The 2022 NFL draft has been the most difficult to predict — even as the draft is only days away. This year has no consensus No. 1 pick and truly doesn’t have even a consensus No. 1 overall player. There is no star at quarterback whom teams are vying for in the top 10. Instead, the 2022 class is dominated by pass-rushers, offensive tackles and wide receivers. That lack of consensus, and the expectation that there will be reaches for quarterbacks, makes this an exciting year with tons of intrigue and anticipation … but also a stressful one for mock drafters.
A seven-round mock draft is a beast, but a fun one. Connecting the dots between player value, team needs, the philosophies of general managers and the whims of coaches is what draft fans and analysts live for. Every pick represents hope for an organization. Every Day 3 selection could become Tom Brady, or at least George Kittle, and change a team forever.
When sitting down to write a seven-rounder, that’s the goal: to improve each team as much as possible. Doing that by using information gleaned from sources and also looking at previous draft strategy for each organization is how we come to predict all 261 picks in this draft.
A mock draft is what we’re hearing — not what we’d do — as analysts, and this one is no different. So let’s get into it, with the Jacksonville Jaguars once again on the clock at No. 1 overall.
Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
The buzz surrounding the No. 1 pick and Walker has been building to the point that I’m buying it. The Jaguars need a powerful pass-rusher to run opposite the speedy Josh Allen, and Walker fits that bill. He likely reminds general manager Trent Baalke of former 49ers star Aldon Smith, whom Baalke drafted when he was in San Francisco. Jacksonville would bypass the top-ranked player in the class (Aidan Hutchinson) for the upside of Walker.
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
The Lions are in a great position to simply draft whichever top defensive end the Jaguars don’t take. They just so happen to get lucky enough — much like last year when offensive tackle Penei Sewell fell to them at No. 7 — that the player falling is their likely top target. Hutchinson’s production, top-tier testing numbers during the pre-draft process, relentless pass-rushing style, and local roots make him an ideal pick for coach Dan Campbell’s team.
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The first surprise pick of the draft and one I’m hearing considerable buzz about as we get closer to Round 1 kicking off. The Texans have many needs and could truly go “best player available” here, but the allure of Stingley is too great to pass on in a draft class that is not deep at cornerback and is at other positions of need such as wide receiver and defensive end.
Stingley was the best defensive back in the nation as a true freshman in 2019. If the Texans can unlock that ability, he has the tools to become an All-Pro player.
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
A surprise at No. 4! The Jets could get a pass-protector for Zach Wilson knowing that this class is deep at wide receiver and edge rusher. It also has two early Round 2 picks to take a cornerback. Neal can play left or right tackle and gives the Jets insurance against Mekhi Becton‘s future if he can’t return from his injury-plagued 2021 season.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas loves linemen, and the temptation to draft the top-ranked one in this class is too great for him to pass on.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Despite all the discussion about Thibodeaux’s motor and personality, he still gets to the quarterback exceptionally well. He is an ideal fit in coordinator Wink Martindale’s system and is an immediate upgrade for a defensive front that couldn’t get to the quarterback last season.
Thibodeaux is one of the most polarizing players in the class; he could be a top-five pick or fall out of the top 10 altogether.
PROJECTED TRADE: Jets move up for a CB
The deal: NYJ send pick Nos. 10 and 69 and a 2023 third-round pick to CAR for pick No. 6.
With all eyes on the Panthers’ needs at quarterback — but the value in this class not matching up with the class — the Jets could make a shrewd call to move up the board. This trade would allow Carolina to add much-needed capital and draft a quarterback at a more equitable spot.
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Jets could take a cornerback tailor-made for Robert Saleh’s defense and one of the cleanest all-around prospects in the draft. Gardner’s height, length, speed and agility make him a dangerous cover man.
For the Jets, Gardner fills what I believe is the team’s biggest overall need. And in a year in which the asking prices are lower than normal drafts, the Jets could keep both picks in the second round to address wide receiver and pass-rusher needs.
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The buzz surrounding the Giants and Cross has been building for weeks and is too strong to ignore. Should they draft Cross over Ikem Ekwonu? That’s tough for me, but Cross’ physical traits are appealing here.
Drake London, WR, USC
The Falcons’ wide receiver room is empty of legitimate NFL talent. Really. Take a second and try to name one of their wide receivers without looking it up — no, Kyle Pitts doesn’t count. See what I mean?
London is the best receiver in this class and will bring a legitimate playmaking threat to the passing game with his contested catch and red zone ability reminiscent of Mike Evans in his early days. London and Pitts will make the job fun for quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Seahawks could play the board beautifully and walk away with an offensive tackle prospect many believed could have been a No. 1 overall pick had the Jaguars not franchise-tagged Cam Robinson.
The offensive line in Seattle has been an issue for years, and drafting Ekwonu is a first step in solving long-term problems. He’ll be a Day 1 left tackle starter.
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
In this scenario, the Panthers, desperate for a quarterback, trade back to select one at a better value while picking up capital to continue filling out an underdeveloped roster.
