams is a straight-ahead pass-rusher who recorded 12.5 sacks last year.
This draft class sets the Lions up for 2023 by providing a quarterback of the future and two or three potential high-end starters on defense.
3. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
13. Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
37. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
68. Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
The Texans should dip their toes into the 2022 quarterback class. But bad organizations over-commit to foolish quarterback decisions as if it's their mission statement, so the Texans will try to build around Davis Mills' "impressive" late season and his statistical profile full of failed completions in 2022.
But that doesn't mean Walkthrough plans to sabotage the Texans' entire draft class. Hamilton is a future perennial Pro Bowler. Once Jack Easterby wanders off to bathe in the Hamilton accolades, Nick Caserio can take the helm and select Davis, a Vince Wilfork surrogate, with one of the picks the Texans gained from the Browns. Elam is a starting-caliber cornerback coming off some 2021 injuries. Asamoah plays a little out-of-control but brings range, explosiveness, and eagerness. Hamilton, Davis and Asamoah could form much of the spine of an outstanding Lovie Smith Tampa-2 defense.
We neglected to mock a receiver to the Texans, so in the fourth round let's give them Clemson's big slot target Justyn Ross with the 107th overall pick and Nevada speedster Romeo Doubs with the 108th. Also, they're the most likely team in the NFL to get excited about signing Cole Beasley.
New York Jets
4. Kayvon Thibodeaux, ER, Oregon
10. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
35. Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
38. Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
69. Sean Ryan, OT, UCLA
Jets fan service? Jets fan service! Here's Thibodeaux, the best player in this draft class unless you factor lots of secondhand smoke into your scouting reports. Then there's Wilson, my WR1, whose biggest scouting knock boils down to "gee, maybe his feet are TOO nifty."
Hill is a lean slot corner type who attacks downhill. He can more than offset the loss of Marcus Maye. Raimann is an Austrian-born converted tight end who could either develop at right tackle or provide Mekhi Becton insurance. Ryan is a more natural right tackle. That's right: the Jets are drafting BAAs instead of filling needs in this mock draft! What an offseason!
Now let's just hope Zach Wilson pans out…
New York Giants
5. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
7. Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
36. Arnold Ebiketie, ER, Penn State
67. Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
81. Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Penn State
You're welcome, Giants Nation.
Ebiketie is just one of many excellent edge rushers in the 2022 class. Spiller can string together open-field combo moves to create big plays on his own; he'll make an affordable, effective replacement once Saquon Barkley gets
towed away for scrap traded for a high draft pick! Ruckert has Jimmy Graham traits at tight end, where Ricky Seals-Jones is currently listed as the Giants starter.
Neal and Sauce need no introductions. If the Giants land both of them, it will be the best thing that happened to the organization since this.
6. Ikem "Ickey" Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
Wow. That's depressing. We're Ekwonu superfans here at Football Outsiders, and that's still depressing.
Panthers insider Natalie Miller said on our draft livestream that the Panthers really want the best available offensive tackle. That said, they have done an adequate job of at least feigning interest in Kenny Pickett, with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo personally inspecting Pickett's dainty wedding ring commercial hands at Pitt's pro day. The whole idea may be to get the Falcons to move up a spot, or for some other team (the Saints) to try to leapfrog the Falcons. Heaven knows the Panthers could really use a Day 2 pick.
8. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
43. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
58. Kingsley Enagbare, ER, South Carolina
74. John Metchie, WR, Alabama
82. Troy Anderson, LB, Montana State
Pickett is NFL-ready enough to take over as the Falcons starter when Marcus Mariota gets injured while pulling into his parking space on the first day of minicamp. Dotson is perfect for the offense that has nothing: Pickett (or Mariota in a body cast) can toss Dotson and Cordarrelle Patterson a dozen screens per game, target Kyle Pitts 15 times for four catches, and call it a game plan. (It sorta worked for the Steelers!)
Enagbare looks like a Renaissance sculpture and plays like the second coming of Bryce Young for about six snaps per game, then just smashes into his blocker for the rest of the afternoon. The Falcons were addicted to this type of pass-rusher (Vic Beasley, Takkarist McKinley) long before the Arthur Smith regime arrived, but Enagbare's upside makes him a shrewd choice in the late second round. Metchie may not be able to contribute much in 2022, but the Falcons might as well seek some high-value redshirts.
Troy Anderson started his college career as a burly option quarterback and ended it as a hustling, aggressive off-ball linebacker. We'll spare you the joke about the Falcons roster being so thin that they need two-way players, but the team that employs Patterson and quarterback/tight end Feleipe Franks would probably welcome Anderson. And again: he's an athlete worth adding in the third round.
