Gaffney’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Gaffney’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

by February 6, 2022 1 comment

This year’s Senior Bowl festivities are now a wrap, and all but two NFL Draft spots are currently locked in. With scouts getting a first-hand look at some possible first-round prospects in Mobile, Alabama, before pro days and the combine, ‘Draft Season” is now in full swing. Without any further delay, here is our first Round One mock for the 2022 NFL Draft.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Jaguars secured their guy last year in Trevor Lawrence, now they need to provide him with protection. Cam Robinson and Andrew Norwell are slated for free agency and could command good money on the open market. Neal could potentially start day one at either tackle spot, or potentially even on the inside. Over his last two years at Alabama, PFF has Neal down for just 22 total pressures playing both tackle positions.

For more on Neal, check out our scouting report on him.

2) Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan 

The Lions have several options at No. 2, but rushing the passer was a huge problem in 2021. Their 30 sacks only beat out the Philidelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons for the entire season. It just so happens that this year’s top edge rusher is a Michigan man, which makes this extra easy. His 16.5 sacks set a school record at Michigan, and Hutchinson finished second in Heisman voting to Bryce Young. This would be a slam dunk pick for Detroit, as they continue their rebuild.

For more on Hutchinson, check out our scouting report on him.

3) Houston Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Houston does miss out on Hutchinson, but securing Thibodeaux is hardly a consolation prize. His numbers as a whole are not as impressive, but what Thibodeaux lacks in college production he makes up for in sheer potential. He also can line up anywhere on the defensive front and has the ability to drop into coverage. Going from J.J. Watt to Thibodeaux with a year layoff in between is as good as it gets for the Texans.

For more on Thibodeaux, check out our scouting report on him.

4) New York Jets – Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame

The Jets taking a safety with their first pick, and will then pick again in the top 10 via the last first-round safety they drafted. Funny how that all worked out. With Marcus Maye close to 30 and headed into free agency, Joe Douglass’ hands are more or less tied. Hamilton, standing at 6’4″, is one of the best safety prospects that we have seen in quite some time. His size and speed would make him a big piece on the chessboard that is Robert Salah’s defense.

For more on Hamilton, check out our scouting report on him.

5) New York Giants – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

Ekwonu is a name you may need to get acclimated to, as he has shot up draft boards as of late. With Nate Solder at 33 years old and entering free agency, getting Daniel Jones a new blindside blocker is priority one. Luckily for the Giants, Ekwonu would give them the ability to play him in multiple different spots. Granted, left tackle would be the most likely spot for the 320 pounder given New York’s current predicament.

For more on Ekwonu, check out our scouting report on him.

6) Carolina Panthers  – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

While going quarterback is very enticing for Carolina, solidifying the offensive front may be the better play. Not to mention that they have more holes than just at quarterback. In his sophomore year at Mississippi State, Cross gave up only 16 pressures for the season. The 6’5″ tackle would end up being the blindside blocker for whoever Matt Rhule puts under center entering next season.

7) New York Giants (via Chicago)  – Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

Like with Neal at No. 1, not a sexy pick for the Giants here, but solidifying the offensive line could be a game-changer for them. Linderbaum has been touted as the top interior line prospect since Quenton Nelson entered the league in 2018. Unlike Nelson, however, Linderbaum’s fit would be at center with the Giants. Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll would undoubtedly be thrilled with this outcome in their first draft.

For more on Linderbaum, check out our scouting report on him.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Atlanta Falcons receive picks 11, and 73. Washington Commanders receive pick 8.

8) Washington Commanders  – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

At the quarter mark, we finally have our first quarterback off the board. The reason Washington moves up here is to guarantee themselves their pick of the class. Unlike Carolina, the Commanders (Red Wolves and Red Tails were right there, come on Snyder) have a reason to get one. Taylor Henikie was inconsistent in 2021, and Ryan Fitzpatrick never made it out of Week 1. Pickett gives them long-term security at quarterback, something Washington hasn’t had in decades. The concerns about his hands feel like a non-issue, even if they weren’t measured at the Senior Bowl. Pickett is also a good scrambler which is a plus.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Green Bay Packers receive picks 9, 75, 2023 1st, Jerry Jeudy, and Albert Okwuegbunam. Denver Broncos receive pick 60 and Aaron Rodgers.

