Kevin Hanson's 2022 NFL Mock Draft
BY KEVIN HANSON (@EDSFootball)
Updated: Monday, May 10th
Continuing my 2022 NFL Mock Draft, here are picks 17-32:
17. Los Angeles Chargers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram missed a combined 13 games last season, but only seven teams had fewer sacks than the Chargers (27) in 2020 and Ingram is (still) a free agent. While injuries and COVID-19 limited Karlaftis to only three games in 2020, the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder had 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a freshman in 2019.
Not only is Brandon Graham 33 years old, but Derek Barnett is scheduled to play the 2021 season on the fifth-year option. If the former five-star recruit is able to take a major step forward in his third season, he has the tools and athleticism to follow in the footsteps of recent Buckeye edge defenders to become a high draft pick.
Starting at guard in each of his first two seasons, Green earned second-team AP All-American honors in 2020 on one of college football's best offensive lines. Green will kick outside to left tackle as a junior and has the athleticism to remain there at the next level.
After selecting Zach Wilson second overall in the 2021 draft, the Jets used their next several draft picks -- guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, receiver Elijah Moore and running back Michael Carter -- to put more pieces around their young quarterback. With Chris Herndon entering the final year of his contract and a wild card at tight end, Joe Douglas adds an upgrade with the consensus top tight end in the upcoming draft. Wydermyer has 78 catches for 953 yards and 12 touchdowns over his first two seasons.
It wouldn't surprise me if Wilson is off the board before teammate Chris Olave and/or if he's the first receiver drafted in 2022. That said, the Patriots were big spenders in free agency, but they will go into the 2021 season with Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne atop the depth chart at wide receiver. Adding better weapons for Mac Jones starts here with Wilson.
The conditional 2022 second-round pick sent to the Eagles becomes a first-rounder as long as Carson Wentz plays at least 75% of the offensive snaps in 2021. Barring an injury, it's a near lock that the Eagles will own Indy's pick in 2022.
Both Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II were off the board before the Eagles were on the clock in 2021 and the team drafted Zech McPhearson in the fourth round, but I could see the team using one of their first-rounders on the position in 2022. A five-star recruit, Booth has outstanding ball skills (see below) and if he plays with more consistency, he should hear his name called on Day 1.
23. New Orleans Saints: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Both Marshon Lattimore, who will play on the fifth-year option, and Patrick Robinson are scheduled to become free agents next offseason. Especially if they aren't able to retain both, they could look to add another corner early in 2022. Gardner (6-2, 188) is a long corner with natural playmaking abilities -- three interceptions in each of his first two seasons for the Bearcats.
24. Denver Broncos: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
If the Broncos are picking this late, it's possible that Drew Lock took a major step forward in his development. There were draft-night rumors -- e.g., Mark Schlereth called it "close to a done deal" -- that the Broncos would acquire Aaron Rodgers, but those didn't materialize during the draft.
While I was still tempted to slot another Bearcat (quarterback Desmond Ridder) here, Denver's top pass-rushers -- Von Miller (2022) and Bradley Chubb (2023) -- will become free agents in the next two offseasons. Before Sanders decided to return to school, he was getting some late-first buzz. Sanders had 10.5 TFLs and seven sacks over 10 games last season.
With 22 career starts at left tackle already under his belt, Walker has the length and athleticism to excel at left tackle at the next level. With David Bakhtiari manning Aaron Rodgers' (?!) blind side, however, Walker could start initially at right tackle and then eventually replace the 30-year-old (in September) Bakhtiari down the line when it's time to pass the torch.
The Ravens signed 33-year-old (in September) Alejandro Villanueva to start opposite Ronnie Stanley, but the team still needs a longer-term replacement for Orlando Brown. Nelson enters his true junior season as a three-year starter at left tackle, but he could become the team's starting right tackle in 2022 (or 2023). In addition, Nelson's left tackle versatility would provide insurance for the Ravens in the event that Stanley misses time in the future like he did last season.
27. Cleveland Browns: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Based on contract values from Spotrac, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. have the second and third biggest cap hit on the team after Baker Mayfield for the 2022 NFL season. Burks (6-3, 225) is a big-bodied wide receiver and led Arkansas in receiving with 51 catches for 820 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore last season.
The Dolphins were one of a few teams that were linked to first-round running backs in 2021 and the Denver Broncos leapfrogged them at the top of Round 2 to draft Javonte Williams. Given that Miami waited until the seventh round to add Gerrid Doaks, the Dolphins could use the pick they own from their trade with the 49ers to add a bellcow back like Spiller. The 225-pound back has 1,982 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns to go along with 49 catches for 396 yards over two seasons in College Station.
Buffalo used their first two picks -- Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham -- to improve their pass rush. While the Bills have one of the league's best corners in Tre'Davious White, they could use an upgrade opposite him. Jobe (6-1, 192) is a long and physical corner that had 11 passes defended, 55 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in 2020.
After missing all of 2020 after surgery to repair a bulging disk and congenital fusion in his spine, the draft evaluations for Ross will begin with his medicals. Provided doctors are comfortable with his outlook, he has the talent to be a first-round receiver next April and perhaps even the WR1 in 2022. In his first two seasons with the Tigers, Ross (6-4, 205) has 112 receptions for 1,865 yards (16.7 Y/R) and 17 touchdowns.
With DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle off the NFL, Metchie III will become Alabama's top wideout for the 2021 season. If the draft materializes this way, Metchie would be the fifth 'Bama first-round receiver over a three-draft period (2020-2022). Metchie was just shy of 1,000 yards as a sophomore with 55 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns.
The Chiefs didn't get as much from Mecole Hardman in his second season (41/560/4) as they might have expected. With Sammy Watkins now in Baltimore, the Chiefs could look to add a receiver early in the draft if Hardman doesn't improve much on his 2020 production. Georgia's best receiver prospect since A.J. Green, Pickens could go higher than this, but his torn ACL this March will likely force him to miss much, if not all, of the 2021 season.
Return to 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
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