Alex Katson 2022 Mock Draft 1.0

Now that the Super Bowl has come and gone, the NFL Draft is our next big football event before things go quiet until the beginning of training camp. Much has yet to be decided, with free agency looming as a way for teams to patch holes in their rosters. For my first mock draft of the season, I decided to explore some new scenarios. Some picks are based on things I heard while in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, some are my predictions for what will happen, and some are picks I would make if I was in charge.

Photo from Getty Images

1.1 Jacksonville Jaguars
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Jacksonville finds themselves in a similar spot as in 2013. Few, if any, teams will want to trade up to #1 overall to ensure they get their pick of the quarterbacks, but the Jags also don’t need one with Trevor Lawrence on the roster. Instead, I think they’ll mirror 2013’s selection by going offensive line, whether that’s Neal or NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu. Neal is a freak athlete for his size that can play either tackle position, flexibility that will be appreciated for a Jacksonville team that has starter battles looming on both sides. They’ll just hope Neal works out better than 2013 first rounder Luke Joeckel.

Other Possible Picks: Ikem Ekwonu, Kayvon Thibodeaux

1.2 Detroit Lions
Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Personally, I still think Kayvon Thibodeaux is the most talented EDGE in this draft class. That said, Hutchinson fits the Lions’ new culture under Dan Campbell to a T. He’s a mean player with plenty of power who can set the tone on the edge for a Detroit team likely to cut Trey Flowers this offseason. That attitude, plus the allure of adding a hometown stud to stack fan appeal, makes me think Hutchinson is the most likely pick at #2 overall.

Other Possible Picks: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Kyle Hamilton

1.3 Houston Texans
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

I don’t think anybody really knows what’s going on in Houston these days, but Thibodeaux “falling” to #3 after being billed as the #1 pick for most of the season will almost certainly have Jack Easterby giving team sermons about how God is on their side. The Oregon pass rusher has faced some questions about his character recently, which, if legit, could drop him further than this. Whether those concerns are warranted or not is not my place to speculate – I’m not in NFL interview rooms. However, it’s undeniable that adding KT would give Houston a new face of the franchise they’ve been lacking since the departures of DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt, as well as the likely departure of Deshaun Watson, wherever he may end up.

Other Possible Picks: Kyle Hamilton, Derek Stingley Jr.

1.4 New York Jets
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The last team to take a safety in the top ten was the Jets, who drafted now-Seahawk Jamal Adams 6th overall in 2017. After an acrimonious split, perhaps New York would balk at the idea of taking one this highly again. However, I think Kyle Hamilton is the exception to just about every rule on the position there is. He’ll likely end as my highest graded player in 2022 simply due to his versatility. The Jets will need better safety play going forward, whether they decide to re-sign Marcus Maye or not. A Hamilton selection locks down one spot or helps patch both short-term while they search for a suitable running mate.

Other Possible Picks: Ikem Ekwonu, Derek Stingley Jr.

1.5 New York Giants
Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

While Andrew Thomas has leveled out after a rocky start to his NFL career, the right side of the Giants line has continued to struggle. As much as I loved Matt Peart coming out of college, he hasn’t proven he can be the guy on that side. Nate Solder has increasingly become less and less serviceable. Enter Ekwonu, a pancake machine who would immediately bring a mean streak to the Big Apple. While his experience is exclusively on the left side, I think he has the traits to be a high-caliber starter at either spot. Ekwonu may just well be exactly what Saquon Barkley needs to get his superstar ascension back on track.

Other Possible Picks: Charles Cross, David Ojabo

1.6 Carolina Panthers
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

There’s been plenty of rumors about Carolina’s affection for Kenny Pickett, but Carolina does not strike me as a team only a QB away from contending, which I think will be the best situation for the Pitt signal caller. The other major, glaring hole on that offense is at left tackle, where Matt Rhule has made clear he has certain length thresholds. That’s what kept the Panthers from drafting Rashawn Slater, but it’s also what keeps them from sliding 3rd round pick Brady Christensen outside. Problem solved with Cross, who should measure in with the length Rhule covets. While he’ll need a touch of seasoning to really get going as an NFL player, he’d step in as the unquestioned starter in 2022 for Carolina.

Other Possible Picks: Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis

1.7 New York Giants (via CHI)
David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Buffalo’s strategy with Joe Schoen in the fold was always to build their defense through the trenches, from Jerry Hughes to the 3 recent selections of AJ Epenesa, Greg Rousseau, and Boogie Basham. With Schoen now at the helm of this Giants team, I see little reason to believe he’ll change his ways now. Ojabo is one of 2022’s biggest projections: while he’s less raw than 2021 1st rounder Odafe Oweh, it’s not by much. The one thing Ojabo has over his former high school teammate is college production – 11 sacks in a breakout season this year. Some teams will prefer a more finished product on the edge, but the Giants timetable doesn’t seem to have a defined endpoint quite yet in a make or break season for Daniel Jones. As such, the bright lights of the Meadowlands may be the perfect environment for Ojabo to hone his craft.

