I finished my seven round mock draft on Friday. The biggest change from Friday leading up to draft day starts in Jacksonville. It's now been widely reported that Jacksonville Jaguars GM Trent Baalke prefers Travon Walker over Aidan Hutchinson for one reason. That big reason is arm length with Walker being in the top 93 percentile for arm length while Hutchinson is in the bottom 7 percent for arm length.
The 6-4 272 lb Travon Walker can play 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, 3-4 right end, 3-4 left end, 3-4 right outside linebacker, or 3-4 left outside linebacker. His elite versatility and athleticism is why he is in play for the Jacksonville at 1 despite the fact that there are 9 players on my final big board ranked ahead of Walker. Even though I have Walker at 10 on my big board, it appears he's the top player on Trent Baalke's draft board.
Travon Walker had 19 solo tackes, 18 assisted tackles, 37 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, and 6 quarterback hurries in 2021. Travon Walker has the best bull rush move of any edge rusher in the draft along with a deadly spin move to compliment his bull rush. He still needs to develop his rip and swim moves.
Tony Mario has Travon Walker playing the 5-technique at 3-4 left end while Jason Bantle has him playing edge rusher across from Josh Allen at 3-4 left outside linebacker. The bottom line is Tony Mario, Jason Bantle, and myself all agree on Walker at 1, but what we're debating is where he lines up on Jacksonville's depth chart because it's pretty evident he'll start right away if he's the number one pick.
Travon Walker would play 3-4 left end next to Malcolm Brown at 3-4 right end and nose tackle Foley Fatukasi if he plays on the defensive line in the NFL. This would allow Jacksonville to keep their first round picks Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson at edge rusher. However, if Walker makes the transition outside linebacker, he probably takes Chaisson's spot. Walker is bigger than most 3-4 outside linebacker so he may end up playing 5-technique because I haven't seen him drop back into coverage once on tape. The big question with Walker is where will he play because you can make an argument for him at 3-4 left end on the defensive line or 3-4 left outside linebacker on the edge.
Travon Walker went 1/12 against Evan Neal in the SEC Championship before going 1/15 against Neal in the National Championship game. Jacksonville Jaguars fans need to just hope Walker can take pressure off of Jacksonville's Pro Bowl caliber 3-4 right outside linebbacker in Josh Allen.
Walker ran a 4.51 40 time a the NFL Combine. His speed and athleticism gives Walker a chance to be elite defensive end down the road if you can develop his rip and swim moves.
You can go to our 2022 NFL Draft Results webpage to see my grade on Walker and my full thoughts on this pick along with my thoughts on the other 261 players including this years Mr. Irrelevant. If Travon Walker is the first pick on Thursday this is now the tenth year in a row, that Jacksonville has drafted from the Southeast region with previous first round picks being Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M (2013), Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (2014), Dante Fowler Jr., RE, Florida (2015), Jalen Ramsey CB, Florida State (2016), Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (2017), Taven Bryant, DT, Florida (2018), Josh Allen, 3-4 ROLB, Kentucky (2019), C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida (2020), K'Lavon Chaisson, 3-4 LOLB, LSU (2020), Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (2021), Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (2021) and now Travon Walker, 3-4 LE, Georgia (2022).
Out of those twelve selectons, assuming Walker goes first, Josh Allen, K'Lavon Chaisson, Trevor Lawrence, and Travis Etienne are the only picks currently on the Jaguars with Jalen Ramsey being the only other notable star on that list of players in the Southeast Region drafted by the Jaguars in the first round over the last ten years. Ramsey demanded a trade, and Fournette resurrected his career in Tampa Bay after struggling in Jacksonville following a strong rookie year. I don't feel very confident about Walker succeeding as an edge rusher in Jacksonville because he's my fourth best pass rusher off the edge in this draft, but he could have success as an interior defensive lineman if he plays against guards instead of offensive tackles on Sundays.
The Detroit Lions had an outstanding 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately they don't have enough weapons for Goff to succeed in Detroit yet despite adding Penei Sewell as a right tackle to compliment left tackle Taylor Decker, center Frank Ragnow, left guard Jonah Jackson, and right guard Logan Stenberg.
