NFL

Farnsworth: 2022 Mock NFL Draft 1.0

Mar 25, 2022, 11:44 AM
Devin Lloyd - NFL Combine - Utah Utes...
Devin Lloyd #LB22 of Utah runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 05, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The NFL Draft is slated for April 28-30. With some locals in the mix, KSL Sports Sam Farnsworth put together his first edition of a mock draft.

1 JAGUARS – Aiden Hutchinson, EDGE (Michigan)

The Jaguars have their quarterback for the next decade. It would be very tempting to take the best OL in the draft which is likely Ikem Ekwonu from NC State. But with the franchise tag placed on T Cam Robinson, it would be even more difficult to pass on a game-changing pass rusher in Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson will be the number one pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

2 LIONS – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE (Oregon)

The Lions were crossing their fingers that the Jags would take Ekwonu. They are salivating at the chance to take the hometown Hutchinson with the second pick. But he’s off the board. It’s too early to take a QB in this draft class and the Lions still have the final pick in the first round which would be the ideal spot to grab a QB. Is it a bit of a reach to take Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux here? Maybe. But that’s what the Lions do with this pick.

3 TEXANS – Ikem Ekwonu, T (N.C. State)

This is where the early, but brief run on offensive lineman begins. The Texans will also address needs at EDGE as well as in the secondary. They will likely use an early-round pick on a QB as well but for now they are content with giving Davis Mills a shot at QB. So its time to get him some protection. N.C. State T Ikem Ekwonu comes off the board here.

4 JETS – Evan Neil, T (Alabama)

Some Jets fans would probably love for the Jets to move down a bit in this draft and take another quarterback. Zach Wilson showed plenty of potential in his rookie campaign. But he was also sacked 44 times in 2021. Keep his jersey clean and get him some playmakers to help that offense thrive. And with another pick in the Top 10 they can one there or take a top defensive player. This is the perfect spot to take T Evan Neil out of Alabama.

5 GIANTS – Ahmad Gardner, CB (Cincinnati)

The Giants also have the 7th pick. With the Panthers just behind the Giants as a team that could take the first QB off the board, this could be a coveted spot to pick for other QB needy teams like the Steelers or Saints. Would the Giants trade down? Maybe. But if the Giants keep this pick they may want to grab the top CB in the draft, a position of need for the Panthers as well. The Giants take CB Ahmad Gardner out of Cincinnati with the fifth pick.

6 PANTHERS – Kyle Hamilton, S (Notre Dame)

This is another spot where the Steelers, Saints or other QB-hungry teams may want to trade up. I’m not in the trade projecting business in my first mock of this draft so I’ll keep the Panthers here but I don’t like any of the QB’s in the 2022 class going this high. The Panthers could still get a franchise CB in Derek Stingley or another top 10 Tackle in Charles Cross. But seeing S Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dame on the board here, the top overall defensive back in the draft will be hard to pass on. He’s a big safety that’s not afraid of contact (6’4”, 220lbs) but he also has a great nose for the ball. The Panthers take Hamilton with this pick.

7 GIANTS (from Bears) – Travon Walker, DE (Georgia)

The Giants are back on the clock! They need O-line help and pass-rushing and both are in play with the seventh pick. The most important player on every team is a franchise quarterback. The second most important player on every roster is a franchise pass rusher. Georgia’s Travon Walker is just that. He wowed at the combine taking his 6’5”, 272-pound frame downfield for a blazing 4.51 40-yard dash. That’s the fastest time ever seen by a player weighing 270 or more pounds. A no-brainer at number seven, the Giants take DE Travon Walker.

8 FALCONS – Garrett Wilson, WR (Ohio State)

With the top three pass rushers in the draft already gone in the first seven picks the Falcons will shift their focus to one of the top play-makers in the draft. Two of the Falcons top three pass catchers last season were Tight End Kyle Pitts and Running Back Cordarelle Patterson. Wide receiver Russell Gage was decent but he’s a free agent and is expected to leave and Calvin Ridley was suspended for betting on games. Matt Ryan needs targets. Bad. Cue Ohio State wideout Garrett Wilson. He is one of the fastest players in this draft class after clocking a 4.38 40 at the combine. That just backs up his game tape which shows how good he is after the catch. Add him to Pitts and suddenly the Falcons pass game will start gaining some respect from their opponents.

9 SEAHAWKS (from Broncos in Wilson trade) – Devin Lloyd, LB (Utah)

We are now in Devin Lloyd range in the draft. The Seahawks did not own a first-round pick this year until they traded QB Russell Wilson to the Broncos. Now they have the 9th overall pick. A quarterback could be in play, but not likely. The loss of All-Pro, future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner will hurt the Seahawks even more. Lloyd could be the centerpiece of the Seahawks defense for the next 10-12 seasons. Lloyd becomes the first Utah Ute taken in the top 10 of the draft since Alex Smith went first overall in 2005.