Other Possible Picks: George Karlaftis, Tyler Linderbaum

TRADE: PIT sends 1.20, 3.84, 2023 1st to ATL for 1.8, 5.150

1.8 Pittsburgh Steelers (via ATL)
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

This is my only trade of this mock, because I truly believe three things regarding this pick:

  1. Mike Tomlin LOVES Malik Willis. Anyone who was in Mobile will tell you this.
  2. Willis will not be available at the 20th pick.
  3. The Falcons can get a player at a position of need at 20. (More on this later.)

With Kevin Colbert effectively retired, it seems very plausible that Tomlin gets his way on most of this year’s picks, especially if Pittsburgh’s future GM isn’t already in their building. It’s no secret that Tomlin values mobility in his next QB after watching the shell of Ben Roethlisberger shuffle his way down the field for the past few seasons. The Steelers are in a unique position as it regards Willis as well: it’s a popular half-joke that the Liberty QB will get a GM fired if he doesn’t pan out. Well, the Steelers have no GM to fire here, unless they want to can Tomlin, whose on-field track record is near unmatched among active coaches. Plus, if Willis hits his ceiling, you’re looking at a potential top 5 NFL QB.

Photo from USA TODAY

1.9 Denver Broncos
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

I do not expect Broncos fans to be happy with me for this one, but please at least indulge my line of logic before angrily tweeting at me. I think that Denver thinks they’re a QB away. The Aaron Rodgers rumors obviously loom large. Kirk Cousins is another veteran that makes sense, given his ties to GM George Paton from their time in Minnesota. It’s possible, likely even, that Denver aren’t the ones to make this selection in April. But if they do, it’s because they’ve struck out. And if they’ve struck out, that roster is good enough that they might decide to roll with what they can get. Pickett isn’t exactly Teddy Bridgewater, but I think they’re comparable players on some level. To get Bridgewater-level (or above) play on a rookie contract instead of for the $20 million a year PFF projects Bridgewater to get is a plus proposition to me.

Other Possible Picks: George Karlaftis, Derek Stingley Jr.

1.10 New York Jets (via SEA)
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

I suspect NFL teams will be reluctant to spend a top 5 pick on a player whose best season was two years ago unless Stingley’s medicals come back clean. Without inside information on how those medicals look or how well the former LSU corner has interviewed, I think fringe top 10 is likely his range. Some have even suggested that Stingley won’t be the first corner off the board come April, which again I think will depend on things outside of his play on the field. For New York, adding a blue-chip corner to an already young group will stabilize their secondary play. That in turn takes some pressure off Zach Wilson, who maybe won’t have to play from behind in what feels like every game in 2022.

Other Possible Picks: George Karlaftis, Ahmad Gardner

1.11 Washington Commanders
Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi

This is a similar spot as the Broncos, in that I think it’s more likely than not that Washington at least attempts to move this pick for a veteran. Rumors right now point to Russell Wilson, despite intel also suggesting that Wilson and the Seahawks are planning to move forward together. Since I don’t feel strongly that a deal gets done, I’m going to act this mock out as if the newly named Commanders strike out on the veteran market. As such, the best QB remaining is Mississippi’s Matt Corral, whose combine and pro day performances will better determine his draft range. Corral reminds me a touch of Drew Lock – he’s got plenty of talent to harness, but the decision making and ability under duress will be what limits him as a pro. If Washington does go down this road, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add a cheaper veteran like Jameis Winston or Teddy Bridgewater to hedge their bets.

Other Possible Picks: Garrett Wilson, Treylon Burks

1.12 Minnesota Vikings
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Minnesota

Minnesota needing a corner feels like a bad dream. Even though Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman have departed, the Vikings drafting one in the first round seems inevitable. With former Broncos DC Ed Donatell manning the ship, corner will be a premium position for the foreseeable future, and Minnesota simply doesn’t have the alpha or the bodies to run that defense. That’s where Gardner comes in. Much like Patrick Surtain II last year, Gardner may end up looking the best of this year’s crop if he performs in a Fangio-style defense that demands a lot of its corners, but rewards them equally well.

Other Possible Picks: George Karlaftis, Andrew Booth Jr.