9) Green Bay Packers  – Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

With a judgment day esque offseason on the horizon, that opens up the Packers’ options by a bit. However, seeing the return they get here for Rodgers, Green Bay opts for defense with their newly acquired first-rounder. Gardner is their man here due to both Kevin King and Rasul Douglass entering free agency. The Cincinnati product was as shut down as it gets as a college cornerback. For his entire career, he never gave up a single touchdown in coverage in over 1100 snaps. According to ESPN’s Todd McShay at the Senior Bowl, he may be the consensus CB1 now as well.

For more on Gardner, check out our scouting report on him.

10) New York Jets (via Seattle) – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Cornerback was enticing here for the Jets, but also have three free-agent receivers, and a rookie in Denzel Mims who they clearly don’t like. Douglass again spins the Wideout Wheel™ and takes Wilson, one of two first-round receivers from Ohio State. He has elite burst/speed and the ability to separate that should translate to the NFL nicely. Pairing him with Corey Davis and Elijah Moore would make life much easier for Zach Wilson.

For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report on him.

11) Atlanta Falcons (via Washington) – David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Receiver is an issue with Calvin Ridley likely on his way out, but Atlanta’s pass rush was brutal this season. Ojabo was not that far off of his running mate Hutchinson at Michigan, and would instantly become the Falcons’ top pass rusher. Ojabo also has a great story that you’ll most certainly hear about as the draft gets closer. Being born in Nigeria, the edge rusher never played football until his junior year of high school. Just a few years later he wrapped up an 11 sack season in the Big 10.

For more on Ojabo, check out our scouting report on him.

12) Minnesota Vikings – Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson

Maybe a surprise with Derek Stingley on the board, but with his foot injury and shakey 2020, Booth feels like the safer pick here. The 21-year-old Clemson man has drawn comparisons to Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander. With both Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander hitting the open market, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has a relatively easy choice to make for his first pick as Vikings GM.

For more on Booth, check out our scouting report on him.

13) Cleveland Browns – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

If either of the Alabama receivers did not tear their ACLs, one of them would be the pick here. Instead, the Browns opt for the 6’3″ Burks, who laid waste to SEC defenses in 2021. In total, he picked up 1104 yards and 11 scores, in addition to 114 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. This includes an eight-catch 170 yard game against Alabama with two touchdowns. With the Odell Beckham debacle and Jarvis Landry not getting any younger, Burks would be a welcomed addition to a Browns offense that was disappointing this season.

14) Baltimore Ravens – Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

A vintage Ravens pick where they get great value regardless of the spot. Green, a guard, would give Baltimore a tremendous amount of flexibility on where he could end up. Both guard spots are options, as is right tackle. No team in the entire league gave up more sacks than Baltimore, save for the Chicago Bears in 2021. Green’s versatility and SEC experience would do wonders for Lamar Jackson in the pocket.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

New England Patriots receive pick 15. Philidelphia Eagles receive J.C. Jackson.

15) New England Patriots – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

New England, who in this scenario franchise tag the outgoing Jackson, make the jump with Stingley still on the board. A reason why he may slip is due to a foot injury holding him to just three games in his final season in Baton Rouge. The Patriots have taken risks with players with injury concerns in the past (Malcolm Mitchell, Cameron Mcgrone, etc), but Stingley is worth the gamble. He is a ballhawk with the potential to be a true lockdown corner. Older Patriots fans may remember his grandfather Darryl Stingley, who played with the team in the 1970s.

For more on Stingley, check out our scouting report on him.

