January 10, 2022

Lines' 2022 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

With the NFL regular season over, it's time to look toward the offseason. 

While it is sad to think that football season is almost over, no league has a better offseason than the NFL, and that is thanks to the draft. For the teams that will compete for the Super Bowl, the offseason still seems like it is months away. For the 18 teams that will be watching from their living rooms, it is time to start thinking about the future. 

Who will be the No. 1 pick, and what team will take their next franchise quarterback? Well, let's find out.

Welcome to Lines' 2022 NFL mock draft 3.0.

Check out our full 7-round mock draft here.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OL, Alabama

I am not putting too much stock into Trevor Lawrence's rookie season. There is so much dysfunction in Jacksonville that he had no chance at success. With Urban Meyer now gone, Lawrence is already in danger of becoming another Baker Mayfield with the number of coaches he had during his rookie contract. 

Their first order of business should be to protect Lawrence and continue to build around him. Evan Neal stands at 6-foot-7, 350-pounds, and he is as athletic as you can get at that size. It is not outrageous to say that Alabama is not as good as they are this season without Neal. He has played both left and right tackle over the last two seasons, and he was clearly the best tackle in college football during that time. 

2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

Detroit needs a lot of help, but I see the vision with Dan Campbell. The players seem to love him, the Lions are always a tough team to beat, and you can see when they finally won a game this season just how happy the team was for Campbell. 

While I still think Aidan Hutchinson is the second-best edge rusher in this draft, this is just a perfect fit. Hutchinson is a Michigan legend, it fills a giant need, and he seems like one of Campbell's guys. The 6'6", 265-pound monster off the edge can disappear at points in the game, most notably against Georgia in the playoffs, but all you need to do is watch the Ohio State tape to understand how much he can impact a game.

3. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

In most drafts, Kayvon Thibodeaux would be the No. 1 pick, and he still might be. However, this draft is not very great, and need and fit are more important than talent this season. Houston needs help everywhere, and establishing a dominant defensive line is a good start.

If you were to ask Jesus Christ himself to craft the perfect pass-rusher, Thibodeaux would be that guy. He is long, strong, quick off the snap, and he improved on his pass-rush moves in his limited playing time this season. Oregon had a roller coaster of a season, and everything after the Ohio State win was a nightmare. In 10 games this season, Thibodeaux recorded 7.0 sacks and 12 TFL. 

4. New York Jets: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

Like every team in the top 10, the Jets need a lot of help. They could fill other needs as Mekhi Becton looks like a guy when he is on the field. The problem is, he isn't on the field very much, and if you truly believe in Zach Wilson, then he needs more help up front. 

The Jets would be getting the best run-blocking tackle in this draft in Ikem Ekwonu. This would give the Jets two excellent run-blocking tackles, and the ability to clear out the edges. The Jets are building a team, and they need a really good offensive line to give Wilson time to improvise.

5. New York Giants: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

George Karlaftis is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft. Hailing from Athens, Greece, Karlaftis is one of the strongest edge rushers in the draft, and many scouts have raved about his quick hands and natural athleticism. 

The Giants are building a good defense, but their 4.97% sack percentage ranks 26th in the NFL. With two picks currently in the first round, they need to address the edge, and Karlaftis is the best player on the board at this point. 

6. Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi State

This morning I woke up and saw a report that the Panthers are "willing to listen on a Christian McCaffrey trade." Now, I do not know what the Panthers are thinking if that is true, but I can tell you what they should be doing as a team moving forward, and that is built around what they have. 

Charles Cross improved more than any offensive lineman this season. His first year as a starter in 2020 was not very promising, but in 2021, Cross became one of the best pass-blocking tackles in college football. Playing in Mike Leach's Air-Raid offense gives him plenty of reps through the season, and he only allowed 16 pressures this season compared to 44 in 2020. 

Cross is as raw as a prospect as you can get, but his upside is worth it, and the Panthers need some help with the boys up front. 

7. New York Giants (Via Bears): Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Tyler Linderbaum walked onto campus as a defensive tackle. He left as the best run-blocking linemen in his class and this season's Rimington Trophy winner.

The Giants dealt with several injuries on the line this season, and outside of Andrew Thomas, who took massive strides in his second season, there is not a lot of promise up front. It is likely, Daniel Jones is not the franchise quarterback for the Giants, but at the very minimum, they need to give him a competent offensive line.

