Updated: Sep 6, 2022
By Charles Vakassian
Image Via NFL.com
It would be an understatement to say that the NFL has seen some big changes over the past couple of weeks. So many prominent names have switched teams, and each move leaves new questions for teams, and what needs they must fill. In this 2nd edition of my mock draft, we try to determine just that.
Jacksonville Jaguars-Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
While a case could be made for the Jaguars to take an offensive lineman here, they already franchise tagged Cam Robinson, and signed Brandon Scherff in free agency. The draft is deep on offensive line talent, but the same cannot be said for pass rushers. Hutchinson is by far the best edge rusher this class has to offer, and Jacksonville jumps at the opportunity to reshape their defense.
Detroit Lions-Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
This may be more of a surprise pick, but rumors have been linking the Lions to Willis for the last couple weeks. Jared Goff is on the last year of his contract, and the Lions clearly need a better long term solution under center. Willis boosted his stock with a strong Senior Bowl and an excellent NFL Combine. He even has the best betting odds to be selected by the Lions at pick 2 (+380). His blend of speed, athleticism, and throw power will help bring Detroit back to relevancy.
Houston Texans-Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Thibodeaux’s stock has dropped, to the point where there are rumors he could drop out of the top 10 completely. I don’t buy that, and the Houston Texans won’t either. They need game changing players at premium positions, and Thibodeaux is just that. No need to overthink it.
New York Jets-Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Jets are in a position where they can go best player available, and here they get the behemoth of a man known as Evan Neal. With Mekhi Becton a question mark due to injuries and character concerns, Neal can protect Zach Wilson’s blind side, or shift to right tackle should Becton be fine, forming a menacing duo.
New York Giants-Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
This is a no brainer.
While the Giants improved the interior of their offensive line by signing Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano, right tackle is still a major position of need. Ekwonu is a mauler of a tackle, who will run over his opponents in the run game, and is coming into his own as a pass blocker. He can even shift to guard as necessary, and be a quality player there.
Carolina Panthers-Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
The Sam Darnold experiment can officially be called a failure. With Carolina striking out in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, they will likely turn to the draft to find a long term solution. Kenny Pickett is a well rounded QB with big game talent who can help bring Carolina to the promised land.
New York Giants (Via CHI)-Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Following the release of veteran safety Logan Ryan, the Giants were thin at the safety position behind standout FS Xavier McKinney. Hamilton will change that immediately. As arguably the best pure player talent-wise in this draft, Hamilton is a game wrecker at all levels of the field. He can stuff the run, blitz the QB, play deep as a roaming safety, and even fill in at nickel corner. Wink Martindale is drooling over what Hamilton could do for his defense.
Atlanta Falcons- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
With Matt Ryan now gone from Atlanta, I expect the Falcons to find a placeholder and look for a QB in a stronger 2023 draft class. In the meantime, they will want to upgrade their WR room. Calvin Ridley is suspended for a year, and Russell Gage left in free agency. Kyle Pitts is going to need help, and this is where Garrett Wilson steps in. Wilson is a dynamic receiver who has big play ability every time he touches the ball. His YAC ability will pair well with the red zone chops of Pitts.
Seattle Seahawks (Via DEN)-Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
I fully expect the Seattle Seahawks to acquire a veteran QB (Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garopollo) before the draft. Whichever QB comes to Seattle will need to be protected. Cross is the best pure pass protector this class has to offer, and will help keep whoever is under center alive and well.
New York Jets (Via SEA)-Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
After getting help in the trenches with Evan Neal, the Jets turn towards their defense. While getting D.J Reed was a boost for the secondary, the Jets are missing a true lockdown corner. Sauce Gardner is the best man coverage corner by far in this draft, and will cover top receivers every week.
Washington Commanders-Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Washington now has their QB in Carson Wentz, but now they need to give him weapons to help Terry McLaurin. Burks has an insane catch radius thanks to his large hands, has the speed to burn defenses over the top, and the route running to wreak havoc over the middle of the field.
Minnesota Vikings- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Vikings are in desperate need of secondary help, so they reach a little bit to get McDuffie, the next best CB on the board. He plays best in a zone scheme, but can get the job done in man coverage as well.
Houston Texans (Via CLE)-Travon Walker, EDGE/DL, Georgia
Walker has seen his stock soar after a stellar combine, where he could hear his name called within the top 10. However, the middle of the first round seems like an accurate spot for Walker to be drafted. He can be a chess piece for the Texans defense, having the ability to line up inside and rush from the edge, and excel at both.
Baltimore Ravens-Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Another Georgia defensive player off the board. Davis was a monster of a defensive tackle in his time with the Bulldogs, and is exactly what the Ravens need. With Calais Campbell still a free agent, Baltimore looks for a fresh set of legs on the interior.
