NFL 2022 Mock Draft 2.0 – Where Does Malik Willis Land? – Two-Round Mock
The NFL Draft is fast-approaching, and my Mock Draft 2.0 has arrived following some phenomenal performances at the scouting combine. With pro days, free agency, and more still to come, plenty of dominoes are still to fall, but this mock draft will bring together a combination of scouting insight and rumors from around the league. As we lead up to the draft, the Lineups team has you covered with plenty of exciting content to keep you well-informed on all of the top prospects on the board.
NFL 2022 Mock Draft 2.0
#1: Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
There’s no change here from my original mock draft despite plenty of buzz surrounding Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu for Jacksonville. The Jaguars gave Cam Robinson the franchise tag and have been linked to making a splash for a tackle in free agency (Terron Armstead?), so instead, they keep things simple here and take the best defensive prospect at arguably the most important position. He can go from Heisman finalist, unanimous All-American, and Lombardi Award winner to NFL All-Pro pass rusher within his first few years in the league.
#2: Washington Commanders (TRADE) – QB Malik Willis, Liberty
The buzz surrounding Malik Willis continues to escalate, and it’s clear that several teams value him as the top prospect on the board at his position. After Aaron Rodgers resigned with the Packers and Russell Wilson was traded to the Broncos, the veteran market is drying up. With a roster ready to compete and a massive hole at quarterback, the Commanders could be in the market to make a big splash in their first year after their rebranding.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera has compared Willis to former MVP Cam Newton, a player he coached, and Willis has teams excited with his impressive arm talent and athleticism. With teams threatening to trade up and draft Willis, the Commanders don’t take any chances in waiting to see if he falls to him at #11 overall. Washington sends their first-round pick this year, second-round pick this year, and a first-round pick next year to the Lions in this deal.
This pick was made before Washington traded for Carson Wentz, but I don’t think that move changes their appetite to find a high-upside long-term option at quarterback. Wentz can start for a year while Willis adjusts to the NFL, similar to how Trey Lance spent a year behind Jimmy Garoppolo for the 49ers.
#3: Houston Texans – DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The Texans should be taking a best player available approach with so many holes in their roster, and Thibodeaux is still well worth a top-three pick despite some circles souring on him throughout the pre-draft process. Thibodeaux ran an impressive 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine, and while some red flags are there regarding his work ethic and buy-in, Thibodeaux told reporters that he’d “love to play in that Love Smith system.”
#4: New York Jets – OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
The offensive line isn’t necessarily the most significant need for the Jets, but passing up Ekwonu or Neal here would be challenging as they look to support their second-year quarterback Zach Wilson as much as possible. Ekwonu’s aggressive brand of football will translate immediately, and the sky is the limit as he combines his impressive physical profile with more refined technique over time. Ekwonu can start at the right tackle across from Mekhi Becton for years to come.
#5: New York Giants – OT Evan Neal, Alabama
Neal falling to this point would be a dream scenario for the Giants with some mocks having him as high as #5 overall and the team having a genuine need upfront. Neal has played both right tackle and left tackle and guard, so he can fit next to Andrew Thomas wherever the Giants see fit. Neal combines his massive stature with remarkable explosiveness and movement ability, and he’s been a top prospect for quite a while now in this class.
#6: Carolina Panthers – QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
The Panthers miss out on Malik Willis, but instead, they grab Kenny Pickett, who has a past relationship with Carolina head coach Matt Rhule. The Sam Darnold trade failed, Cam Newton has little left in the tank, and the Panthers desperately need a quarterback to save this current regime’s jobs. Pickett’s ability to create out of structure and advanced accuracy make him the most pro-ready passer in the class, and he’d provide a much higher floor for the Carolina offense.
#7: New York Giants – CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
The Giants are looking for cap relief, and cornerback James Bradberry is a clear cut or trade candidate. Regardless of Bradberry’s future, the Giants could use a high-upside cornerback to build around, and Gardner’s stock has elevated considerably in recent weeks. We already knew his college resume was impressive, but his 4.41 40-yard dash and 33 1/2-inch arms present a promising combination of speed and length to go with his tenacious approach.
#8: Atlanta Falcons – DE Travon Walker, Georgia
I was late to the Travon Walker party as I didn’t even have him in the first round in my original mock draft, but his excellent combine shoots him into my top ten. Walker’s 4.51 40-yard dash, 6.89-second three-cone, and 4.32-second shuttle are ridiculous times for an edge, especially one who’s 6’5”, 272 lbs. The pass-rush production isn’t there on film, but he has the traits to develop into an elite pass-rusher which the Falcons desperately need.
