2022 NFL Mock Draft: What the Panthers, Steelers and every other team ‘should do’ with their picks2022-04-28 06:27:00

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Alabama

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 337 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

If I come out of this draft class knowing that I did my best to protect Trevor Lawrence, then I will be able to sleep at night. Neal has played guard and right tackle through his career so if that needs to be a short-term plan, then I am comfortable with it. It is all about putting the five best players on the field to protect Lawrence and allow him the comfort that he did not receive last season.

Oregon

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Detroit does not really need an offensive lineman here and may be gun shy going back to the cornerback well after Jeff Okudah. I am investing in a premier position like edge rusher and the best in this class based on film is Thibodeaux. I have not been sitting in the interviews with him so I can not speak to the issue at hand, but I like the player and what he could become in the NFL opposite Romeo Okwara.

NC State

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

4th

The franchise has made the decision to give Davis Mills a year to prove himself. It would serve no one to surround him with a flawed supporting cast incapable of giving him a fair shot at proving whether or not he was capable. If the team upgrades the offensive line and he does not work out, then pick a quarterback next year and you’ll still have that offensive lineman to block. It is difficult to envision Laremy Tunsil on the roster next year under his current contract.

Cincinnati

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

Cornerback is a premier position to me and, despite signing D.J. Reed, I think that is an area of the roster that could be elevated. With this particular draft class, I have been saying that I wish I could start my rankings at about No. 5 overall because I do not see a No. 1 overall prospect in this class. With that being said, Gardner is my top-rated prospect.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

2nd

If James Bradberry is gone, then New York can ill afford to miss on Gardner and Stingley. It is a risky proposition because you essentially know that the franchise is going to miss on an offensive tackle if Carolina does not take a quarterback. A sacrifice has to be made but it is the right decision.

Mississippi State

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 307 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Carolina can trade for Baker Mayfield if it pleases but no quarterback is going to be successful under the current structure. The Panthers need to upgrade the offensive line and Cross would allow for some hope at the quarterback position. I would rather take my chances this season and enter the quarterback market next year if it does not work out. Sam Darnold and Mayfield would both be off the books and the franchise would be starting clean. It is important to note that my job is not on the line with this pick, though. Panthers leadership will probably be motivated by what can help them the most this season.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 272 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

1st

Upon missing out on the offensive tackles, the Giants take a second player at a premier position. An elite edge rusher has evaded the Giants since Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Walker is not that player walking in the door but he is a high floor run-stopper initially with the potential to develop into more of a threat as a pass-rusher. He should be able to win with speed and power early in his career until he figures out the rest.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 183 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Falcons need playmakers and Wilson gives them something a little different than what they already have in Kyle Pitts, who was used more detached than he was as a traditional tight end. Wilson is my top-rated wide receiver because of his elite body control down the field.

Michigan

• Sr

• 6’7″

/ 260 lbs

Projected Team

Seattle

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

A surprising fall leaves Hutchinson available for Seattle at No. 9 overall. His production in college was fantastic and his floor as a well-rounded player suggests that he is not going to be a bust. The concern is his arm length and how opposing offensive linemen will be able to dictate movement at the next level.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 179 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Williams was trending toward becoming the top wide receiver prospect prior to his injury. His road to recovery has gone well to this day and that could lead to an early return. I value the Alabama product in this spot to complement Elijah Moore.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

Hamilton is not a perfect prospect but he is a unique combination of size and speed. He can erase tight ends in the NFL and play downhill with force. His awareness and football IQ will endear himself to coaching and some of that leadership was missed on that side of the ball last season.

Florida State

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

3rd

I would have loved to get a cornerback in this spot but I think there is a significant drop from Gardner and Stingley to the next group. Despite signing Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota drafts a premier position to form a great rotation of talent while instilling some insurance in the event that either Danielle Hunter or Smith are moved in the next few years.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 341 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

2nd

How much does a nose tackle impact a rebuilding team? It did little for Carolina and I can understand that argument. However, when exploring the prospects that are different from others, Davis is unique. Could he be a Vince Wilfork like New England had early in Bill Belichick’s Patriots days?

Purdue

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 266 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

26th

POSITION RNK

4th

Karlaftis is one of the more volatile prospects in this class. Opinions are all over the board. I value his talent here and believe that he would be a great complement to Odafe Oweh; speed on one side and power on the opposite.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 296 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Landon Dickerson was a center at Alabama but he also showed growth at guard this season. The idea that Linderbaum, who I value as a top-10 prospect in this class, could come in and sit a year is not a negative to me. There is no better resource for a rookie offensive lineman coming into the league than Jason Kelce. The devoted Eagle plays out his final season and walks off into the sunset knowing that he left a legacy.

