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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Panthers, Commanders, Lions take QB; Jaguars take surprise choice at No. 1


NC State

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 320 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

4th

We’ve routinely had Ekwonu as our top offensive linemen for more than a month, and we’ve finally talked ourselves into the Jags taking him first overall. Yes, Aidan Hutchinson is probably the safest pick in the entire class, but unless he can play offensive line, too, he’s not a huge need for Trevor Lawrence and new coach Doug Pederson.

Michigan

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

2nd

Hutchinson is a great example of a player who got better each and every season, and instead of coming out early he stayed in school, balled out as a senior, and made himself into arguably the best player — on either side of the ball — in the country during the 2021 college football season. This will be the easiest pick in the draft for any team.

Oregon

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 258 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Texans can’t go wrong here, and who knows, they could even have a real opportunity to trade down if another team fell in love with either a lineman or an edge rusher. We could see Houston targeting both positions too, but this week we have them going with Thibodeaux, who is the most explosive player in this class.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 350 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

The Jets have to protect Zach Wilson, and this should be the mantra to begin every draft meeting the team has. Neal is an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions during his Crimson Tide career.

Mississippi State

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

3rd

New GM Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll are moving forward with Daniel Jones, and if that’s the case — and stop us if this sounds familiar — they’re going to need to protect him. Cross is coming off a strong season for Mississippi State. He’s not yet a finished product, which means he has plenty of room to improve in the coming years.

Pittsburgh

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

This is too high for Pickett — and, honestly, for any QB in this class — but that doesn’t mean he won’t end up inside the top 10. If we’re Carolina, we’re targeting an O-lineman here, but with three already off the board, QB is a much easier sell. Also making this easier: CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported last week that the Panthers really like Pickett and, of course, they desperately need a QB.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 250 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

Ojabo isn’t a finished product, and that’s what makes him so exciting. He was incredibly disruptive for Michigan last season and in New York he’ll give the Giants a much-needed boost off the edge.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

22nd

POSITION RNK

5th

The Falcons could be in market for a quarterback, but either way, Matt Ryan is the likely starter in ’22. And with Hamilton still on the board, Atlanta will instead bolster its secondary. The thing is: Hamilton would be a steal at No. 8 — he’s a top-5 talent all day long, and for us, he’s a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed — a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk — and that makes him a Day 1 impact player.

Cincinnati

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 188 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

39th

POSITION RNK

5th

A year ago the Broncos took Patrick Surtain in this range and now they double down with Sauce Gardner, who is coming off a great showing for the Bearcats. Drafting CBs with back-to-back first-round picks might seem like overkill, but Denver will lose some members of its secondary to free agency, and more than that, the Broncos also play in a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Jets already addressed the offensive line so here they take one of the best CBs in this class. Stingley missed the final half of the season because of injury but that shouldn’t have any impact on his draft stock.

Ole Miss

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

3rd

Taylor Heinicke was good for much of the ’21 season but you’d have to imagine Washington will think long and hard about a QB, especially if they’re picking this high.

Washington

• Soph

• 5’11”

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

3rd

There are very few holes in McDuffie’s game, and while he played mostly outside for the Huskies, he has the athleticism, physicality and smarts to be a chess piece in the Vikings’ secondary.

Arkansas

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 225 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Browns have needs at wide receiver, for sure, but the talking points in the coming months will likely concern the QB position. We think Baker Mayfield is much better than he showed last season, in part because he wasn’t healthy. Either way, Burks has the size and speed to take over games, which will make life easier for Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski in ’22.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 275 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

41st

POSITION RNK

6th

Walker is something of a tweener, which is odd to say about someone who stands 6-foot-5, and weighs 275 pounds. But he can line up as a 3, 4 or 5-tech and that versatility, coupled with his nonstop motor and consistent playmaking ability, makes him an attractive option for several teams in this range looking to bolster their defensive line.

Florida State

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 260 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

1st

No one had a better Senior Bowl week than Johnson. We liked his 2021 tape a lot, but thought of him as a fringe first- or second-rounder. He put any such doubts to rest with a dominating practice week in Mobile.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 290 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

30th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Jason Kelce is 34 years old and the Eagles could either move on from him after the season, or let his contract expire after the 2022 campaign. Yes, Philly drafted Landon Dickerson in the spring, but he can remain at guard going forward because Linderbaum might end up being the best offensive lineman in this class.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 192 lbs

Only receivers Keenan Allen and rookie Josh Palmer are under contract after the season. And if Mike Williams isn’t in the long-term plans, Wilson wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 189 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

1st

Quarterback will obviously be a consideration here but only wide receivers Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway and Tre’quan Smith are under contract, and there’s no guarantee Thomas will be back. Williams, who had to transfer from Ohio State to Alabama to see the field, is a legit first-round talent, even after tearing his ACL in the national title game.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 225 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

2nd

This has been a popular pairing in our weekly mocks, partly because the Eagles could use Dean in the middle of their D (even if, historically, they don’t draft off-ball linebackers in Round 1), and in part because Dean was so dominant during the ’21 season. And while he played on the best defense in the country, don’t be fooled — he didn’t ride on the coattails of a dominant Georgia defensive line — Dean was a huge reason for its success. There are questions about his size and how that translates to the NFL but his tape tells a different story.