The fact that this mock significantly upgrades the Falcons roster says more about the Falcons roster than this mock.
9. Travon Walker, ER, Georgia
40. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
41. Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
72. Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
The key to creating an accurate Seahawks mock draft is to select players they don't really need, don't appear to fit their system, and whom you personally like less than the rest of the draft establishment does. If you walk away from a Seahawks mock thinking, "Nailed it!" then you absolutely did not.
Walker is this year's I understand scouting on deeper levels than you do selection, so John Schneider will love him, while Pete Carroll will rave about his perfect fit in a scheme the NFL figured out eight years ago.
Derrik Klassen calls Corral the "anti-Russell Wilson" because Corral thrives within a structure of RPOs and quick throws instead of running around and trying to "cook." Pitre is Carroll's latest Kam Chancellor surrogate, the player the Seahawks thought Jamal Adams would be. Likely was a big-play machine for the Chanticleers and will make a useful developmental TE2 in a rebuilding offense. And if you think the arrival of Noah Fant and re-signing of Quandre Diggs make Likely and Pitre a little superfluous, wait until you see which running back the Seahawks select in the fourth round.
11. Drake London, WR, USC
47. Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
London and Terry McLaurin would give the (ugh) Commanders a Stefon Diggs-Adam Thielen vibe at wide receiver. Salyer is a big hunk of depth and insurance for the reconfigured interior offensive line. Everything that can possibly be said about Carson Wentz has already been said, much of it by his most recent employers. Good luck mustering enthusiasm about this draft class and franchise.
12. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
46. Travis Jones, DT, UConn
77. Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss! Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell (a tandem I may start shipping as KAMKOC) were hired to drag the Vikings out of their premium-priced wild-card doldrums. And what have they done? Extended Kirk Cousins' contract. Extended Adam Thielen's contract. Added aging defenders Za'Darius Smith and Jordan Hicks. The new regime has somehow made the Vikings even MORE Vikings-like. Rick Spielman must have set all the team's bank accounts to autopay and hid the passwords.
While KOMKOC frantically try to hack the team's mainframe, the Vikings will continue to do Vikings stuff. Stingley is a boom-or-bust cornerback prospect in the fine Xavier Rhodes/Trey Waynes/Jeff Gladney/Mackensie Alexander tradition. Jones is a slab of orneriness who would only be more perfect for the Vikings front if his name were "Williams." Robinson is the token meme pick for if O'Connell tries to introduce the newfangled "slot receiver" to the Vikings offense.
14. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
45. Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
76. Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
100. Tyreke Smith, ER, Ohio State
Ronnie Stanley has missed most of two seasons with an ankle injury, and Eric DeCosta didn't sound all that optimistic when discussing Stanley's status last week. Cross would be an exceptional value if he slips to 14, and the Ravens historically don't wait for a hole to open up before they try to fill it.
Walker's breakaway capability makes him a great fit for the Lamar Jackson offense and an insurance policy against another biblical plague at running back. Walker and J.K. Dobbins would be less like a thunder-and-lightning backfield and more a pair of thunderstorms. Mathis is a bit of a meme pick (the Ravens allegedly lurve Alabama lads), but he would make a fine third-round value, and the Ravens defensive front needs more reinforcements than just free agent Michael Pierce. Smith is a developmental edge rusher with a history of nagging injuries.
In summary, your basic Ravens draft: lots of power-conference prospects, plenty of muscle in the trenches, minimal urgency for a team that plans to get better in 2022 by getting healthier.
15. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
18. Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa
51. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
83. Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
101. Nick Cross, S, Maryland
The Eagles were never going to pick three times in the first round. Last week's trade with the Saints gave them just what they wanted: plenty of extra future assets (a 2023 first-rounder and 2024 second-rounder) without sacrificing the ability to upgrade the roster this year.
Williams adds to the Alabama class reunion on offense. Linderbaum was the BAA in this mock and serves as an eventual Jason Kelce replacement and a mock draft placeholder: the Eagles are much more likely to use one of their first-rounders on a falling Derek Stingley, Jordan Davis or, heck, Kayvon Thibodeaux. (The Ravens are also in the center market but generally prefer bigger linemen.)
Gordon is a toolsy gamble-and-guess cornerback who loves to hit. Eagles fans will either love him when he blows up a screen or hate him when he falls for a double-move and commits flagrant pass interference 30 yards downfield. Pierce excels at going up and getting deep sideline shots; insert your own Jalen Reagor slander here. Cross is a raw, ultra-athletic, all-purpose safety.
