LOCALS IN THE NFL

Farnsworth: 2022 Mock NFL Draft 2.0

Mar 25, 2022, 11:57 AM | Updated: 1:58 pm
Devin Lloyd - NFL Combine...
Devin Lloyd #LB22 of the Utah Utes speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 4, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITYMy first mock draft was done before the beginning of free agency. Since then the NFL has barely had time to catch its breath with all of the constant wheeling and dealing going on.

The quarterback carousel that has seen Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan and Mitch Trubisky find new homes among others. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers returning to their teams. And then Tyreke Hill, Randy Gregory, Von Miller, Marcus Williams and several others all finding new homes in the free-agent market in their respective positions.

All of these shakeups have caused a shakeup in my 2022 NFL Mock Draft. So let’s give this another go. Here is my 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

1 JAGUARS – Aiden Hutchinson, EDGE (Michigan)

Nothing changes at the top of the draft in my mock. A franchise edge rusher is almost as valuable as a franchise QB. The Jaguars have their quarterback. With the top pick they take the best pass rusher in the draft in Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson with the first overall pick.

2 LIONS – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE (Oregon)

The Lions are probably crossing their fingers that the Jags go with one of the top offensive tackles in this draft like Evan Neil or Ikem Ekwonu. They would love nothing more than to take the former Michigan Wolverine (Hutchinson) with this pick. But he’s gone. The Lions still need a stronger edge presence and they have their pick of a couple of good ones here with Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux or Georgia’s Travon Walker. I’ll stay true to my first mock where I have the Lions taking Thibodeaux with the 2nd overall pick.

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

Deshaun Watson is officially gone. The Texans are left with Kyle Allen and David Mills on the roster. Taking a quarterback at number three would feel like a reach in this draft class. Plus, the Texans seem content on giving Mills the keys to the car for 2022. This is a pick where you could see CB Ahmad Gardner come off the board but I still think the Texans will do what they can to bolster that offensive line and give Mills some added protection. Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neil are very similar in their grades from Pro Football Focus and both have experience at guard as well. Ekwonu is considered the better run blocker of the two and so that’s what will give him the edge as the Texans had the worst rushing offense in 2021.

4 JETS – Evan Neil, T (Alabama)

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 go for one of the top wideouts in this draft or go for a defensive player. But with the fourth overall pick it’s time to give Wilson more time. This is the perfect spot to take T Evan Neil out of Alabama.

5 GIANTS – TRADE WITH FALCONS

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 Seahawks, Falcons, Steelers or Saints. Would the Giants trade down? I think there’s a good chance a trade happens. Time to shake up my mock! The Falcons trade up from number 8.

FALCONS – Malik Willis, QB (Liberty)

Matt Ryan is gone and Marcus Mariota has arrived. But Mariota isn’t a long-term answer at starting QB but he could fill the void for a season or use his seven NFL season’s experience to help mentor the next long-term Falcons QB. With the Panthers two picks ahead, the Falcons made this move to get the QB they had their eyes on. Liberty’s Malik Willis. This QB class isn’t the best but taking a QB in the first round buys a team one more year on a rookie deal with the fifth-year option. You will always see multiple quarterbacks taken in the first round (often early in the round) in the NFL draft.

6 PANTHERS – Kenny Pickett, QB (Pittsburgh)

Would another trade be in the works for the 6th pick? The Seahawks could be eying a move up with the 9th pick they acquired from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade. If the Saints are really in the quarterback business they would be on the phone trying to talk the Panthers out of this pick. But with the selection of Willis moments before, the Panthers are now getting QB hungry. I had them taking S Kyle Hamilton in my first mock but this time, they don’t want to miss out on a new signal-caller. I think the Panthers are reaching a bit with this one but they’ll take Pitt QB Kenny Pickett off the board with the sixth overall pick.

7 GIANTS (from Bears) – Ahmad Gardners, CB (Cincinnati)

The Giants are on the clock now for back-to-back picks. They added another 2nd round pick from the Falcons as well as a 2nd round pick next year and the guy they had targeted at number 5 is still on the board. Big win for the Giants. Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner never allowed a touchdown in 36 games played in his collegiate career. He played more than 1,100 snaps in coverage at Cincinnati and allowed just 58 receptions. In the College Football Playoffs against Alabama, he allowed just 14 yards receiving against an offense with multiple NFL wide receivers on the roster. He is a franchise cornerback and the Giants can’t resist passing on him with the seventh pick.