10 JETS (from Seahawks) – Jermaine Johnson II, DE (Florida State)

For the second time in the top 10 picks the New York Jets are back on the board. At number four they took offensive line help. They will take a long look at a wide receiver with the 10th pick but this is a deep class for receivers and with two second-round picks they will have options to get Zach Wilson another pass catcher. The Jets had the 7th fewest quarterback sacks in 2021. Get the opposing QB off the field quicker so your young QB can get more snaps. The Jets use the 10th pick to take DE Jermaine Johnson II out of Florida State.

11 COMMANDERS – Drake London, WR (USC)

Washington made a trade to acquire QB Carson Wentz from the Colts which takes them out of the hunt for a first-round QB. The 11th pick gives the Commanders an opportunity to give Wentz a pass-catching gift. USC’s Drake London had an ankle injury last fall that shortened his season but in the eight games he played he still gained 130 or more yards in six of those games. At 6’5” he’ll beat most DBs in jump ball situations and he’s also good after the catch. And once he gets going, it will take more than one defender to bring him down. London is the Commander’s pick here.

12 VIKINGS – Derek Stingley Jr, CB (LSU)

The top position of need for the Vikings going into this draft is at cornerback. Patrick Peterson was the Vikings best DB last season even in his 11th year but his skills are dwindling and he enters free agency after just one season in Minnesota. Even if the Vikings bring him back they need an upgrade in the defensive backfield. The Giants already took Ahmad Gardner off the board at number 5 but there are still at least two more corners that have the potential of being instant factors in the NFL and a decade long starter including LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. Stingley has been compared to the talent of Peterson so it seems a natural fit to bring him to Minnesota with the 12th overall pick.

13 BROWNS – Jameson Williams, WR (Alabama)

The Browns need help at every spot on the defensive line. But they also need to fix a deteriorating situation at wide receiver. Its hard to believe that a roster that started the season with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. was led by Donovan Peoples-Jones with just 597 receiving yards in 2021. Only two teams (Giants, Jets) had worse production from their leading receiver last season. The best wide receiver in the class of ’22 is arguably Alabama’s Jameson Williams. He tore his ACL in the national championship game against Georgia but his doctor said publicly this past week that he will be ready to return to the field in time for training camp in late July. That assurance from his doctor is enough for the Browns to take the best deep threat in the class with the 13th overall pick.

14 RAVENS – Charles Cross, T (Mississippi State)

According to reports out of Baltimore, the Ravens greatest need entering the draft is at offensive line. And the offensive line rankings by Pro Football Focus last season back that up. The Ravens ranked 21st in the NFL. They allowed the third-most sacks in the NFL and their second-highest rated lineman, C/G Bradley Bozeman is a free agent and is not expected to return. The Ravens should just take the best available offensive lineman with this pick and top 10 prospect Charles Cross is still on the board. The Ravens take the Mississippi State tackle with the 14th pick.

15 EAGLES (from Dolphins) – George Karlaftis, EDGE (Purdue)

The Eagles have three of the next five picks in the draft. There will be opportunities to moves some of these picks for more draft capital but as it stands, they have a great opportunity to take three long-term franchise players during this stretch. Getting a presence in the pass rush will be a priority and with the 15th pick they have their choice between Purdue’s George Karlaftis and Michigan’s David Ojabo. This is where I see Karlaftis coming off the board. A guy with great athleticism for a 6’4” 266 lbs EDGE but also still a high ceiling is pass-rush potential.

16 EAGLES (from Colts) – Trent McDuffie, CB (Washington)

Darius Slay is entering his 10th season in the NFL and yet he is still one of the best lockdown cornerback’s in the league. In 2021 he was the number one ranked corner in single coverage allowing an opposing passer rating of just 5.3. But he can’t do it all himself. With the 16th pick in the draft the Eagles will get him a sidekick. Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie will be a good fit here. He allowed just 16 catches in 2021 and didn’t allow more than 39 yards in any game. He has only been beat deep twice in his entire collegiate career. That’s what will make McDuffie the Eagles second pick in the first round.

17 CHARGERS – Devonte Wyatt, DT (Georgia)

The Chargers had the third-worst defense against the run in 2021 allowing 2,361 yards on the ground. Their 22 rushing touchdowns allowed was also third-worst in the NFL. Stopping the run begins upfront and that’s where the focus should be at number 17. They traded away their 2nd round pick for OLB Kahlil Mack from the Bears so their only chance to get a top-tier defensive tackle in this draft is with this pick. At 6’6”, 360 pounds I’m a big Jordan Davis fan for any team needing to stop the run. But his Georgia teammate Devonte Wyatt will be too hard to pass here. Wyatt is more of a 3-technique DT that has explosive pass rush ability as well. Wyatt is the 17th pick in the draft.