Howie Roseman is as suspicious of the Eagles 2021 success as anyone. That's why he's improving the roster with his left hand while making sure he has a robust Plan B with his right.
New Orleans Saints
16. Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
19. Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
49. Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
98. Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
The Saints aren't trying to win the Super Bowl anytime soon. They're instead trying to win the Red Ink No Picks No Future Wild-Card Challenge. Their shtick is to prove that they can make the most shortsighted decisions imaginable and still field a better team than the Atlanta Falcons. You gotta admire their commitment to the bit. Trading a 2023 first-rounder and lots of valuable stocking-stuffers for an extra first-rounder when you have already racked up $33 million in cap debt for next year and are seriously talking up Taysom Hill as a tight end? Hilarious! And the joke's somehow on the Falcons!
Anyway, if the Saints wanted to draft a quarterback, they had to leapfrog over more teams than just the Chargers, who are slightly set at the position. Until they play their final hand, let's work with what we know.
Penning is an ornery cuss who should solve New Orleans' left tackle problem. Wyatt reinforces a still-stout Saints defensive line that needs some rotational pieces in the middle. Walker, who can flat-out fly and excels in coverage, can replace Kwon Alexander in the short term and Demario Davis in the long term. Shakir is a Kadarius Toney-type who can play a Taysom-type all-purpose role.
It's a pretty fine haul overall. And as always when discussing the Saints: never ask about the price.
Los Angeles Chargers
17. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
79. John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
Dean provides the final piece to the Chargers' puzzle on run defense. Ridgeway is 320-plus pounds of pure nose tackle to keep blockers off Dean and others. The Chargers' free-agency period was a hearty meal. This mock is just an after-dinner mint.
20. Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
52. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
84. Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Green completes the rebuild of the Steelers interior offensive line begun by the additions of Mason Cole and James Daniels.
The Steelers would prefer Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett to Ridder, who might not last until the middle of the second round. If the cookie crumbles in this particular way, Ridder is enough of a high-floor prospect to push Mitch Trubisky sooner than later.
When in doubt, mock a linebacker to the Steelers before the end of Day 2: the Myles Jack/Devin Bush combination looks better on paper than it may look on the field.
It's hard to tell what direction the Steelers think they are trending in right now, but this mock battens down a few of their hatches.
New England Patriots
21. George Karlaftis, ER, Purdue
54. Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
85. Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
Like the Saints, the Patriots will steadfastly refuse to draft for immediate needs. Unlike the Saints, the Patriots have a young quarterback and a trophy case the size of the MoMa, so they still have plenty of benefit of the doubt in the account that they started withdrawing from a few years ago.
Karlaftis slides in our mock draft because there are so many quarterback-/offensive tackle-/receiver-needy teams selecting in the first round. Bill Belichick gobbles him up to supplement Matt Judon. Muma and Williams are the types of defensive prospects no one wants Belichick to get his mitts on: a versatile space linebacker who could double as a scary situational blitzer, and a 6-foot-3 small-school speedster with a rugged streak who could be groomed into a Stephon Gilmore surrogate.
The DeVante Parker trade spares us from being forced to mock a receiver to the Patriots. Parker has been getting Dolphins' fans hopes up in the spring and dashing them by October for seven years, making him perfect to play the traditional role of the Patriots' top wide receiver prospect.
Green Bay Packers
22. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
28. Jermaine Johnson, ER, Florida State
53. Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
59. Dylan Parham, OL, Memphis
92. Zachary Carter, DT, Florida
Look, the temptation to mock zero wide receivers to the Packers and write a capsule about Aaron Rodgers going full Keith Moon in his own bedroom was great. The temptation to mock nothing but wide receivers to the Packers just to troll their large, passionate, and (often) humorless fanbase was even greater.
Instead, here's something plausible and reasonable!
Olave is the closest thing to Davante Adams that the Packers are going to get. Johnson is a rock-solid A-tier edge rush prospect who would be a top-10 pick if his first three steps off the line were more consistent. McBride is the safest tight end prospect in this class, providing Robert Tonyan injury insurance and better options if Matt LaFleur is forced to downshift into more 12-personnel sets. Parham is a nimble, ultra-athletic guard/center to replace the Packers losses on the interior line. Carter looks the part as a defensive end in Joe Barry's system, bulwarking yet another position where depth is an issue.
Frankly, this is about as good as a Packers mock can get. They will be lucky if Olave, Johnson, and McBride are available in these slots. If not, their final haul may be a lot less appealing to both fans and you-know-who. Walkthrough doesn't need to manufacture a Rodgers drama for you, Packers fans. Reality will do just fine on its own.
23. Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
55. Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
87. James Cook, RB, Georgia
Johnson is a smart, aggressive, athletic lineman who is in the process of learning the center position. He won't solve the Cardinals' botched-snap problem in the short term—he could actually exacerbate it—but he'll be the long-term answer somewhere on their interior line.
Woolen is a 6-foot-3 converted wide receiver who can fly. He's really raw—the next time he turns his head around for a deep ball in the air will be his first—but he explodes on plays in front of him and has the recovery speed to make up for mistakes in coverage. He's the sort of toolsy guy Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury love, as is Cook, who I'm a little meh about (committee guy who gained a lot of yards that were blocked up for him) but looks enough like big brother Dalvin Cook to merit a third-round selection and become an upgrade over Chase Edmonds.
This mock doesn't really move the needle for the NFL's most dedicated talented teases, but what would?
24. Boye Mafe, ER, Minnesota
56. Demarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
88. Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
Jerry and Stephen Jones love buzzy, toolsy edge rushers, and Mafe is as toolsy and buzzy as they come late in the first round. Mafe's arrival offsets the loss of Randy Gregory.
Leal is a little bit like Travon Walker in that he lined up all over the defensive front, clouding his scouting report to a degree. Leal is a bigger dude than Walker at 283 pounds, and he is on the opposite pre-draft trajectory: Walker is the Insider's Choice among all-purpose defensive linemen, while Leal, a former five-star recruit, has gotten lost in the shuffle among defenders with splashier workout results and clearer positional fits. Leal has a tiny bit of Tank Lawrence to his game, which the Joneses are sure to take note of.
I originally mocked Cade Otton to the Cowboys at 88, then noticed that one of my favorite prospects visited with the Cowboys in person last week. The Cowboys just adore projects at tight end—Rico Gathers is probably still on their payroll somewhere—and while Woods caught 44 passes for the Cavs in 2021, he's also a 6-foot-7 Oklahoma State transfer whose weight fluctuates between 259 pounds (combine) and "is that a right tackle running a seam route?" (much of 2021).
This mock is either underwhelming or stealth brilliant. That's better than the rest of the Cowboys offseason, which was merely underwhelming.
25. David Ojabo, ER, Michigan
57. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
89. Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga
Hey look, it's the Bills, sitting pretty in their perch atop the Super Bowl odds, chuckling as their challengers struggle to keep up, drafting BAAs because they have so few needs. Cornerback might make more sense than edge with the first pick now that Von Miller is on the roster, but Ojabo will be too good to pass up if he slips this far due to his pro day injury.
It's not a meme pick if you mock a running back to the Bills in the second round, and Hall may be the best player at his position in the 2022 class: perfect for adding two more cylinders to a turbocharged offense. Strange is your basic small-program alley brawler who plays multiple positions along the offensive line.
So the Bills address their present (Hall), their future (Ojabo), and their depth (Strange), all the while making the NFL's strongest on-paper roster even stronger. Any questions?
26. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
90. Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
No takesy-backseys on the Julio Jones trade, Titans fans. Leasing Jones' services for one year in exchange for second- and fourth-round picks turned out to be a shortsighted move for a franchise that cannot figure out how to truly climb into the AFC S-Tier.
Burks is a pre-draft slider who fits the Titans prototype (they love big receivers) and could be the slot weapon and all-purpose playmaker they need to diversify their offense. Goodrich, a tough Cover-2 type defender, is the BAA at 90 and adds depth to the Titans' youthful cornerback corps.
And that's it. That's essentially the Titans draft class. Hang the AFC South championship banner proudly, fellas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27. Andrew Booth JR., CB, Clemson
60. David Bell, WR, Purdue
91. Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
Booth could be a steal for the Buccaneers. He's dripping with talent, coverage skills, and big-program experience. His flaws—dive-stick tackling, a habit of peeking into the backfield too long—are easily fixable. Booth gives the depth in the secondary the Buccaneers will need to compete with the Rams and whomever they might face from the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Bell is a pre-draft slider with pokey 40 times who was too productive in college for a team with few needs to overlook late in the second round. White is a capable receiver out of the backfield who can replace Ronald Jones and decrease Tom Brady's reliance on Gio Bernard.
With all the retirements and un-retirements going on in Tampa Bay, we're going to hold off thinking too hard about the Buccaneers' draft intentions until we get a better sense of what Rob Gronkowski, Jason Pierre-Paul, and other members of Brady's Heroes have planned.
Kansas City Chiefs
29. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
30. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
50. George Pickens, WR, Georgia
62. Drake Jackson, ER, USC
103. Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
This mock is like one of those old television shopping sprees where homemakers ran frantically around the store tossing random items into their cart.