Pickett has his flaws, but he is an experienced and accurate passer who can create from the pocket and on the move. He would be given every chance to start Week 1 in Carolina.
Check out the plays that make Kenny Pickett capable of being a franchise QB in the NFL.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton, arguably the best player in the entire class, could fall outside the top 10 because of positional value. For the Commanders, it’s a dream come true as he fills the team’s biggest need.
Hamilton is a Day 1 impact for this defense and would make an immediate difference on the field as a starting strong safety.
Jermaine Johnson II, DE, FSU
The hometown kid (from Eden, Minnesota) could return to the state with the task of working his way into a defensive end rotation that has been tumultuous the past several seasons. Johnson broke onto the scene with a fantastic 2021 season and showed at both the Senior Bowl and combine that he’s an all-around prospect.
For the Vikings, this is a future need more than an immediate one, but Johnson is too good to let slip in a pass-rusher group that lacks depth outside the top four.
PROJECTED TRADE: Chiefs use their picks to deal for a WR
The deal: KC sends pick Nos. 29 and 50 and a 2023 second-round pick to HOU for pick No. 13.
The Texans have holes at almost every position, which is why trading back benefits them. They could add extra premium picks for this year, plus a 2023 second-rounder.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The Chiefs, with 12 picks in this draft, have the capital to move up and get an elite playmaker at wide receiver. Williams, had he not been injured in the national championship game, would have been a top-10 pick. His big-play speed and explosiveness are ideal in Kansas City for replacing Tyreek Hill.
Getting aggressive is the style for general manager Brett Veach, who has made just one first-round pick since taking the job in 2018.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Ravens could very well go defensive line here — Georgia’s Jordan Davis makes a lot of sense — but fixing the offensive line should be the priority. Penning’s technique needs to be cleaned up — especially his hands and punch timing — but his toughness and physical traits would work very well on the right side of the Ravens’ offensive line.
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Some might argue that Smith and Wilson are similar, but what quarterback Jalen Hurts needs are two receivers who can consistently get open and create after the catch. Wilson would bring that ability from Day 1.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Have you heard Ohio State is pretty good at developing wide receivers? Olave joins former Buckeye Michael Thomas to give the Saints a dynamic duo at the position. Olave’s blazing vertical speed is an ideal match opposite the physical, underneath route running of Thomas.
With Jameis Winston‘s arm strength a huge plus, the Saints could stretch the field with Olave’s deep speed.
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Chargers would love to find a right tackle waiting for them here, but with Davis still on the board, general manager Tom Telesco instead could focus on a run defense that was an issue in 2021. Davis’ agility, power and shocking speed are rare for a big man. The key will be keeping him around 340 pounds so that he can be the dominant presence many believe he can become.
If the Chargers can manage that, they will have a Haloti Ngata-like nose tackle who can also rush the quarterback and collapse the pocket.
Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Linebacker was a consideration here, but the Eagles’ secondary also needs attention. Michigan’s Daxton Hill has the instincts and physical ability to potentially play cornerback, nickel safety or free safety depending on the need. His 4.3-second speed and coverage skills shown on tape are a perfect match for a leaky Philadelphia secondary.
Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
This is a reach on value, but it fills a huge need for the Saints with left tackle Terron Armstead leaving for the Dolphins in free agency. Smith has to clean up his penalties (16 last year), but he has the quickness and reactive agility to be very good at left tackle with time.
If it’s not Smith here, the Saints could look at Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, but he’s also a project at the position. The best bet for a Day 1 tackle is Smith.
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Steelers’ front office racked up the frequent-flier miles this offseason traveling to nearly every quarterback’s pro day. Here, they could pull the trigger on a talented prospect who can sit and learn behind Mitch Trubisky for a season before being unleashed on the AFC North.
Willis’ arm strength, running ability and leadership are all perfect for Pittsburgh. He just needs time to develop and learn. This is the perfect situation for both player and team.
Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Booth could be the replacement for J.C. Jackson, and he could be the steal of the cornerback class here. Booth’s Clemson tape shows a tough technician who is quick, fluid and agile. He has also shown versatility in a diverse defensive scheme.
The Patriots have needs at wide receiver and linebacker, but Booth’s value and the importance of the position make him an easy pick.
Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
As much as the Packers need a wide receiver (or two), they also need to make additions to the offensive line. And in 2022, the receiver class is much deeper than the starting guard class. Drafting Green here and waiting on a receiver at No. 28 is the best way to stack the draft class.
Green’s experience at left tackle and guard are key for the Packers, but he could slot in as an immediate impact on the interior as the team looks to get younger up front.
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
The Cardinals have drafted defensive players in back-to-back years, and they could do so again with Green off the board. Karlaftis has the power needed to hold up at the point of attack in the run game and the savvy tools to get to the backfield as a pass-rusher.
While many have compared Karlaftis to J.J. Watt (at Wisconsin), he’ll now have the chance to learn from Watt in Arizona.