1.13 Cleveland Browns
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

After watching and melting down about Odell Beckham Jr. winning a Super Bowl with the Rams, it might help ease the pain for Cleveland to add a true #1 receiver of their own. Jarvis Landry’s cap hit is outsized, and while Donovan Peoples-Jones has developed well, the Browns need an unquestioned first option. That’s especially true if Baker Mayfield is retained, which seems like the most likely scenario. Wilson is a violent route runner with plus RAC ability who will give everyone else much more room to operate.

Other Possible Picks: Treylon Burks, George Karlaftis

1.14 Baltimore Ravens
George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

You may have noticed that Karlaftis’ name has been listed as a possible pick since 7th overall, and that’s because I really have no idea how his stock looks going into the Combine. Draft Twitter is split, although it seems like the majority believe he has top 10 talent. Plugged-in analysts like Daniel Jeremiah have the Purdue product in this range, citing concerns over his length. For Baltimore, adding a real presence on the edge to pair with 2021 1st rounder Odafe Oweh should be a priority in an increasingly competitive AFC.

Other Possible Picks: Tyler Linderbaum, Jermaine Johnson II

1.15 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA)
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Philly fans might be sick of seeing receivers mocked to them for the third year in a row, but the Eagles’ situation still has yet to be remedied. JJ Arcega-Whiteside hasn’t become a starting caliber player. Jalen Reagor continues to battle drop demons and catch the ire of Eagles fans needing a new target now that Nelson Agholor has left town. Devonta Smith has been good, but he needs a running mate. Burks fits the profile of the power slot revolutionized by Chris Godwin, which would allow Smith to continue to do his damage on the outside. With Burks and Dallas Goedert locked down long term, defenses would also have to stay honest over the middle.

Other Possible Picks: Andrew Booth Jr., Tyler Linderbaum

1.16 Philadelphia Eagles (via IND)
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

I know what you’re going to say. “Howie Roseman hates linebackers more than PFF hates running backs. He’d never take one in the first round.” And you’re probably right! But I can’t help but think Dean might be the exception to Roseman’s golden rule, especially for a team whose best linebacker in 2021 was…Davion Taylor? Dean’s major knock will be size – he’s listed at 6’0” and 225 lbs, which means he’s probably 5’11” and change. But the coverage, run defense, instincts, everything is all there with Dean. The Eagles seem to like smaller, hybrid backers, which makes me think the Georgia standout is at least in consideration.

Other Possible Picks: Jermaine Johnson II, Tyler Linderbaum

Photo from clemsonsports.com

1.17 Los Angeles Chargers
Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

For my first mock draft of the year, I wanted to explore some different scenarios. Jordan Davis is obviously a popular pick for the Chargers, and rightfully so! The run defense in LA was atrocious this season and coach Brandon Staley has said the emphasis is going to be getting better in the trenches going forward. But those moves could also come in free agency: Akiem Hicks will be on the open market, as will cheaper options like Sebastian Joseph-Day or Folorunso Fatukasi. Assuming the Chargers come away with one of those, the next hole to fill will be corner. Staley’s defense loves to shut down one side of the field with dominant corner play (see: Ramsey, Jalen), and Booth gives LA a potential lockdown duo between him and Asante Samuel Jr.

Other Possible Picks: Jordan Davis, Trent McDuffie

1.18 New Orleans Saints
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Michael Thomas sounds like he’ll be back in a Saints uniform come opening day, but New Orleans could desperately use another threat on the outside anyway. Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway are nice tertiary options, and Callaway still has some developmental juice left, but the depth behind those guys is rough. Williams, on the other hand, had no problem stepping up into an unquestioned #1 role after John Metchie tore his ACL. With a retooling looming thanks to questions at QB and Sean Payton’s retirement, New Orleans can afford to be patient with Williams’ rehab as well.

Other Possible Picks: Drake London, Sam Howell

1.19 Philadelphia Eagles
Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

I think it’s exceedingly possible that the Eagles snag Linderbaum with one of their earlier picks, but without trades, look at who’s selecting at 17 and 18. LA has invested in Corey Linsley, who’s shown no signs of slowing down on the wrong side of 30, while New Orleans has Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz, two young players who came at premium picks. As such, Philly has the freedom to address other needs before grabbing their Jason Kelce successor. Linderbaum has been comped to the longtime Eagle as a similarly undersized but dominant center, and inserting him into the lineup as Kelce transitions into retirement would ensure Philly’s offensive line remains fearsome.