If Jones doesn't work out, then the next guy has a good foundation to work with. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

The Matt Ryan contract is practically untradable, and there is not a quarterback in this draft worth taking to replace Ryan. So, the Falcons address a need, and they keep one of college football's best players in the state of Georgia. 

Jordan Davis stands at 6'6", 340-pounds, and he moves better than most defensive linemen in the NFL. If anything, the Falcons get a guy to plug up the inside, and improve the 26th ranked defense against the run. 

9. Denver Broncos: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

There are always going to be teams that need a quarterback in the draft. I do not know if there is a more quarterback-needy team than the Broncos.

The team around whoever the quarterback will be for Denver next season is good enough to make some noise in the AFC, especially in a crowded AFC West. Sam Howell may have regressed from a statistical standpoint, but North Carolina was a terrible team in 2021, and Howell was the only reason they crawled to six wins. 

Howell was able to use his legs a lot this season and rushed for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns, adding another tool to his impressive skill set. 

10. New York Jets (Via Seahawks): Derek Stingley Jr., DB, LSU

If the Jets can walk out with the best corner in the draft, then this offseason is a success. The Jets' defense is ranked 31st in yards per pass (7.7) and pass completion percentage (69.5%). I could go through the Jets' defensive stats all day, but just know, they need help.

The best way to improve your defense is to draft the best corner in the draft. Derek Stingley Jr. has been a first-rounder since 2019 when he was a freshman sensation for the National Champion LSU Tigers. He has not played much over the last two seasons, but when he did, there are not many better players. 

11. Washington Football Team: Kyle Hamilton, DB, Notre Dame

There are no trades in this mock draft, so Kyle Hamilton falls to Washington, and that could be one of the best things to ever happen to the soon-to-be "Artist formally known as the Washington Football Team."

Hamilton is arguably the best talent in this draft. In his three seasons with Notre Dame, he recorded eight interceptions and 16 pass deflections. His physical skill set is among the best in all of football, and after the combine, he will explode up everyone's draft boards. 

12. Minnesota Vikings: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

The Vikings' defense is ranked 30th in yards per rush and 27th in rushing yards allowed per game. There are more pressing needs if the Vikings want to take the next step, but a guy like DeMarvin Leal can improve in obvious weakness.

13. Cleveland Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Cleveland could have some difficult decisions to make in the receiver room, especially with Jarvis Landry. Like most of the NFL, the Browns watched what J'Marr Chase did for the Bengals this season, and they could use a player like that. 

Garrett Wilson is the best receiver in this class, and he would instantly help an inexperienced receiver room. 

14. Baltimore Ravens: David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

This season has been filled with injuries for the Ravens. With Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews needing contracts soon, Baltimore is going to have to make some decisions this offseason, and that includes cutting ties with Calais Campbell

David Ojabo would give this defense a fresh dose of youth and talent. His 12.0 sacks for Michigan this season will also help the 24th ranked defense in sack percentage.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Dolphins): Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, DB, Cincinnati

Philadelphia was solid defensively this season, but the secondary was ranked 30th in completion percentage. Adding a guy like Ahmad Gardner, who only allowed five catches for 42 yards this regular season, would instantly improve an already promising group. 

16. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Colts): Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Once again, the Eagles address their defense, and my plan of building a group that can keep the Cowboys' offense out of the endzone marches on. Nakobe Dean was one of the best defensive players in college ball this past season, but he is undersized and can get overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage. 

However, his freak athletism and football IQ will make him an impact player in this league.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OL, Ohio State

Los Angles has their guy in Justin herbert, and they made a point of getting him some protection with the selection of Rashawn Slater last season. Bryan Bulaga had a disappointing season, and it would probably be better to just move on, and plug in a young guy to keep both the right and left side clean for Herbert. 

18. New Orleans Saints: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The quarterback room in New Orleans is not good, but you can survive with Jameis Winston. New Orleans should give Winston another weapon, and with Michael Thomas coming back next season (we assume), they could have one of the better one-two punches in the league.

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

The Eagles could go with a receiver in at this spot, but this class of pass-catchers is so deep, that they can wait until day two of the draft to get their guy. For now, they should be focused on building an insane defense, and getting a guy to rush the passer at this spot is well worth it. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

With the Ben Roethlisberger era ending for the Steelers, they need to find their next franchise quarterback, and there is one available in their backyard. 