8 GIANTS (from Falcons) – Travon Walker, DL (Georgia)

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.

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

With two quarterbacks already off the board the Seahawks could gain some draft capital by moving down a bit back into quarterback range. We also are now in Devin Lloyd range in the draft. The loss of All-Pro, future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner will hurt the Seahawks from a production standpoint as well as leadership. 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) – Derek Stingley Jr., CB (LSU)

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. Now at number 10 they are staring at a pair of very good defensive backs as well as the top wide receivers in the draft. 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 defense gave up the third-most passing yards in the NFL in 2021 including 73 catches of 20 or more yards which was second-most in the NFL. They also had only seven interceptions (second-fewest) in 2021. They need a lockdown corner. LSU’s Derek Stingley’s stock has been steadily rising and at number 10 this pick is a slam dunk.

11 COMMANDERS – Kyle Hamilton, S (Notre Dame)

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.  But it’s a deep class and there is name on the board that cannot be ignored. A player that has shot up in draft stock and could be a top 3 pick is still there. The Commanders fill a position of need with the best defensive player in the draft, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton.

12 VIKINGS – George Karlaftis, EDGE (Purdue)

The top two positions the Vikings should look at with the 12th pick is at cornerback and an edge rusher.  With Gardner and Stingley gone Trent McDuffie from Washington will be a player worth considering. But Purdue’s George Karlaftis is considered the third-best pass rusher in the draft and here he is. The Vikings haven’t taken a pass rusher in the first round since 2005. Seventeen years later, the Vikings take the 6’4” 266 pound Karlaftis with the 12th overall pick.

13 TEXANS (from Browns in Deshaun Watson trade) – Trent McDuffie, CB (Washington)

What don’t the Texans need in the 2022 draft? They already took a franchise tackle with the third overall pick. Now with the 13th pick they should probably take the best available player. They have the 5th pick in the second round (37th overall) and will be able to target a pass-catcher there. But the gap between Trent McDuffie and the next best cornerback in the draft is more vast. McDuffie didn’t allow more than 39 yards receiving in any game in 2021. He’ll try to repeat that success in the NFL as the 13th pick by the Houston Texans.

14 RAVENS – Jordan Davis, DT (Georgia)

The Ravens took advantage in free agency to fill a need by signing tackle Morgan Moses. That allows them to take a stronger look at an interior lineman to fill the void left by Bradley Bozeman. But the Ravens also find themselves thin on the defensive front with Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams gone. It’s impossible to not notice the 2021 Bednarik Award winner out of Georgia, defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The 6’6”, 341-pound lineman ran a 4.78 40 at the combine which helped boost his stock even more making him the 14th pick in the draft.

15 EAGLES (from Dolphins) – Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE (Florida State)

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 they do that with the 15th pick taking Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson. His performance at the Senior Bowl has put his stock on an upward trajectory. He boasts a 4.5 40 and recorded 14 sacks in 2021. But he’s also a strong presence on the edge in the run game with 23 run stops last season with the Noles.

16 EAGLES (from Colts) – Devonte Wyatt, DT (Georgia)

The Eagles continue to build their defensive front with the 16th pick, this time selecting the other, more explosive of the two Georgia defensive tackles. If you like Aaron Donald or JJ Watt then you might find yourself cheering for Devonte Wyatt.

17 CHARGERS – Charles Cross, T (Mississippi State)

The Chargers have a future All-Pro quarterback taking the snaps in Justin Herbert. They need to keep him healthy and clean. Looking at the big board they see a top-five overall prospect still available in Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross. His dominant season as a pass-protector in 2021 was highlighted by not allowing a single pressure against Alabama on 66 pass-blocking snaps. He’ll try to replicate that success in the NFL with the Chargers.

18 SAINTS – Garrett Wilson, WR (Ohio State)

When you have a need at quarterback, you have to address that need sooner than later in the draft. That’s why the Saints will be on the phone chatting with the Giants, Panthers or Seahawks to move up into range. But now the Saints will likely look for Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral or Carson Strong to be on the board when the pick again at 49. A wide receiver still has not been taken in this mock and at 18 there are some great ones that would fit nicely with the Saints offense. 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. The Saints take the first WR in the 2022 draft.