Other Possible Picks: Jermaine Johnson II, Drake London

1.20 Atlanta Falcons (via PIT)
Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

Sources in Mobile have indicated that Atlanta has two focuses at the top of this year’s draft: a difference maker at EDGE and a YAC monster at WR. With David Ojabo off the board at 8 and none of the WRs currently separating themselves as the clear #1, it might be in their best interest to trade down. Ideally, they’d manage to land Johnson, who has been a popular pick at 8 after a downright dominant week at the Senior Bowl. While I struggle to see a top 10 player on film, I’ve begun to hear rumblings that the ACC Defensive Player of the Year is a top 20 lock. He would immediately kickstart what’s been a pathetic pass rush in Atlanta for the last few years.

Other Possible Picks: Drake London, Travon Walker

1.21 New England Patriots
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Lloyd just feels like a Patriot, even though New England has invested heavily in the outside linebacker position in recent years. It’s a bit difficult to pick through exactly who does what in the Patriots’ multiple defense, but the 6’3”, 232 lb Lloyd has the size to kick down to edge rusher and the movement and football IQ to shut down opposing RBs and TEs in coverage. Learning to be a jack of all trades type player in the NFL would come much easier with Kyle Van Noy as a mentor and Bill Belichick as a coach, which could propel the Utah product to new heights.

Other Possible Picks: Trent McDuffie, Drake London

1.22 Las Vegas Raiders
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

With the DUI arrest and subsequent release of Henry Ruggs III earlier this season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Las Vegas target a receiver here. Jameson Williams most closely fits the bill as someone I think they’d be enamored with, but with him off the board, let’s turn to another position group that has been ravaged by controversy this year. Damon Arnette never played up to the draft capital the Raiders spent on him, even before he was released for threatening to kill people while on Instagram Live. Nate Hobbs looked like a diamond in the rough as a rookie but racked up a misdemeanor DUI and a 110mph speeding ticket in the course of a week in December. Bottom line, Vegas needs a reliable player, on and off the field, in that meeting room. McDuffie fits that bill as a do-it-all corner whose character evals will come back with straight As.

Other Possible Picks: Drake London, Jordan Davis

1.23 Arizona Cardinals
Drake London, WR, USC

Arizona’s 2021 roster looks loaded at receiver, but AJ Green and Christian Kirk are set to be free agents. Antoine Wesley is an exclusive rights free agent, so he should be back, but Arizona seems to prefer using him as a DeAndre Hopkins proxy when the star receiver goes down. That leaves Rondale Moore, who will handle slot reps. If Green – who’s been banged up and turns 34 before the season – and Kirk – who figures to have a healthy free agent market – both move on, Arizona will need a legit threat on the right boundary. London continues to rehab a broken ankle, but should be ready in the early-to-mid weeks of the season at latest. At 6’5”, he would give Kyler Murray another jump-ball threat down the sideline.

Other Possible Picks: Kenyon Green, Travon Walker

1.24 Dallas Cowboys
Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia

The en vogue criticism of Davis is that he won’t be a factor on passing downs, but Dallas has Neville Gallimore at 3 tech for that. Trysten Hill is also a better pass rusher than run defender, although his future on the team is a bit murky. Regardless, the main thing the Cowboys need from an interior defender is run defense, and oh boy, is Davis good at that. He’s a perfect candidate at nose tackle to take on a 1.5 gapping role, which would also free up linebackers to shoot into the backfield.

Other Possible Picks: Travon Walker, Kenyon Green

Photo from Getty Images

1.25 Buffalo Bills
Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

Luckily for the Bills, there aren’t many glaring needs on this roster; in fact, they may have been the best team in the NFL talent-wise. However, the interior of Buffalo’s line will need to be addressed at some point. Cody Ford hasn’t played to expectations, Jon Feliciano just turned 30, Darryl Williams will be 30 by the time 2022 kicks off. With long-term questions at both guard spots, Green is a perfect fit: with experience at all 5 line positions, he profiles as an instant starter at either spot. Although Josh Allen was 2nd best in sack percentage this season and the Bills were 8th in pass block win rate, Buffalo hasn’t been shy in the past about making picks geared two or three years down the line.

Other Possible Picks: Zion Johnson, Roger McCreary

1.26 Tennessee Titans
Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Walker has plenty of fans among the media and may not last this far, but his NFL fit is a bit of a projection. After playing all over the line at Georgia because of their rotational system, I think Walker’s best fit will be at 5 tech and out. But without a full yearbook of reps out there, teams will have to have confidence about placing him in space consistently. That’s what makes Tennessee a nice fit: with Harold Landry set to hit free agency, the Titans could afford to add to their pass rush stable. As a 3-4 defense, they also have the freedom to kick Walker inside to ease him into a more full-time role. As a team searching for answers as to how to keep pace with other AFC contenders, bolstering the pass rush to pressure the conference’s top passers could be a successful path.