16) Philidelphia Eagles (via Indianapolis) – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

With a corner to pair with Darius Slay taken care of, the Eagles now move onto a defensive field general, which they do with Lloyd. While he did lose out on the Butkus Award to Nakobe Dean, the Utah product is no slouch. He can lineup just about anywhere in the front seven and is a great cover man. Lloyd also has a size advantage over Dean, while not by much, NFL teams may favor the former for that reason.

For more on Lloyd, check out our scouting report on him.

17) Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

The Chargers have the best interior defensive lineman fall into their lap here. Much like the Patriots a year ago with Christian Barmore, although they traded up. Run defense was an issue for Los Angeles last year, and to fix that they get a guy who is an absolute menace at the line of scrimmage. You don’t find defensive tackles like Davis every year, this would be an A++ pick for the Chargers.

For more on Davis, check out our scouting report on him.

18) New Orleans Saints – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Quarterback could be a popular pick at this spot for the Saints, but Terron Armstead is slated for free agency which looms large. Given New Orleans’ cap situation, they may have to part ways with their blindside blocker. That is where Penning comes in. Standing at 6’7″, Penning is a bully of an offensive lineman and could slot in for Armstead right away. He comes from a small school, yes, but Northern Iowa also just pumped out Spencer Brown last year.

19) Philidelphia Eagles – Daxton Hill, SAF, Michigan 

Philly further reloads their secondary with the addition of Hill. If not for Hamilton, he would easily be this draft class’ top safety. Hill can allow the Eagles to play him deep, in the nickel, or as a blitzer if necessary. With Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris likely on the way out, this is a no-brainer for Howie Roseman.

For more on Hill, check out our scouting report on him.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty 

If you believe the rumor and innuendo coming out of the Senior Bowl, the Steelers are huge fans of Malik Willis. With the scary amount of upside he has, hard to blame them. Willis is an electric runner/scrambler and has an absolute cannon for an arm. There are some concerns that he may not be quite NFL ready just yet, but the Steelers can play the long game with the Liberty product. While the offensive line situation is an absolute trainwreck in Pittsburgh, if Willis is Mike Tomlin’s guy, you have to get him.

21) New England Patriots – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

One thing the Patriots have desperately needed for quite some time now is speed/youth at linebacker. With Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley slated for free agency, now is a good time to get on that. What Dean lacks in size he makes up for literally everywhere else. The Butkus Award winner had a monster final year at Georgia. Dean raked up a pair of picks, 6.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, and a pair of forced fumbles. Conceivably, he could be sporting the green dot on the helmet inside of a few seasons.

For more on Dean, check out our scouting report on him.

22) Las Vegas Raiders – Drake London, WR, USC

USC has been a wide receiver factory this last half-decade, and London is the latest Trojan to make the leap to the NFL. Not often do guys at 6’5″ spend time in the slot, but London did just that in spots in college. Josh McDaniels would almost certainly use him all over the field for mismatches. The only concern with London is an ankle fracture he suffered last year which cost him the back half of his season. Despite that, he still put up over 1000 yards and seven touchdowns.

For more on London, check out our scouting report on him.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Tennessee Titans receive pick 23. Arizona Cardinals receive picks 26 and 112

23) Tennessee Titans – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

With a run on edge defenders likely to begin in the final third of the round, Mike Vrabel and co. move up to secure the best one available. Karlaftis didn’t stuff up the stat sheet like the edge guys selected in front of him, but he makes up for that in raw potential. With Harold Landry potentially on the way out with a monster deal, Karlaftis would give the Titans another pass-rush option to go with the underwhelming Bud Dupree.

24) Dallas Cowboys – Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College 

Although linebacker may be a bigger need, Connor Williams is slated for free agency which opens up a hole in the interior offensive line. Boston College has a pretty good track record over the last decade with NFL talent, and transfer student Zion Johnson is the latest to join the NFL ranks. Two of his seasons in Chesnut Hill were at left guard, which is likely his best fit. However, he did spend one year at left tackle, which gives the Cowboys some options if they want to move him elsewhere.