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Cowboys are a true wild card in this draft and could realistically select a wide receiver or offensive lineman here. In this mock draft, we have Jerry Jones & Co. addressing the biggest need on defense — linebacker.
Lloyd has been a proven playmaker at Utah and has the three-down ability the Cowboys desperately need in the middle of the field. And like last year’s top pick, Micah Parsons, he is also pretty good at rushing the quarterback.
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Bills are rumored to go in a few directions here — running back, wide receiver and even offensive line. That feels like more smoke than fire, as a quick look at this roster points to a huge need at cornerback after the team lost Levi Wallace to free agency despite already having a need there.
McDuffie doesn’t have elite arm length (just under 30 inches), but his toughness at the line of scrimmage and quickness on underneath routes will be perfect opposite Tre’Davious White.
Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Relationships matter when it’s time to bet the future of the franchise on a draft pick, and the fact that Johnson is the roommate of coach Mike Vrabel’s son Tyler doesn’t hurt things. It also helps that Johnson is a great football player with the ability to start from Day 1 at left guard.
The Titans have needs at wide receiver and could be tempted by a quarterback of the future here, but in a weak AFC South, they have to feel confident in a repeat title if the offensive line can hold up for Derrick Henry at running back.
Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Tampa Bay is another team that could go offensive line but could instead be tempted by the possibility of upgrading the interior pass-rush with the draft’s most NFL-ready 3-technique prospect.
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
In this scenario, patience pays off as the Packers land the receiver they would have picked at No. 22 with the later selection while making sure the Cardinals, Cowboys or Titans don’t steal Green from them.
Burks is a big target at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds. He’ll beat defenders on slant routes and has legit yards-after-catch ability that would be a welcome addition to a bare receiver corps.
Check out the best highlights that helped Arkansas WR Treylon Burks have an excellent college career.
Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
In our projected trade, the Texans slide back 16 picks in Round 1 but get key draft capital for what’s close to a total rebuild. Quarterback Davis Mills has intrigued the front office there, and for good reason, but the decision-makers must protect him.
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum has been sliding as of late because of his relatively short arms, but his agility makes up for it on tape. He’s the type of building block the Texans’ interior offensive line needs.
Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
After trading up to land the most electric wide receiver in this draft, the Chiefs could hold tight here to land a starting cornerback to replace the departed Charvarius Ward.
Gordon’s tape shows a great vertical jump with elite short-area quickness and balance. He is an ideal man-coverage cornerback and in Kansas City would take over the top spot in a secondary undergoing a rebuild.
Travis Jones, DT, UConn
The Bengals invested heavily in the offensive line this offseason, bringing in three new starters through free agency. Now they can focus on filling holes across the board, and the front office starts with the defensive tackle position.
Jones was one of the most improved players in the nation after UConn’s season was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Once he was back on the field, his pass-rushing moves and quickness were much improved. That has pushed him up the board to Round 1, and the the Bengals would gladly add his services.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
One of the weakest wide receiver rooms in the league would get a major upgrade with the shifty, speedy Dotson joining the fold.
While the Lions might be tempted by a quarterback here, that has felt more like media speculation than team-driven information. With two first-rounders in 2023, the Lions are in good shape to roll with veteran Jared Goff and an improved receiver corps this season.
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Dean is a leader who has been productive as the captain for a talent-loaded defense. He would go to Jacksonville to become the anchor for the new-look Jaguars defense.
Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
There’s some quarterback temptation here, but I still think the Lions focus on building up the roster with highly ranked players before looking at quarterbacks in 2023 to challenge Goff. Elam has NFL starter traits.
Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota
The Jets could continue checking off boxes in terms of need. Mafe is an ascending speed rusher who consistently got after the quarterback last season. He and Carl Lawson will form a duo AFC East offensive linemen will have to worry about.
Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
Joe Schoen could continue to target playmakers in his first draft as a general manager. Walker’s speed, length and power scream starting NFL linebacker. He has the ability to crack the starting 11 early in his rookie season.
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Hall could be a surprise Round 1 pick, but here he falls to the Texans and lands in a situation in which he can be a rookie starter and a focal point in the offense. Hall’s three-down ability, speed and power could soon make him a top-10 NFL back.
George Pickens, WR, Georgia
One of my favorite receivers in this class, Pickens returned from an ACL injury to help push Georgia to a national championship. He’s a big (6-foot-3) target with 4.43-second speed in the 40-yard dash and will give quarterback Zach Wilson the big target he needs. By waiting to address receiver, the Jets could land a player some scouts believe is the most talented in this class.
Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
New general manager Ryan Poles has to come out of the draft with a wide receiver from one of his second-round picks. Watson has an elite size-to-speed combination at 6-foot-4 with 4.3-second speed. He’s a bit raw as a route runner but is a proven playmaker with the ball in his hands.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Corral’s coach at Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin, has a direct connection to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll from their days at USC. If Kiffin vouches for Corral, the Seahawks have an exciting dual-threat quarterback to push newcomer Drew Lock under center.