Detroit followed that up by using day 2 picks on Levi Onwuzrike and Alim McNeil who both compliment Michael Brockers in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive scheme. Adding Ifeatu Melifonwu as a nickel cornerback to compliment Amani Oruwaryie and Jeffery Okudah was a great way to top off day 2 before Detroit got Amon-Ra St. Brown a receiver with a second round grade on my board in the fourth round.
Honestly, I think the Trojanman Brad Holmes drafted at wide receiver may be better than Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams, or Kalif Raymond. Those guys may be ahead of Amon-Ra St. Brown on the depth chart at the moment, but that will not last. If it does, then I could honestly see Detroit picking this high unless tight end T.J. Hockenson and running back DeAndre Swift just absolutely go off for Fantasy owners like they did on my Fantasy team last year.
Many Lions fans would assume they will cut Jared Goff in this scenario if they pick this high. Cutting Goff in 2022 only saves the Detroit Lions a meager $650,000 dollars. Brad Holmes could save more money by switching to Geico. I had Detroit picking second overall behind the Houston Texans in the preseason. That's exactly where they are picking now after Jacksonville secured the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville is now leaning towards Travon Walker at 1. This means the Detroit Lions get the hometown prospect and the best overall player in this draft at 2 with Aidan Hutchinson. Aidan Hutchinson is number one on Brad Holmes Draft board for the Detroit Lions.
The 6-7 260 lb Aidan Hutchinson can play 4-3 right end with his hand in the dirt, but also has the size to line up at 3-4 right outside linebacker. He's also versatile enough to play 4-3 left end or 3-4 left outside linebacker. Hutchinson was the only defensive player to be a Heisman Trophy finalist and he was also the 2021 Ted Hendricks Award Winner.
The Heisman Trophy finalist will make the opposing left tackle quiver in fear regardless of what scheme you line him up in. Detroit will now have Aidan Hutchinson at 3-4 right outside linebacker with Charles Harris last years leader in sacks for the Detroit Lions complimenting him at 3-4 left outside linebacker. Detroit will also have the Okwara brothers Romeo Okwara and Julian Okwara for depth behind Hutchinson and Harris.
Aidan Hutchinson had 62 total tackles, 36 solo tackles, 26 assisted tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks, and 12 quarterback hurries in 2021. Hutchinson was so dominant he became a Heisman finalist while surpassing Kayvon Thibodeaux to be the consensus best edge rusher in this draft.
I posted a film cut of Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson VS Penn State a week before Hutchinson knocked Ohio State left tackle Nicholas Petit-Friere on his ass in Michigan's first home win over Ohio State in a long time. Aidan Hutchinson is a huge reason why Michigan won the Big 10.
Jake Asman reported that Houston has narrowed this pick down to Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, and Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner. I've also heard reports that Houston plans on keeping Laremy Tunsil at left tackle and Tytus Howard at right tackle they will either draft one of the top two offensive linemen to kick inside to left guard or take a number one cornerback right here with the third overall pick.
Evan Neal is my top ranked offensive lineman in this draft and my second best overall prospect behind Aidan Hutchinson with Ahmad Gardner as my third best overall player, but you can easily argue that Ekwonu is a better scheme fit for Houston if the Texans want to keep Tunsil and Howard at offensive tackle. Also, Ekwonu is the odds on favorite to go third overall, but I like Evan Neal and Ahmad Gardner more on tape. Even though I would take Neal or Gardner over Ekwonu, I believe Houston will select Ekwonu with the third pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Houston's offensive line would have Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, Ikem Ekwonu at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Justin McCreary at right guard, and Tytus Howard at right tackle. Ikem Ekwonu is going to be elite as a left guard if you keep him inside at the next level.
The 6-4 310 lb Ikem Ekwonu is the best run blocker in this draft and The Athletic called him the most feared offensive lineman in the ACC. Ikem Ekwonu was a three sport athlete in High School that played Football in the Fall, Wrestling in the Winter, and Track in the Spring. The three year starter at left tackle has lined up at left guard and right guard as well throughout his career at North Carolina State. Houston is contempt with Laremy Tunsil at left tackle nad Tytus Howard.
If Houston passes on Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal, keep an eye out on Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner who had a private meeting with Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith. Houston will probably take an offensive lineman at 3 and the best defensive player on thier board at 13.