McDuffie is another potential CB1 who could slide because there's so much talent on the defensive front and need along the offensive line in this draft. Lloyd is one of my favorite players in this draft class. He's too good to pass up at 30 and would join Nick Bolton to give the Chiefs one of the fastest linebacker duos in the NFL. Pickens can replace some of the pure speed and deep-ball capability lost in the Tyreek Hill trade. Jackson is a chameleon of an edge-rush prospect who sometimes looks like a heavy run-stuffing end and sometimes looks like a sleek speed rusher, depending on which year of his tape or which workout you watch. Taylor-Britt was a three-year starter for the Cornhuskers; he's a tough slot corner type who can run.
Overall, the Chiefs get an impressive injection of affordable pure talent in this mock, particularly on defense. It's what they needed, even if they gave up an awful lot to get it.
31. Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
63. Darian Kinnard, G, Kentucky
95. Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
Araiza is not a "Bengals front office consists of three interns and a photocopier with no toner" meme pick. Incumbent Kevin Huber was still a free agent at press time. Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons is on record saying he wants a punting competition in 2022. And Araiza may be the best punting prospect since Shane Lechler. He's a lefty that not only gets great hang time and distance but appears to have a full golf bag: directional punts, drop shots inside the 20, etc. Perfect for pinning the Bills deep in their own territory during a playoff shootout. Araiza can even kick field goals!
Also, the Bengals front office is totally professional. They're even building an indoor practice bubble which will put the franchise's facilities on par with some of the top Texas high schools!
The arrivals of La'el Collins and others mostly quelled the offensive line emergency, allowing the Bengals to go BAA in the first round. Winfrey looked like Aaron Donald at times in Senior Bowl practices, and while nobody's Donald, he could be an upgrade over Larry Ogunjobi next to D.J. Reader. Kinnard is a thicc widebody with a mean streak for when the Bengals tire of Jackson Carman.
Overall, a fine haul for a conference champion that also fielded one of the league's youngest rosters in 2021.
39. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
48. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
71. Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
I'm not a big Faalele fan, but there's something to be said for protecting Justin Fields by parking someone at right tackle who takes up two spots. Larry Borom is currently listed as the Bears starting right tackle, so the team could use a bit of competition there.
Watson is a tall boundary receiver who can do the things Allen Robinson was supposed to do before a decade of terrible college and pro quarterback play finally vanquished his spirit. Austin is a delightful slot jitterbug: think Anthony Miller with a touch of Tarik Cohen sprinkled on top. That's right, we're just rebuilding the 2018 Bears. They were the best team the franchise fielded in over a decade, so why not?
42. Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
73. Myjai Sanders, ER, Cincinnati
Smith is the best potential solution at left tackle that will be available in the middle of the second round. Sanders is a standard-issue middle-tier edge rush prospect. Chris Ballard's super-stans will hail this draft class as a success because Ballard had no better options. Now, if we could only nab that scoundrel who keeps leaving Ballard without any better options…
44. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
78. Cameron Thomas, ER, San Diego State
99. Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
Harris is a heady thumper off the Alabama linebacker assembly line. Thomas and Butler are both BAA selections to beef up a paper-thin defensive line. The Browns traded their entertaining mock drafts of yesteryear for a franchise quarterback nobody really wants to talk about. That's a uniquely Browns sort of trade.
San Francisco 49ers
61. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
93. Ed Ingram, G, LSU
105. Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
Charvarius Ward's arrival takes away the 49ers' critical need at cornerback, but McCreary would be too good to pass up at a position where depth is always at a premium. McCreary is an ultra-physical press corner who is SEC battle-tested. Ingram is another longtime starter in the NFL's top minor league. Robinson rounds out this SEC trio, giving Kyle Shanahan a hard-hitting punch press for his backfield committee.
The real 49ers fireworks on draft weekend will come when they finally trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Unfortunately, they will only get a conditional 2023 pick in return.
64. Logan Hall, ER, Houston
75. Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
96. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Hall could be a great fit in Ejiro Evero's defense. And yes, I totally knew Ejiro Evero was the Broncos defensive coordinator without looking him up. Hall was often misused as a nose guard in college. Move him to the 5-technique more regularly and he can both eat up blocks for Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory and add a little pass-rush juice himself.
Kendrick fell out of the top of the cornerback board when he proved to be a step slow at the combine and his pro day. He's technically sound, experienced, and competitive, however, making him a worthwhile flyer in the third round.
Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson are currently slated to back up Russell Wilson. Howell can imitate some elements of Wilson's scrambles-and-bombs style if forced into the huddle for a week or two and is talented enough to merit a look.
It may not look like much, but the Broncos just aced this mock draft among teams without a first-round pick.
Las Vegas Raiders
86. Alec Lindstrom, G, Boston College
Yep, Davante Adams, Chandler Jones, and Rock-Ya Sin upgraded the Raiders roster at three positions. And now the bad news: the team is still weak at many other positions, and Lindstrom only plays one of them.
102. Tyrese Robinson, G, Oklahoma
Repeat the Raiders blurb, but with Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, and all the randos the Dolphins added to their backfield. There are a few differences—the Dolphins are younger, added more useful offseason pieces, and possess extra first- and third-round picks in 2023—but the idea is the same: wild-card team shifts into Win Now mode with splashy wide receiver trade they may soon regret, renders mock draft scenarios boring.
Los Angeles Rams
104. JoJo Domann, LB, Nebraska
Domann's an odd prospect who bounced from slot safety to edge rusher and everywhere in between in six (6) seasons for the Cornhuskers. He fits the Rams' philosophy of drafting square pegs in later rounds and assigning them to specific roles. He also just sounds like the sort of player Sean McVay and his staff would ask for after spending the first 28 hours of draft weekend playing Lime-a-Rita Pong on the back deck of a beachfront Airbnb. "Oh, we couldn't package that pick with our 2029 first-rounder for the ghost of Earl Thomas? In that case (burp), draft Joe … Joe … you know da' man!"
And thus Super Bowl champions are assembled.
49 comments, Last at 17 Apr 2022, 9:01pm
#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 11, 2022 - 10:09am
you haven't really lived the NFL writer experience until you have turned in a 5,000-word multi-round mock draft, only to get a note from your editor that you accidentally skipped Khalil Mack.
Or Marques Colston, Dwight Clark, Lou Creekmur, LC Greenwood, Raymond Berry, Ken Houston, Donald Driver, Art Donovan, Richard Dent, Bart Starr, Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, Antonio Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Jason Kelce, Deacon Jones, Bo Jackson, Daryle Lamonica, Tyreek Hill, Zach Thomas, Greg Lloyd, Roger Staubach, Jared Allen, Steve Largent, Herschel Walker, Kevin Greene, Leroy Kelly, Harry Carson, Johnny Unitas, Bob Hayes, Bobby Mitchell, and Joe Schmidt.
#11 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 11, 2022 - 12:32pm
Willis at 2nd overall would a be a ridiculous decision, but in a weird way, it would make feel a little better about Brad Holmes' judgement, because it would imply that he realizes Goff is not it.
The way Holmes talks right now, he seems convinced that Goff's 2017-18 wasn't just McVay propping him up (Bernie Lomax style), and that he just needs a good supporting cast to succeed.
#12 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 11, 2022 - 12:52pm
Goff definitely needs a good supporting cast to succeed. He's a perfectly cromulent NFL-caliber QB, and as such he's useful as a barometer for the rest of the roster. But if he were actually great, the Rams wouldn't have coughed up as much as they did to get Stafford. Hopefully Detroit is just declining to overtly criticize their incumbent QB until after they have moved him along. Unlike the teams to their immediate south.
#15 by Noahrk // Apr 11, 2022 - 1:44pm
That's not happening. I hope, for Detroit. The team that seems primed to do something stoopid is the Saints. It's the only thing that makes sense after their lousy trade, using their two firsts to move up and take Willis somewhere between 6 and 10. What on earth are they thinking?
#19 by Noahrk // Apr 11, 2022 - 3:03pm
I probably shouldn't talk, since I haven't even read Klassen's article (yet), but from what I hear no QB in this class is worth so much, especially since the Saints have already lost in the exchange to add a second first. But just as importantly, they have a huge cap deficit. Maybe they should be thinking about recovering before making a big future investment instead of continuing to pretend that they have unlimited resources.
#20 by Noahrk // Apr 11, 2022 - 3:27pm
On second thought, I think I figured it out. The GM is thinking that if he has to fix the team's cap with nothing to show for it, he'll likely get fired. So here goes nothing! If he hits on Willis, the team will not bottom out and that might save his job. If Willis busts, he's done, anyway. It's not a coherent football plan, it's an attempt at staying employed.
#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 11, 2022 - 10:16am
We'll spare you the joke about the Falcons roster being so thin that they need two-way players, but the team that employs Patterson and quarterback/tight end Feleipe Franks would probably welcome Anderson.
Given the NFL's absurd policies re: QB protections, a team that consisted of nothing but QB/WRs running flea-flickers would probably generate 15 penalties per game and might function as an offense.
