2022 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers, Texans take a quarterback; five teams target receivers and five go edge rusher


Oregon

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 258 lbs

Thankfully, the Jags have their franchise quarterback and with the No. 1 overall pick they go with one of the safest picks in this class.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 290 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Originally a defensive end, Leal, at 6-foot-4, 290, has the versatility and athleticism to play up and down the line. He has the potential to be really, really good in the NFL, and he and the Aggies are coming off a huge win over previously unbeaten Alabama.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 350 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Neal is a an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions for the Crimson Tide. The Jets have to make protecting Zach Wilson a priority because he has looked shell-shocked in his first month as an NFL QB.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 219 lbs

Marcus Epps is the only Eagles free safety under contract after this season and Hamilton, who is a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed, is a Day 1 impact player.

Michigan

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

The Falcons could go cornerback here, too, but pass rusher is a big need as well. Hutchinson can be just about unstoppable at times, and he’d be the latest Wolverines edge rusher to be an early-round draft pick.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 195 lbs

The Patriots have moved on from Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson, their best cornerback, is in the last year of his rookie deal. Stingley, who is sidelined with an injury, remains CB1.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 200 lbs

The Colts could stand to bolster the offensive line here but Evan Neal is the only clear-cut top 10 pick and he’s off the board. Cornerback is also a need and Booth, who has all the athleticism and tools to be special, has balled out early in Clemson’s season.

Ole Miss

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Tyrod Taylor is the bridge QB to whomever is next, and while rookie Davis Mills could eventually grow into the job, Corral has been spectacular this season for Ole Miss — he has the tools to be a Lamar Jackson/Trey Lance/Josh Allen-type quarterback but he’s still incredibly raw.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 232 lbs

Yes, the Eagles don’t typically draft linebackers in Round 1, but they have two (and possibly three) first-rounders, and this is a position lacking a big-time playmaker.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 325 lbs

The Giants O-line has suffered through injuries this season and Green, who played left guard last season and has played every offensive position during his career, brings both nastiness and versatility to New York.

Purdue

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 275 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Karlaftis adds 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 tackles for loss and had 7.5 sacks.

Nevada

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Strong is our QB1 all season with one pretty big asterisk: His draft status is all going to come down to the medicals on a knee injury he suffered in high school. Strong is the most consistent QB in this draft class and if healthy, he could eventually be the first passer off the board. The Steelers desperately need a Big Ben succession plan but the lack of an offensive line could just be setting Strong up for failure.

Ohio State

• Sr

• 6’1″

/ 188 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Corey Davis has been a pleasant surprise in New York, and Elijah Moore is only going to get better, but Zach Wilson needs a go-to target on the outside and Olave fits that bill.

Arkansas

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 225 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Only wideouts DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle and Allen Hurns are under contract after this season and if the plan is to roll with Tua Tagovailoa, surrounding him with playmakers like it’s Alabama makes sense. In related news: Burks has the tools to be one of the first wide receivers drafted in the spring.

Florida

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 196 lbs

The Saints’ defense has been outstanding this season but it could stand to add depth in the secondary. Elam has the size (6-foot-2, 190) and athleticism to be one of the best draft-eligible corners in ’21.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 290 lbs

Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country, and while 12th overall might seem high for a center, the Giants lost Nick Gates to injury and his replacement, Billy Price, has struggled.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’0″

/ 190 lbs

Only L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton are under contract beyond this season and the Chiefs have to upgrade this defense. Kendrick was in the conversation as a first-round pick in the 2021 draft before returning to Clemson and then entering the transfer portal. He’s now at Georgia and a strong season will likely make him one of the first defensive backs selected next spring.

USC

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

London, who is one of the few bright spots in a disappointing USC season, isn’t going to run a 4.3 but he’s a high-point-catch machine who will give Baker Mayfield another downfield weapon.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 255 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Wydermyer was one of Kellen Mond’s favorite targets in 2020 for a reason: he’s reliable and almost always open. Four of the tight ends who have taken snaps for the Titans this season are set to be free agents and while the Titans could stand to beef up the defense, giving Ryan Tannehill another downfield weapon makes sense here, too.

NC State

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 320 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Ekwonu is a monster, and more importantly, could slide into the hole left by veteran Brandon Scherff, should he leave in free agency. And while QB makes sense here, if WFT is happy with Taylor Heinicke, they’ll bolster other positions on the depth chart.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 192 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

We love the idea of surrounding Josh Allen with a big-play threat in much the same way the Chiefs have for Patrick Mahomes. Offensive line is also a need, but adding Wilson to a young group that includes Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis could take this offense to another level.

Kentucky

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 345 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Darian Kinnard is a mauler who has been inconsistent at times this season but has all the tools to be a first-round talent. Meanwhile, it appears the Panthers are comfortable with Sam Darnold and if the plan isn’t to find a franchise QB, protecting the current QB should be a priority.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Ross missed the 2020 season because of a neck injury but he was on track to be a first-round pick. He’s off to a slow start in 2021, in part because Clemson is living in a post-Trevor Lawrence world, but if we’ve learned anything from the Packers’ season so far, it’s that Aaron Rodgers completely trusts Davante Adams, but he could definitely use some help.

Washington

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

The Bengals opted to take Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell and it appears to have been the right decision, but they still need to make protecting Joe Burrow a priority.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Spiller is a threat in both the run and pass game, and he would give the Bucs some consistency in one of the few spots that lack it on this offense.

Utah

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 235 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Josey Jewell is done for the year, but he’s also in the final year of his deal, as is A.J. Johnson. Lloyd is off to a great start for the Utes — he had eight tackles in Utah’s win over USC and he has two sacks and two interceptions so far in ’21.

Minnesota

• Sr

• 6’9″

/ 380 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Faalele, who opted out last season, weighs in the 380-pound range but moves more like he is a hundred pounds lighter. Given the importance of the running game to the Ravens offense, adding an earth mover seems logical. Added bonus: Faalele is a solid pass protector, too.

Washington

• Soph

• 5’11”

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, something he does regularly for the Huskies.

South Carolina

• Sr

• 6’4″

/ 260 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Micah Parsons can line up anywhere, but even if takes most of his snaps at edge rusher, the Cowboys could use more juice off the edge. Enagbare is a twitched-up athlete who will only get better with more reps and added muscle.

Cincinnati

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 188 lbs

Projected Team

Las Vegas

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Gardner is a long, press corner who would give the Raiders some depth at a position that has shown signs of life this season. He’ll need to get stronger but he has the tools to be a solid NFL cornerback.

Cincinnati

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 255 lbs

Sanders, who has explosive traits but will also need to get stronger at the point of attack, hasn’t logged a sack yet this season but he did rack up 11 sacks in the last two years for the Bearcats.

Georgia

• Soph

• 6’6″

/ 330 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

POSITION RNK

Davis is more likely to go on Day 2 (though a lot can change between now and April), but he also beefs up a Cards defense that has been really good through the first quarter of the ’21 season.



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