Other Possible Picks: Chris Olave, Zion Johnson

1.27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

I feel like Howell has become somewhat of a forgotten man in this QB class, but he showed some nice progression during his first exposure to a pro-style offense while in Mobile. His footwork still needs a lot of work, but his eyes consistently get to where they need to be and he delivers a nice ball. I’m interested to see how NFL teams value his 2020 compared to his 2021, as the production took a hit this year amid speculation that Howell has hit his ceiling in Phil Longo’s offense. Ultimately, I think that despite the lack of elite talent in this QB class, Howell will round out a 4 man first round. With Tom Brady retired (for now), Tampa will need a better option than Kyle Trask going forward.

Other Possible Picks: Chris Olave, Roger McCreary

1.28 Green Bay Packers
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Yes, we’re going to do the receiver thing for Green Bay again. Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are all upcoming free agents. Of those three, it seems most likely Lazard will be back, as he’s a restricted free agent. With the Aaron Rodgers circus ongoing and Adams’ future with the team in question, Olave seems like the best option to hedge the Packers’ bets. If Rodgers and Adams return, Olave slots in as the true #2 WR they’ve been missing. If both leave town, he becomes the likely top target for Jordan Love in a new look offense. Either way, the path to playing time is an easy one for one of 2022’s smoothest WR prospects.

Other Possible Picks: Drake Jackson, DeMarvin Leal

1.29 Miami Dolphins (via SF)
Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

Someday, the Dolphins will hit on one of these high OL picks. Liam Eichenberg struggled as a rookie. Austin Jackson has looked like a bust. Robert Hunt is decent, but probably not a definitive building block. When you get to the rest of the line and realize Jesse Davis is still taking starting reps for this team, it’s no wonder that Miami has struggled to protect the QB. With Johnson, the Dolphins get a player with experience at left tackle, guard, and now center after a weeklong trial by fire in Mobile. I think his best spot will still be guard, but the Dolphins would at least have the flexibility to move pieces around and get their 5 best players on the field as a unit. Oh yeah, and they just hired Johnson’s college OL coach.

Other Possible Picks: Trevor Penning, Jahan Dotson

1.30 Kansas City Chiefs
Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

After watching Josh Allen nearly end the Chiefs’ season with 329 yards and 4 TDs in one of the best games of my lifetime, I’d imagine Kansas City is open to the idea of adding to the secondary. L’Jarius Sneed has been a revelation on one side of the field since being drafted in 2020, but the rotating cast of Charvarius Ward, Mike Hughes, and Rashad Fenton elsewhere leaves a bit to be desired. Much has been made of McCreary’s length since Senior Bowl measurements, but he’s proven he can hang on the outside in the SEC. It reminds me a bit of Asante Samuel Jr. last year, who played well on the boundary for the Chargers but flexed inside on occasion. I’d imagine the Auburn product will give teams similar versatility.

Other Possible Picks: Jahan Dotson, Daxton Hill

1.31 Cincinnati Bengals
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Joe Burrow got sacked nineteen times in the playoffs, including nine times against the Titans and another seven times in the Super Bowl. That’s simply not sustainable. Yes, Ja’Marr Chase proved that he was a worthy pick over Penei Sewell plenty of times this season on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. So now that the WR room is stocked, I’d be shocked if the Bengals don’t take a lineman. Penning is the classic player you want on your side but would hate to play against. With tackle/guard flexibility, he could end the Hakeem Adeniji/Jackson Carman revolving door at right guard, or replace Quinton Spain on the left side. Long term, he may also be a candidate to replace the aging Riley Reiff at right tackle.

Other Possible Picks: Kaiir Elam, Bernhard Raimann

1.32 Detroit Lions (via LAR)
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

While Amon-Ra St. Brown had a nice season for Detroit as a rookie, there’s virtually nothing to work with outside of him and I still have my doubts about him becoming a #1 WR in the NFL. Quintez Cephus put up decent numbers before a season-ending injury, but he’s more of a fourth option. Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, and KhaDarel Hodge are free agents. It’s a room begging for a talent injection. Dotson is a natural separator with big play potential who I thought would’ve cemented top 20 pick status had he played and looked good in Mobile. Without those extra reps, it’s on to the combine, where he’ll have a chance to show scouts why he should firmly be in the top 5 WR conversation.

Other Possible Picks: George Pickens, DeMarvin Leal

Photo by Ashley Landis, Associated Press

2.33 Jacksonville Jaguars
George Pickens, WR, Georgia

Jacksonville needs to add anybody that can catch considering Laquon Treadwell might have been their best WR in 2021.

2.34 Detroit Lions
Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Hill can play either safety spot or kick down to nickel, which gives the Lions an immediate starter opposite Tracy Walker.

