Big boards are being finalized, mock drafts are heating up and draft analysts are starting to pound the table for their favorite prospects in the class. Yes, the 2022 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away.
Below is a two-round mock draft based on what I would do if I were in charge of all 32 NFL teams. We start with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the player I believe to be the slam-dunk No. 1 overall pick: Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson.
Hutchinson isn't just the best prospect in this class, he is also fresh off a historically good season that generated more PFF Wins Above Average (WAA) than any other edge season in the PFF College era, edging out extraordinary campaigns from Chase Young, Joey Bosa and Nick Bosa.
The Michigan edge defender always has a plan. He knows how to set tackles up and consistently forces them to open the door to the counter back inside. His advanced pass-rushing skill set gives him one of the highest floors of any prospect in this class.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pounder possesses the agility, explosiveness, confidence and violence to thrive on the edge. His technical prowess also led to an elite 90.8 run-defense grade in 2021.
Hutchinson earned an FBS-leading 94.5 overall grade last season and is all but a safe projection to the next level. He could help lead a new era on defense in Jacksonville while QB Trevor Lawrence takes control of the offense.
just dropping this to remind everyone that Aidan Hutchinson is a monster pic.twitter.com/8vyXRXC5uo
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 10, 2022
Thibodeaux isn't the most refined pass-rusher in this class, and opposing offenses spent a lot of time trying to scheme away from him. But, despite all that, the 6-foot-4, 251-pounder still earned a 91.5 pass-rush grade last year.
He boasts all the tools NFL teams desire on the edge and showed improvement throughout his college career. If he can continue on that path of refinement, he can reach NFL All-Pro status.
personally I think Kayvon Thibodeaux plays with plenty effort pic.twitter.com/FBmLYl4xiN
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) March 23, 2022
The LSU corner could well be the best all-around athlete in this class. At The Opening showcase event in high school, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback posted a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and a 42.0-inch vertical — jaw-dropping numbers for a high school athlete.
Stingley produced the best true freshman season of the PFF College era in 2019 when he posted a 91.7 PFF grade and recorded 21 combined interceptions and pass breakups, all while allowing a catch on just 38% of his targets. He is a top-five talent and the kind of leader Lovie Smith would love to have on his defense.
yeaaaaah Derek Stingley Jr. should still be a top 5 pick pic.twitter.com/4rIDUoeKBz
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 25, 2022
Despite his slower-than-expected 40-yard dash, Hamilton is still one of the most explosive athletes in the class, and he combines supreme length with fantastic eyes in coverage.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder was a true playmaker at Notre Dame and should be the same in the NFL. He totaled 22 combined pass breakups and interceptions in his three-year college career, and only five Power Five safeties recorded more than 15 over that span.
Gardner allowed just 131 yards across 14 games and 482 coverage snaps in 2021, a performance that will forever be known as one of the best ever seasons by a college defensive back.
Impressively, the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder did that while playing mainly on an island in press-man coverage. He closed out his three-year college career without allowing a single touchdown despite playing over 1,100 coverage snaps. New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will be able to trust him to win on an island sooner rather than later.
Cross, Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are all firmly in the OT1 conversation, but Cross gets my nod because of how well he projects as a pass protector.
The Mississippi State product improved by leaps and bounds this past season, putting up an 84.9 PFF grade after struggling to a mark of 60.7 the year before. After allowing 44 pressures in 2020, he gave up just 16 last season despite playing 145 more pass-blocking snaps.
7. NEW YORK GIANTS (VIA CHI): LB NAKOBE DEAN, GEORGIA BULLDOGS
With the Giants welcoming in Wink Martindale as the new DC, this Giants defense will be aggressive and could look to add more pressure. Creative pressure packages are key to Martindale's defensive success, and Dean comes from a system with the same philosophy. The Georgia off-ball linebacker was one of the best blitzers in college football last season.
Not only was Dean the highest-graded off-ball linebacker of 2021, but he's the only linebacker in the PFF College era to earn a 90.0-plus PFF grade in coverage and as a pass-rusher.
The Georgia product racked up 31 pressures and 15 passing stops in 2021, both of which ranked top-10 among Power Five linebackers. He also ranked sixth in the Power Five in pass-rush win rate (22.3%), allowed a first down at the lowest rate among linebackers (13.5%) and didn’t surrender a single touchdown.
Ignore the size concerns with the 5-foot-11, 231-pounder. Dean is the real deal.
another layer to this play is that you can see Dean command the front to stem (i.e. change the front)
UGA did this often, which added to Dean's job, but he carried out his role perfectly. An example of why Kirby called Dean "Commander-in-Chief." He was the MVP of that defense https://t.co/BQ4zIV2JDM
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) March 29, 2022
Arthur Smith’s offense is a dream fit for Ridder, the most NFL-ready quarterback in this class.
