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2022 Mock Draft Monday: Quarterbacks Slide in a Defense-Heavy Top Ten

A 2022 mock aimed at exploring new names and the meeting between team need and scheme fit.

It is never too early for a mock draft! While this one may not turn out to be the most accurate, it is an exercise to explore new prospects, team needs and fits. The order is based on reverse Super Bowl odds.

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1. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux is widely expected to be the first non-quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Kayvon Thibodeaux is widely expected to be the first non-quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Most would want to mock a quarterback here but if the Texans do not identify one that is worth the first overall pick, they will go in another direction. Thibodeaux should be a quality pass rusher as a rookie, combining sacks with strong run defense.

2. Detroit Lions: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

A versatile defensive lineman with freak athleticism, Leal gets moved around all over the Aggies defensive line. At the next level, he can be a dominant force and franchise talent with more refinement.

3. New York Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Athletically, Neal looks like he will test very similarly to current Jets’ left tackle Mekhi Becton. Having started since his true freshman season, the massive Neal can play four spots along the offensive line but should settle in at right tackle.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

After an outstanding freshman season, Stingley’s 2020 was plagued by injuries. This year, he is likely to reclaim his title as the best cornerback in college football. Stingley has the size and athleticism to play any type of coverage. When thrown at, he is always a threat to pick it off.

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5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyle Hamilton, DS, Notre Dame

Some see Kyle Hamilton as a generational prospect and the best player available in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Some see Kyle Hamilton as a generational prospect and the best player available in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

If there is one blue-chip prospect in the draft, it may be Hamilton who is one of the best safety prospects of the past decade. He combines instincts, athleticism and playmaking which will make him a difference-maker in Duval.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

The Eagles have an aging roster and one of the positions they valued in the past is the defensive line. Karlaftis is one of three Eagles’ first-round picks in this mock draft.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

Jon Gruden will be the first to take a risk on a quarterback in this exercise. Derek Carr is a starting-caliber signal-caller but the Raiders need more flash from the quarterback position and Rattler brings just that.

8. Carolina Panthers: Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

Some expected the Panthers to invest more resources into their offensive line as it certainly is an area of need. Rhyan should be ready to be an above-average starter at left or right tackle out of the gate.

Over 14,000 draft prospects for this year and beyond

9. New York Giants: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

Imagine adding an explosive playmaking defensive back to one of the best units in the league. That is exactly what this pick would do. Booth is expected to shine as a full-time starter in 2021.

10. Atlanta Falcons: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Carson Strong may jump into the QB1 conversation with a strong 2021 season. 

Carson Strong may jump into the QB1 conversation with a strong 2021 season. 

Atlanta had the chance to draft a quarterback in last year’s draft but chose to postpone the decision around Matt Ryan’s succession. Strong is a big-armed pocket passer who would be a great fit in an Arthur Smith offense.

11. Washington Football Team: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

Best player available is exactly what this pick is. Green has been a star at left guard for his first two seasons and is expected to move out to left tackle this season.

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12. New York Giants (via CHI): Drake Jackson, DE, USC

With their second pick of the first round, the Giants continue to improve their defense. Jackson and Ojulari can be one of the best young pass rush duos in the league.

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13. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The first wideout off the board is the Buckeyes playmaker who fits Minnesota’s type of receiver with his route running. Wilson would be a fantastic number two alongside Justin Jefferson.

14. Arizona Cardinals: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Cardinals desperately need to improve their cornerbacks and McDuffie is the best available.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Charles Cross is firmly in the conversation to be the top offensive tackle selected in 2022. 

Charles Cross is firmly in the conversation to be the top offensive tackle selected in 2022. 

Pittsburgh recently lost long-time starter Alejandro Villanueva and is going through a transition along the offensive line. Cross could be the final piece for a new, improved Steelers line.

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16. Los Angeles Chargers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The more weapons for Justin Herbert the better. Burks could be the first receiver off the board come April thanks to his size and athleticism.

17. New England Patriots: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

The run on wide receivers has started and Metchie may be the safest in the class. He combines good athleticism with sure hands and great route running, giving the Patriots exactly what they need.

Over 14,000 draft prospects for this year and beyond

18. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA): Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

Linebacker has been a huge need in Philly for a number of years now and Harris is a great athlete who should get even better as he goes into another year of starting for the Tide.

19. New Orleans Saints: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

None of the current Saints quarterbacks is the long-term answer in the Big Easy. Howell is not overwhelming physically but possesses outstanding accuracy. He is the type of quarterback that Sean Payton can run his offense around.

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20. Tennessee Titans: Lewis Cine, DS, Georgia

Georgia's hard-hitting safety can be a first-round pick with a strong performance next season. 

Georgia's hard-hitting safety can be a first-round pick with a strong performance next season. 

Drafting a safety in the first round is warranted if a talent like Cine meets a need. The Georgia Bulldog plays very aggressively and will look to have ball production to show for it this season.

21. Dallas Cowboys: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Dallas has one of the worst secondaries in the league. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is looking for long cornerbacks with zone instincts and ball skills. Those are all traits that Elam brings to the table.

22. Denver Broncos: Kedon Slovis, QB, USC

George Paton did not draft a quarterback in last years’ draft but if he can upgrade the position next year he should be all over it. Slovis would join a loaded offense that is only missing a distributor.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (via IND): Jahleel Billingsley, TE, Alabama

A tight end in name, Billingsley will be used more as a big slot with his athletic ability. Along with Dallas Goedert, he would give the Eagles a great duo of big targets.

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24. New York Jets (via SEA): Adam Anderson, EDGE, Georgia

Anderson is a speed threat off the edge who converts speed to power well. His skinny frame could be a concern but Robert Saleh’s defense needs rushers to get after opposing quarterbacks and Anderson does just that.

25. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa

Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum is widely seen as the top center available in the 2022 NFL Draft class. 

Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum is widely seen as the top center available in the 2022 NFL Draft class. 

After losing longtime starting center Corey Linsley to the Chargers, the Packers need to fill that void. Linderbaum is a perfect fit for their zone rushing attack.

26. Cleveland Browns: Justin Eboigbe, DT, Alabama

With Myles Garrett off the edge, Eboigbe would add an inside pass-rushing presence. He has the length and athleticism to create pressure up the middle consistently.

Over 14,000 draft prospects for this year and beyond

27. Baltimore Ravens: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State

Similar to last year's first-round pick, Odafeh Oweh, Harrison is a raw pass rusher who possesses huge upside. The Ravens clearly feel confident in their ability to develop such athletes.

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28. Miami Dolphins (via SF): Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

With his length and power, Walker would be a perfect fit in the Dolphin’s defense. He is just sniffing his potential and has inside-out flexibility.

29. Detroit Lions (via LAR): George Pickens, WR, Georgia

Purely based on talent, there might not be a better receiver in the draft than George Pickens as his size, athleticism and alpha mentality are unrivaled. Injuries and immaturity concerns will be what determines his draft position.

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30. Buffalo Bills: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Kyler Gordon can hear his name called in the first round in 2022 with another strong year. 

Kyler Gordon can hear his name called in the first round in 2022 with another strong year. 

The second Washington cornerback to get drafted in the first round of this mock has drawn comparisons to Jaire Alexander with his springiness and demeanor.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Running backs in the first round are often seen as luxury picks and with how loaded the Buccaneers are they can afford to take Hall who is currently seen as the best back in the class.

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32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ainias Smith, WR, Texas A&M

Smith is a dynamic slot receiver who has played running back in the past. He gives the Chiefs yet another dynamic option in the passing game. 

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