Everyone loves a mock draft — or, at least, everyone loves to hate a mock draft. But mock drafts are often limited to the teams that have a first-round pick, and there happen to be eight teams without one of those this year.
Let’s spread the love and look at best-case Day 2 scenarios for every team without a first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Chicago Bears: Central Michigan T Bernhard Raimann is still on the board at 39
First selection in 2022 NFL Draft: 39
The Bears have taken a cautious offseason approach under first-year general manager Ryan Poles. That’s likely the better path than throwing money around in free agency, but it also means that all they’ve done so far to surround Justin Fields with talent is add a few value free agents in Lucas Patrick, Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown. There is still work to be done to get the offensive line and receiving corps to the level it needs to be for Fields to succeed.
There is a disconnect between where Raimann falls on most consensus boards (expected draft position of 36.6 according to Grinding the Mocks) and where the PFF big board sees him (OT4 and a top-15 player overall). The Central Michigan tackle put up a 94.6 PFF grade in 2021 — just his second season at the position after moving from tight end. He’s a high-end athlete for the position who should only continue to improve with more experience and added size.
Chicago has 2021 draft selections Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom in place as the current projected starters, but it should be a group that Poles is looking to add competition to. And if Raimann does slide, there should be better options later on Day 2 at other positions of need (wide receiver and defensive back) than there will be at tackle.
Indianapolis Colts: Georgia WR George Pickens or Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore falls to their second-round pick
First selection in 2022 NFL Draft: 42
The depth in this wide receiver class is highlighted by the fact that Pickens and Moore are both far from locks to get drafted inside the first round. Pickens currently has an expected draft position of 38.6, per Grinding the Mocks, while Moore trails close behind at 43.5. Both have valid arguments as first-round talents, and either would go a long way toward making Matt Ryan’s first season in Indianapolis a success.
Pickens and Moore bring different skill sets to the table. Pickens is more of the prototypical “X” receiver body type at 6-foot-3 with some of the best ball skills in the class. Moore is a well-built 5-foot-10 and tough to bring down in the open field, coming off a 2021 season where he led the FBS in missed tackles forced after the catch (26).
Career drop rates
George Pickens: 2.1%
Skyy Moore: 3.3%
Chris Olave: 4.7%
Jahan Dotson: 5.1%
Drake London: 5.7
Alec Pierce: 6.4%
Garrett Wilson: 6.8%
Justyn Ross: 7.1%
Treylon Burks: 7.4%
Jameson Williams: 7.7%
Jalen Tolbert: 8.4%
Christian Watson: 12.7% pic.twitter.com/QH1qlhHq2L
— Ben Linsey (@PFF_Linsey) April 7, 2022
Neither is letting too many balls hit the turf.
Even if the Colts are hopeful about Parris Campbell’s ability to stay healthy and contribute in a meaningful fashion, it’s safest to rely on him as a No. 3 option. Indianapolis still needs another starting-caliber receiver opposite Michael Pittman Jr. heading into 2022, and the top of the second round could be a good place to find that player.
Cleveland Browns: They get an impact starter on the defensive line
First selection in 2022 NFL Draft: 44
Like the Colts two picks before them, the Browns could be in the market for a wide receiver here, but there are no “sure things” on their defensive line as things stand right now beyond Myles Garrett. It would be a surprise if they came out of Day 2 without at least one pick addressing that group.
The Browns are in a position where they could target either edge or interior depending on how the Jadeveon Clowney situation pans out. Assuming Clowney is brought back, a 1-2-3 punch of Garrett, Clowney and trade acquisition Chase Winovich on the edge would certainly push the position down the list of Cleveland’s needs. Nonetheless, it could still be a target if a player such as Minnesota’s Boye Mafe or Michigan’s David Ojabo slides.
Interior defensive line is the more pressing area of need, and Travis Jones is the prospect at that position who the Browns should be hoping drops to them. The 325-pounder out of UConn is one of the strongest players in the draft who pairs that strength with 34 1/4-inch arms. He’s tough to handle on the inside, particularly in the run game, where he has put up an 87.0 PFF run-defense across his three seasons in college.