Janik Eckardt’s Mock Draft 1.0

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (QB11) goes through a drill during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft will take place on April 28th. The Jacksonville Jaguars will have the first overall pick. The Eagles can make three draft choices in the first round, the most in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings have the 12th pick. Their biggest needs are cornerback and interior offensive lineman. In the following, I will show a combination of what I envision to happen and what I would do if I were the GM of the teams.

Two Pass Rushers at Top of The Draft

  • 1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Aiden Hutchinson, Michigan
  • 2. Detroit Lions: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

The Jaguars have so many holes on their roster. They can just select the best player available in the draft. The Lions need a pass rusher. after releasing Trey Flowers. They had the second-worst pressure rate in the NFL last season. Both teams get elite prospects on a premium position.

  • 3. Houston Texans: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
  • 4. New York Jets: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
  • 5. New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State

After missing out on the top pass rushers in the draft, Texans GM Caserio drafts an offensive tackle. Neal can play opposite of star LT Laremy Tunsil and maybe even make Tunsil expendable and allow the Texans to trade him to the highest bidder to acquire more draft capital. The Jets get an elite player in the draft. Some experts have Hamilton at the top of their draft board. Defensive-minded Head Coach Robert Saleh gets some much-needed talent to his defense.

The offensive line of the New York Giants has been a huge problem for a long time. Their blindside protector Andrew Thomas improved a lot in his second season, and now he gets his running mate. Ekwonu and Thomas can be the Giants’ offensive tackles for a long time.

The First QBs Go off the Board

  • 6. Carolina Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
  • 7. New York Giants: Edge Travon Walker, Georgia

Sam Darnold is the starting quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. Therefore they are desperate to upgrade the most critical position in the sport. Kenny Pickett is the most pro-ready signal-caller in the draft. His chances of beating Darnold in training camp are high. The Giants add the freak-athlete Walker in an attempt to improve a bad pass-rushing group.

Malik Willis needs some time to develop. The Falcons are in full rebuild mode and can give him the necessary time. If he can fix some of his issues, he has the chance to become a really good quarterback. The Seahawks have a lot of needs and choose to improve their biggest weakness, the offensive line.

After picking defensive playmaker Hamilton with the fourth overall pick, the Jets select Karlaftis. Robert Saleh will love the effort Karlaftis plays with. The Commanders choose the best player available to improve a position of need and get a lockdown corner.

Vikings Address a Big Roster Hole

Mel Kiper -- Again -- Says Defense for Vikings in Mock Draft 2.0
Derek Stingley Jr.

Other than Cameron Dantzer, the Vikings don’t have another starting-caliber outside cornerback on the roster. If Stingley can stay healthy and play as he did as a freshman as a teammate of Justin Jefferson, he will be a great player for the Vikings and an instant contributor.

  • 13. Houston Texans: WR Drake London, USC
  • 14. Baltimore Ravens: DT Jordan Davis, Georgia

Brandin Cooks is the only noteworthy weapon on the Texans’ offense, and he got some trade-buzz. They have to put Davis Mills in a good position, so they can fully evaluate him in 2022 and decide how they should move forward. Drake London has elite size, and he can be a problem for opposing defenses. The Ravens always draft the best player available and always have a strong front seven. Jordan Davis is a rare athlete and will have a significant presence on the field.

Three Eagles Picks and Brees’ Successor

  • 15. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
  • 16. Philadelphia Eagles: C Tyler Linderbaum

The biggest weakness of the Eagles is their poor linebacker play. Lloyd is an instant upgrade. The center Jason Kelce thought about retiring this off-season. Linderbaum is the best interior offensive lineman in the draft and drew comparisons to Kelce. They will not miss a beat when the star lineman calls it a career at some point in the future.

  • 17. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
  • 18. New Orleans Saints: QB Matt Corral, Mississippi
  • 19. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

Penning will be a considerable upgrade over the former Viking, Storm Norton, at right tackle and can put Justin Herbert in a great position to be successful. The Saints draft a quarterback who has some similarities to their future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees. The biggest strengths of either passer are their high-level accuracy. Corral has to beat out swiss army knife Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston, who is still recovering from a torn ACL. The Eagles address another problem of their defense. McDuffie is an excellent cornerback outside and inside.

  • 20. Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
  • 21. New England Patriots: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

Pittsburgh’s run defense was abysmal in 2021. Wyatt is a special athlete and should help them against the run. The Patriots need some youth and speed on the front seven, and Dean can provide that.

Playoff Teams Need Receivers

  • 22. Green Bay Packers: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
  • 23. Arizona Cardinals: OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
  • 24. Dallas Cowboys: OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
  • 25. Buffalo Bills: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
  • 26. Tennessee Titans: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

Since the Packers traded Davante Adams away, they are in desperate need of a wideout. The Bills are not as desperate, but they add dynamic receiver Williams to their wide receiver room. He suffered a torn ACL in the CFB Championship game and might miss some time, but his speed and Josh Allen’s arm could be a nightmare for defenses. The third pass catcher in a five-pick span is Olave to the Titans. A.J. Brown, Robert Woods, and Olave would be a great trio of weapons in the passing game for Ryan Tannehill. The Cardinals select an offensive guard to keep Kyler Murray happy. The organization has to make sure that he is in a good position to take the next step. Cowboys’ lineman Connor Williams left in free agency, and they replace him with Zion Johnson.

  • 27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Edge Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State
  • 28. Green Bay Packers: DT Travis Jones, Connecticut

After the departure of Jason Pierre-Paul, the Bucs try to keep their pass rush at a high level. The Packers get some much-needed help against the run with the athletic defensive lineman Jones.

Bengals Make Burrow Happy

  • 29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
  • 30. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
  • 31. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
  • 32. Detroit Lions: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

The Kansas City Chiefs address two needs. To replace former Chiefs’ cornerbacks Hughes and Ward, the Chiefs select Booth Jr., who is a steal at the end of the first round. Treylon Burks has to be part of the committee to replace star wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The Bengals offensive line is still a gigantic problem. Raimann is a high-level pass protector and will help Burrow a lot. Detroit adds another defender to the team. Elam is a good cornerback in man coverage and has a lot of upside since he is just 20 years old.