July 1, 2022

Golden Age Golds

Take Advantages of Your GOLDEN AGE

NFL 2022 Mock Draft: Panthers, Saints select only Round 1 QBs as they try to catch Tom Brady, Buccaneers

Michigan

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Hutchinson is a great example of a player who got better each and every season, and instead of coming out early he stayed in school, balled out as a senior, and made himself into arguably the best player — on either side of the ball — in the country during the ’21 college football season. The exclamation point came the last three weeks; first a three-sack performance against Ohio State, then helping Michigan win the Big Ten Championship Game a week later, and on Saturday, he finished second in Heisman voting.

NC State

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 320 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Jags have used first-rounders on edge rushers two of the last three drafts, and while Kayvon Thibodeaux is certainly worth a top three selection, Jacksonville has to beef up its O-line. Ekwonu is one of our favorite players in this draft class. There’s talk that he may have to move inside to guard but when you watch him play, he’s perfectly suited to be a dominant tackle, which is exactly what the Jags need.

Oregon

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 258 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

Addressing the quarterback position could be an option here if there’s a player the Texans truly like, but with the team turning to rookie Davis Mills for the rest of the season, that may be an indication that he’s the future, at least for now. So instead of overthinking it, Houston takes Thibodeaux. He battled an ankle injury early in the season but was just about unstoppable when he was on the field this season.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 350 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Jets have to protect Zach Wilson, and this should be the mantra to begin every draft meeting the team has. Neal is an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions during his Crimson Tide career.

Mississippi State

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

29th

POSITION RNK

5th

The Giants have an opportunity to take two of the best defenders in this class but instead pass on Derek Stingley and Kyle Hamilton to bolster an offensive line in desperate need of it. This may be high for Cross, but he is a high-upside athletic offensive tackle who had a stellar season for Mississippi State.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 290 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country, and while sixth overall seems way too high for a center, a) Linderbaum is that good, b) the Giants lost Nick Gates to injury, c) his replacement has struggled, and the O-line could stand to be upgraded.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

The Jets already addressed the offensive line so here they take the best CB in this class, and perhaps in any of the recent draft classes. Stingley missed the final half of the season because of injury but that will have zero impact on his draft stock.

Ole Miss

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Panthers desperately need to upgrade the offensive line, and perhaps they’ll try to trade down from this spot if four O-linemen are already off the board. For now, they target a quarterback because, well, neither Sam Darnold nor Cam Newton feel like long-term solutions.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

Like the Panthers, the Falcons could be in market for a quarterback but with Hamilton still on the board they’ll bolster their secondary. Hamilton is a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed — a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk — and that makes him a Day 1 impact player.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 225 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Dean plays with the type of urgency and physicality that has been lacking at times in the middle of this Eagles defense. And while Dean’s playing on the best defense in the country, don’t be fooled — he’s not riding on the coattails of a dominant defensive line — he’s been a huge reason for its success.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 200 lbs

Projected Team

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Eagles are on track for three first-round picks, which means there’s a great opportunity to address their defense. Booth has all the athleticism and tools to be special, and he balled out for Clemson this season.

Auburn

• Sr

• 6’0″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

33rd

POSITION RNK

5th

The team has already parted ways with 2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney, and Patrick Peterson is on a one-year deal. Wide receiver could also be an option here but stockpiling defensive backs is never a bad strategy, and McCreary, who has gotten better each year against some of the best WRs in the country, had a great season for the Tigers.

Pittsburgh

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

2nd

We love what Pickett’s accomplished this season but we also didn’t give him a first-round grade. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have a fantastic season, or that he won’t end up being among the first 32 selections. And as becomes evident every draft, teams will overdraft quarterbacks and 2022 will be no different. Which brings us to the Saints, which would be a fantastic landing spot for any young quarterback — New Orleans has a good O-line and defense — and the offensive firepower to again be in the playoff mix in ’22.

Georgia

• Soph

• 6’6″

/ 330 lbs

Projected Team

Las Vegas

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Davis has consistently been a one-man wrecking crew for Georgia this season; he may not offer much as a true pass-rusher but he’s s a pocket collapser which, on some level, transcends the play call.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 250 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

60th

POSITION RNK

6th

The Steelers lost Bud Dupree to free agency and traded Melvin Ingram just before the deadline. T.J. Watt is a legit MVP candidate, and Alex Highsmith has flashed at times during Year 2, but there’s no depth on the roster after that. QB could be an option here, too, but with Corral and Pickett off the board, and questions about Carson Strong’s knee, Pittsburgh could address any of their myriad other needs here. Ojabo, meanwhile, was a lot of fun to watch this season for the Wolverines, where he took advantage of every opportunity playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson. But don’t get it twisted — he’s a twitchy edge rusher who is just a junior and will only get better with experience.