Northern Iowa

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 321 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

35th

POSITION RNK

8th

Terron Armstead was signed by the Dolphins in free agency. They could give James Hurst or Landon Young a shot at the position but off-season actions suggest that they are looking to be competitive this season. Penning theoretically gives the franchise a higher ceiling at left tackle.

Ohio State

• Sr

• 6’0″

/ 187 lbs

I walked into the Chargers’ war room and locked the door behind me. The idea of adding a third wide receiver of Olave’s caliber excites me. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Olave give Justin Herbert one of the best receiver rooms in the league and gives them more salary cap flexibility into the future.

USC

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

3rd

London offers Philadelphia something a little different than what it currently has on the roster. In an offense that leans on the run game, I like the idea of having a big slot like London who can impede pursuers in space. He is going to be able to use his body to wall off defenders and make plays at the sticks.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

32nd

POSITION RNK

6th

There has been some conversation in media circles that Pickens has not exactly nailed his pre-draft interviews. At the same time, I saw a player that suffered a torn ACL in March and could have sat out the 2021 season in entirety without anyone blaming him. Instead, he returned to the field in November and was a part of his team’s march to a national championship. His talent is in line with a player who should be taken inside the top 20.

Liberty

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

1st

I would not trade up for a quarterback in this class because I do not have that level of conviction with any of them. Therefore, Pittsburgh, who has a roster that could justifiably plug and play a rookie, stays put and still lands a player with upside. The AFC North suddenly features Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Willis.

Florida

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 191 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

36th

POSITION RNK

6th

New England has been drained of secondary talent over the past few years. Knowing Bill Belichick and his inclination to have depth and versatility in that unit, it would make sense to add a player or two early. Elam is a big-bodied cornerback who offers man-coverage capability, which has been critical to that scheme. I am higher on him than most others.

Arkansas

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 225 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

4th

I look at Green Bay’s wide receiver room as a clean slate right now. There really is no one who should preclude them from taking a player like Burks. I would have preferred Olave but he was gone. Burks is a big-bodied wide receiver who can serve as a big slot blocking in a wide-zone scheme.

USC

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

72nd

POSITION RNK

8th

Jackson being back in the first round will come as a surprise to many. My biggest question with him is whether or not the weight fluctuation is a problem or a byproduct of him doing what is asked of him. If it is the latter, then I am buying that stock. He has great size and the ability to bend around the edge. USC did not use him to his potential and any team that asks him to focus on working upfield will reap the rewards of its investment. He has 34-inch arms and only recently turned 21.

Boston College

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 312 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

33rd

POSITION RNK

7th

Initially, I had Nakobe Dean in this spot for the Cowboys. The thunder-and-lightning combination of Micah Parsons and Dean excites me. However, from a roster-building standpoint, it would be easier to find linebackers on Day Two than it would be to find offensive linemen. The success of an offense begins with the offensive line so I want to ensure that unit is one of the best in the league.

Washington

• Soph

• 6’0″

/ 194 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

39th

POSITION RNK

7th

As with Burks, people had expectations for Gordon at the NFL combine that were not met. The enthusiasm many had for him disappeared but the reaction was overblown. He was a solid performer that is no less of a player. Buffalo adds another cornerback opposite Tre White.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 323 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

6th

The running game is the bread and butter of Tennessee’s offense. The Titans need a strong offensive line to be successful and Green certainly upgrades that unit following the loss of Rodger Saffold.

Baylor

• Sr

• 5’11”

/ 198 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

37th

POSITION RNK

4th

Tampa Bay has few needs for the upcoming season. Adding a defensive back with versatility and great instincts that lead him to being around the ball constantly is an easy decision for the Buccaneers. He can play in the slot or safety.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 307 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

28th

POSITION RNK

4th

Green Bay upgrades the defensive line by selecting Wyatt. The Pack are creating bully ball with Kenny Clark, Jarran Reed, Dean Lowry and now Wyatt.

Minnesota

• Sr

• 6’4″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

3rd

I love Mafe and believe that he is undersold in his ability to drop into coverage or seal the edge. Although an older prospect, he is a well-rounded player who will be able to step into that role vacated by Melvin Ingram.

Washington

• Soph

• 5’11”

/ 193 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

22nd

POSITION RNK

4th

McDuffie being available this late in the first round may come as a surprise to some but I do not think it is the stretch that the public is led to believe. NFL teams have guardrails to minimize risk and the Washington product’s below-average arm length is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea in the first round.

Houston

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 282 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

40th

POSITION RNK

5th

Cincinnati cycled through its defensive line depth last season. I could see the Bengals wanting to keep that depth in the future. Hall adds a different dynamic as a long penetrator who can create pressure from the interior. The ability of Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard and Hall spreads the protection thin.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 199 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

31st

POSITION RNK

3rd

Cine is one of the best prospects available at this stage of the first round. Detroit is not going to go broke taking a profit. It also does not hurt pulling a player from the national champions who is going to come into the building with the expectation of winning.



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