NFL Mock Draft


Pike Temple, Sports Writer

Disclaimer: For each pick in the mock draft, I select the player I think best suits a team based on positional value, positional archetype need, and overall fit. I also take into account a player’s potential floor and ceiling. After doing research and watching film on many of the players mentioned, here is the official Tower 2022 NFL Mock Draft. (No Trades)

Pick 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, Alabama -OT

Neal is potentially the best OT in the draft. The Jaguars offense, led by rookie Trevor Lawrence, struggled to put points on the scoreboard last season. Please help Lawrence out on the offensive side of the ball, even if that means addressing the O-line. The Jaguars should select Neal to protect Lawrence for the next decade. Jacksonville needs to make steps in the right direction this season and Neal will help that process.

Pick 2 – Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan -EDGE

While Aidan Hutchinson is frequently mocked as the #1 overall pick, the Michigan standout will fall to #2 and remain the face of Michigan football. The Lions need impact players on defense and they’ll get one in Hutchinson. Hutchinson is an early Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and is probably the best player in the entire draft.

Pick 3 – Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon -EDGE

The next EDGE off the board should be Thibodeaux. He has elite upside and will replace Texans legend J.J. Watt. Thibodeaux isn’t getting as much buzz as other pass rushing prospects, but he is easily a top 10 player in the draft class. The former Oregon defender has a full tool box of moves to embarrass opposing offensive linemen in the NFL early on in his career.

Pick 4 – New York Jets: Ikem Ekwonu, NC State -OT

Ekwonu, the next best OT prospect in the draft, will help protect Zach Wilson for years to come. The tackle is a great athlete for his size, 6’ 4’’ 320, and excels as a run blocker. “Ickey” Ekwonu is a plug-and-play offensive lineman and the best value pick at number #4. A LT in college, Ekwonu will make the Jets offensive line much better.

Pick 5 – New York Giants: Charles Cross, Mississippi State -OT

Wow! Another OT. Tackle, specifically LT, is one of the most valued positions in the NFL. Cross is a good player that fills a need for the Giants. With 2 picks in the first 10, New York has some room to reach a little with Cross. The Mississippi State Bulldog is a quality pass protector and will give Daniel Jones a few more seconds in the pocket. 

Pick 6 – Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, Pitt -QB

Kenny Pickett isn’t my favorite QB in the class, but he is the most accurate of the bunch and should fight for the starting spot in year 1. The former Pitt signal caller is the safest QB option at pick #6. Carolina hasn’t gotten the position right since the departure of Cam Newton. Although Pickett may not deserve the top 10 selection, he is the only quarterback I felt comfortable taking this early in the draft.

Pick 7 – New York Giants: Jermaine Johnson, Florida State -EDGE

Oh look, another edge rusher. Jermaine Johnson, prior to the Senior Bowl, was mocked as a late first rounder to early round 2 selection. Johnson was arguably the best player at the Senior Bowl and sky-rocketed his draft stock into the early first round. The FSU Seminole can rush the QB and defend against the run. He already looks like a starting NFL EDGE or OLB.

Pick 8 – Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State -WR

Garrett Wilson is the most complete WR in the class. He has above average speed, route running, size, and deep threat ability; the makings of a WR1 in the NFL. The Ohio State product is the only WR in the draft that can do a little of everything that’s not confined to the typical X, Y, and Z receiver archetypes. Wilson should make an immediate impact as a rookie.

Pick 9 – Seattle Seahawks: Derek Stingly Jr., LSU -CB

Stingly Jr. is a great CB with serious upside. He is returning from a foot injury that required surgery, but Stingly is still perceived as a first round pick. The Seahawks are going through somewhat of a rebuild after dishing out Russell Wilson to Denver. Adding a guy like Stingly Jr.  could sure up Seattle’s cornerback room for a long time.

Pick 10 – New York Jets: Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati -CB

In this mock, Gardner is the second CB selected, but don’t be surprised if he goes earlier than pick #10. Gardner is a confident player with serious press-man ability. He played exceptionally well in Cincinnati’s game against Alabama last year. The Jets should be pleased to see the former Bearcat still on the board and should take Gardner with their second round 1 selection. 