The Cincinnati product displayed high-level processing and flawlessly executed the Bearcats’ pure passing concepts this past season. He got through his progressions, consistently finding the right receiver, and had nine games without a turnover-worthy play this past season — the best mark in the FBS.
Ridder also ranked third among the top seven quarterback prospects in accurate-pass percentage on throws beyond the line of scrimmage. So, while it may not be perfect, his accuracy is not a liability.
Ridder has risen up NFL boards into the first-round conversation after lighting up the Senior Bowl and combine, and he’s my top prospect at the position.
9. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (VIA DEN): T EVAN NEAL, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Neal's 85.8 PFF grade ranked third among all Power Five tackles last year, and he allowed just one pressure per game on average. It was his second consecutive 80.0-plus PFF grade, too, as he posted an 83.7 mark at right tackle in 2020.
The Alabama product is the model of consistency. And his physical tools are off the charts, evidenced by his No. 1 ranking on Bruce Feldman’s annual Freaks List. With the Seahawks having to replace both starting tackles in Duane Brown and Brandon Shell, this is a dream scenario.
10. NEW YORK JETS (VIA SEA): EDGE GEORGE KARLAFTIS, PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
Karlaftis defines power. He pairs that power with some of the best hand usage in the class and an explosive get-off that makes life tough on opposing offensive tackles.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder showed a lot of promise as an underclassman and maximized his full potential as a true junior, displayed by his 90.6 pass-rush grade this season.
Purdue edge George Karlaftis became the 1st player to earn 10+ pressures vs an Iowa OL in the @PFF_College era yesterday.
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) October 17, 2021
Wilson is coming off back-to-back 80.0-plus PFF grades and makes his mark as a top-notch route-runner. He pairs that with top-notch body control and an innate ability to shake guys in the open field.
The physical aspect of the 6-foot, 183-pound receiver’s game is a concern, but it shouldn’t be enough to prevent him from sliding further than 11th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. His game should allow him to have immediate success when in the slot or given a cushion on the outside.
A season ago, the Vikings outside cornerbacks gave up the third-most yards league-wide (1,802) while tying for the third-fewest plays on the ball (18). And so far, they’ve made no moves to address that area of need. Enter Trent McDuffie, who earned an 80.0-plus PFF grade as a true freshman, sophomore and junior at Washington.
The 5-foot-11, 193-pound corner allowed just 111 yards across 296 coverage snaps in 2021. He is a fantastic zone cover corner, and his awareness, athleticism, physicality and tackling ability will make him an issue for any underneath passing offense.
13. HOUSTON TEXANS (VIA CLE): EDGE JERMAINE JOHNSON II, FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Johnson was the best player on the field for most of the Senior Bowl practices, impressing scouts so much that he opted out of the final day of practice and the game itself.
The 6-foot-4, 259-pound edge defender has over 34-inch arms and the tools to put them into action. He produced multiple pressures in every game he played for Florida State last season and ended the campaign with an 81.0 PFF grade.
100%. this push/pull strip-sack for a TD from Johnson is one play from the 2021 season i’ll never forget pic.twitter.com/y5b0XSoL40
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) March 9, 2022
Baltimore might not “need” an offensive tackle, but the thought of taking Ikem Ekwonu and kicking him inside to guard is too good to ignore.
From a run-blocking standpoint, Ekwonu seems destined to be an impactful NFL lineman right away and would add to a potent Baltimore rushing attack. He was one of the nastiest run-blockers of the PFF College era and boasted a 93.8 run-blocking grade for the 2021 season — the highest mark in the Power Five.
Ekwonu’s pass sets are still a concern, and it’s likely going to take some time for him to be a quality pass-protector in the NFL ranks, though he made strides in that department this past season by raising his pass-blocking grade year-over-year from 55.3 to 78.3.
15. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (VIA MIA): WR DRAKE LONDON, USC TROJANS
Before breaking his ankle in Week 9, London was flying up draft boards and had posted a 91.8 receiving grade along the way. He dominated in one-on-one scenarios, consistently won with physicality and displayed elite ball skills.
Across eight games, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound receiver totaled 19 contested catches, six more than any other Power Five wide receiver through Week 12, and broke a colossal 22 tackles after the catch.
16. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (VIA PHI & IND): WR CHRIS OLAVE, OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
In the first edition of this mock, I had this pick traded to the Chicago Bears for a 2023 first-rounder. But then Saints general manager Mickey Loomis decided to give much more than that. In the end, New Orleans gave up Picks 18, 101 and 237 this year, along with their 2023 first-rounder and 2024 second-rounder, in exchange for Picks 16, 19 and 194 this year.
With their newly acquired first-round pick, New Orleans should go after Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave, who has the wheels to be a deep threat at the next level and is one of the more refined route-runners in the class. He ranks first in the Power Five in deep receiving touchdowns over the last three seasons and stands at the 97th percentile in separation rate over that span.
The thought of Justin Herbert slinging deep bombs to Williams — one of the fastest pass-catchers in this class — is far too enticing to pass up.
While the Alabama receiver tore his ACL in their National Championship Game, he is expected to be ready to go around the start of training camp. He earned an 85.1 receiving grade in his lone season with the Crimson Tide after transferring over from Ohio State, and he also racked up an FBS-leading 12 20-plus-yard touchdowns.
18. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (VIA NO): LB DEVIN LLOYD, UTAH UTES
There are few bones to pick with Lloyd’s game as a prospect. He’s explosive, intuitive and has the frame and physicality the NFL is looking for.
Lloyd was one of only four players at the position who earned a 90.0-plus PFF grade in 2021. He graded above 80.0 against the run, in coverage and as a blitzer.
While it may take some time to adjust to the NFL, Raimann is an incredibly promising prospect. He grew up in Austria, came to the USA as a foreign exchange student, and secured a scholarship at Central Michigan after one year of high school football. He started his career at tight end for two seasons before switching to tackle the past two seasons and notably earned PFF MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors for his performance in 2021.
Measuring in at 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds, Raimann earned a 94.3 PFF grade last season, putting up a 93.3 run-block grade and an 88.7 pass-block grade to boot. He was virtually flawless in pass protection over his last six games, too, with zero pressures allowed in that span.
Willis tops this quarterback class in terms of tools, as his rushing ability gives him a high floor while his big arm gives him one of the highest ceilings in the class. The Liberty product led the FBS in both PFF rushing grade (94.5) and big-time throw rate (11%) a season ago.
There are concerns about how raw he is as a passer, which makes it very possible he ends up closer to his floor in the long run. He will need to work on his decision-making, pocket presence, accuracy, timing and inconsistency within his platform. He made strides in some of those areas last season, but there is still a long road ahead.
Booth doesn’t quite have the lockdown numbers as some of the other top corner prospects in this class, as he allowed 329 yards across 288 coverage snaps in 2021. However, he does have the tools worth taking a swing on in the first round.
The 2019 five-star recruit has exceptional feet, good length and brings the physicality out on the field. Booth also made up for lost time down the stretch of 2021, as he combined for five interceptions and pass breakups in his final three starts.
22. GREEN BAY PACKERS (VIA LV): WR CHRISTIAN WATSON, NORTH DAKOTA STATE BISON
Watson has been one of the draft's biggest risers over recent months. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound wideout earned an 89.5 receiving grade while generating an astounding 4.33 yards per route run playing in a run-heavy Bison offense last year. He followed that up with one of the best Senior Bowl showings at the position, finishing in the top-three in PFF grade during the one-on-ones.
Watson caught the attention of coaches, scouts and executives at the event and generated even more hype with an elite combine performance.
Watson's 2022 NFL Scouting Combine numbers (among all WR prospects historically)
|Height:||6-foot-4 (97th percentile)|
|Weight:||208 pounds (65th percentile)|
|Arm:||32.5 inches (69th percentile)|
|40-Yard dash:||4.36 seconds (92nd percentile)|
|10-Yard split:||1.46 seconds (99th percentile)|
|Vertical jump:||39 inches (84th percentile)|
|Broad jump:||11-foot-4 (99th percentile)|
NDSU WR prospect Christian Watson (6’4”, 208) has some serious juice for his size
Round 1 talent, imo. pic.twitter.com/QUYjbgjrnE
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) March 28, 2022
Elam put up a PFF coverage grade of 89.8 as a true freshman in 2019 and followed that up with an 81.0 grade as a sophomore in 2020, dominating so much that opposing offenses largely avoided him in 2021.
Elam was targeted three or fewer times in over half of his games this past year. However, his PFF grade was dragged down by penalties, which speaks volumes about how overly physical he can get.
Elam’s game may take some time to translate to the NFL level, but he has the traits to be a quality press-man corner — something Vance Joseph’s defense desperately needs.
No Power Five interior defensive lineman earned a higher PFF grade in 2021. Wyatt also earned a grade above 80.0 both against the run and as a pass-rusher — something no other player at the position in the Power Five accomplished.