#9: Seattle Seahawks – S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
We know the Seahawks love safeties, so this feels like a natural fit. Jokes aside, some see Hamilton as the most talented player in this class with his versatility and unique physical attributes. However, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him slip out of the top ten after a slightly underwhelming combine and the lack of positional value for safeties. Here, the Seahawks land a cornerstone for their defense as they enter a multi-year rebuild.
#10: New York Jets – WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Helping Zach Wilson develop has to be the name of the game for the Jets this offseason, so after landing a top tackle prospect in Ekwonu, they grab my top wide receiver in Garrett Wilson. The wide receiver class tested exceptionally well at the combine, but we shouldn’t sleep on Wilson’s 4.38-second 40-yard dash with his polished route-running, elite change-of-direction ability, and tremendous ball skills.
#11: Detroit Lions – WR Drake London, USC
After trading down and picking up some extra draft compensation, the Lions can go in several directions with this pick. The Drake London pick is fun as he reunited with former USC teammate Amon-Ra St. Brown and gets drafted by the team he says he grew up a fan of. London didn’t test at the combine due to his broken ankle; there’s plenty on film to suggest London will be a high-level receiver who’s a monster at the catch and is a sneaky-good route-runner.
#12: Minnesota Vikings – DE David Ojabo, Michigan
Ojabo didn’t put on a show at the combine like other players in his class did, but he checked the necessary boxes. His film shows that he has all of the traits to be an elite edge rusher in the future with length, explosiveness, and bend, and Ojabo has already been a fast learner with less than five years of football experience. With Everson Griffen’s future in question, the Vikings’ edge is somewhat of a need this offseason.
#13: Cleveland Browns – WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
While he didn’t test at the combine after tearing his ACL in the title game in January, Williams is reportedly making excellent rehab progress, and he could be cleared as soon as June. Without much of an injury tax in his draft stock, Williams shouldn’t fall out of the top-15. He’ll need to rebuild some muscle and continue to fill out his frame, but his speed and acceleration are rare for anyone, much less a 6’2” receiver with underrated ability at the catch point.
#14: Baltimore Ravens – CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Stingley is a frustrating prospect with his lack of effort in his final season of LSU and his current Lisfranc injury, making him a complicated evaluation. If the Lisfranc is worse than we think, he could fall even further than this point, but the Ravens make too much sense as a team that covets lanky, physical press corners and can afford to be patient with Stingley with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters on the roster.
#15: Philadelphia Eagles – DE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
The Eagles had the second-fewest sacks in the NFL last season and will need to upgrade their defensive line this offseason. Johnson has shot up draft boards from the Senior Bowl to the combine, and he tested in the 98th percentile in the 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash. That elite get-off will make him a high-impact pass-rusher from Day One, and I love his explosiveness, tenacity, and approach to the game. The Eagles will love his upside here.
#16: Philadelphia Eagles – DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
Some believe Davis has played his way into the first round with an all-time combine performance in the books. A 4.78 40-yard dash is simply absurd at 6’6”, 341 lbs – no other player over 340 pounds has ever run a 40 faster than 4.98 seconds. Questions remain about Davis’s conditioning and ability to maintain a high impact over a more significant role. Still, there’s no question that he’s a rare prospect worthy of a pick here with high hopes for his future development.
#17: Los Angeles Chargers – WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Olave’s 40-yard dash of 4.39 seconds wasn’t as impressive as his initial test of 4.26, but it nonetheless showed his high-end speed trait. Olave is a buttery smooth route-runner with great burst and acceleration, and while he’s not going to excel against consistent press coverage, he’s a big play waiting to happen. With Olave, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams, Justin Herbert would continue to have an embarrassment of pass-catching riches.
#18: New Orleans Saints – OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
This is lower than I usually have Cross in mock drafts, and it would be an ideal scenario for the Saints, who seem likely to lose elite left tackle Terron Armstead this offseason in free agency. Cross has picturesque mirroring ability on the edge and ideal technique and balance for the position. He may not be the most powerful or athletic tackle, but he’s technically proficient and will be a high-level starter right away.
#19: Philadelphia Eagles – WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
I never understood people who expected Burks to run in the 4.3s, and a 4.55-second 40-yard dash was a satisfactory result, but the 10-foot-2 broad jump and 33-inch vertical were far more concerning. Is Burks anything more than a gadget player? I believe he can be, and his physical frame and acceleration after the catch will serve him well as he continues to develop the technical aspects of his game.