New York should take Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner at 4 so their team has two number one corners playing next to each other. With Kayvon Thibodeaux on the board at 4, he becomes the obvious pick for New York here.
The 6-5 249 lb Kayvon Thibodeaux can play 4-3 right end with his hand in the dirt, but also has the size to line up at 3-4 right outside linebacker. He's versatile enough to play 4-3 left end or 3-4 left outside linebacker against a right tackle as well.
New York drafts Kayvon Thibodeaux at 4 hoping he can become the face of their defense as Robert Saleh tries to mold Thibodeaux into New York's version of Nick Bosa the defensive end in San Francisco that got the 49ers defensive coordinator the New York Jets head coaching job.
Starting Thibodeaux and Lawson gives the Jets the luxury of moving John Franklin-Myers into a depth role at 4-3 defensive end after he led the Jets with 6 sacks in 2021. New York also has Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins starting at 4-3 defensive tackle with Nathan Shepard returning as a backup along with the addition of Solomon Thomas through Free Agency. Robert Saleh has a pretty good defensive line and Thibodeaux may be the guy who elevates the play of the entire New York Jets defensive line.
Thibodeaux will make the opposing left tackle quiver in fear regardless of what scheme you line him up in when he wins one-on-ones with his athleticism. Detroit drafts Kayvon Thibodeaux second overall here. Brad Holmes saw him in person against UCLA back in the Fall, plus Detroit sent seven scouts to Oregon's Pro Day which cannot be overlooked.
Kayvon Thibodeaux had 14 tackles for a loss and 9 sacks as a true freshman in 2019. He didn't do as well in 2020 due to a shortened PAC 12 season thanks to Covid-19, but he stepped up big time embarassing Alijah Vera-Tucker in the 2020 PAC 12 Championship game. Kayvon Thibodeaux bounced back as a junior with 12 tackles for a loss, 8 quarterback hurries, and 7 sacks despite getting constantly double teammed. Thibodeaux used his athleticism to win against the pass and run. He can drop back into coverage too, but Thibodeaux is inconsistent as a run stuffer. I think Thibodeaux is a better fit for a 3-4 defense, but he goes to a team in New York that runs a 4-3 scheme. Robert Saleh is the one defensive minded head coach that can get Thibodeaux to adapt to a 4-3 after having success with Nick Bosa.
I posted a film cut of Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux against UCLA where he's facing UCLA left tackle Sean Rhyan.
The 6-7 337 lb Evan Neal is a three year starter for Alabama with experience at left tackle, right tackle, and left guard. Neal went 25/27 against Travon Walker who I mocked at 1, and he's my top player in this draft not named Aidan Hutchinson making this pick at 5 a huge steal.
Evan Neal also has good pass blocking footwork, run blocking, run blocking strength, run blocking footwork, zone blocking, pancake blocking, cut blocking, and pull blocking you want an offensive tackle to have. I gave Evan Neal a 96 potential grade same grade I gave Christian Darrisaw as I have Neal currently graded higher than Alex Leatherwood who played on the same offensive line as Evan Neal. Neal is currently my second best overall player behind Aidan Hutchinson, but in this mock he falls to 5 if Jacksonville passes on him at 1.
New York has Andrew Thomas at left tackle, Max Garcia at left guard, Jon Feliciano the Bills interior offensive linemen who played right guard in 2020 before moving to left guard in 2021 making the transition to center under former Bills offensive coordinator now Giants head coach Brian Dabboll with Mark Glowinski at right guard, and Evan Neal at right tackle. There are zero excuses for quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley in 2022 with this offensive line if everyone stays healthy.
Carolina's biggest needs are at quarterback and left tackle. Charles Cross would be my selection at 6 if it were up to me. Carolina showed more interest in the quarterbacks then Charles Cross despite sending a scout to Mississippi State's Pro Day when Malik Willis had his Pro Day. Also Carolina invited Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, and Matt Corral the three quarterbacks they scouted at their Pro Days to Carolina for private workouts. I believe Carolina will either draft Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, or Charles Cross with those three being the only three in play at 6 unless Ekwonu or Neal falls to this selection.