Purdue

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 275 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Karlaftis adds another dimension to the defensive line. Injuries and the pandemic saw him bounce back in ’21 after playing limited snaps in ’20 but Karlaftis was nearly impossible to stop in ’19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks. In Denver, he’ll line up opposite Bradley Chubb a year after the team struggled to replace Von Miller.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 325 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

3rd

The Bengals opted to take Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell and it appears to have been the right decision, but they still need to make protecting Joe Burrow a priority. Green can play either tackle or guard and he has the ability to be a Day 1 starter.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 192 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

1st

We’ve had the Browns targeting a wideout in recent drafts but this is the first time they’ve had Wilson fall to them. Wilson is one of the the most dynamic players in college football and he’ll give Baker Mayfield another downfield option now that Odell Beckham Jr. is in L.A.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 189 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

6th

WFT needs a long-term answer at QB but with two QBs off the board and, to his credit, Taylor Heinicke has played well in recent weeks. Instead Washington decides to bolster the wide receiver corps, where Terry McLaurin remains WR1. Of course, the hope is that Curtis Samuel will indeed be an impact player, but even if that happens, there’s still plenty of room for Williams in the offense.

Kentucky

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 345 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

41st

POSITION RNK

1st

Kinnard is a mauler, and he has all the tools to be a first-round talent. The Bills’ O-line has been inconsistent at times this season and Kinnard could kick inside if needed.

USC

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

5th

This likely won’t be a popular pick because the Eagles have used first-rounders on wide receivers the last two years, but they’ll only have four wideouts under contract after the season, and that includes J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. London, meanwhile, was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing USC season. And while he won’t run a 4.3 when healthy, he is a high-point-catch machine who can take over games, which sounds like something Jalen Hurts could use.

Washington

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

28th

POSITION RNK

4th

Kirkland was the cornerstone of the Huskies’ offensive line and has a chance to be a first-round talent. He may have to kick inside but wherever he ends up, he’s the latest O-lineman drafted early by the Dolphins, which have tried to address the unit in recent drafts but not with the success they had hoped for.

Arkansas

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 225 lbs

At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Burks was consistently dominant during the ’21 season. He has all the tools to eventually be WR1, and in L.A., only receivers Keenan Allen and rookie Josh Palmer are under contract after the season. And if Mike Williams isn’t in the Chargers’ long-term plans, Burks wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.

Penn State

• Sr

• 5’11”

/ 184 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

3rd

By the time we get to the actual draft, we’ll much more clarity on what the Lions’ QB plans might look like. For now, there’s not a quarterback worth taking first overall, and there likely won’t be a worthy one on the board at this point, either. So instead, Detroit adds top-flight wideout Dotson. He was electric this season for the Nittany Lions, and he threatens the defense at all three levels. He’s not going to break a lot of tackles but that assumes defenders are able to get their hands on him; he’s as fast as he is elusive, and a legit home run threat every time he touches the ball.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 192 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

25th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Hill is part of a Wolverines defense that could end up seeing three players go in Round 1 next spring. He’s underrated nationally but watch him play and it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s in the running for one of the best defensive backs in this class. He’s listed as a safety but he can line up anywhere.

Utah

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 235 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

1st

Lloyd is a twitchy, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we’ve seen coming into the league over the last decade. You might note that the Cowboys just drafted Micah Parsons, who excelled as an off-ball linebacker at Penn State, but has emerged as one of the most explosive edge rushers in the NFL. Adding Lloyd can take a suddenly good defense and make it great.

Florida

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 196 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

26th

POSITION RNK

4th

It was a forgettable season for the Gators but Elam’s talents were hard to miss. He has the size (6-foot-2, 190) and athleticism to be one of the best draft-eligible corners in ’21. In K.C., the defense has improved over the second half of the year but only L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton are under contract beyond ’21.

Washington

• Soph

• 5’11”

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

50th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, something he did regularly for the Huskies in ’21. In Tampa, McDuffie provides depth to a secondary that has struggled to stay healthy in ’21.

Central Michigan

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 305 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

37th

POSITION RNK

7th

Raimann is originally from Austria and moved from tight end to left tackle after the 2019 season, but you wouldn’t know it to watch him play. He might be the most athletic O-lineman in the entire class, and he’s just scratching the surface on his abilities.

Ohio State

• Sr

• 6’1″

/ 188 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Olave is one of the best route runners in this class and he would certainly be a welcome addition in Green Bay — and it would give Aaron Rodgers something the Packers haven’t had since 2002: a wideout taken in the first round.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’0″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

1st

Kendrick is a first-round pick all day long, and he proved that again this season with Georgia after transferring from Clemson. The biggest issue for NFL teams will be off-field issues; if Kendrick has matured since his time with the Tigers, he’ll be worthy of a top 32 selection.

Houston

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 275 lbs

Last spring, some people were surprised Payton Turner made his way into Round 1. Don’t be shocked if his Houston teammate, Hall, follows a similar path. He’s been unblockable at times this season and at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he can line up just about anywhere.