#20: Pittsburgh Steelers – C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Linderbaum would be a top-three pick in the draft based on purely collegiate success. With his wrestling background, Linderbaum brings remarkable athleticism and hand strength to the center position with sound technique to boot. I still have concerns over Linderbaum’s lack of high-level play strength, and centers simply aren’t as valuable as other positions. Still, he’s an easy projection to the next level and would be a productive Day 1 starter on a Steelers’ offensive line in desperate need of improvement.
#21: New England Patriots – CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
Elam’s 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine vaults him into first-round consideration, and the Patriots seem likely to move on from standout cornerback J.C. Jackson as he hits the open market. Elam can replace some of Jackson’s physical press capabilities while offering higher upside with his long speed and agility to boost his ability to mirror shifty wideouts downfield.
#22: Las Vegas Raiders – OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
The Raiders have to get tougher in the trenches, and they need another offensive tackle starter across from Kolton Miller, so Trevor Penning makes a ton of sense for them. Penning’s tenacity and strength allowed him to bully FCS pass-rushers, and while the jump in competition could require a learning curve, Penning has the temperament coaches love at his position.
#23: Arizona Cardinals – CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
McDuffie reportedly left coaches and executives at the combine highly impressed with his football IQ and maturity, and he was no slouch in athletic testing either. McDuffie’s calling card is his acceleration and play strength, and while he’s a smaller prospect for the position, you can’t teach his heart and hustle.
#24: Dallas Cowboys – S Lewis Cine, Georgia
After a massive combine performance featuring a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, 36.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot-1 broad jump to solidify his standing as the most explosive safety in the class, Cine jumps into the first round for me here. He has an ideal build for the safety position and will be yet another highly-coveted member of the Georgia defense.
#25: Buffalo Bills – LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Speaking of that Georgia defense, Nakobe Dean was the unit’s emotional leader with his relentless pursuit of the football and excellent sideline-to-sideline ability. Dean didn’t test at the combine, but the film tells us he’s one of the faster players in this class, and his athleticism in the middle of the Bills’ defense would provide a new wrinkle they don’t have right now.
#26: Tennessee Titans – DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
Karlaftis didn’t have a bad combine, but he may have been surpassed by some other prospects in this edge class. The Titans retained Harold Landry in free agency, but Bud Dupree’s first season with the team was a disappointment, and it never hurts to add more competition on the edge. Karlaftis has been mocked higher than this by some, and he won’t turn 21 until April. Once defenders keyed in on him last year, he wasn’t as productive, but he would feast on single coverage in Tennessee.
#27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
The Buccaneers find themselves in an ideal spot with the intersection of talent and team need, as Kenyon Green is an easy pick here after Alex Cappa retired and Ryan Jensen hits free agency. Green’s combine testing was disappointing, especially for teams who viewed him as a tackle prospect. Still, he has an ideal frame for the guard position and high-level film at several positions along the offensive line.
#28: Green Bay Packers – LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
After retaining Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, the Packers will find themselves in quite the salary cap crunch, and it’s unlikely they retain standout All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Lloyd’s combine wasn’t exactly head-turning, but his game relies more on his physicality, strong instincts, and all-around polished game.
#29: Miami Dolphins – OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
The Dolphins will likely make a splash in free agency on their offensive line, but with the worst line in the NFL last season, they need to be attacking the trenches from all angles. Raimann is a former tight end who has only played offensive tackle for two years, but he has some of the cleanest tape at the position and has incredible upside as he fills out his frame.
#30: Kansas City Chiefs – WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
I’m not sure there’s a player who has boosted their draft stock in pre-draft events more than Christian Watson. After an electric Senior Bowl showing, Watson followed it up with an unreal combine performance – he finished with a 4.36-second 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot-4 broad jump at 6’4”, 208 pounds. He may not be tested against top competition, but Watson deserves to be in the first-round conversation.
#31: Cincinnati Bengals – CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
The offensive line is the most significant need for the Bengals, but there isn’t a prospect worth reaching on in this spot. Instead, the Bengals address another significant need and attempt to find a replacement for Eli Apple, who let the team down in the Super Bowl. Booth is a great athlete who can play in man or zone coverage at the next level.
#32: Detroit Lions – QB Sam Howell, UNC
The Lions have plenty of draft equity this year and in upcoming drafts, so taking a shot on a quarterback here is highly palatable. Howell’s deep-ball ability and improved elusiveness stand out, and while he has plenty to work on with pocket mechanics and pro-style progressions, he has solid traits to build on for the rebuilding Lions.
#33: Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
After going defense in the first round, the Jaguars need to find some pass-catching help for Trevor Lawrence. Dotson is an explosive athlete who creates separation through his routes, and the Jaguars didn’t have anyone like that last season.