However, the Panthers have more cap space than any NFL team as of March 23, 2022. Carolina can use that cap space to get their left tackle in Free Agency while taking a quarterback at 6. Carolina uses the sixth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on a quarterback as the most successful quarterbacks in Carolina Panthers history were Kerry Collins and Cam Newton both drafted in the first round by the Carolina Panthers. If Carolina trades Baker Mayfield, I may change this selection to Mississippi State left tackle Charles Cross at the last minute if they do not get a left tackle before the 2022 NFL Draft. For now Carolina gets Malik Willis.
The 6-0 222 lb Malik Willis is a former Auburn quarterback that transferred to Libery after playing at the same High School as former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Like Newton he transferred from the original school he committed to only to play for a different program and have far more success there. Malik Willis has the throwing power and accuracy you want a starting quarterback to have. He just needs to develop his progressions, footwork, and continue to display the proper mechanics. Willis can put himself in the discussion to be one of the top three quarterbacks to be drafted if he does these things at Liberty in 2021 after showing immense promise while leading Liberty to a road win and upset over Virginia Tech in 2020.
Heading into the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl, Matt Corral, Carson Strong, Kenny Pickett, Sam Howell, and Malik Willis were my top 5 prospects in that order. Corral's injury in the Sugar Bowl has hurt his stock, meanwhile Carson Strong didn't impress at either the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl or the 2022 NFL Combine despite interviewing well after posting good game film for Nevada. Sam Howell was okay, but didn't blow me away.
On the flip side, Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis both impressed in Mobile with Pickett going 6/6 in the Senior Bowl game and interviewing well with NFL Scouts before going the entire 2022 NFL Combine without throwing an incomplete pass. Willis was just as good showing the best skill set to throw in the rain in Mobile while completing every pass except one when throwing at the 2022 NFL Combine. The pass that Willis threw an incompletion on was a short pass. Willis threw the ball further than Pickett at both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
Pickett corrected all of his weaknesses and turned them into strengths. If Kenny Pickett had bigger hands besides 8 1/2 inches, he's probably the pick here.
However Willis improved his arm strength showing better velocity than any quarterback in the last five drafts from 2018-2022. That does include Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen who has a cannon for an arm. Malik Willis had a higher miles per hour on his throws than Josh Allen did in Mobile with Patrick Mahomes being the only quarterback in the last six drafts to put more velocity on the ball than Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.
Willis also improved his accuracy in Mobile and showed he could read up to five progressions on one throw when Detroit Lions quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell assessed him in Mobile during Senior Bowl practices on Tuesday before throwing in the rain effectively on Wednesday, before wrapping up the week by hitting two trash cans on three throws knocking one trash can on the ground with his arm. Willis has bigger hands and scored the highest Wonderlic among the 2022 quarterbacks with a 32/50 at the 2022 NFL Combine.
Malik Willis was making more accurate 1-step, 3-step, 5-step, and 7-step throws leading up to his Pro Day at Liberty turning his footwork weakness into a strength. You can plug Willis into any offensive scheme whether it is a shotgun spread, a west coast offense, a balanced run first offense, or a vertical offense. Malik Willis also led the FBS with 74 total touchdowns during his last two seasons at Liberty in 2020 and 2021.
Carolina's GM and Head Coach Matt Rhule both showed negative body language towards Kenny Pickett at Pittsburgh's Pro Day where Pickett went 50/56 throwing 3 passing touchdowns. Carolina's GM, head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback coach all showed postive body language towards Malik Willis at his Pro Day. Malik Willis went 64/70 completing more passes at Liberty's Pro Day compared to the 63/70 Andrew Luck completed at Stanford's Pro Day in 2012. Willis threw 18 touchdowns at Liberty's Pro Day in 2022 compared to the 7 Luck threw at Stanford's Pro Day back in 2012.
Malik Willis did so well at Liberty's Pro Day that Carolina withdrew their trade offer for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Malik Willis would have a healthy Christian McCaffrey at running back with Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman for insurance should McCaffrey get injured for a third year in a row. Malik Willis would also have D.J. Moore, Roby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Rashard Higgins as wide receivers to throw to with Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas at tight end. A left tackle is still needed even with this abundance of weapons for Malik Willis.