Pick 11 – Washington Commanders: Jameson Williams, Alabama -WR

Before tearing his ACL in the National Championship against Georgia, Williams was considered the best WR in the draft. The Alabama prospect’s recovery is ahead of schedule, so don’t be surprised if Williams goes this early on draft night. Jameson Williams is the best deep threat in the class and flashes low 4.3 40 yard dash speed that shows up on tape. 

Pick 12 – Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame -S

Kyle Hamilton is a do it all safety. He can defend in the run game and play the prototypical Cover 3 role. While not equipped with tremendous straight line speed, Hamilton has good instincts and is good at analyzing what’s in front of him. Hamilton would fit well alongside All Pro SS Harrison Smith in Minnesota. The Vikings found a great player in Smith who also attended Notre Dame. Hamilton projects as a similar player. 

Pick 13 – Houston Texans: Drake London, USC -WR

If the name Andre Johnson is familiar, London can fill a similar role with the Texans. London’s bread and butter is the jump ball. At 6’ 4’’, the next pro-ready USC WR exposes smaller, less physical cornerbacks. While speed isn’t a prominent trait of London’s, the lengthy wideout is surprisingly good after the catch and he fights for yards after every reception.

Pick 14 – Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, Georgia -IDL

Davis is a freak of an athlete for a 6’ 6’’ 340 lbs grown man. In the Ravens defense, Davis could easily slide in at the nose tackle position and be a menace in the interior. While not the best in the pass rush category, Davis has solid upside for the position and has the physical tools that tend to translate to the NFL. Davis could develop into a Pro Bowl caliber player at the DT position in a couple of years.

Pick 15 – Philadelphia Eagles: Travon Walker, Georgia -EDGE

Walker goes higher in most mock drafts out there, but the former Bulldog is a raw player that needs a lot of work. I like Walker in Philly because he doesn’t have to be a starter week 1. He is an investment for the future, but one that could benefit the Eagles down the road. The Georgia defender played all over the line and is an athletic run defender in his current state. Patience, Eagles fans.

Pick 16 – New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, Ohio State -WR

Chris Olave would excel as a Saint. He fills the slot role if need be, but can also play outside thanks to his speed and quickness. While the play strength isn’t ideal, Olave gets open quickly. The best route-runner in the class, Olave would complement Michael Thomas. Garrett Wilson’s college running mate is a speedy deep threat that could elevate the New Orleans offense.

Pick 17 – Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa -OT

Los Angeles needs OT help, and Penning is the best on the board at pick #17. The former UNI Panther plays with a toughness that NFL coaches like. While his technique is still quite underdeveloped, Penning has upside that can’t be overlooked. With the selection of Trevor Penning, the Chargers get Justin Herbert a bodyguard for the future that isn’t afraid to get physical.

Pick 18 – Philadelphia Eagles: Trent McDuffie, Washington -CB

McDuffie is a good CB that could learn a lot from Darius Slay in Philadelphia. The former Washington Husky is a quick and an instinctual playmaker. He can play all over the secondary, excluding the safety positions, and was an effective blitzer in college. He also plays with confidence in run defense. McDuffie would immediately strengthen the Eagles secondary.

Pick 19 – New Orleans Saints: Devonte Wyatt, Georgia -IDL

Devonte Wyatt, another Georgia Bulldog that blew the socks off of scouts at the combine, is a starting caliber DT that can pressure the quarterback. An interior defensive lineman that can collapse the pocket, like Aaron Donald, is bound to give offenses fits. While Wyatt doesn’t project as the next Aaron Donald, he fills a need for the Saints.

Pick 20 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis, Liberty -QB

Willis has the highest potential out of any of the QB prospects in the draft. He has great speed and mobility, and impressed at the combine with his arm strength; however, accuracy is still an issue. Mike Tomlin should take Willis at pick #20 so NFL fans can watch the soon-to-be rookie play against Lamarr Jackson twice a year, a player that had similar attributes as Willis out of college. 

Pick 21 – New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, Utah -LB

The Patriots could go cornerback after losing J.C. Jackson in free agency, but New England’s defense desperately needs linebacker help. Devin Lloyd would be drafted higher if the position of middle linebacker was valued higher by NFL organizations. Nevertheless, Bill Belichick is getting the best pro-ready ILB in the draft.