2.35 New York Jets
Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

Jackson might be a bit light for an EDGE, but I think he’d be good value for a Jets team searching for a friend for Carl Lawson.

2.36 New York Giants
DeMarvin Leal, IDL, Texas A&M

Leal’s stock is all over the place, so maybe he’ll be gone by this pick. If he’s not, he’d add a nice interior pass rush element next to Dexter Lawrence.

2.37 Houston Texans
Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Feels like the NFL is lower on Elam than Draft Twitter people I’ve talked to, but the Texans’ best corner in 2021 was Tavierre Thomas. Not great!

2.38 New York Jets (via CAR)
Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

If Mekhi Becton remains a Jet, imagine the spectacle of him and Faalele as your bookend tackles.

2.39 Chicago Bears
David Bell, WR, Purdue

Chicago could use a competent WR next to Darnell Mooney, and Bell brings the contested catch artist game that could feasibly replace Allen Robinson.

2.40 Denver Broncos
Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

After using what feels like 30 linebackers this season, most of the notable ones are free agents. Harris has plus coverage ability and should be available in this range.

2.41 Seattle Seahawks
Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia

I might as well throw darts rather than try to predict what Seattle is going to do, but Wyatt would give them an interior pass rushing presence they’ve been missing since Jarran Reed.

2.42 Washington Commanders
Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

Brisker will be best utilized as a Cover 2 safety who can flip roles with his backfield mate on any given play. Kam Curl is a similar type of player, which leaves Landon Collins on the outside looking in.

2.43 Atlanta Falcons
Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina

With the release of Dante Fowler Jr., I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Falcons double dip at EDGE. Enagbare needs to learn to use his length better, but he’s got all the tools of a successful NFL player.

2.44 Cleveland Browns
Logan Hall, IDL, Houston

The interior defensive line looks thin for Cleveland, with Jordan Elliott and Tommy Togiai the current starters. Hall gives them a versatile 3 or 5 tech who can also kick outside and rush the passer.

2.45 Baltimore Ravens
Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

By the time the combine is over, Gordon may not be available this long. He’s an athletic freak who would help shore up a Ravens secondary that spent most of the year on IR.

2.46 Minnesota Vikings
Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State

Danielle Hunter rumors are still swirling and DJ Wonnum is upgradeable. Thomas has played every position on the DL but will likely stick as an EDGE in the NFL.

2.47 Indianapolis Colts
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

It’s no secret that the Colts brass are unhappy with the play of Carson Wentz, and a weak QB class means they might be able to wait their turn to select a rookie.

2.48 Los Angeles Chargers
Travis Jones, IDL, UConn

Jones is a discounted version of Jordan Davis who would give the Chargers the run support they desperately need.

2.49 New Orleans Saints
Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Terron Armstead is likely changing uniforms in 2022, so New Orleans will need a new left tackle. If they want to make their turnaround a quick one, the 25 year old Raimann may be a perfect fit.

2.50 Miami Dolphins
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

Part of me doubts the Dolphins will suddenly value RBs after hiring Mike McDaniel from San Francisco, but Spiller is also pretty close to BPA at this point.

2.51 Philadelphia Eagles
Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati

After some top 40 hype a year ago, Sanders has fallen out of top EDGE consideration. Part of that is because Cincinnati had him playing the wrong position.

2.52 Pittsburgh Steelers
Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Kendrick has the talent to be one of the best corners in this draft, but interviews in Mobile and Indianapolis will be key for his stock going forward.

2.53 Las Vegas Raiders
Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma

Winfrey boosted his stock tremendously with a banner week at the Senior Bowl that concluded with game MVP honors. He’d add a nice presence on the inside, likely at 3 tech.

2.54 New England Patriots
Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

Robinson is going to measure even smaller than Rondale Moore did, but I get the feeling he’ll still land in round 2 as probably the best pure deep threat in the class.

2.55 Arizona Cardinals
Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams are free agents, so Arizona could look to go cheaper if they’re inclined to spend their money on fixing up the defense.

2.56 Dallas Cowboys
Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Cine is a hard hitting strong safety who’d be a surefire first rounder if he was turning pro 20 years earlier. Dan Quinn loves turning guys like that into de facto LBs.

2.57 Buffalo Bills
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Devin Singletary picked it up on the backstretch of the season, but Zack Moss is beginning to look like a lost cause. Hall ensures opposing defenses have to account for the run game instead of dropping 8 into coverage to defend Josh Allen.

2.58 Atlanta Falcons (via TEN)
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

It looks to be a better bet that Calvin Ridley will be off this team by the season opener, which means Atlanta needs a new #1. Metchie has fallen down boards due to a lack of a standout trait and his torn ACL, but he’d be a coup for the Falcons here.