Anderson unfollowed current starting quarterback Sam Darnold on Instagram so a new quarterback needs to be drafted to avoid a locker room divide. Malik Willis replacing Sam Darnold reminds me of Cam Newton replacing Jimmy Clausen. Willis can have success if Carolina gets a left tackle before the draft. Even if Darnold won the starting job, he'd be on a very short leash, and Willis would be the starter by the middle of the season or 2023 at the very latest.
The 6-2 190 lb Ahmad Gardner ran a 4.41 at the 2022 NFL Combine. He also went all four years at Cincinnati without giving up a touchdown at cornerback. Gardner has A+ level man coverage, zone coverage, and press coverage. Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner can play in a cover 0, cover 1, cover 2, cover 3, or cover 4 coverage scheme in the NFL. He may not have the ceiling that someone like Derek Stingley Jr. has, but he's the most durable cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft. That's one big reason why the New York Giants could draft him at 7.
Ahmad Gardner allowed zero touchdowns on 1,059 coverage snaps in four years at Cincinnati. Quarterbacks also ha da 37.7% completion percentage when throwing near Gardner. Last season in 2021, quarterbacks had a 21.0 passer rating when throwing Gardner. Opponents were 0/12 targeting 15+ yards on receptions on medium or deep throws. Ahmad Gardner is extremely disciplined as he only committed one penalty all season in 2021.
Releasing or trading James Bradberry clears up quite a bit of cap space. Ahmad Garnder can plug in as a number one corner and give the Giants a lethal cornerback to compliment Kayvon Thibodeaux who New York drafted at 5.
Atlanta has a cornerback trio of A.J. Terrell, Casey Heyward, and Isaiah Oliver. The Atlanta Falcons need two pass rushers at 3-4 right outside linebacker and 3-4 left outside linebacker. Atlanta could target a quarterback at 8, but Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot crossed his shoulders at both Pittsburgh and Liberty's Pro Day. I see Atlanta building up their roster this year and waiting until the 2023 NFL Draft to get their quarterback.
The 6-4 259 lb Jermaine Johnson II put everything together in 2021 after transferring from Georgia to Florida State. Jermaine Johnson II had 33 solo tackles, 37 assisted tackles, 70 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 12 quarterback hurries, and 11.5 sacks in 2021. Jeremiah Johnson dominated in Mobile at the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl and many consider him to be the best run stuffer in the entire draft.
As far as versatility goes, Jeremaine Johnson II can play 4-3 right end with his hand in the dirt, 4-3 left end with his hand in the dirt, 4-3 defensive tackle in situations on the inside, 3-4 right outside linebacker by standing up without his hand in the dirt, or 3-4 left outside linebacker by standing up.
He also called plays for Florida State on the field. When he was on the sideline, not playing, he was calling plays for Florida State's defense against Boston College. When his NFL career is over he could either be a High School Football Head Coach, a College Football defensive coordinator, or an NFL defensive line coach to start out before working his way up the coaching ranks. That's how high his football IQ is and that should say a lot considering Florida State gave Jermaine Johnson II defensive coordinator responsibilites.
Back in August people were mocking Spencer Rattler first overall when I compared his mechanics and footwork to Ryan Mallett. Rattler got benched for Caleb Williams and Denver traded two years of first and second round picks to Seattle for Drew Lock, Noah Fant, and Shelby Harris who probably plays 4-3 defensive tackle where Jarran Reed used to play in exchange for Seahawks long-time starting quarterback Russell Wilson.
Seattle could get a quarterback at 9, but I think they will take the best player on their board. Mississippi State left tackle Charles Cross and LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. are both in play at 9.
I would take Cross here since he gives Drew Lock a competent blindside at left tackle. Charles Cross provides a left tackle that Seattle can build their offensive line around.
The 6-4 307 lb Charles Cross has the best foot speed of any offensive tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft as he only allowed 3 sacks on 682 pass blocking snaps. He doesn't maintain blocks as long as Evan Neal in pass protection in terms of pass blocking strength and he's not as lethal of a run blocker as Ikem Ekwonu. However you can argue that Cross, the two year left tackle at Mississippi State has the best foot speed of any left tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The New York Jets got this pick from Seattle in the Jamal Adams trade. New York offered this pick back to Seattle for D.K. Metcalf which they declined which is why I believe the New York Jets are taking a wide receiver at 10. Drafting Garrett Wilson at 10 gives Zach Wilson a number one target and allows the New York Jets to move Corey Davis into a number two role which suits him better. It also allows Elijah Moore to permanently play slot receiver.