The former Georgia Bulldog was the most impactful interior defender in the Power Five. That carried through the Senior Bowl, where he led all at the position in win rate during the one-on-ones.
Georgia DI Devonte Wyatt with a cross chop rip vs former teammate Justin Shaffer.
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 4, 2022
Dotson may not be a physically imposing receiver, but he is a promising prospect because of his ball skills and strong route-running ability. The 5-foot-11, 178-pound receiver is coming off an 87.5 PFF grade and dropped only two of his 138 targets. He made highlight-reel catches look routine at Penn State and should continue to do so at the NFL level.
Jahan Dotson looks like he plays with stickum. unreal hands and body control pic.twitter.com/qUb27LKV8y
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) April 1, 2022
The highest-graded wide receiver of the 2021 college football season wasn’t any of the Power Five top prospects — it was Western Michigan's Skyy Moore.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound receiver's 26 broken tackles after the catch tied for the most among wide receivers in 2021, and he ranked in the 95th percentile in separation percentage. Despite his smaller stature, Moore had no issue handling press coverage on the outside, ranking top-five in yards per route run on those reps last season at 3.58. The cherry on top is his strong hands — the Western Michigan pass-catcher checked in with the largest hands of anyone at the Combine (10.25 inches) and dropped just three of his 125 targets in 2021 while catching eight of his 13 contested opportunities.
Taking Jordan Davis to slot in alongside Vita Vea would take Tampa’s run defense to another level. It’s no secret that the 6-foot-6, 341-pounder is a freaky athlete, and he projects as a high-level run-stuffer at the next level.
Davis earned an 89.2 run-defense grade while collecting 47 run stops and 17 tackles for loss or no gain over the last three years. He missed just four of his 75 tackle attempts against the run over that span.
The problem is that Davis is far from a refined pass-rusher and not an every-down player. He played just over a third of the team’s snaps this past season and turned in a lackluster 69.0 pass-rush grade for the season.
Run-stuffing interior defensive linemen are valuable pieces in the NFL, but Davis' ceiling will only be so high if this playstyle remains. For that reason, Davis comes off the board late in Round 1 for me.
Mafe is one of the most underrated players in the 2022 class. The 6-foot-4, 261-pound edge defender is an elite athlete with a fantastic get-off and has continuously improved his pass-rush toolbox. He owns a 90.7 pass-rush grade for his collegiate career and posted the highest win rate of any pass-rusher at the Senior Bowl.
Boye Mafe with a nice snatch and swim for a sack
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 17, 2022
29. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (VIA MIA & SF): CB KYLER GORDON, WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Gordon may not have elite long speed, but he is an explosive and agile athlete with a high ceiling. He put up an 89.6 coverage grade in 2021 — his first full season starting — despite not being the most technically refined or instinctive corner. He still managed to produce at a borderline elite level in his last year at Washington, and he still has so much more room to grow.
This is an unpopular opinion, but I am not comfortable with taking Walker any earlier than the end of Round 1.
The Georgia edge defender is in rare territory from a tools perspective. He clocked a 4.51-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile among edge historically), 35-inch vertical (76th), 10-foot-3 broad jump (85th), 4.32-second short shuttle (70th) and 6.89-second three-cone (93rd). He also has long arms that measure in at 35.5 inches.
But, from a technical standpoint, Walker is a risky bet. His pass-rush move arsenal is non-existent, with little to no natural feel. The 6-foot-5, 272-pounder relied on his length with the bull rush and long arm, but it still wasn’t effective against college tackles, even with that advantage.
Despite playing for a historically good defense in 2021, the Georgia product still produced just a 66.1 pass-rush grade and an 11.2% win rate in his three years in Athens.
His lack of development while playing for an A-list program is a major concern. And while there’s no denying what he can develop into with further top-notch coaching, it’s likely going to be multiple years before Walker can fully maximize his physical gifts, if at all. A contender like Kansas City can take on this risk.
Linderbaum is arguably a top-10 prospect, but the problem is that there’s not a pressing need for a starting center across the league, especially within zone offenses where the Iowa product best fits.
Cincinnati could certainly use Linderbaum’s services, even after signing three new offensive linemen in free agency. The Bengals signed free agent Ted Karras to play center, but he can easily stick at left guard, where he played in 2021 for the Patriots.