David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
Were it not for an Achilles injury suffered at the Michigan pro day, Ojabo would have been a likely top-12 pick. The Seahawks could bet on his value and Achilles injuries being a faster turnaround than they used to be. His skill set as a speedy outside rusher is ideal for Seattle’s scheme.
Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
The Colts could get lucky with Raimann falling to them here given their need at left tackle and the lack of depth in this class at the position. Raimann is a former tight end who is still raw at the position, but his agility, length and balance are that of a long-term starting left tackle.
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Falcons bypassed the top quarterbacks in 2021 to draft tight end Kyle Pitts and have since shipped Matt Ryan to Indianapolis. Here, they could grab a potential starter who fits what coach Arthur Smith had at the position in Tennessee and has added in Marcus Mariota with the Falcons. Ridder has starter upside but has to clean up accuracy issues.
Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
The addition of Amari Cooper will help the Browns, but this wide receiver corps still needs attention. Moore is an elusive, twitchy, bouncy receiver who will own underneath routes and yards-after-catch opportunities.
Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Ravens are loaded with picks and don’t have a ton of needs, but continuing to add at cornerback is how smart teams build, especially in the receiver-loaded AFC North. McCreary is a Day 1 slot starter with good short-area quicks and toughness.
Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Cine is a versatile safety prospect with big hits throughout his film but also 4.3-second speed and range in coverage. He’s the modern answer to today’s tight end with elite physical skills and could be the eventual Harrison Smith replacement in Minnesota.
Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
We know the Washington front office has traditionally loved Alabama prospects (Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne), and it could find another starter here from Tuscaloosa in Harris. A speedy downhill linebacker with heat-seeking ability to find the ball in the run game, Harris would upgrade the middle of the Commanders’ defense.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
The Bears got lucky with a wide receiver being available at pick No. 39 and hit a home run with a tackle available here. Nicholas Petit-Frere has experience at right and left tackle and was looking like a potential first-rounder until he ran into Aidan Hutchinson last season. He could be a steal for Poles & Co. as they build around quarterback Justin Fields.
Logan Hall, DT, Houston
Instead, the Saints can take a defensive lineman with the versatility to play end or tackle and boost a pass rush that needs help.
Check out the best highlights that contributed to a stellar college career for Houston’s Logan Hall.
Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
As part of our projected trade back from the first round, the Texans pick up an extra second-rounder and grab a replacement for safety Justin Reid, who ironically went to Kansas City in free agency.
Brisker is a talented, versatile safety prospect with 4.43-second speed and great coverage instincts.
Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
After filling key needs at wide receiver and defensive back in Round 1, the Eagles can grab a pass-rusher to boost a unit that had just 29 sacks in 2021.
Ebiketie has the speed and length off the edge to project well as a future 4-3 defensive end starter but has immediate upside as a third-down rusher in space.
Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
A quarterback in Round 1 allows the Steelers to get aggressive building up the roster in subsequent rounds. Woolen is a raw cornerback after making the move from wide receiver, but at 6-foot-4 he has 4.26-second speed — traits you can’t coach. His potential as a man-coverage corner is high.
Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
The first tight end finally comes off the board as the Packers continue to add pass-catchers for Aaron Rodgers in a new-look offense. McBride is an old-school tight end who can in-line block, has sure hands over the middle and is a proven red zone threat.
Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
A linebacker in Round 1 wouldn’t be a surprise for the Patriots, but waiting and grabbing an attacking ‘backer such as Tindall gives the Patriots what they desperately need at the position — speed and coverage ability. A defense that looked old and slow in the playoffs gets an upgrade.
Cameron Jurgens, OC, Nebraska
Building around quarterback Kyler Murray means investing in the offensive line with draft picks the Cardinals have mostly used on defenders and trades in the past. Jurgens is a force at center with awesome agility to get to linebackers in the run game.
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
Metchie’s production the past two seasons despite being in a crowded receiver room at Alabama — one that featured three future first-rounders in 2020 — proves his lasting power.
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Wide receiver might not be as pressing of a need as people assume in Buffalo, but that doesn’t mean they can overlook a fast receiver who can open up the middle of the field with slants and drag routes. Tolbert’s toughness underneath would open up the deep game for Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis.
Nik Bonitto, DE, Oklahoma
The Falcons have needs at almost every position, which puts the front office in position to draft the best player available. In Round 2, they could get a speedy pass-rusher who consistently won against blockers in the Big 12. Bonitto is a little undersized (6-foot-3, 248 pounds), but he can move.
Dominique Robinson, DE, Miami (OH)
The wide receiver-turned-defensive end has pushed his way into Round 2 with a great pre-draft process. Robinson caught my eye at the Senior Bowl with his quickness and length attacking some of the best pass-blockers in the country. He has the size (6-foot-5, 253 pounds) to fit the Packers’ scheme as an edge rusher.
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
This might be the steal of the draft. Walker has 4.3-second speed, awesome power at the second level and the vision to be an effective inside or outside runner. As a replacement for Ronald Jones II, he would be an upgrade. And he might just push Leonard Fournette for touches.
Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
The 49ers’ first pick could be used anywhere in the secondary. A slot cornerback at Baylor, Pitre has the ability to play all over the defensive backfield. He’s a tough, sticky cover man with the physical ability to stack up against the run on the edge.
Nick Cross, S, Maryland
Speed on defense is a huge need in Kansas City after that unit broke down late in the season. Buffalo wideout Gabriel Davis running all over the Chiefs is a lasting impression that should haunt the front office. Cross has great range with 4.3-second speed and a hitter’s mentality in coverage.
Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
Losing C.J. Uzomah in free agency was a bigger loss than many realize, and replacing him early in the draft is a priority. Dulcich is a seam-buster at tight end who has the soft hands and excellent body control to torch defenses in the red zone and against Cover 2 schemes.
Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
The Broncos’ first pick after trading for Russell Wilson comes on defense, where a three-down linebacker is a must-add. Muma can run with backs and tight ends and is fantastic in zone coverage. His ability to cover tight ends is particularly important in the loaded AFC West featuring Travis Kelce and Darren Waller.
Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
The Jaguars have improved the wide receiver corps, but Trevor Lawrence still needs more weapons. Pierce is a big slot receiver with vertical-stretch speed and reliable hands.
Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
Cook is a smart and instinctive free safety prospect who is exactly what the Lions are missing. He has the leadership skills of a future team captain.
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
There is buzz that Howell could go much earlier than this. But if he lasts, the Giants would be smart to use a midround pick on him in case Daniel Jones‘ neck injury becomes an issue or if he struggles again with turnovers.
Drake Jackson, DE, USC
Jackson is a speedy outside rusher who can play in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme with ease as long as he’s lined up on or outside the tackle. He could help kick-start the defensive line rebuild in Houston.
Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
As part of our projected trade in Round 1 that allowed the Jets to move up, the Panthers can collect a much-needed Round 3 pick and find the left tackle of the future in Washington State’s underrated Abe Lucas.
Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
Continuing the rebuilding theme, the Jaguars could grab a penetrating defensive tackle who can run from the 3-technique position with Hutchinson and Josh Allen flanking him.
Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
Jaylon Johnson has one cornerback spot locked down in Chicago, but the opposite side and slot need attention. Emerson has the size (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) and good-enough speed (4.51 seconds) to be an effective zone coverage cornerback from Day 1.
Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
The run on Cincinnati players continues. Bryant popped on tape throughout the 2021 season with 4.47-second speed and 6-foot-1 length. The Seahawks are desperate for competent starters; Bryant could be their best corner in 2022.
Check out the best plays made by CB Coby Bryant in his time as a Bearcat.
Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
As much as the Colts need a left tackle, they also have to get more wide receivers to run with Michael Pittman Jr., and Shakir has quickness underneath with 4.43-second speed down the field. Finding T.Y. Hilton‘s replacement won’t be easy, but Shakir could help.
Josh Paschal, DE, Kentucky
In Round 2, I projected the Falcons to select a speedy, undersized rusher in Nik Bonitto. Here, they would get a penetrating, versatile defensive lineman who can play 3-technique or 5-technique spots. Paschal, a three-time captain at Kentucky, will make an immediate positive impact in the locker room.
Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
The Ravens’ defensive line is set to undergo a massive shake-up in the future. Drafting Mathis to play behind Michael Pierce in 2022 and eventually replace him is a shrewd move with the board falling this way.
Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Andersen has shot up draft boards with his pre-draft performance in the Senior Bowl and his testing at the combine. His range and ability in coverage make him a future starter at weakside linebacker.
DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
A projected first-rounder before the 2021 season, Leal has talent he needs to unlock. The Browns can use him as a rotational defensive tackle with good pass-rush potential.
Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan
One of the Chargers’ goals should be finding a long-term starter at right tackle. Goedeke is an underrated future starter who will excel immediately in the run game.
Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
There is not a more physically impressive tight end in this class, and Woods does it at a super-sized 6-foot-7 and 253 pounds. His 4.61-second speed at that size is rare, and his potential as a pass-catcher was shown in 2021. His potential is sky high.
Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
A sticky slot cornerback with elite punt and kick returner skills, Jones is a value in Round 3 and a player who will impact the game immediately on third and fourth downs. Shoulder injuries are the only reason he’s available this late.
Cam Taylor-Britt, S, Nebraska
The defensive rebuild on Day 2 of the draft continues in Atlanta as the Falcons land a versatile defensive back some scouts believe can play cornerback in the NFL. His 4.38-second speed and physical style of play fit the Falcons’ slot cornerback need.
Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
The Eagles need to throw capital at the secondary — like they did in Round 1 with Daxton Hill — and Armour-Davis has 4.38-second speed and the instincts to develop into a solid slot cornerback.
Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Chenal, a throwback linebacker who would have been a starting 3-4 thumper 10 years ago, will beef up the middle of the Pittsburgh defense while offering good pass-rush and blitz skills. He might never be a three-down linebacker, but he has value as a potential two-down player who can rush the quarterback in nickel situations.