2.59 Green Bay Packers
Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

Another Packers pick, another position that’s been mocked to them for what feels like decades. De’Vondre Campbell was an All-Pro this season, but the latest rumors suggest he and the Packers are not close to a new deal.

2.60 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State

Tampa’s lack of depth at corner was exposed this season thanks to injuries to Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. Even when healthy, neither have become true shutdown corners, so adding another player wouldn’t hurt.

2.61 San Francisco 49ers
Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati

Bryant was overshadowed by Sauce Gardner at Cincinnati despite winning the Thorpe award this season. He’s aggressive in run support and has no issue clamping most receivers, although speed gives him problems at times.

2.62 Kansas City Chiefs
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

Kansas City needs another weapon besides Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Adding Tolbert gives them one, as well as diversifying their WR room to be more than just speed demons.

2.63 Cincinnati Bengals
Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

Petit-Frere struggled with the Michigan EDGEs, but against everyone else, he looked like a potential high second round pick. With a bit more seasoning on him, he could be a long-term starter at RT.

2.64 Denver Broncos (via LAR)
Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

The combine will reveal how concerned about Strong’s knee we should be, but there are also rumors that he interviewed poorly during Senior Bowl week. Despite being a Draft Twitter favorite, it sounds like Strong will be available on Day 2.

Photo from USA TODAY

3.65 Jacksonville Jaguars
Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

K’Lavon Chaisson hasn’t panned out thus far, so Jacksonville could afford to add some talent on the edge.

3.66 Detroit Lions
Zachary Carter, IDL, Florida

Carter has end-to-end versatility and would immediately bolster an interior defensive line that continues to turn over in Detroit.

3.67 New York Giants
Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

Muma showed in Mobile that he has the coverage skills to be a multi-year starter in the NFL.

3.68 Houston Texans
Phidarian Mathis, IDL, Alabama

After a quiet Senior Bowl week, Mathis finds himself lagging behind some of the draft’s other IDL options.

3.69 New York Jets
Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M

Wydermyer and Isaiah Likely seem like the best bets to be the second TE off the board. Either way, the Jets could use a security blanket over the middle.

3.70 Jacksonville Jaguars (via CAR)
Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

Pitre is cut from a similar cloth as Jevon Holland, who some Jaguars fans were practically begging for this time last year.

3.71 Chicago Bears
Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

Most evaluators seem to have Rhyan down at guard, but he also excelled at left tackle at UCLA. Jason Peters is on his last legs and there are few better mentors to groom a replacement.

3.72 Seattle Seahawks
Darian Kinnard, IOL, Kentucky

I think Kinnard is bound to move inside after a rough showing in Mobile at tackle even after shedding some weight.

3.73 Washington Commanders
Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Get familiar with this name if you aren’t already. Watson and McLaurin would be a fantastic young duo for whoever is playing QB in DC next season.

3.74 Atlanta Falcons
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

Cordarrelle Patterson is a free agent and Mike Davis is a cut candidate after a rough first season in Atlanta. Walker is a violent runner with pass catching chops that could be the 1A to Patterson’s 1B if he returns.

3.75 Denver Broncos
Sam Williams, EDGE, Mississippi

Williams has top 50 talent, but off the field concerns will likely keep him bound to the third round unless he absolutely blows away scouts in interviews.

3.76 Baltimore Ravens
Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana

The Alejandro Villanueva experiment was rough in 2021 and Mitchell looked capable against higher levels of competition at various points this season.

3.77 Minnesota Vikings
Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati

Anthony Barr and Nick Vigil are set to hit the open market, leaving Eric Kendricks as Minnesota’s only returning starter as of now. Beavers is a perfect fit at SAM if Barr and the Vikings ultimately part ways.

3.78 Cleveland Browns
Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma

Myles Garrett could use a partner in crime on the edge, especially if Jadeveon Clowney heads elsewhere this offseason. Even if Clowney stays, Bonitto will have value as a designated pass rusher early on.

3.79 Los Angeles Chargers
Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis

Even if LA brings Mike Williams back, they’re missing a speed threat down the field. Austin has quick-twitch athleticism to spare and will likely hit the 4.4s next week.

3.80 Houston Texans (via NO)
Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame

Williams is probably the best pass protector in this year’s class, but he also gives the Texans a true RB1 instead of the most committee-like committee I’ve ever seen.

3.81 New York Giants (via MIA)
Jamaree Salyer, IOL, Georgia

Salyer held his own against Aidan Hutchinson in the playoff at left tackle, but he’s likely moving inside to either center or guard in the NFL. With Nick Gates still recovering from a gnarly leg injury, Salyer could be New York’s Day 1 starter there.