#34: Detroit Lions – CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
Gordon’s 4.52-second 40-yard dash wasn’t as good as some of his peers in this cornerback class, but I love his ability to compete at the catch point with his size and strength. He’s an excellent addition to a young cornerback room for Detroit.
#35: New York Jets – DE Boye Mafe, Minnesota
Yet another stellar combine showing from an edge player – Mafe’s 4.53-second 40-yard dash, 38-inch vertical, and 10-foot-5 broad jump put him in the realm of Jadeveon Clowney athletically. He has double-digit sack upside.
#36: New York Giants – CB/S Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Pitre is what I would describe as a “hunter” on the football field as he flies around to make plays wherever he’s needed. You can’t teach his instincts and competitive nature, and he has the fluidity to improve in coverage over time.
#37: Houston Texans – OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
Johnson’s combine was unique as he broke into the top-ten all-time in both the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle. Johnson isn’t a people-mover in terms of power, but he’s a very smart player who will provide a high floor immediately in the NFL.
#38: New York Jets – DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
I hate having Wyatt this low as I love him as a prospect, but this defensive line class is so loaded that somebody has to fall. Wyatt’s combine was overshadowed by Davis, as was his playing career at Georgia, but it was excellent to his credit, and he shouldn’t be overlooked as a top defensive line prospect in this class.
#39: Chicago Bears – OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
Measuring in at 384 pounds at the combine, Faalele would be the heaviest active player in the NFL today. That frame comes with some massive power advantages, but it also comes with limitations in agility and quickness. It will do just fine for the Bears, who desperately need offensive line help to boost Justin Fields’s development.
#40: Seattle Seahawks – QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
The Seahawks have plenty of picks for the foreseeable future, so they can afford to take a chance on a high-floor quarterback whose accuracy still has a ways to go before it complements his athleticism and poise from the pocket.
#41: Seattle Seahawks – DE Amare Barno, Virginia Tech
Barno made himself some money at the combine with a 4.36-second 40-yard dash that would be the fastest ever of any edge player. Teams will fall in love with Barno’s traits as a developmental pass-rusher, and he’s a great player to take a chance on for Seattle.
#42: Detroit Lions – S Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
Brisker is a box safety who packs a powerful punch and can be a part of the hard-nosed brand of defense the Lions want to build. He’s unproven in coverage, but Brisker can immediately impact as a playmaker at the line of scrimmage.
#43: Atlanta Falcons – WR George Pickens, Georgia
After a reasonably average combine, Pickens isn’t shooting up draft boards, but we already knew he’s somewhat limited as a burner. However, Pickens is excellent at the catch point and gets off the line of scrimmage with ease. The former top wideout in this class has had some off-field and health issues, but he’s worth a shot here.
#44: Cleveland Browns – DT Travis Jones, Connecticut
Travis Jones’s 4.92-second 40-yard dash was impressive, and he tested similarly to Marcell Dareus, the former third overall pick in 2011 and All-Pro nose tackle. Jones combines that surprising speed with all of the power and strength you want in a zero technique tackle, and he’d eat in single coverage next to Myles Garrett.
#45: Baltimore Ravens – OT Tyler Smith, Tulsa
A late riser in the draft process, Smith has yet to turn 21 and is one of the younger players in this class. He’s incredibly raw, but he fits what the Ravens want to do from a power running perspective and can fit in at guard or tackle long-term.
#46: Minnesota Vikings – CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
The Vikings didn’t fill their need at cornerback in the first round, but Roger McCreary makes a lot of sense here as a high-floor, battle-tested corner who can fill in right away. Concerns about his shorter arms and lack of instincts could push him further down the board.
#47: Indianapolis Colts – WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
Regardless of who their quarterback is moving forward, the Colts need more than just Michael Pittman Jr. in the passing game. Moore has impressive agility and incredible get-off quickness at the line of scrimmage to boost his profile as a high-level slot receiver.
#48: Los Angeles Chargers – CB/S Daxton Hill, Michigan
Arguably a steal at this point, Daxton Hill is a former five-star recruit with elite speed and tremendous positional versatility. He’s not going to be a huge difference-maker in the box, but if you need a single-high patroller or competent slot corner, Hill is your guy.
#49: New Orleans Saints – QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
The Saints are in such a cap bind that using this pick on a quarterback who could be productive on a rookie deal makes sense. Corral isn’t my favorite prospect, but he possesses above-average athleticism and impressive throwing power. I still have questions about his ability to fend off injuries with his smaller frame.
