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2022 NFL Mock Draft: The Next Wave of Future Franchise Quarterbacks

Mock Draft Monday gets you set to kick your week off. Who does your team draft?

College football returns on August 28th, and with that, it means the end of summer scouting. A lot can change this season but based on scouting reports, research and projection, here is a preseason first-round mock draft:

1. Detroit Lions: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Carson Strong's accuracy and arm strength may make him the first overall pick in 2022. 

Carson Strong's accuracy and arm strength may make him the first overall pick in 2022. 

There is no clear-cut top quarterback as of now, but Strong has the tools to end up as the top one for the upcoming draft. His deep ball accuracy is phenomenal, and Strong took a massive leap in play from year one to two. If he takes another step forward, the tools are all there for a team to fall in love with him. Detroit has holes on the defensive side of the ball but getting the face of their franchise is the top priority for new General Manager Brad Holmes.

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2. Houston Texans: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

With the top quarterback off the board, the Texans grab their next JJ Watt. Karlaftis has elite strength to go along with fantastic athleticism. He can win in several ways and has been pro-ready, dating back to his freshman campaign. Karlaftis also has the versatility to kick inside on pass rush downs and should be a player teams covet at the top of the draft.

3. New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, DS, Notre Dame

Jets General Manager Joe Douglas has done a great job of drafting so far. Adding a player like Hamilton could help improve a very weak secondary. Hamilton is the best prospect in the nation and has the talent to be one of the best players in the NFL. Even though safeties don't usually go this high, Hamilton should be the expectation. Similar to Kyle Pitts at tight end, Hamilton's talent trumps his positional value. He is the generational talent in the draft.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

What Leal can do at 290 pounds is special. He is a great pass rusher as a defensive end or tackle, and he is incredibly quick. Last season, he gave highly ranked SEC offensive tackles fits and should do the same this year. In a weaker offensive line class, the Bengals could use a blue-chip talent like Leal to bolster their defensive line.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

A consensus top-three player in the 2022 class, Kayvon Thibodeaux has All-Pro potential. 

A consensus top-three player in the 2022 class, Kayvon Thibodeaux has All-Pro potential. 

The Jaguars have invested a lot in their defensive line, but if K'Lavon Chaisson doesn't improve next season, it will be hard for Urban Meyer to pass up on Thibodeaux. He is a great all-around player and has the chance to develop into one of the best pass rushers in the league. He isn't on the level of Myles Garrett or Chase Young, but he has shown the makings of a top-five pick.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: Zion Tupuola-Fetui, DE, Washington

Washington Huskies Head Coach Jimmy Lake said that he expects Tupuola-Fetui to return this season from an off-season Achilles tear. Last year, Tupuola-Fetui was arguably the best edge defender in the nation. He had seven sacks in four games and dominated his competition every week. At 280 pounds, Tupuola-Fetui moves like a 245-pound linebacker, yet he is extremely strong, consistently winning with power. Washington has him drop back into coverage, where he shows just how good of an athlete he is. The Eagles love to add to their edge group, and Tupuola-Fetui could end up being their future at the position.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

The Raiders haven't done an excellent job of drafting as of recent, but Stingley Jr. is a hard prospect to miss on. He should test well and has put together two years of great tape at LSU. Cornerbacks who are 6'1", run sub 4.40 and are great in the SEC are hard to find. He could step in from day one and be the best cornerback on the Raiders roster.

8. Carolina Panthers: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

If Alex Leatherwood can be a top 20 pick, Neal should be a first-round lock. He will test off the charts at 360 pounds and will be compared very similarly to Mekhi Becton. Neal doesn't have the power Becton does, but Neal is better in pass protection. With some improvements and showing he can play left tackle next season, Neal should be the first tackle off the board. Carolina doesn't have a long-term starter at left tackle and, if they choose to stick with Darnold, will need to protect his blindside.

9. New York Giants: Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

If the Giants have a top ten pick again, it most likely means a change in upper-level management. With no ties to Daniel Jones, they could look to find his replacement. Rattler is very good off-script and has a cannon for an arm. He is similar to Zach Wilson as a prospect from a year ago; he needs to be more consistent this season to move up draft boards.

10. Atlanta Falcons: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Trevor Penning (70) is a dominant player at the FCS level; he clearly has NFL talent. 

Trevor Penning (70) is a dominant player at the FCS level; he clearly has NFL talent. 

New Head Coach Arthur Smith will need to improve his offensive line if he is going to replicate what he had in Tennessee. There is no better run blocker in the draft than Penning. His tape at Northern Iowa shows a player with the upside to be a dominant run blocker at the next level. He has elite power and can drive defenders into the ground. His ability in pass protection isn't too far behind. With another jump this fall, Penning could make it back to back years with a top ten pick from the FCS level.