For the majority of his career, scouts raved about Kenny Pickett's intangibles, but his one knock is that he never improved at Pitt. Well, this season he improved greatly, and this is a perfect fit. he is the most NFL-ready prospect in this draft, and he can keep the Steelers competitive in 2022. 

21. New England Patriots: Andrew Booth Jr., DB, Clemson

The Patriots traded away Stephon Gilmore this season, and while J.C. Jackson has been tremendous over these last two seasons, they could use another shutdown corner for their already elite defense. 

Andrew Booth got lost in the down-season for Clemson, but he has shown all the traits and stats of a lockdown guy in this league.

22. Miami Dolphins (Via 49ers): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Miami brought in Will Fuller this season to give Tua Tagovailoa a true WR1. Instead, he only played two games, and Miami had to rely on Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki.

Those two combined for 242 targets this season. The next five leaders in targets combined for 234 targets. If Miami truly thinks Tagovailoa is the guy moving forward.

23. Las Vegas Raiders: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Las Vegas did a tremendous job this season with all of their off-the-field drama. However, that drama cost them their best receiver and left that room needing a new face. 

Chris Olave came on to the scene at Ohio State against Michigan in 2018 when he caught two touchdowns and blocked a punt. He never looked back as he became the all-time leader in touchdown receptions for the Buckeyes. 

24. Arizona Cardinals: Roger McCreary, DB, Auburn

After the season, the Cardinals will only have Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson under contract in their cornerback room. Roger McCreary led college football with an 89.9 PFF grade this past season. 

The Cardinals do not have many needs as of this moment, but that defense is getting decimated in free agency, and grabbing McCreary will allow them to save some money, and get a top corner in this draft.

25. Cincinnati Bengals: Trevor Penning, OL Northern Iowa

Sure, the Bengals won the AFC North this season, but the offensive line is still not good. They are ranked 25th in pass protection and 19th in run blocking. Joe Burrow was running for his life all season, and he still lit up opposing defenses. Could you imagine how good Cincinnati will be if Burrow has a clean pocket?

26. Buffalo Bills: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

Outside of center, Kenyon Green has started at every position on the line in 2021. His versatility and size will make him a very sought-after prospect in the first round. His position is not highly coveted, so he will fall, but falling to Buffalo would be perfect for both sides.

27. Detroit Lions (Via Rams): Malik Willis, QB Liberty

There was a lot of buzz around Malik Willis coming into the season, and he showed why in 2021. He only completed 61.1 percent of his passes, but he threw for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also rushed for 878 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He may not look like a fit in Dan Campbell's offense, but he has all the tools to be the best quarterback in this draft. He just needs to sit and learn behind a veteran like Jared Goff. If anything, Goff can teach him how to carry himself as an NFL quarterback. 

28. Dallas Cowboys: Jaquan Brisker, DB, Penn State

Jaquan Brisker was one of the top-rated safeties in college football against the pass, and Dallas has a pressing need in the secondary. Brisker was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, and on the season, he finished with 6.0 TFLs and five pass deflections.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Do the Chiefs need another weapon for Patrick Mahomes? Maybe not, but if a talent like Jahan Dotson is available at this pick, the Chiefs would be smart to take him. There are not many more athletic receivers in college football, and he would compliment a speedster like Tyreek Hill wonderfully. 

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Drake London, WR, USC

The Buccaneers have to start planning on life without Chris Godwin, and with Antonio Brown doing the thing he did against the Jets, Tampa Bay could use another wideout while Tom Brady is still in town. 

In only eight games with the Trojans this season, London hauled in 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns. If anything, this is a pick for life after Brady. 

31. Tennessee Titans: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Devin Loyd is one of the best tacklers in college football, and his ability to diagnose the play as a run or pass will make him well worth a pick, even if it is not a need. Lloyd takes on blitzes as well as anyone as he is athletic enough to shut down tight ends in coverage. 

32. Green Bay Packers: David Bell, WR, Purdue

I have mocked a receiver to the Packers in the first round for five straight years, and I will be damned if this is the year I stop. 

David Bell soared under the radar this season because of the receiver talent in this draft. Against Michigan State and Iowa, which were the two biggest games of the season for Purdue, he averaged 228.5 receiving yards and a touchdown.

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