Linderbaum may be undersized, but he’s an ultra-athlete who plays bigger than his size suggests. He was a top-five-graded center in all three years starting at the position, including in 2021 when he broke the single-season grading record for a center.
beautiful reach block here from Tyler Linderbaum pic.twitter.com/Io9mG91YIU
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 17, 2022
32. DETROIT LIONS (VIA LAR): S JALEN PITRE, BAYLOR BEARS
Slot corners are valuable pieces to the defense, and Pitre was one of the best slot corners in college football over the last two years at Baylor, producing a top-three slot coverage grade among Power Five defensive backs in that span.
The former Baylor Bear didn’t allow a single touchdown in the slot while producing the second-most passing stops (20) and 11 combined plays on the ball. Pitre was also a stout run defender and an excellent pass-rusher, whether in the slot or on the occasions he moved closer to the ball at outside linebacker. He posted a 92.7 run-defense and 83.6 pass-rush grade in 2021.
Pitre has the skill set to be a more versatile player in the league than he was at Baylor, but at a minimum, he should be a strong slot defender. He has the physical instinct, quickness and processing ability to do so.
The UConn product was an unblockable force in all three of his seasons at UConn and wowed scouts with his brute strength at the Senior Bowl.
Jones is coming off a top-five overall grade among interior defensive linemen (87.6). During Senior Bowl practice, the 6-foot-4, 326-pound interior defender earned a 92.2 pass-rush grade while leading the position in pass-rush win rate (42.5%).
One of the most underrated players in this draft class, Chenal is an explosive athlete who attacks downhill with a vengeance. A season ago, the former Wisconsin Badger actually ranked second among the nation's linebackers in pass-rush grade and first at the position in run-defense grade.
Unfortunately, his play in coverage is still a work in progress. He will need a role at the next level that gives him ample opportunity to rush the passer, which the Lions can provide.
Leo Chenal at the Combine + Pro Day:
4.53 40 (87th percentile among LBs historically)
1.55 10 (92nd)
34 bench (99th)
41 vertical (97th)
10'8" broad (95th)
3.94 short shuttle (99th)
6.84 3-cone (91st)
holy hell https://t.co/rQS8zzRsr4
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) March 9, 2022
Burks' testing numbers left many draft analysts disappointed, but he still has the size and physicality to give defenses fits, and his play speed is far better than his 40-yard dash time.
He can also accelerate exceptionally well for his size, as his 1.54-second 10-yard split shows. Burks averaged 8.6 yards after the catch per reception and broke 24 tackles on 115 receptions since 2020. He hauled in all 21 of his catchable vertical route targets for 792 yards and 10 touchdowns in that span.
Johnson earned an 80.0-plus grade as both a pass- and run-blocker last season, recording just one penalty en route to an honorable mention PFF All-American honors.
As lead draft analyst Mike Renner highlighted in the 2022 PFF Draft Guide, there are a few cons to his game. He’s a polished and stout performer and didn’t lose a single pass-blocking rep during Senior Bowl week.
Green was undoubtedly one of the biggest disappointments of the scouting combine, as he ranked below the 25th percentile in the bench (20 reps), vertical (26-inches) and pro agility (5.12) while sitting near average in the 40-yard dash (5.24), 10-yard split (1.80) and broad jump (8-foot-6).
Green measured in at 6-foot-4 and 323 pounds with 34.13-inch arms, giving him an intriguing frame, and he has enough quality tape to warrant a late Round 1 or early Round 2 pick.
He allowed multiple pressures in just one of his 12 games this past season while recording an impressive 83.6 run-block grade. Green is also one of the most versatile linemen in the class, as he started at every offensive line position outside of center last season.
38. NEW YORK JETS (VIA CAR): LB CHAD MUMA, WYOMING COWBOYS
Muma is an explosive athlete at 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, and his 40-inch vertical and 129-inch broad jump back that up. The former Wyoming Cowboy racked up 68 defensive stops, tying for the most among all FBS off-ball linebackers nationally. He does need to get better with welcoming and playing through contact, though.
The first edition of this mock had the Bears swapping future draft picks for one of Philadelphia’s first-round selections to reunite quarterback Justin Fields with wide receiver Chris Olave. This pick was to help bolster the offensive line. Monday's trade squashed any hope of that, so now the Bears look to wide receiver.
Pickens was a true-freshman star back in 2019 before injuries derailed his college career. The Georgia receiver went from an 88.0 receiving grade in 2019 to a 71.9 mark in 2020 while dealing with a nagging upper-body injury. Matters got even worse before 2021, as he tore his ACL in the spring, limiting him to just 32 routes for the season.
At his peak, Pickens looked like one of the most dominant receivers in the country. He showcased elite hands and routinely hauled in off-target throws with his massive catch radius. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver dropped just two of 139 career targets at Georgia, so there’s no denying his ball skills are exceptional. Along with his size, he has the physicality and acceleration teams want in an X receiver. The question is, can he stay healthy?