3.82 Indianapolis Colts
Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA

Woolen is one of the traitsiest players in this year’s draft and gives Indy a boundary guy to compete with Rock Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes.

3.83 Philadelphia Eagles
Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati

Rodney McLeod looks like he won’t be returning to Philly, which opens a hole at strong safety. Cook is a versatile player with experience as a single high and in the box.

3.84 Atlanta Falcons (via PIT)
Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson

Atlanta could opt for another Clemson corner to pair with standout AJ Terrell. Goodrich is scheme versatile as a proficient man or zone corner.

3.85 New England Patriots
Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

Jobe is a press corner through and through. New England may need corner help if JC Jackson is not retained with Jalen Mills the current starter on the other side.

3.86 Las Vegas Raiders
Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

With KJ Wright on the decline, Tindall could be a potential replacement if he doesn’t wrestle a WILL job away from Divine Deablo. Wherever he plays on first through third down, he should also be an impact special teamer.

3.87 Arizona Cardinals
Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

The buzz is that Mafe is going to test like an alien next week, which will probably catapult him above this selection. Arizona needs a bit of pass rush juice beyond Chandler Jones and JJ Watt.

3.88 Dallas Cowboys
Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson are free agents. Shakir profiles as a nice complement to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb should both Gallup and Wilson split town.

3.89 Buffalo Bills
Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

Moore is steadily climbing boards and would be the perfect third receiver to complete a room of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis.

3.90 Tennessee Titans
Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina

I think Tennessee missed Jonnu Smith more than they’d like to admit, especially with AJ Brown and Julio Jones missing time this season. Adding Likely gives them another pass catching threat over the middle.

3.91 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marcus Jones, CB, Houston

I’m choosing to double up on corners for Tampa because Jones also has massive upside as a returner, somewhere the Bucs struggled with Jaelon Darden returning punts this season. While the depth chart battles at corner play out, the Houston product would lock down the returner job. 

3.92 Green Bay Packers
Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB

Wright is this year’s best kept secret as an early declaration after a breakout season at UAB. Green Bay will need to add talent on the edge with a Za’Darius Smith departure looming.

3.93 San Francisco 49ers
Ed Ingram, IOL, LSU

Laken Tomlinson is a free agent and Daniel Brunskill wasn’t fantastic this season. Aaron Banks is waiting in the wings, but adding another guard opposite of him could really take San Francisco’s line to new heights.

3.94 Kansas City Chiefs
Damone Clark, LB, LSU

Back-to-back LSU players here because Kansas City has virtually no linebacker depth. Clark has skills as an ILB or as a blitzer from the exterior.

3.95 Cincinnati Bengals
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State

Castro-Fields likely played his way into Day 2 contention with one of the best weeks of anyone in Mobile. Cincinnati’s corners were not a strength all year, and adding TCF would allow them to keep Eli Apple on hand as depth only.

3.96 Denver Broncos (via LAR)
Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

Right tackle has been an issue for Denver for a few years now, as all the Band-Aids they’ve tried to put on the position have faltered. Lucas looks proficient as a run blocker for someone who played in the Air Raid for his entire college career.

3.97 Detroit Lions*
Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State

Derrick Barnes might be the only LB on Detroit’s roster who I like long-term. Smith is going to be a long-term project, but his athleticism is undeniable.

3.98 Cleveland Browns*
Thayer Munford, IOL, Ohio State

Cleveland doesn’t have a ton of depth at guard if Joel Bitonio or Wyatt Teller go down – Michael Dunn is the only player they have who wasn’t signed off the street or a practice squad midseason.

3.99 Baltimore Ravens*
Christopher Hinton, IDL, Michigan

Hinton is a steady run defender who hasn’t quite found the development befit of a 5 star recruit to this point. Brandon Williams is 33, so grooming Hinton to be the successor at nose while he gains weight could be an option.

3.100 New Orleans Saints*
Kaleb Eleby, QB, Western Michigan

I wonder how long Taysom Hill is on the Saints now that Sean Payton is gone. The other options on the roster are similarly uninspiring. Eleby ran a basic offense at Western Michigan to near-perfection, but the question will be how he handles more complex concepts at the next level.

3.101 Miami Dolphins (via SF)*
Justyn Ross, WR Clemson

There are rumors about trading DeVante Parker every season at this point and Preston Williams is not a starting caliber receiver. To take some pressure off Jaylen Waddle, Miami needs a real presence on the outside. Ross will need to pass medical checks in Indy but could be worth a flier in the compensatory picks.

*: denotes projected compensatory pick

Follow Alex on Twitter @alexkatson.

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