The 5-11 183 lb Garrett Wilson ran a 4.38 40 time and caught every single ball thrown his way in the 2022 NFL Combine. Garrett Wilson had 30 receptions for 432 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns as a true freshman in 2019. Wilson improved on that with 43 receptions, 723 receiving yards, and 6 receiving touchdowns in 2020. Wilson put together his best season in 2021 with 70 receptions, 1,058 receiving yards, and 12 receiving touchdowns. Garret Wilson can run 24/30 routes on a route tree and is considered by many to be the best route runner in the 2022 NFL Draft. His ceiling isn't as high as Smith, Chase, or Waddle, but he's the top receiver option in this years draft. Wes Langley compared him to former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.
Washington could take Kyle Hamilton the Notre Dame safety or LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. Both defensive backs were top 5 talents in the preseason and both players are steals at 11. Derek Stingley Jr. is the fourth best overall prospect on my final big board for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The 6-0 190 lb Derek Stingley Jr. had 21 deflections for pass breakups in 2019 on LSU's National Championship team that went 15-0 two years ago. He only had 5 in 2020 following the departure of safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Kristian Fulton. Teams realized how lethal Stingley was so they gameplanned around LSU's defense by throwing it to the cornerback across from Stingley.
Derek Stingley Jr. entered the season as the only cornerback A+ grade in man coverage, zone coverage, and press coverage. Stingley can play in a cover 0, cover 1, cover 2, cover 3, or cover 4 scheme. With Stingley missing time due to injuries for the second year in a row, you can make a pretty convincing case that Ahmad Gardner has this skill set too. However, you can also argue that Derek Stingley Jr. has a higher ceiling than Gardner when both cornerbacks are fully healthy as Stingley dominated LSU's Pro Day with a 38.5 inch vertical and a 4.37 40-time.
He changed his number from 24 to 7. Patrick Peterson, Grant Delpit, an Leonard Fournette all wore 7 at LSU.
Derek Stingley Jr. gives Washington a number one field cornerback. William Jackson III transitions to a boundary cornerback role which probably suits him better after struggling as Washington's field cornerack against number one receivers in 2021. It's possible that with the addition of Stingley Jr., William Jackson III has a bounce back year in 2022.
The 6-3 296 lb Tyler Linderbaum is a perfect replacement to starting center Mason Cole. Tyler Linderbaum showed first to second round tape, but chose to return to school for his senior season rather than declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. His decision paid off since he won the Dave Rimmington Award in 2021.
Linderbaum showcased the pass blocking strength, pass blocking footwork, run blocking strength, run blocking footwork, and zone blocking to be the top center in this entire draft. Some think he's better than the top center in last years draft Creed Humphrey. This is a player that Minnesota does not have the luxury of passing on in an uber thin center draft if cornerbacks Ahmad Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. are both off the board by 12.
With Tyler Linderbaum, Minnesota has addressed a lot areas of their offensive line. Minnesota has Christian Darrisaw at left tackle, Ezra Cleveland at left guard, Tyler Linderbaum at center, Garrett Bradbury or Wyatt Davis at right guard, and Brian O'Neill at right tackle if they take Linderbaum at 12. That bodes well for quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook for the 2022 NFL Season.
The Houston Texans use their second 2022 first round pick from the Cleveland Browns in the Deshaun Watson trade to secure an edge rusher. Houston is probably gonna take the best player on their board at 13 and that will probably end up being Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton or USC wide receiver Drake London depending on who falls to 13. In this scenario, both fell to 13 and I went with Kyle Hamilton who is a steal at this point if he makes it to 13 as Hamilton is still my fifth best overall prospect in the entire 2022 NFL Draft behind Aidan Hutchinson, Evan Neal, Ahmad Gardner, and Derek Stingley Jr.