Boston College

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 316 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

42nd

POSITION RNK

8th

Same as last week, even with Malik Willis still on the board. And look, the Steelers may very well end up drafting him, but Johnson is another player who came to the Senior Bowl and proved he was worthy of first-round consideration. He played left tackle at Boston College and worked at guard and center in Mobile. He’s a Day 1 starter and would improve an offensive line that struggled in ’21.

Purdue

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 275 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Matt Judon has a strong Year 1 in New England but Karlaftis would add another dimension to the defensive line. Injuries and the pandemic saw him play limited snaps in ’20 but Karlaftis was nearly impossible to stop in ’19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks, and in 12 games this past season he logged 10 TFLs, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 200 lbs

Projected Team

Las Vegas

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

3rd

The Raiders’ secondary had some bright spot among its young players — rookies Trevon Moehrig and Nate Hobbs flashed — but the team also cut 2020 first-rounder Damon Arnette this season and could lose several veterans to free agency. Booth had a fantastic ’22 season and he could go even higher than this.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 325 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

28th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Cards could very well be in the QB business if the reports of Kyler Murray’s frustrations bear out. Assuming he returns, the reality is this: Arizona has six offensive linemen entering the final year of their respective deals. Green played tackle for A&M for much of the ’22 season but he has the versatility to move inside, too. Either way, he fills an impending need for the Cardinals.

Houston

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 275 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Last spring, some people were surprised Payton Turner made his way into Round 1. Don’t be shocked if his Houston teammate, Hall, follows a similar path. He was unblockable at times last season and at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he can line up just about anywhere.

Utah

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 235 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

25th

POSITION RNK

7th

We’ve typically had the Bills targeting the secondary in recent mocks but it may be hard to pass on a player of Lloyd’s talents here. Every linebacker not named Matt Milano has just one year left on their contracts — including Tremaine Edmunds and A.J. Klein, and while Buffalo will no doubt re-up some of them, Lloyd has a chance to be special.

Northern Iowa

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 321 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

40th

POSITION RNK

7th

We’re not as high on Penning as others in the draft-media community, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a strong season and a dominant-at-times Senior Bowl week. Plus, the Titans’ offensive line was a mess and if they love the edge with which Penning plays — and it’s hard not to — he could be a natural fit here.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 315 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

4th

Wyatt is another player who changed some minds with his Senior Bowl week. Incredibly quick off the snap and powerful once he gets going, Wyatt can be unstoppable when he’s on his game.

USC

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

32nd

POSITION RNK

5th

Who knows what Aaron Rodgers will do, but no time like the present for the Packers to finally get him a first-round wideout. London was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing USC season. And while he won’t run a 4.3 when healthy, he is a high-point-catch machine who can take over games, which sounds like something both Rodgers and Davante Adams would appreciate in Green Bay.

Minnesota

• Sr

• 6’9″

/ 380 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

38th

POSITION RNK

6th

Faalele measured 6-foot-8, 387 pounds at the Senior Bowl, and depending on which scout you speak to, he’s anywhere from a high-upside first-rounder to a late-Day 2 project. His physical tools are undeniable, and he’s new to the position (and football). Once he puts it altogether he could be special.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 192 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

6th

Hill is part of a Wolverines defense that could end up seeing three players go in Round 1 next spring. He’s underrated nationally, but watch him play and it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s in the running for one of the best defensive backs in this class. He’s listed as a safety but can line up anywhere, and in Kansas City, the only defensive backs with experience under contract for next season are Juan Thornhill, Rashad Fenton and L’Jarius Sneed.

Central Michigan

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 305 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

5th

The Bengals need O-line help — this isn’t news. Raimann is raw, and perhaps not a Day 1 answer to the O-line woes but, man, he has the potential to be really, really good. Originally from Austria, Raimann is a former tight end who has only played the position for a couple years. But he made a big leap from from Year 1 to Year 2 and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to grow into the position.

Liberty

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

21st

POSITION RNK

2nd

This is probably more in line with where Willis should go off the board (we have a second-round grade on him) but that doesn’t mean teams looking for a quarterback won’t take one 15 to 30 picks before they should. If the Lions do target Willis here it has to be with the understanding that he’ll be a backup in ’22 while Jared Goff continues to hold down the job. Willis has all the tools you look for in an athletic, strong-armed QB but he’s also extremely raw. It would be reckless to throw him into the lineup as a rookie.





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