Georgia’s George Pickens had the third most catchable targets without a drop in college football at 49 as a true freshman (per @PFF).
His catch radius and hands are flat out unbelievable for his age. Pickens is easily one of the top-10 returning players in the entire SEC. pic.twitter.com/C5M2FtCSFi
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 17, 2020
40. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (VIA DEN): QB SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
One of the class' boom-or-bust prospects, Howell has supreme arm talent but was stuck with an underwhelming supporting cast in an offense that didn’t have him do a lot of “NFL quarterbacking.”
Through three seasons at UNC, Howell totaled 86 big-time throws, the most of any quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft class. He also is a proven gamer — after losing four marquee weapons to the NFL before the 2021 season, he had to make up for a one-dimensional skill position group by utilizing his legs. He's not a dynamic athlete by any stretch, but he still thrived on the ground, generating the second-most 10-plus-yard runs (45) among FBS quarterbacks. And despite having few pass-catching weapons to speak of, Howell still earned an 80.3 passing grade for the season.
This is a dart worth throwing for a team like the Seahawks, who are now in rebuild mode after trading Russell Wilson to the Broncos.
Ebiketie is a fringe first-round pick, but the shape of the teams picking before this point and the depth of the position in the class means that Seattle steals the Penn State edge rusher at No. 41.
The 256-pounder enjoyed a mini-breakout campaign with the Temple Owls in 2020 and sustained that success in the Power Five, stepping up in Shaka Toney and Odafe Oweh‘s absence by earning a 90.5 pass-rush grade for the Nittany Lions in 2021.
Ebiketie uses his hands really well and enters the league with a high floor, given his 34.1-inch arms and explosiveness.
Arguably the most violent offensive lineman at the Group of Five level, Smith led the nation in big-time run-blocks a season ago. His grip strength and power are a sight to see — once his hands get locked into the defender's pads, it’s game over. The Tulsa product earned a 92.1 PFF grade that ranked fourth among FBS tackles in 2021. He was even better from Week 6 on, too, as he graded out at 94.2 over the back half of the season.
The Northern Iowa product is a high-level athlete at 6-foot-7, 325 pounds and plays with a killer mindset — so much so that he might need to tone it down a bit. While he did rack up 33 big-time blocks against lesser competition in 2021, he also drew 16 penalties. Along with that, Penning’s pass-protection needs to be completely reworked, and he has to do better with playing low. Penning is as boom-or-bust as it gets — he has the tools but has a lot of development ahead of him.
Bonitto has become an afterthought in this deep edge class. And while his lack of a strength element and underwhelming size/length are rightful concerns, the 6-foot-3, 248-pound edge defender has put up some of the best pass-rush numbers in the country over the last couple of years.
Since 2020, Bonitto ranks first among all FBS edge defenders in pass-rush grade (94.6), pass-rush win rate (27.8%) and pressure rate (22.2%). He may serve as a designated pass-rusher to start, but he can provide value in that role.
Despite the Achilles injury he suffered during his pro day, Ojabo still shouldn't fall further than the middle of Round 2. That’s the kind of upside he possesses.
Reuniting with Mike Macdonald (his defensive coordinator from Michigan) and former high school teammate Odafe Oweh would be ideal for the former Wolverine and a good fit for both parties.
Ojabo is an extraordinary athlete who definitely flashed top-tier talent, as he produced multiple elite pass-rush grades above 90.0. At the same time, his production was somewhat inconsistent and his run defense is a big issue. There’s risk involved, but the Ravens can afford the risk at 45th overall.
Salyer has experience playing all five spots along the offensive line and showcased quality pass protection, regardless of position, as he allowed just 14 pressures across 794 career pass-block snaps.
The 6-foot-3, 321-pound Georgia product packs power in his punch and brings a physical presence in the run game. Still, he will likely be limited to the interior due to athletic limitations.
47. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (VIA IND): S LEWIS CINE, GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Cine was one of the best safeties in college football last year, turning in an 82.4 PFF grade for the season that ranked eighth in the Power Five. He then blew up the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine with a performance that featured a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and an 11-foot-1 broad jump.
To no surprise, Cine became one of the best tacklers in the country at Georgia, with just 11 misses on 159 career attempts. He was primarily a deep safety in college, but he can be more versatile in the NFL.