18 SAINTS – Kenny Pickett, QB (Pittsburgh)

When you have a need at quarterback, you have to address that need sooner than later in the draft. The Saints will address that need with the 18th pick. Jameis Winston is a free agent, Trevor Siemian is a free agent, Taysom Hill has multiple foot injuries and Ian Book isn’t the long-term answer. The Saints need the QB in this class that is most NFL ready and for me that is either going to be Cincinnati’s Desmond Ritter or Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. But if the Saints are willing to show some patience and develop a QB then Liberty’s Malik Willis might be the best long-term choice. The Saints are already tired of playing the QB carousel since Drew Brees left and it’s only been one season. They’re taking Pickett and giving him the keys to the offense on day one.

19 EAGLES – Treylon Burks, WR (Arkansas)

The Eagles are back on the clock for the third time in the first round. They addressed two of their top three positions of need (see above) with the 15th and 16th picks. Now they scratch off the next position of need on the list giving Jalen Hurts a playmaker. Devonta Smith was the Eagles first-round pick a year ago and he’s already secured the number spot on the depth chart. But everything after that is up for grabs. Ohio State burner Chris Olave would be an enticing pick here with is 4.39 40 and ability to play both inside and outside at receiver. But Treylon Burks would be a better compliment to Smith as a bigger receiver that can win more 50-50 balls, is a great blocker for his position, is tough to take down and doesn’t drop many passes. He’s been compared to Deebo Samuel. His 40-time of 4.55 was 22nd out of 32 wide receivers at the NFL combine but that won’t score the Eagles away from making the Arkansas wide receiver the pick at number 19.

20 STEELERS – Malik Willis, QB (Liberty)

Goodbye Big Ben. Hello Mason Rudolph??? Sure, Rudolph can be a stop-gap QB for a season. Maybe even just half of a season. He’s definitely not the solution the Steelers need to be considered a contender again. The pick is in for the Steelers and at number 20 Malik Willis becomes the 9th Liberty player ever taken in the NFL Draft and second ever in the first round (also a Steelers pick at #21 in 1990, TE Eric Green). Willis has a cannon for an arm and endless potential but he is still raw and will need to be developed into the long-term starter the Steelers need. Outside of his arm strength, Willis is also an outstanding runner posting five games of 100 or more yards rushing with Liberty. Be patient, Pittsburgh. But be excited too!

21 PATRIOTS – Chris Olave, WR (Ohio State)

Season one in the Mac Jones era is in the books and it couldn’t have started much better for him winning 10 games and throwing for 3,801 yards and 22 TD. It’s time to take the next step and to help him take that step, the Pats will give him an exciting and versatile wide receiver. Now is the time Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave comes off the board.

22 RAIDERS – Nakobe Dean, LB (Georgia)

The Raiders have been trying to revamp the offensive line over the past season plus. Its still a work in progress. They had four new starters on the line when the 2021 season kicked off and that will likely change again going into 2022. They are also in the Wide Receiver market but the top 5 are already gone and they would be reaching a bit to grab Skyy Moore or Jahan Dotson here. Although linebacker may not be a top priority for the Raiders they look up at their board and still see Nakobe Dean’s name up there. Dean is plain fast and is a linebacker that recognizes what the offense is doing quickly and has a reaction speed described as “elite quickness.” The Georgia Bulldog will be wearing silver and black on Sunday’s this fall.

23 CARDINALS – Andrew Booth Jr, CB (Clemson)

The Cardinals go into the draft with just three cornerbacks on the roster and none of them get your heart pumping with excitement. But Andrew Booth Jr’s combination of size, athleticism, physicality and nose for the ball might get Cards fans pulse moving a bit more. He will be a strong man cover corner on the outside for the Cardinals defense and will be a week one starter. This Clemson CB is headed to the desert.

24 COWBOYS – David Ojabo, EDGE (Michigan)

The Cowboys ability to get to the quarterback might have a different look in 2022. Randy Gregory is a free agent and may choose to take his 6 sacks (2nd on the team) out of Dallas and DeMarcus Lawrence could be released to create some salary-cap breathing room. If both of them don’t return, Michigan’s David Ojabo would be hard to pass on with the 24th pick. He’s still raw in his overall development but has the speed (4.55 40) combined with the ability to get low around the corner or spin past tackles which could make him one of the elite pass rushers over the next decade. The Big D is getting David Ojabo.