19 EAGLES – Nkobe Dean, ILB (Georgia)

The Eagles are back on the clock for the third time in the first round. They beefed up the defensive line with their first two picks. With the 19th pick a wide receiver will be tempting but the more pressing needs are at cornerback and linebacker. Why not take the leader on the best defense in the country with this pick? Linebacker Nkobe Dean likely won’t go earlier than this pick but a linebacker of his caliber won’t be on the board when the Eagles pick again at 51. He’s fast and has range unlike any other player in this draft.

20 STEELERS – Chris Olave, WR (Ohio State)

Goodbye Big Ben. Hello Mitch Trubisky??? The Steelers bring in Trubisky as a stop-gap until they find their next franchise quarterback. Is the next franchise QB really Sam Howell? I say no. Instead, they grab a franchise playmaker at wide receiver. Drake London and Jameson Williams are both coming off injuries late last season but both are going to be explosive play-makers in the NFL. But those injuries might be enough to keep their slide going down the draft board. Ohio State’s Chris Olave is one of the best route runners in this draft class and it comes with blazing speed, clocking a 4.39 40 at the combine. Olave joins the Steelers as the 20th pick in the draft.

21 PATRIOTS – Jameson Williams, WR (Alabama)

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 wide receiver with a very high ceiling. The slide stops for Alabama’s Jameson Williams. He tore his ACL in the national championship game but his doctors say he will be healthy and ready to go by the beginning of training camp. The best deep threat in the class of ’22 goes to the Patriots.

22 PACKERS (from Raiders in Davantae Adams trade) – Drake London, WR (USC)

The Packers have two picks in the first round after trading Davante Adams to Las Vegas. And with both picks they can make Aaron Rodgers a happy man for his decision to return to Green Bay by giving him a pass-catcher and a pass protector. Even with his ankle injury USC’s Drake London is a steal at number 22. He played eight games last season and in six of those posted 130 or more receiving yards. He also has an enviable size for a wideout at 6’5”, 210 pounds and will win just about every jump ball thrown his way. The run on receivers continues with the 22nd pick.

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 – Tyler Linderbaum, C (Iowa)

The Cowboys need at wide receiver increased after sending Amare Cooper to the Browns. But they’ll sit tight and take one in the second round with his deep pass-catching class. With the 24th pick they can take the draft’s top interior lineman in Tyler Linderbaum. He has been the highest-rated center by Pro Football Focus in each of the past two seasons and will be a starter in week one and for years to come.

25 BILLS – Bernhard Raimann, T (Central Michigan)

I kind of feel like this is one of those situations where the Bills can take the best player available on the draft board. They would like a wide receiver but at this point in the draft you can get a wideout that’s just as good well into the second round. The Bills picked up edge help in free agency with the addition of Von Miller and d-line help with two free agent additions. But you can never have too much help on the offensive line. Bernhard Raimann from Central Michigan was the second-highest rated offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus and now he’s a member of the Buffalo Bills.

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 re-signed for two more years with the Titans. Right tackle David Quessenberry was not tendered and is an unrestricted free agent. On the other side of the line tackle Taylor Lewan could be a cap cut as well as guard Rodger Saffold. 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 – Zion Johnson, G (Boston College)

Tom Brady is back for a 23rd season in the NFL and the Bucs re-signed his starting center Ryan Jensen. But they will still have interest in a versatile offensive lineman with the retirement of guard Ali Marpet. With the 27th pick in the draft the Bucs are staring at two potential picks that could fill that void. Zion Johnson allowed only six pressures last season including just one pressure on 46 pass-blocking snaps against Clemson. Tom Brady, meet your new guard Zion Johnson.

28 PACKERS – Jahan Dotson, WR (Penn State)

The Packers are back on the clock after taking a wide receiver with the 22nd pick. They were waiting to grab an offensive lineman here but then the last four picks happened and the first round crop of O-lineman is gone. So, why not go for a second wide receiver in the opening round? Marquez Valdes-Scantling has entered free agency so they still need to fill those shoes as well. Penn State’s Jahan Dotson will be a nice compliment to London (22nd pick). London is big, Dotson is small (5’11”, 184 pounds). But Dotson has great hands-only dropping two of his 93 targets last season and he plays through contact better than most receivers. Aaron Rodgers is smiling ear to ear with two first-round receivers added to the roster.