#50: Miami Dolphins – DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
Ebiketie can contribute from Day 1 with his impressive know-how as a pass-rusher, and he has a surprisingly complete toolbox despite not playing an entire season until his fifth year at Penn State. The physical limitations will always be there – he’s not an elite athlete – but he’ll produce nonetheless.
#51: Philadelphia Eagles – RB Breece Hall, Iowa State
After spending three picks on more premium positions in the first round, the Eagles can afford to take a stab at my RB1 in this class. Hall has tremendous contact balance as a runner and receiver, and he’d be highly productive in an elite run scheme in Philly.
#52: Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
It’s a shame Chenal didn’t bench at the combine, as he was set for a potential record-breaking performance. Chenal is lighter on his feet than you’d expect at his size, and his power and downhill aggression would be massive for a Steelers’ run defense coming off a terrible season.
#53: Las Vegas Raiders – DE Logan Hall, Houston
The Raiders continue to look to build through the trenches with this pick, and Hall would provide an excellent interior pass-rush presence with his impressive length, speed, and power. If he can better utilize his hands to gain more leverage, look out.
#54: New England Patriots – WR John Metchie, Alabama
I love the idea of reuniting Mac Jones with his former wideout John Metchie here as he’s one of the best route runners in this class. Metchie is recovering from his torn ACL, but his pro-ready craftiness and release package will make him a highly productive slot receiver once he gets back on the field.
#55: Arizona Cardinals – RB Kenneth Walker, Michigan State
This wouldn’t be the best use of resources for the Cardinals, but they could look to get younger in the backfield with Chase Edmonds and James Conner as free agents. Walker is the best pure runner in this class, but he has to improve in pass-catching and pass-protection to stay on the field in the NFL.
#56: Dallas Cowboys – DE DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
A former five-star recruit, Leal is versatile along the defensive front but is in danger of falling into the “tweener” category. His combine testing wasn’t overly inspiring, but his movement on film is indicative of more athletic ability. Dan Quinn will know what to do with his unique profile.
#57: Buffalo Bills – WR Wan’Dale Robinson
Wide receiver can quickly become a need for the Bills with Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie free agents and Cole Beasley’s name in trade rumors. Robinson ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash which showed off his acceleration package. He’d be a fun player to utilize in various roles with Josh Allen.
#58: Atlanta Falcons – LB Quay Walker, Georgia
At 6’4”, 241 lbs, Walker is much larger than your typical off-ball linebacker, but he plays with plenty of speed and ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash. He’s proven in man coverage, is a violent run defender, and can swarm to the football in a hurry.
#59: Green Bay Packers – WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
We all knew about the contested catch production and, although elite, a 40.5-inch vertical wasn’t terribly surprising. However, his 4.41-second 40-yard dash turned heads, and his potential blend of size and speed will see his name called earlier than some expected on Day 2.
#60: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Perion Winfrey, Oklahoma
The Buccaneers need to get younger up front with Ndomakung Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul aging, and Winfrey is set to be a late riser with his 4.89-second 40-yard dash, especially after an impressive Senior Bowl. He’s not polished, but the potential is excellent with his frame and athleticism.
#61: San Francisco 49ers – OG Dylan Parham, Memphis
In the 49ers’ outside zone-running scheme, interior offensive linemen who can move is necessary, not just a bonus. Parham fits the billing as a highly-experienced four-year starter who excels at making blocks in the open field.
#62: Kansas City Chiefs – DE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
Bonitto’s 4.54-second 40-yard dash and 4.23-second 20-yard shuttle compare very favorably to some of the more athletic edge prospects we’ve seen in recent years. Bonitto is unpolished in run defense, but his upside as a pass-rusher is well worth taking a chance on.
#63: Cincinnati Bengals – OT Abraham Lucas, Washington State
Lucas is well-versed in pass protection with ideal length and size for the position and excellent agility and footwork. His run blocking needs polish, and his lack of strength could hold him back somewhat, but he has starting upside at right tackle or guard.
#64: Denver Broncos – DE Drake Jackson, USC
Full disclosure – Drake Jackson will likely go higher than this. I wanted to land him with my team just for fun. However, if you’re still reading, I commend you anyways, and you get to know that Jackson is one of my favorite Day 2 prospects. Jackson’s bend is ridiculous – he looks like Gumby as he gets around offensive tackles on the edge. However, it’s his demeanor and approach to the game that really wins me over. He took on a new position heading into the COVID-shortened 2020 season and was highly successful. Jackson is only 20 years old and is only scratching the surface of what he can become as a pass-rusher, and I hope he lands with a team willing to be patient while they mold him at the next level.