#5 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 11, 2022 - 10:27am
Booth could be a steal for the Buccaneers. He's dripping with talent, coverage skills, and big-program experience. His flaws—dive-stick tackling, a habit of peeking into the backfield too long—are easily fixable.
I've watched too many Lions games to believe that.
#13 by Sifter // Apr 11, 2022 - 1:04pm
A 34-year old lineman's return should not stop you drafting a lineman. You're drafting for 2023 here, until you think the Eagles are on the brink of a Super Bowl run.
That said...I think the Eagles are deep on the line, given that Driscoll and Herbig were very respectable, even slightly good, in their time last season. A 2023 line of Mailata-Herbig-Dickerson-Driscoll-Johnson would be pretty decent.
#21 by Harris // Apr 11, 2022 - 3:28pm
The only reason to draft a center in the first round is if you need day one starter. They don't. In addition to Kelce, they've already got Seumalo and Dickenson on the roster.
Driscoll can't stay healthy. I'd much prefer Mailata-Dickenson-Seumalo-Herbig-Johnson, even though they'll have to replace Lane sooner rather than later.
#33 by Pat // Apr 12, 2022 - 10:02am
Drafting a college center is really just drafting an interior lineman. And there is some value in grabbing a high-value interior lineman when Kelce's still on the roster from a learning potential standpoint.
But, to be clear from the start, I don't disagree with you that I wouldn't do it. I seriously dislike the draft Mike's got, in that corner's a way bigger need than both WR and interior OL, although it should be noted Mike did say "this is a placeholder."
They don't. In addition to Kelce, they've already got Seumalo and Dickenson on the roster.
I was with you until you listed Seumalo and Dickerson in the same sentence as Kelce. That's like saying "I don't need a new car, I've got this old bike and a skateboard." Seumalo's been totally reasonable as a guard beside Kelce, and I wasn't a huge fan of Dickerson's first season. Kelce was out for significant time in two games last year, the first Giants game and the finale. Obviously week 17's pointless, but the Giants game was not a high point.
Kelce (and Johnson)'s upcoming retirement's going to be a huge blow for Philly. I wouldn't draft an iOL in the first round just because CB/DE are higher value needs, but in a three-round mock there better be an iOL there.
#35 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 12, 2022 - 11:31am
Drafting a college center is really just drafting an interior lineman.
I get not drafting a guard, because you can typically kick a failed/below-average tackle down to guard. But centers have a different skill set than guards, in that half of their job is functionally identical to that of a guard, but half of it is totally unique.
(Both QBs and punters can usually kick or throw the ball, but Tom Tupa or Randall Cunningham aside, you wouldn't want either to trade positions)
A center who is a below-average guard is a minor problem. A guard who is below average at snapping the ball is an utter calamity. There's a reason long-snapper is such a weird one-off commodity -- it's a skill set that's hard to replace.
#37 by Pat // Apr 12, 2022 - 1:37pm
But centers have a different skill set than guards, in that half of their job is functionally identical to that of a guard, but half of it is totally unique.
Yeah, the statement I had wasn't reversible: if you draft a college center high you can imagine him at center or guard, but if you draft a college guard high you can't necessarily put him at center.
That's why I don't have an issue with drafting a center a year after drafting Dickerson (a center), because my God they're gonna need competition there when they lose Kelce, and whoever struggles just kicks out to guard.
Drafting one in the first round is a bit much, although to be fair the guy they're trying to replace would absolutely be a first-round pick in a redraft of his year.
#44 by Pat // Apr 13, 2022 - 11:43am
Yeah, I actually should've said "high first-round pick." Most people have an inflated idea of what a first-round pick is actually worth. Pretty much anyone who starts two contracts worth of games (so like, 7-8 years) would've been worthy of a first-round pick. Eagles fans give Derek Barnett complete crap because they see him as a total first-round bust, but he's much closer to "average first round pick" than "bust."
Rodney Hudson was absolutely worth a first-round pick. Few years of high-end play and 139 total starts so far? Hell yes.
#38 by Pat // Apr 12, 2022 - 1:54pm
If we're talking the first three rounds, I'd personally prefer they draft an OT and play him at RG until Johnson leaves.
I'd agree there, a G/T type is going to be more valuable anyway. If they literally have to go out in free agency and buy Kelce's replacement it's not going to be the end of the world. Everyone else is cheaper than Kelce anyway!
(Not that there's anyone even remotely close to Kelce who'd be available in free agency, though.)
Howie is good at finding effective iOL on day three.