25 BILLS – Jordan Davis, DT (Georgia)

The Bills had the number one defense in total yards allowed in 2021. The Bills secondary was the league’s best pass defense. But when it came to the run, they were in the middle of the pack. While getting a wide receiver would be another fun addition for Josh Allen, they don’t need to do that until the second round where there will still be plenty of pass-catching talent to be found. So with the 25th pick the Bills take the best true defensive tackle in the draft in Georgia’s Jordan Davis. At 6’6”, 330 pounds Davis is an immovable run stopper. He will be the Bills pass rusher’s new best friend with his ability to eat up blocker and free up those in pursuit of the quarterback. His presence alone almost erases any opponent’s thoughts of going up the middle in goal line or other short-yardage situations. At 25, Davis is a steal in the draft.

26 TITANS – Trevor Penning, OT (Northern Iowa)

If the Titans look anywhere other than the offensive line with their first pick in the draft I would be surprised. Center Ben Jones is entering free agency and so is right tackle David Quessenberry. On the other side of the line tackle Taylor Lewan could be a cap cut as well as guard Rodger Saffold. Sure, all four could be back next season but its not likely. But this offensive line as is gave up 47 sacks in 2021 which was seventh-most in the NFL and Quessenberry allowed 11 of those. Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning makes sense here. He’s fast for his position (4.89 40 at the combine) and excels in the run blocking game as well as pass blocking which favors an offense that features elite running back Derrick Henry.

27 BUCCANEERS – Kenyon Green, OL (Texas A&M)

The Bucs will likely address the quarterback position at some point in this draft but they also need to target a versatile offensive lineman with the retirement of guard Ali Marpet and the chance that starting center Ryan Jensen leaves in free agency. And with the 27th pick in the draft the Bucs are staring at two potential picks that could fill either of those voids. Kenyon Green and Zion Thompson can both play at guard or center. Tyler Linderbaum is also on the board who is more of a true center but can also play either guard position. Take your pick of either of these lineman and the Bucs will be in good shape. I think this is where Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green comes off the board.

28 PACKERS – Jahan Dotson, WR (Penn State)

The Packers were able to work things out with Aaron Rodgers which means they’re not in the market for a quarterback. His favorite target Davante Adams is sticking around. But why not give the future Hall of Famer another pass catcher? Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent but is expected to return. Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the other hand won’t be back. The Packers haven’t taken a first-round wide receiver since Sterling Sharpe in 1988. So when Penn State’s Jahan Dotson’s name is announced, Rodgers should be smiling ear to ear.

29 DOLPHINS (from 49ers) – Tyler Linderbaum, OL (Iowa)

Where don’t the Dolphins need help going into the 2022 draft? This may be a case of taking the top available player on the draft board. I think the Dolphins need to start in the trenches though. They clearly struggled moving the ball last season ranking eighth-worst in total offense and third to last in rushing offense. Remember the lineman I listed for the Bills two picks before? Interior lineman Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa would be the pick here. Considered as the best center in college football last season, Linderbaum could be the Phins leader in the trenches for the next 12-plus seasons.

30 CHIEFS – Daxton Hill, S (Michigan)

The most wide receivers ever taken in the first round of an NFL draft was in 2004 when seven were selected. The Chiefs could match that number if they use this pick to take Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore. I just feel like that might be a bit of a reach still in the first round especially when defensive backs Jalen Pitre (Baylor), Daxton Hill (Michigan) and Kaiir Elam (Florida) are still available.

Hill is fast and versatile. Plug him into the nickel for man coverage on a third wideout, bring him up to stop the run, or let him roam the backfield as a traditional safety. Hill will fit in well on a team that is tasked with keeping some good quarterbacks in check in the AFC West.

31 BENGALS – Zion Johnson, OL (Boston College)

The Bengals have the unenviable task of trying to repeat last season’s success and make a return trip to the Super Bowl. Joe Burrow was outstanding in his second season but his pass protection wasn’t outstanding. Burrow was sacked 55 times in 2021, just three fewer than the league’s worst in sacks allowed. There isn’t a tackle on the board worth taking with the 31st pick but interior lineman Zion Johnson out of Boston College is worthy of this selection. Last season he allowed just six QB pressures in playing time at both guard and tackle.

32 LIONS (from Rams) – Sam Howell, QB (North Carolina)

The first round of the 2022 NFL draft wraps up with the Lions back on the board. They took a very athletic pass rusher with the second overall pick. At number 32, they are still trying to replace Matthew Stafford by taking quarterback Sam Howell out of North Carolina. He is the highest ranked QB prospect going into the draft by Pro Football Focus and his arm talent is endless. The Lions will need to teach him to use that arm more often than not as one of his knocks coming out of college is that he will give up on routes early and scramble. But he is elusive in the pocket and is tough to take down so if he can learn patience then the Lions might have found their quarterback of the future.

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Farnsworth: 2022 Mock NFL Draft 1.0