Myjai Sanders, DE, Cincinnati
Sanders is an undersized, lean pass-rushing prospect with big-time upside. A two-time first-team All-AAC player and team captain in 2021, he has quickness and explosiveness off the edge when he’s rushing in space.
Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
A small-school prospect with big-time potential, Williams would fill a need at cornerback that the Raiders have not been able to solve. At nearly 6-foot-3, Williams has the size and length to be a matchup problem for the many great receivers in the AFC West.
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
A running back who can work in concert with James Conner — and one who can impact the passing game — is a void for the Cardinals. Spiller fits that to a T. If he gets back to his 2020 form, he might even push Conner for reps.
Darian Kinnard, OG, Kentucky
A tackle at Kentucky, Kinnard projects as a guard at the next level. The Cowboys could use Kinnard — who is training in Frisco, Texas, during the pre-draft process — to play either inside or outside with quickness, length and toughness.
James Cook, RB, Georgia
The best pass-catching running back in the class, Cook has speed in space and super-soft hands. The Bills missed out on J.D. McKissic in free agency but could use Cook in the same role as Josh Allen‘s safety valve out of the backfield.
Check out the best highlights from James Cook’s college career at Georgia.
Isaiah Weston, WR, Northern Iowa
Sleeper alert: The 6-foot-4 Weston ran a 4.43 40 at the combine and has the vertical-stretch speed and body control to be a threat from the slot or outside the formation. His versatility will play well with A.J. Brown and Robert Woods.
Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
One of the most underrated, pro-ready tight ends in the class could fall to Tampa Bay, where he’ll be asked to step right in as a blocker and pass-catcher for the GOAT, Tom Brady. Ruckert’s toughness and clutch play underneath would be huge in the red zone.
Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
A four-time All-Big 12 player (honorable mention once, second team twice, first team in 2021) and two-time team captain, Rodriguez has quickness and instincts. He’s undersized at 5-foot-11 and 232 pounds, but he plays a step faster than most with his read-and-react ability.
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
The 49ers can’t throw enough picks at fixing the secondary in this draft. Castro-Fields is battle-tested and turned in his best season yet in 2021. He has the size (6-foot, 200 pounds) to thrive in the 49ers’ scheme.
Sam Williams, DE, Ole Miss
One of the most productive pass-rushers in college during the 2021 season (16 TFLs, 12.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles), Williams has size (6-foot-4, 261 pounds) and jaw-dropping speed with a 4.46-timed run in the 40-yard dash.
Cole Strange, OG, UT-Chattanooga
A position-versatile interior lineman who can play guard or center, Strange will be given every chance to push journeyman Ted Karras at the center spot in 2022. It might be his by 2023.
DeAngelo Malone, DE, Western Kentucky
Despite adding Randy Gregory in free agency, the Broncos can still stand to add pass-rushers in this draft. Malone has the quickness to be a speed rusher in coordinator Ejiro Evero’s defensive scheme and is nice insurance in case Bradley Chubb is unable to play all 17 games.
Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
Smith is an eye-popping talent with height-weight-speed traits to become an NFL starter, but he needs to develop his read-and-react skills. That’s why he’s available in Round 3 after being a five-star recruit out of high school. If the Lions can develop him, Smith could be a steal.
Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina
A productive pass-rusher with length and power is exactly what the Saints need. Enagbare didn’t test well (4.87-second 40-dash) but has excellent 4-3 defensive end qualities in strength and run defense. He’s also one of the best tacklers in the class.
Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
Let’s give the Browns a playmaker on offense. Robinson is a versatile threat as a runner, receiver and returner. He’s undersized (5-foot-8, 178 pounds), but his 4.4 speed and shiftiness with the ball in his hands make him a value.
Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
In this mock draft, we’ve seen the Ravens attack the defensive side of the ball with a cornerback, defensive tackle and now a versatile pass-rusher who fits in the mold of a Calais Campbell — albeit smaller — as a defensive end. Thomas had first-round hype at one point and is a perfect scheme fit here.
Sean Rhyan, OG, UCLA
A player some evaluators like a round higher than this, Rhyan has future starting potential at guard after playing tackle at UCLA. His agility and accuracy blocking in space are a great fit in Philly’s scheme.
Luke Fortner, OC, Kentucky
Rarely do you find a Day 1 starting center in the late third round, but the Dolphins could strike gold with Fortner available at No. 102. He also has experience at guard should Miami want to kick him outside a click in Mike McDaniel’s zone rushing scheme.
Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
The Chiefs hit twice when drafting offensive linemen who trained with Duke Manyweather in the 2021 class — both Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. They go back to the well and grab a potential starting right tackle in Mitchell.
Thayer Munford, OG, Ohio State
A starter at both guard and tackle (three years at tackle) for the Buckeyes, Munford’s versatility and experience help a Rams roster that needs depth and will need starters in the near future.
Ed Ingram, OG, LSU
It remains to be seen if the Aaron Banks project will work at guard, but even if it does the 49ers need another starter at the position. Ingram is a powerhouse, stout blocker who will boost the run game in San Francisco.
106. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
107. Houston Texans (via CLE/DET): Makai Polk, WR, Mississippi State
108. Houston Texans: Jamaree Salyer, OG, Georgia
109. Seattle Seahawks (via NYJ): Dylan Parham, OG, Memphis
110. Baltimore Ravens (via NYG): Danny Gray, WR, SMU
111. New York Jets (via CAR): Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
112. New York Giants (via CHI): Zamir White, RB, Georgia
113. Washington Commanders: Zach Tom, OG, Wake Forest
114. Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
115. Denver Broncos: JT Woods, S, Baylor
116. Denver Broncos (via SEA): Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford
117. New York Jets (via MIN): Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
118. Cleveland Browns: Alex Wright, DE, UAB
119. Baltimore Ravens: Cade Otton, TE, Washington
120. New Orleans Saints: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
121. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA): Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
122. Indianapolis Colts: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
123. Los Angeles Chargers: Zyon McCollum, S, Sam Houston State
124. Philadelphia Eagles: Jesse Luketa, LB, Penn State
125. Miami Dolphins (via PIT): Isaiah Thomas, DE, Oklahoma
126. Las Vegas Raiders: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
127. New England Patriots: David Bell, WR, Purdue
128. Baltimore Ravens (via ARI): Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State
129. Dallas Cowboys: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
130. Buffalo Bills: Zachary Carter, DT, Florida
131. Tennessee Titans: Amare Barno, DE, Virginia Tech
132. Green Bay Packers: Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State
133. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Logan Bruss, OG, Wisconsin
134. San Francisco 49ers: Micheal Clemons, DE, Texas A&M
135. Kansas City Chiefs: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
136. Cincinnati Bengals: Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo
137. Carolina Panthers (via LAR/HOU): Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
138. Pittsburgh Steelers*: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
139. Baltimore Ravens*: Vincent Gray, S, Michigan
140. Green Bay Packers*: Tre Turner, WR, Virginia Tech
141. Baltimore Ravens*: Cordale Flott, CB, LSU
142. Los Angeles Rams*: Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor
143. Tennessee Titans*: Alec Lindstrom, OC, Boston College
144. Carolina Panthers (via JAX): Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama
145. Denver Broncos (via DET/DEN): Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati
146. New York Jets: Eyioma Uwazurike, DT, Iowa State
147. New York Giants: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
148. Chicago Bears (via HOU): Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota
149. Carolina Panthers: Dontario Drummond, WR, Ole Miss
150. Chicago Bears: Kyle Philips, WR, UCLA
151. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
152. Denver Broncos: Abram Smith, RB, Baylor
153. Seattle Seahawks: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
154. Philadelphia Eagles (via WSH): Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
155. Dallas Cowboys (via CLE): Juanyeh Thomas, S, Georgia Tech
156. Minnesota Vikings (via BAL): Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
157. Jacksonville Jaguars (via MIN): Joshua Ezeudu, OG, North Carolina
158. New England Patriots (via MIA): Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
159. Indianapolis Colts: Cole Turner, TE, Nevada
160. Los Angeles Chargers: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
161. New Orleans Saints: JoJo Domann, LB, Nebraska
162. Philadelphia Eagles: Spencer Burford, OT, UTSA
163. New York Jets (via PIT): Mike Rose, LB, Iowa State
164. Las Vegas Raiders (via NE): Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M
165. Las Vegas Raiders: Andrew Stueber, OT, Michigan
166. Philadelphia Eagles (via ARI): Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri
167. Dallas Cowboys: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
168. Buffalo Bills: Cade Mays, OG, Tennessee
169. Tennessee Titans: Jack Coan, QB, Notre Dame
170. Houston Texans (via NE/TB): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, DT, Notre Dame
171. Green Bay Packers: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
172. San Francisco 49ers: Dohnovan West, C, Arizona State
173. New York Giants (KC/BAL): John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
174. Cincinnati Bengals: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
175. Los Angeles Rams: Vederian Lowe, OT, Illinois
176. Dallas Cowboys*: Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
177. Detroit Lions*: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
178. Dallas Cowboys*: Neil Farrell Jr., DT, LSU
179. Indianapolis Colts*: Kevin Austin Jr., WR, Notre Dame
Check out the best highlights that contributed to a stellar college career for Clemson’s Justyn Ross.
180. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nick Zakelj, OT, Fordham
181. Detroit Lions: Rachaad White, RB, West Virginia
182. New York Giants: Justin Shaffer, OG, Georgia
183. New England Patriots (via HOU): Verone McKinley III, S, Oregon
184. Minnesota Vikings (via NYJ): Chasen Hines, OG, LSU
185. Buffalo Bills (via CAR): Cole Kelley, QB, SE Louisiana
186. Chicago Bears: Christopher Hinton, DT, Michigan
187. San Francisco 49ers (via DEN): Darrian Beavers, DE, Cincinnati
188. Jacksonville Jaguars (via SEA): Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina
189. Washington Commanders: Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
190. Atlanta Falcons: Mykael Wright, CB, Oregon
191. Minnesota Vikings (via BAL/KC): Jermaine Waller, CB, Virginia Tech
192. Minnesota Vikings: Marquis Hayes, OG, Oklahoma
193. Dallas Cowboys (via CLE): Zakoby McClain, DE, Auburn
194. New Orleans Saints (via IND/PHI): Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB, USC
195. Los Angeles Chargers: Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
196. Baltimore Ravens (via MIA) Christopher Allen, DE, Alabama
197. Jacksonville Jaguars (via PHI): Tyreke Smith, DE, Ohio State
198. Jacksonville Jaguars (via PIT): Reggie Roberson Jr., WR, SMU
199. Carolina Panthers (via LV): Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
200. New England Patriots: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
201. Arizona Cardinals: Jason Poe, OG, Mercer
202. Cleveland Browns (via DAL): Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
203. Buffalo Bills: Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor
204. Tennessee Titans: Kalia Davis, DT, Central Florida
205. Houston Texans (via GB): Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
206. Denver Broncos (via TB/NYJ/PHI): Dare Rosenthal, OT, LSU
207. Houston Texans (via SF/NYJ): Delarrin Turner-Yell, S, Oklahoma
208. Pittsburgh Steelers (via KC): Obinna Eze, OT, TCU
209. Cincinnati Bengals: Ben Brown, OC, Ole Miss
210. New England Patriots (via LAR): Percy Butler, S, Louisiana
211. Los Angeles Rams*: Dane Belton, S, Iowa
212. Los Angeles Rams*: Brian Asamoah, DE, Oklahoma
213. Atlanta Falcons*: Chigoziem Okonkwo, FB, Maryland
214. Los Angeles Chargers*: Lecitus Smith, OG, Virginia Tech
215. Arizona Cardinals*: Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State
216. Indianapolis Colts*: Smoke Monday, S, Auburn
217. Detroit Lions*: Chris Paul, OG, Tulsa
218. Los Angeles Rams*: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers
219. Tennessee Titans*: Jeffrey Gunter, DE, Coastal Carolina
220. San Francisco 49ers*: Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
221. San Francisco 49ers*: Yusuf Corker, S, Kentucky
222. Jacksonville Jaguars: Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU
223. Cleveland Browns (via DET): Kyron Johnson, DE, Kentucky
224. Miami Dolphins (via HOU/NE/BAL): Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, LSU
225. Pittsburgh Steelers (via NYJ): Chase Allen, TE, Iowa State
226. Cincinnati Bengals (via NYG): Cordell Volson, OT, North Dakota State
227. Las Vegas Raiders (via CAR): Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
228. Green Bay Packers (via CHI/HOU): Myron Cunningham, OT, Arkansas
229. Seattle Seahawks D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State
230. Washington Commanders: Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State
231. Buffalo Bills (via ATL): Jordan Stout, P, Penn State
232. Denver Broncos: Leon O’Neal Jr., S, Texas A&M
233. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIN): Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma
234. Detroit Lions (via CLE): James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech
235. Jacksonville Jaguars (via BAL): Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
236. Los Angeles Chargers: J’Atyre Carter, OG, Southern
237. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): Esezi Otomewo, DE, Minnesota
238. Los Angeles Rams (via MIA): Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina
239. Indianapolis Colts: Jayden Peevy, DT, Texas A&M
240. Washington Commanders (via PHI/IND): Nephi Sewell, LB, Utah
241. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sterling Weatherford, S, Miami (OH)
242. Carolina Panthers (via NE/MIA): Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin
243. Kansas City Chiefs (via LV/NE): Jordan Jackson, DT, Air Force
244. Arizona Cardinals: Tyrese Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
245. New England Patriots (via HOU/DAL): Jake Camarda, P, Georgia
246. Cleveland Browns (via BUF): William Dunkle, OG, San Diego State
247. Miami Dolphins (via TEN): Nate Landman, LB, Colorado
248. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jeremiah Moon, DE, Florida
249. Green Bay Packers: Tyree Johnson, DE, Texas A&M
250. Minnesota Vikings (via SF/DEN): Derrick Deese Jr., TE, San Jose State
251. Kansas City Chiefs: Dallis Flowers, CB, Pitt State
252. Cincinnati Bengals: Jashaun Corbin, RB, FSU
253. Los Angeles Rams: Josh Ross, DE, Michigan
254. Los Angeles Chargers*: Sam Webb, CB, Missouri Western
255. Los Angeles Chargers*: Marquan McCall, DT, Kentucky
256. Arizona Cardinals*: Keaontay Ingram, RB, USC
257. Arizona Cardinals*: Kaleb Eleby, QB, Western Michigan
258. Green Bay Packers*: EJ Perry, ATH, Brown
259. Kansas City Chiefs*: Britain Covey, WR, Utah
260. Los Angeles Chargers*: Charleston Rambo, WR, Miami (FL)
261. Tampa Bay Buccaneers*: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
262. San Francisco 49ers*: Slade Bolden, WR, Alabama