48. CHICAGO BEARS (VIA LAC): CB ROGER MCCREARY, AUBURN TIGERS
McCreary’s lack of length and underwhelming athletic testing numbers have sunk his draft stock. The Auburn corner checked in with 28 7/8-inch arms, which would be the shortest among all outside cornerbacks in the NFL right now. Whichever team takes him will likely try him in the slot — where he has played just 105 career snaps — as a result. But I think he deserves a shot on the outside where he dominated in the SEC.
The good with McCreary is that he is an advanced corner prospect from a technique standpoint and has proven elite collegiate production. This past season, he was the highest-graded cornerback in the FBS and led the Power Five in pass breakups with 13. Since 2019, he is second to only Ahmad Gardner among FBS corners in coverage grade playing press. The physical traits are concerning, but McCreary has the experience, technique and mindset to succeed in the NFL.
Yes, New Orleans has Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton, but at this point it’s safe to say neither of the two is a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. So, the Saints should keep swinging on a quarterback, even if those quarterbacks carry some risk — as Corral does.
The Ole Miss product spent his career in one of the most quarterback-friendly offenses in college football. And while it does him no favors when it comes to projecting him to the NFL, he was consistently on time, he delivered accurate throws and he showed off an exceptional deep ball.
Corral’s 2021 campaign left a lot to be desired in some aspects, but some of this has to do with injury. His 2021 season took a nosedive mid-season when injury struck the quarterback and his top wide receivers. He fought through his ailments and played, but the output wasn’t up to his standards.
Corral’s 91.1 PFF grade through Week 7 was the fourth-highest in the FBS, but that mark fell 20 grading points to 70.6 from Week 8 on. Then, when he finally got healthy for the Sugar Bowl, he suffered an unfortunate ankle injury that knocked him out of the game.
Adjusting to the far more complex reads will be a massive learning curve for Corral. If he ever becomes an NFL starting quarterback, he will have to sit for a bit and learn, and New Orleans can provide that situation.
50. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (VIA MIA): DI LOGAN HALL, HOUSTON COUGARS
Despite being a bit thin for the position, Hall ranked among the 10 highest-graded players at the position in 2020 and 2021.
The 6-foot-6 Houston Cougar has bulked up to 283 pounds since the end of the 2021 season and posted top times at the NFL Scouting Combine, including a 4.88-second 40-yard dash, 4.44-second pro agility and a 7.25-second three-cone. He still is in tweener territory, though, and he does have an issue with staying low at that height.
Joseph was the highest-graded safety at the FBS level in 2021, serving as a high-level playmaker in coverage who accumulated five interceptions and four pass breakups while providing sound run defense and tackling.
The Illinois safety has long limbs (33.25-inch arms) for his 6-foot, 200-pound frame. Between his length, ball skills and coverage skills, he provided a lot to like entering the 2022 Senior Bowl, and he lived up to the hype with two interceptions and pass breakups during the one-on-ones and team drills.
Brisker earned three straight 80.0-plus PFF grades from 2019 to 2021. He recorded a couple of interceptions and four pass breakups en route to an 89.5 coverage grade this season. He is a smart player with a high floor.
53. GREEN BAY PACKERS (VIA LV): iOL ZACH TOM, WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
The Wake Forest Demon Deacon led all FBS tackles in pass-blocking grade last season and allowed just 13 pressures in 14 starts, including zero to Jermaine Johnson II in their Week 3 showdown.
After a stellar collegiate career, Tom proceeded to light up the NFL Scouting Combine, recording a 4.94-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile among interior offensive linemen historically), 1.70-second 10-yard split (96th), 33-inch vertical (96th), 9-foot-10 broad (99th), 4.47-second pro agility (94th) and 7.32-second three-cone (97th). Don’t be surprised if he becomes a high-quality starter at the NFL level despite being Day 2 prospect.
Jackson has the explosiveness, agility and flexibility coaches dream of having on the edge. But, at the same time, he is far from a polished pass-rusher and is far from physical. The tools are worth investing in on Day 2, and the fact that he showed some growth in 2021 should be encouraging. Jackson went from a 66.6 pass-rush grade in 2020 to 88.3 in 2021.
Enagbare has a high motor, excellent length and big-time pop in his hands, which helped him to a 92.5 pass-rush grade this past season. The problem is the lack of refinement and his inability to play in control.
Kinnard is a tackle-to-guard convert who can immediately provide value in the run game. He posted run-block grades of 89.1, 91.9 and 91.8 in his three years starting at the collegiate level. He may take some time to develop into starter level, but Dallas can afford to take that on.
Andersen is the best non-FBS defensive prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class. He earned an 86.3 PFF grade for Montana State in 2021 and led the FCS in defensive stops (67). What makes that even more impressive is that it was his first full season at the position after playing running back and quarterback.