25) Buffalo Bills – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Bills have the luxury to do whatever they want here at 25. Not many holes to plug in, and the biggest one (running back) doesn’t warrant a first-round selection this year. Elam would be much more than just another body in the cornerback room. He could potentially be Tre’Davious White‘s running mate for the long term if things turn out good. All things considered, this could become the steal of the draft for Bills Mafia.

For more on Elam, check out our scouting report on him.

26) Arizona Cardinals (via Tennessee) – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

It’s no secret that the Cardinals have had offensive line issues for quite some time now. However, there are none left that would warrant a first-round selection. The good news is they have some options in regards to their defense. Walker would be a tremendous insurance policy for the potentially outgoing Chandler Jones. At Georgia, he may have been lost in the shuffle with a ton of other superstars, but Walker was not too bad himself. He can lineup anywhere on the defensive front, and is an explosive pass rusher.

For more on Walker check out our scouting report on him.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State 

Even with the ACL tear Chris Godwin had, it feels like he may be cashing in elsewhere, especially with Tom Brady gone. Even with the likes of Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller being solid options, another body wouldn’t hurt. Dotson’s route-running ability should translate well to the NFL, as should his versatility. He lined up as an X, Y, and Z at Penn State, in addition to spending time returning punts.

28) Green Bay Packers – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

If not for the ACL tear, Williams wouldn’t have made it out of the top 15. Instead, the Packers get another playmaker to pair with Jeudy on the outside. Williams is an absolute burner who can be a nightmare to deal with after the catch. In short, he is a perfect complement to his fellow Alabama alumni. The only concern is that Williams will not be ready for camp most likely.

29) Miami Dolphins (via San Fransisco) – Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn 

There is no guarantee Xavian Howard is back with the Fins next year. On top of Noah Igbinoghene not panning out as they’d hoped, some fresh blood is needed in the Miami secondary. Enter McCreary, who at 29 would be great value. Putting him under Byron Jones‘ wing would also be great for the Auburn defensive back’s growth. Maybe not a full-time starter right away, but McCreary would be a great pick-up.

For more on McCreary, check out our scouting report on him.

30) Kansas City Chiefs – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Despite how great Kansas City was in the middle of the season on defensive, they still ranked bottom five in sacks. Chris Jones was the only defender to have over five sacks as well, which is also problematic. Johnson is a pass rusher that has had a monster week for himself at the Senior Bowl. His last season at Florida State could be described as ‘monster’ as well, with 14 sacks and 25 hurries. Johnson will most likely be an impact guy the second he enters the league.

For more on Johnson, check out our scouting report on him.

31) Cincinnati Bengals – Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan 

A no-brainer move for the Bengals here. Even though they will play for a Lombardi Trophy next week, the offensive line is not in great shape. Raimann gave up one sack on the year in the MAC and got a 94.6 grade from PFF. Additionally, as an interesting fact, he spent two seasons at tight end before anchoring the Central Michigan offensive line. A very impressive transition to say the least. Raimann could conceivably start right away, while still trying to pick things up.

32) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams) – Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Fitting that Detroit uses a pick from the Matthew Stafford trade to get their next signal-caller. By all accounts, Jared Goff is not the long-term answer for the Lions. He has had injury issues these last two seasons, and its not a good look that the team that traded him away is now in the Super Bowl. Strong, while not a finished product either, can sit for at least a year and get acclimated. Strong is not as mobile as his peers here either, but has a great arm and throwing motion. Additionally, Detroit goes with him here as opposed to just three picks later, simply for the fifth-year option.


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  1. Ronnie Bates
    #1 Ronnie Bates 6 February, 2022, 10:53

    Good job with this one. I see too many ‘mockers’ having the Jags taking one of the pass rushers. This is just lazy or a lack of research. The Jags have taken pass rushers in the first round the last 2 drafts. They have to take a stud OL to help Lawrence out.

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