11. New York Giants (Via Chicago Bears): Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas

The Giants desperately need help along the interior of their offensive line. Stromberg is a better prospect than former Arkansas center Frank Ragnow, who just signed the largest contract extension for a center in NFL history. Stromberg is going to test very well and already put together first-round tape as a sophomore. He has the makings of a decade-long starter and pro-bowl caliber player.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State

The Vikings added Patrick Peterson in free agency this offseason, but it is a one-year rental. They need to improve on the outside, and Banks has immense upside. Banks was the best defensive back in Ohio State by the end of the season and showed tremendous strides in his first year as a starter. He has size, athleticism and can excel in either man or zone coverage. Banks could make a jump up draft board with a good season as the number one cornerback for the Buckeyes, similar to what Marshon Lattimore and Jeff Okudah did in their last years in college.

13. Washington Football Team: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

With Charles Leno expected to leave in free agency, Washington will have a hole at left tackle. Smith was only a redshirt freshman last season, but he gave up zero sacks and was one of the best tackles in the nation. Smith was fantastic against top-ranked edge rusher Myjai Sanders from Cincinnati. With another year like the one he had in 2020, Smith will be viewed as a franchise left tackle and a day one starter at the next level. Tulsa had a top 20 pick in Zaven Collins in last year's draft, and Smith is next up for the Golden Hurricanes.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Last season, Derion Kendrick got most of the attention in the backend of the Clemson secondary, but Booth was the best player. He has really impressive ball skills and could be a turnover specialist at the next level. Booth was a shutdown cornerback in man coverage even though he wasn't a full-time starter last season. Booth has the unteachable that the Steelers need to add a young top-tier prospect to their cornerback room.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Ainias Smith, RB/WR, Texas A&M

Despite moving to the slot in 2021, Ainias Smith has first-round talent at receiver and running back. 

Despite moving to the slot in 2021, Ainias Smith has first-round talent at receiver and running back. 

The Cardinals are looking for a difference-maker to pair with Kyler Murray, and Smith could be that answer. He is the closest thing as a prospect to Christian McCaffrey. With elite quickness and change of direction, Smith is hard to stop. When lined up in the slot, Smith consistently got separation, and his yards after catch ability is exceptional. As a runner, when given carries, Smith used his vision and contact balance to be effective. He is a better receiving prospect than Kadarius Toney, who went 20th overall in this past draft, but there is the chance that with his ability as a runner, he can develop into the next Christian McCaffrey.

16. Denver Broncos: Lewis Cine, DS, Georgia

The Broncos have an incredible roster but will need to replace Kareem Jackson, who is 33 and a free agent, next year. There is an argument to be made that Cine was the best player in the Georgia secondary last season, which featured the 29th and 33rd pick. Cine has an aggressive play style but is also a great athlete, which allows him to make plays in the run game. His instincts are fantastic, which should help him make many plays in the passing game at the next level. By picking Cine, Denver will add an elite safety prospect to an already excellent secondary.

17. Indianapolis Colts: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M

The Colts don't have many needs and could look to add another playmaker to their offense. Wydermyer offers a lot as a pass catcher and has been very productive over the past two seasons for the Aggies. He has great length that allows him to make receptions away from his body. Carson Wentz had Zack Ertz in Philadelphia and could benefit from a high-level player at the position.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins): Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

The Eagles seem to have a revolving door at cornerback. They addressed one side by trading for Darius Slay Jr. but need to add someone to play alongside him. Syracuse put three defensive backs in the NFL from last year's roster, and Williams has the upside to be better than all of them. His football IQ is off the charts for such a young player. His instincts allow him to stay in phase with receivers and make plays in both the pass and run games. Williams' game is similar to Jaire Alexander, and he has the talent to develop into a player of that caliber at the next level.

19. New England Patriots: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Patriots have looked for bigger wideouts in the first round. Burks is almost the size of a tight end and thrives with the ball in his hands. He lines up primarily in the slot and has excellent hands. Belichick will be able to use a player like Burks in several ways. The Patriots need more help at the receiver position, and the addition of Burks would help the development of Mac Jones.

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20. Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

A smooth route runner, Chris Olave's NFL-ready skill set will appeal to NFL teams. 

A smooth route runner, Chris Olave's NFL-ready skill set will appeal to NFL teams. 

If the Chargers don't re-sign Mike Williams, they'll have a hole to fill at the X position. Olave isn't a traditional X but has excelled there for Ohio State. He is the best route runner in the draft and has a similar skill set to former Buckeye receiver Terry McLaurin. He could put up wide receiver one numbers early on with quarterback Justin Herbert at the helm.

21. Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Battle, DS, Alabama

Dallas doesn't have much talent at safety and could look to address it early in the draft. Battle has all the tools to be one of the best safeties in the NFL. Battle is always in the correct position on defense and has the makings of a vocal leader. He is physical against the run and is a hard-hitter. After addressing the front seven with most of their picks in the 2021 draft, Battle would be an intelligent selection to help improve a shaky secondary.

22. New Orleans Saints: Avery Young, CB, Rutgers

The most underrated player in the nation, Young has the talent to be one of the best overall cornerbacks in the NFL. At Rutgers, he has shut down every top receiver he has faced and is one of the best-returning cornerbacks in the nation. He is a brilliant player and would be great alongside Marshon Lattimore. The Saints went with a senior who rose in 2021 in Payton Turner and could do the same with Young in the first next year.

23. Tennessee Titans: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

The Titans have a weakness at tight end following the departure of Jonnu Smith. McBride is the best blocking tight end in college football, and he is also a great receiver. He has the makings of a decade-long player who is a pro bowler. With Derrick Henry still in his prime, the Titans will need an elite blocker at the position, which McBride is. It wouldn't be shocking to see McBride develop into one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

24. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Drake Jackson, DE, USC

The Jets added Carl Lawson in free agency but could still use more help upfront. Drake Jackson is still raw but has the tools to take a significant step in his junior season. He can stand up or play with his hand in the dirt and has been good dating back to his freshman season. Jackson could end up going higher than 23, but it is a solid spot for where his tape is right now.

25. Cleveland Browns: Travis Jones, DT, UConn

An elite run defender with pass-rush upside, Travis Jones is quietly one of 2022's top defensive linemen. 

An elite run defender with pass-rush upside, Travis Jones is quietly one of 2022's top defensive linemen. 

The Huskies are known for having elite testers, and Jones is next up in that regard. His tape in 2019 showed an elite run defender who can stack and shed offensive linemen with ease. As a pass rusher, he flashed the potential to be a penetrator from the interior. With his upside, Jones could develop into a player similar to pro bowler Linval Joseph. The Browns have few needs on their team but could use Jones on their defensive line.

26. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Lions have the worst receiving corps in the NFL and need to add a legit threat to their group. Wilson put together excellent tape in 2020 and is a great athlete. He can high point the ball and is a solid route runner. His upside could allow him to go higher, but Wilson is a safe player in the backend of the first round.

27. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers): Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame

The Dolphins have invested many picks into their offensive line but still don't have stability at center. Patterson is a day one starter, with great tape at Notre Dame. He is technically sound and very consistent. Patterson is sticking at center for the upcoming season, where he should play at an All-American level. This is a good pick for a Dolphins team that only needs a few more pieces to be a contender.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

The Ravens traded away Orlando Brown and only added a stop-gap in Alejandro Villanueva. Rhyan could be a great tackle or guard for the Ravens, as he is extremely powerful. Rhyan is still a good athlete, which will help his transition in pass protection if the Ravens want him to start right away. Rhyan could go off the board earlier and is one of the best offensive linemen in the draft.

29. Green Bay Packers: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

The Packers are thin along the offensive line. Green could start at either guard spot or even play tackle if needed. This pick will depend on what happens with Aaron Rodgers, but no quarterback is worth the selection here. If Jordan Love is their quarterback, the Packers will want to invest more draft capital into their offensive line.

30. Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

A star since his freshman season, Kaiir Elam has long been projected as a first-round pick. 

A star since his freshman season, Kaiir Elam has long been projected as a first-round pick. 

The Bills' most glaring need is at cornerback. Tre'Davious White is an elite player, but their other spot is questionable. Elam could sure that up and be a day one starter. He has been excellent over his two years at Florida and should continue his success next season. Elam won't test overly well, but he could sneak into the first round if he runs fast enough.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Isaiah Thomas, DE, Oklahoma

The Chiefs have a great offense but still have a lot of holes on defense. Outside of Frank Clark, they don't have much talent at defensive end. Thomas is one of the top seniors in the nation and provides versatility along the defensive line. He can win from the inside, which will be very valuable on third downs. Thomas has also shown he can excel against the run too. As a full-time defensive end next season, Thomas could produce double-digit sacks and skyrocket up draft boards.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

There are certain areas that Gardner needs to work on, but his skill set is very enticing. He has length for days and is super physical. At times, he can be too grabby, but this pick could pay dividends with some time to develop in a deep cornerback room. The Buccaneers took Joe Tryon last year and could again go with a high upside player in Gardner here. 

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