Andersen then proceeded to earn the highest PFF grade among off-ball linebackers during Senior Bowl practices and recorded a blazing 4.42-second 40-yard dash time and an eye-popping 10-foot-8 broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s likely going to take longer than most on this list to develop, considering he is jumping from FCS to NFL and just moved to the position not long ago, but he is a very promising long-term prospect.
58. ATLANTA FALCONS (VIA TEN): S DAXTON HILL, MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Hill has the athleticism, solid collegiate production and versatility that is attractive to NFL teams. While he didn’t wear many hats in Michigan’s defense and primarily covered the slot, he has the skill set to be versatile or serve as a primary deep safety in the league.
Hill produced a top-10 coverage slot coverage grade among Power Five defensive backs from 2020 to 2021.
McBride was the highest-graded tight end in college football last season and the engine of Colorado State’s offense. He was targeted on 30% of his routes — the second-highest rate at the position — and finished the season averaging an incredible 2.77 yards per route run. The 6-foot-3, 249-pounder has the receiving ability and blocking prowess to become a quality tight end in the NFL.
Tindall never started a game in his collegiate career and didn’t break the linebacker rotation until his fourth year on campus in 2021. Despite that, he was an instrumental piece to Georgia’s historic defense.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound off-ball linebacker earned an 85.4 PFF grade across 474 snaps in 2021. He plays violently with picture-perfect blitzing technique, and his physical tools are off the charts. Tindall finished with 26 pressures on 105 such reps and an 81.5 pass-rush grade for the season. He’s like a heat-seeking missile tacking down ball carriers in space.
Tindall rose up some boards after a stellar combine performance that featured a 4.47-second 40, a 1.55-second 10-yard split, a 42-inch vertical, a 10-foot-9 broad and 4.18-second pro agility, but he’s still firmly in the Day 2 conversation with inexperience and still learning the position being the big reason why.
There’s no denying his long-term potential, though. Landing with a blitz-heavy scheme like Tampa Bay could help Tindall outplay his draft status sooner rather than later.
Channing Tindall’s closing burst and range is insane pic.twitter.com/Q60S0RNxjJ
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) March 29, 2022
Emerson would fit nicely into San Francisco’s defense. He isn’t the most gifted athlete, but he can give some receivers fits at the line of scrimmage in press zone with his 33.5-inch arms.
Emerson’s length also helps him at the catch point, as his 14 pass breakups since 2020 can attest. While there’s some rightful concern about his athletic shortcomings, he understands the game, brings a physical presence and has strong production in college football’s most difficult conference. At the end of Round 2, that’s worth betting on.
Calvin Austin III might not immediately step in to replace Tyreek Hill, but that’s not to say the undersized speedster can’t contribute to Andy Reid’s offense. Austin has elite track speed and quickness. His overall athleticism, paired with his route-running and release package, helps overcome his diminutive stature.
The Memphis product may stand at 5-foot-7 while weighing 173 pounds with 30.6-inch arms, but that didn't stop him from producing at a high level as an outside receiver in 2021. He is fresh off an 85.2 receiving grade, 2.99 yards per route run and 14 broken tackles on 74 receptions.
It also didn’t stop him from dominating at the Senior Bowl. Austin earned the highest receiving grade among qualifying wide receivers in practice and generated multiple steps of separation on over half of his targets against single coverage, forming the highest rate of such plays among all wide receivers in attendance.
Memphis WR Calvin Austin III was a huge winner at @seniorbowl practices.
This was a nice rep here — shuffle release, gets the CB to open his hips and rips back. Elite quicks and showed off his route-running ability and release package all week. pic.twitter.com/RGKhpnlgVm
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 4, 2022
Leal is a tweener at 6-foot-4, 282-pounds. He was a quality performer over the last couple of seasons playing on the edge, but when asked to play inside, he struggled to make an impact.
The Texas A&M Aggie owns a 63.5 PFF grade from the interior since 2020 but an 83.2 mark from the edge. The problem is that he’s not playing on the edge at the NFL level at his size.
He has the tools at his size to bet on, though, especially for a well-rounded team in Round 2 like Cincinnati. If he’s going to make an impact in the NFL, it’s probably going to take some time.
64. DENVER BRONCOS (VIA LAR): LB QUAY WALKER, GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Walker is so good at wrapping defenders up with his near 80-inch wingspan. Throughout his collegiate career, Walker missed just seven tackles on 138 attempts.
The Georgia product’s length and overall physical profile gave him an advantage, but his play strength was sometimes exposed, and he was still more of a reactor than playmaker. This is a good bet for the linebacker-needy Broncos to make.