Philadelphia Eagles (Via MIA)-Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU
Stingley could have a case to be the CB1 based off of his freshman year game tape alone. His game changing ability to have crucial interceptions and pass break ups was uncanny, and opposing QBs were scared to throw the ball his way. Injuries have taken their toll over the last two years though, and drops Stingley’s stock enough to where the Eagles may end up getting a steal.
Philadelphia Eagles (Via IND)-Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Without question the best interior lineman this draft class has to offer, Linderbaum will reset the Eagles offensive line and help keep Jalen Hurts upright
Los Angeles Chargers-Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Bryan Bulaga is now a free agent. The Chargers number one goal must be to keep Justin Herbert on his feet in a scary AFC West. Penning will slot in at RT and hold off the dominant edge rushers of the division.
New Orleans Saints-Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Saints were another team with a shot at Deshaun Watson and were unable to seal the deal. They will likely find a stopgap QB prior to the draft, but a long term solution is needed. Matt Corral is an underrated option who has the arm strength and football IQ to be a starter in the NFL for a long time.
Philadelphia Eagles-George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
While bringing in Haason Reddick was a good start, the Eagles still need to revamp their pass rush. Enter Karlaftis, a beast of a man with some of the strongest bull rush moves I have seen in a long time. He will pair nicely with Reddick and Josh Sweat, and cause mayhem for the NFC East QBs.
Pittsburgh Steelers-Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
The Steelers will need to find a way to keep Mitchell Trubisky protected, as they failed to do so for Ben Roethlisberger at the end of his career. At 6’7 and 305lbs, Raimann can slot in and protect the blindside of Trubisky and future QBs in Pittsburgh
New England Patriots-Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Patriots have yet to return key free agent Donta Hightower, and have signaled that they want to get younger at LB. Getting Mack Wilson via trade was a start, but getting Devin Lloyd would immediately make New England’s LB corps one of the best in the AFC. Lloyd can rush the passer from the EDGE position, cover opposing RBs and TEs with ease, and play in the box and stuff the run.
Las Vegas Raiders-Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
The Raiders have been doing their best to keep up with their AFC West rivals, signified by the blockbuster trade for Davante Adams. Derek Carr will need to be given time to find Adams, and this is where Kenyon Green comes in. He is the best guard prospect in the draft, and can pair with Alex Leatherwood on the interior to open holes for Josh Jacobs.
Arizona Cardinals-Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Following the departure of Chandler Jones in free agency, a hole has opened up at the edge rusher spot, and Jermaine Johnson can step in and fill that void. A powerful figure, Johnson has top notch speed and power moves which will make him a nightmare for offensive linemen in the NFC West.
Dallas Cowboys-Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
With La’El Collins being released and Zack Martin suffering from injuries, it’s clear that the Cowboys need some new blood on their offensive line. Zion Johnson is a road grader of a guard, who has the ability to shift outside and play tackle, or even line up as a center. He will open holes for Tony Pollard and Zeke Elliot, and give Dak Prescott time to make good throws.
Buffalo Bills-Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson
The Bills need somebody to pair with stud CB Tre’Davious White on the outside, and Booth fits the bill. He is a strong press corner who will lock down his side of the field, giving the strong Bills defensive line time to pressure the QB.
Tennessee Titans-Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Titans could use a complementary WR to pair with AJ Brown and new acquisition Robert Woods. Olave had an outstanding combine, and he can run the entire route tree, and his blazing speed lets him get wide open.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones both hit the open market, and Tampa Bay has not made any attempt to bring either RB back. Breece Hall is the best all around back in this class, and his pass catching chops will be appealing to Tom Brady.
Green Bay Packers-Drake London, WR, USC
With Davante Adams leaving for Las Vegas, the Packers need to give Aaron Rodgers as many weapons as possible. London is a good start, as he can stretch the field and keep defenses honest.
Miami Dolphins (Via SF)-Sean Ryhan, OG, UCLA
Miami had one of the worst offensive lines in football last year, and need to give Tua Tagovaoila time to throw. Ryhan is an elite interior blocker who will give quality pass protection.
Kansas City Chiefs- Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Charcavius Ward left for San Francisco this offseason, and the Chiefs fill the hole with Elam, a good all around corner who can shadow opposing number ones.
Cincinnati Bengals- Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
After heavily addressing the offensive line in free agency, the Bengals get a playmaker to pair with Jessie Bates in the secondary. Hill can play down in the box or drop back in coverage at will.
Detroit Lions (Via LAR)-Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
After grabbing their franchise QB in Malik Willis, Detroit moves to get him weapons. Williams will make an excellent pairing with standout second year player Amon-Ra St.Brown