The 6-4 219 lb Kyle Hamilton is a special player who is versatile enough to play nickel cornerback, strong safety, or free safety with his versatility. He plays man coverage, zone coverage, and tackles effectively with A+ man coverage, zone coverage, and press coverage. The last safety to get an A+ grade in all three categories for me was Eric Berry back in 2010 who went fifth overall to Kansas City. You'd like to see Hamilton press more when lining up in the nickel, but I can look past that if a team wisely opts to play him at safety. I'd also give Hamilton an A+ grade in versatility.
Houston now has Kyle Hamilton as a chess piece on their secondary. Kyle Hamilton compliments Eric Murray quite well and is a perfect replacement for Justin Reid at 13.
The 6-6 341 lb Jordan Davis can play 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 nose tackle with his versatility. The 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award Winner and 2021 Outland Trophy Winner is heading to Baltimore.
Drafting Jordan Davis to be the starting nose tackle with Michael Pierce to compliment him for depth at nose tackle. Baltimore has Calias Campbell at 3-4 right end, Jordan Davis at nose tackle, and Derek Wolfe at 3-4 left end now giving Baltimore a one of the best 3-4 defensive lines in the league. Drafting Jordan Davis takes pressure off Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison at 3-4 middle linebacker and gives Baltimore's 3-4 defensive line a chess piece to game plan around while Pierce can compliment Davis for depth giving Baltimore a potential top 10 run defense next year.
The Philadelphia Eagles draft a 4-3 right end who can start right away. George Karlaftis fitts this criteria at 15.
The 6-3 266 lb George Karlaftis is the best edge rusher to play for Purdue since Ryan Kerrigan. He showed a lot of promise in his freshman year with 17 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks as a freshman in 2019 before Covid-19. He also has good rip and swim moves that could be great if he shows he can take the next step in 2021. Karlaftis had 11.5 tackles, 8 quarterback hurries, and 5 sacks in 2021. He plays with a mean streak on film despite being double teammed constantly when he was at Purdue. He generated constant quarterback hurries on film despite what his stats say. My friend and draft analyst Bill Carroll compared his rip and swim moves to Terrell Suggs and the Eagles will be happy if Karlafits becomes half as good as Suggs.
George Karlaftis has the floor of A.J. Epensa and the ceiling of Ryan Kerrigan. In this extremely deep edge rusher group that may all he needs to be picked in the first round. I love the motor and mean streak that George Karlafits plays with along with his rip and swim moves.
Philadelphia now has George Karlaftis as their starting 4-3 right end with Derek Barnett for depth behin him at 4-3 right end with Josh Sweat at 4-3 left end with Brandon Graham for depth behind him. Philadelphia also has Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave at 4-3 defensive tackle.
Kenny Pickett is now the odds on favorite to go to New Orleans at 16. He's the only quarterback that checks off every box that the New Orleans Saints look for in a quarterback. Pickett would come in and compete with Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton for a starting quarterback job. Winston is under contract until 2024 while Dalton is only under contract until 2023. He'd be the starter by 2024 at the very latest as New Orleans doesn't have a 2023 first round pick thanks to their trade with Philadelphia to get this pick as well as 19.
The 6-3 217 Kenny Pickett would be a good quarterback for New Orleans to draft at 16. Kenny Pickett absolutely dominated in 2021 with 4,319 passing yards, 42 passing touchdowns, 241 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 4,560 total yards, 47 total touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 67.2 completion percentage in 2021. Pickett had the highest quarterback rating among the 2022 NFL Quarterback prospects en route to winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award.
Pickett also went 6/6 for in the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl game before going the entire 2022 NFL Combine without throwing an incomplete pass. Pickett showed he could make 1-step, 3-step, 5-step, and 7-step throws at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine correcting his footwork weakness on film. If Pickett didn't have 8 1/2 inch hands he'd be a lot higher in this mock. He entered the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl as my third best quarterback, but is now my second best quarterback. You can argue he should be the first quarterback off the board.
I posted a Kenny Pickett playlist below. I found an old Kenny Pickett film cut I did from 2018. Kenny Pickett also made some good throws in the Andre Cisco film cut I posted against Pittsburgh leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft. Also, I added the Pickett game against Clemson that Cristian F posted to the third game of the Pickett playlist since Mark Schofield did an awesome job breaking down some plays in that game. You have to go to Cristian's channel to watch more Pickett film from 2021 outside of the Clemson game.