Pick 22 – Green Bay Packers: George Karlaftis, Purdue -EDGE

The Packers shock the masses and don’t take a receiver with their first round 1 selection. The WRs available here weren’t ideal fits, so another position of need was addressed. Karlaftis can play all over the defensive line, bulldoze his way to the quarterback, and is a good run defender. The pick adds much needed depth to the Green Bay defensive front and replaces Za’Darius Smith. 

Pick 23 – Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Booth Jr., ClemsonCB

Andrew Booth played 35 games for the Tigers over the course of his collegiate career. The CB has high end speed and athleticism. Booth is a good tackler and isn’t afraid to get in the face of opposing receivers. He is a physical player and has plus ball skills. Arizona is getting a cornerback with decent upside that plays with swagger, a trait that some of the top CBs in the league possess.

Pick 24 – Dallas Cowboys: Daxton Hill, Michigan -S

Hill is a top safety in the class. At Michigan, he played all over the field and was the Wolverine’s best DB. At pick 24, the Cowboys should be glad to get a player with such positional diversity. Hill excels in zone coverage, but is able to play man and diagnose run plays from the back end of the defense. Daxton Hill should be the Cowboys starting FS next season. 

Pick 25 – Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, Florida -CB

Kaiir Elam is a lengthy CB with good press-man ability and likes to push smaller receivers around in coverage. While this characteristic caused penalties in college, it can be remedied at the next level with coaching. He needs to clean up some parts of his game, but playing behind Tre’davious in Buffalo should help his technique progression as a rookie.

Pick 26 – Tennessee Titans: Jahan Dotson, Penn State -WR

Dotson may be limited to the slot in the NFL due to his size, 5’ 11’’, but he would complement A.J. Brown so well on the Titans. A master of the underneath route, Dotson may have the best hands in the entire WR class. Check out his one handed catch against Ohio State. If A.J. Brown gets an extension this offseason, Dotson would make a lot of sense. 

Pick 27 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zion Johnson, Boston College -IOL

Zion Johnson is a starting caliber G at the next level. While it’s not a flashy pick, Johnson would help protect Tom Brady. At the Senior Bowl, he showcased his ability to block in pass protection and in the run game. While some minor issues plague his profile, Johnson would be given either offensive guard position and replace Ali Marpet. 

Pick 28 – Green Bay Packers: George Pickens, Georgia -WR

With their second pick in the first round, the Packers take a WR. Green Bay selects another George in George Pickens. The 6’ 3’’ perimeter receiver fits the height threshold that the Packers look for in boundary receivers. He does a good job of beating press, has great body control, and gives GB deep threat ability. He has WR1 traits, but for some teams, his ACL injury and overall inability to stay healthy will hurt his draft stock.

Pick 29 – Kansas City Chiefs: Treylon Burks, Arkansas -WR

Treylon Burks ran the Razorbacks offense all by himself. The WR looks more like a RB than a wideout, but his ceiling is super high. In the right system, Burks could develop into an A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuels hybrid. Although his change of direction and route running capabilities are major concerns, the Chiefs could use Burks, who is 225 pounds, similarly to how they used Tyreek Hill.

Pick 30 – Kansas City Chiefs: David Ojabo, Michigan -EDGE

Ojabo would be a top 20 pick if he didn’t tear his achilles at his pro day. Due to the torn achilles, Ojabo falls to Kansas City. KC should be grateful to get a player with such upside as Ojabo this late in the first round. Aidan Hutchinson’s partner in crime at Michigan wields one of the nastiest spin moves in the Edge/OLB class. The only area that Ojabo seriously needs to improve on in the NFL is run defense. 

Pick 31 – Cincinnati Bengals: Kenyon Green, Texas A&M -IOL

Cincinnati, off a miraculous Super Bowl appearance last season, needs to improve its offensive line. Joe Burrow was sacked almost ten times in multiple playoff games last season. That’s ridiculous. Green is a solid player with extreme play strength. He can line up at both guard positions, as well as RT. His position versatility should appeal to the Bengals.

Pick 32 – Detroit Lions: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati -QB

Ridder, the quarterback from Cincinnati, is the most pro-ready QB in the draft. He is cool, calm, and collected under pressure and has a talented arm. He can also scramble out of the pocket and pick up yards with his legs. The only thing holding him back is his accuracy. The Lions know Goff isn’t the long term answer at QB. Ridder to Detroit with pick #32 should please Lions fans.