29 CHIEFS (from Dolphins in Tyreke Hill trade. Pick was originally from 49ers) – David Ojabo, EDGE (Michigan)

The Chiefs now have back-to-back picks after the trade that sent Tyreke Hill to the Dolphins. But in an AFC West division that might have the most QB talent of any division in the NFL you have to be able to rush those passers. David Ojabo tore his Achilles in his pro-day workout but is still considered a raw talent that can be developed into one of the top pass rushers in the league. The Chiefs can afford to be patient with Ojabo. When healthy, Ojabo showed he 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. David Ojabo’s new home is at Arrowhead.

30 CHIEFS – Treylon Burks, WR (Arkansas)

The Chiefs use the second of these picks to help fill the vacancy left behind by Hill. Treylon Burks would be a good fit in an offense led by Patrick Mahomes. Burks wins most 50-50 balls, is a great blocker for his position, is tough to take down after the catch and has great hands. He’s been compared to Deebo Samuel. His 40-time of 4.55 was 22nd out of 32 wide receivers at the combine but that won’t keep Andy Reid from taking Burks with the 30th pick in the draft.

31 BENGALS – Kenyon Green, G (Texas A&M)

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. At this point there aren’t many offensive lineman worthy of the 31st pick. But they may have to dig a bit deeper to get Burrow some help up front. Kenyon Green will hear his name called earlier than expected but the Texas A&M Aggie has started at three different positions in college and can play either guard position as well as left tackle for the Bengals.

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.

LOCALS IN THE DRAFT
UTAH:

LB Nephi Sewell will be the second Ute taken in the 2022 NLF Draft but don’t expect to hear his name called until the third or final day. Look for Sewell to be taken sometime between the late 5th round to the middle of the sixth round. The Jaguars have a ton of picks including the 180th pick (the first of the 6th round). That’s probably a good place to start listening for Sewell’s name to be called.

RB TJ Pledger will be drafted! “But he was only a backup at Utah.” Doesn’t matter. Pledger averaged 6.7 yards per carry and still ran for 694 yards in 2021. He also averaged 10.7 yards per reception with 10 catches out of the backfield. Pledger will also be a day three selection. He will be taken in the 6-7th rounds.

C Nick Ford is on the draft bubble. He is a valuable offensive lineman that can play at all five positions if needed. His leadership is also something coaches will value when it comes to late-day-three picks. If Ford is selected it won’t be until the 7th round but has the talent to contend for a starting job on whichever team picks him.

DL Mika Tafua is a guy that should be drafted but don’t be shocked if he’s not. He was the PAC-12 sacks leader in 2021 and Morris Trophy winner. But his draft grades have been consistently low enough to make him an undrafted free agent. Tafua will be highly sought after once the draft is over as a UDFA and will have a great chance to make a 53-man roster during training camp.

WR/KR Britain Covey will not be drafted. I know he’s a fan favorite but his size (5’8”170 pounds) will work heavily against him. His 4.43 40 time at Utah’s pro day will help him get signed as a UDFA after the draft. Then he will have to work harder than every other rookie on the roster to prove he belongs. The good thing for Covey is he rarely if ever gets outworked.

BYU:
RB Tyler Allgeier
will make it six out of the last seven years that a BYU player has been taken in the NFL draft. Allgeier should be the next local player taken in the draft after Devin Lloyd. Allgeier’s draft range begins mid-third round through the end of the fourth round.

C James Empey is another local player on the draft bubble. If he’s taken it will be late in the final round of the draft. Maybe Empey can make news as Mr. Irrelevant? Whether drafted or not he will at the least have his choice of locations as a UDFA.

UTAH STATE:

WR Deven Thompkins was one of the top wide receivers in the country in 2021 and won the Montain West Conference championship. But with how deep the wide receiver class is this spring it would be a shock to see him selected. Thompkins has a very strong tape which will earn him an invitation to training camp as a UDFA.

WR/KR Savon Scarver has the most kicks returned for touchdowns in NCAA Division I history with 7. He is fast, shifty and explosive in the return game. He has an uphill climb to make it onto a final 53-man roster but there will be interest when teams are filling out their camp rosters.

DE Nick Heninger, S Shaq Bond, DT Marcus Moore and LB Justin Rice will all draw interest as undrafted free agents.

SOUTHERN UTAH:

OT Braxton Jones will be the fourth player in Southern Utah University history taken in the NFL Draft. Late fourth round into the fifth round is the sweet spot for Jones in this draft.

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