Roseman's primarily picked up iOL through free agency (Mathis, Brooks, Barbre, Wisniewski).
#10 by terps // Apr 11, 2022 - 11:57am
Why would Colbert in his last draft ever pick an unexceptional iOL prospect that might not even start when the Steelers have glaring needs at QB, WR, Safety, DL, etc.?
I get the OL is bad, but iOL is like one of the easiest positions in football to find a functional starter and they have much more pressing concerns at positions that require more financial investment.
#24 by NYChem // Apr 11, 2022 - 4:56pm
The Steelers have been known to reach on occasion (terrell edmunds) but this would be one of the more gobsmocking pics of both recent Steelers history, and of this mock. But luckily it is a mock, it is a figment of one mans imagination, as are all almost all of the other mocks. Should the Steelers pick Kenyon Green, with the WRs, Ss, DLs, and CBs (and even other OLs) remaining on the board, I would be extremely surprised.
#26 by IlluminatusUIUC // Apr 11, 2022 - 9:54pm
What? A guy who's coming off a major injury and would not be able to produce this year, at a position we have invested two 2nds and last years first + a titanic contract bolstering, with glaring needs at other positions, in a title chase year, doesn't strike you as a good pick?
#22 by mehllageman56 // Apr 11, 2022 - 4:08pm
I doubt Kayvon drops to the Jets; if he does, I imagine Saleh will be fighting Douglas all the way up to the podium to get Thibodeaux while Douglas is on the phone with the Saints. I would love it if the Jets took Gardner, but I'm expecting either one of the top two edges or a trade down. I think the Saints have a trade lined up with either the Lions, the Jets or the Giants, are just waiting to see where the chips fall and who's willing to trade down.
#28 by coboney // Apr 11, 2022 - 11:11pm
So picks bieng called 'meme picks' is the things this year on Draft Twitter I take it given how often you reference it? Don't worry we don't think you would do that!
Now about that 49ers mock draft, ANOTHER high pick running back? You're just saying that cause Shananon likes running back picks :)
#31 by Pat // Apr 12, 2022 - 9:39am
Last week's trade with the Saints gave them just what they wanted: plenty of extra future assets (a 2023 first-rounder and 2024 second-rounder)
Philly did not get a 2023 first rounder as an extra asset, that's just their lost 2022 first rounder pushed forward. The extra asset is only the 2024 second-rounder. That's it. The other exchanges are basically even for Philly dropping from 16 to 18.
#43 by Pat // Apr 13, 2022 - 9:10am
Yes, but delaying a pick forward a year isn't difficult. If you look at recent trade history, the Eagles should've been able to trade back to the late first round/early second and still pick up a first in next year's draft.
Of course, the caveat there is that the draft this year is weaker at the most important positions, so this isn't a great year to have three first round picks. So I do give them props for getting something to get out of this year's draft. But it's not a lot.
#41 by liquidmuse3 // Apr 12, 2022 - 5:09pm
Goofy draft for the Bucs: they’re now 4-deep at corner (Davis, SMB, Dean, Ryan) because they’re 3-deep at S (Edwards, Winfield, Neal). They kinda need a LG or a DE to replace Suh, who’s coming back before JPP but you didn’t even mention him. They’re also 6-deep at receiver (Evans, Godwin, Gage, Johnson, Miller, Grayson) so another WR (& a slow one at that) doesn’t make much sense. PLUS they’re sorta fine at RB because Fournette is playing 70%, Vaughn is ready to go, & Gio is still decent.
#47 by felton51 // Apr 15, 2022 - 3:02pm
Mike, you are always entertaining. The Saint defense is set aside from safety and for some reason, they usually do a good job of finding defensive tackles in the parking lot on Airline Drive. They will more than likely get a #1 or a #1 and a #2 for Sean Payton, who will play about as well as CNN+ on TV. This draft will be all about offense. There is a good article on a bigblueview.com comparing Trevor Penning to Charles Cross that casts some doubt on Penning and made me think of Kyle Turley. I do not want to go there again. I think the Saints will need a RB, as Mark Ingram may not be enough when Alvin Kamara is suspended or needs fewer touches to get through the season. I like Brian Robinson, though some think he is just a two-down thumper.
#48 by liquidmuse3 // Apr 17, 2022 - 7:24pm
Let me get this straight: drafting a developmental prospect who won’t be ready for 3 years, when you have a QB who got to the Super Bowl, is not “goofing off at the quarterback position”? That’s not ensuring you may get fired after your second year because instead of helping that Super Bowl QB you draft the rich man’s Jordan Love 2nd overall? Clever as Mike is, does he ever think any of this through?