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2022 NFL mock draft: SB Nation’s blogs venture Rounds 1 and a pair of

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The 2022 NFL Draft is sort of right here, and like most followers, the writers at our staff communities have robust emotions about their staff’s draft wants and the gamers who might finest fill these wants.

This draft goes to be distinctive for a couple of causes. Initially, it’s being held within the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas, Nev. Strip for the primary time ever.

Final 12 months, there have been a number of excessive profile quarterback prospects, and the place they had been all headed (apart from Trevor Lawrence, who was usually anticipated to go to the Jaguars with the primary total decide) was a subject of a lot dialogue. This 12 months’s high quarterbacks — Sam Howell, Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and Matt Corral, aren’t producing practically as a lot pleasure, as they appear like they’ll want some growth to turn out to be NFL-ready starters, nevertheless it’s nonetheless going to be fascinating to see the place they land and the way early within the draft groups will probably be prepared to take an opportunity on them.

And third, due to myriad trades, a whopping eight groups have two picks within the first spherical this 12 months. That’s actually shaking issues up a bit.

With out additional ado, welcome to the sixteenth annual SB Nation NFL group mock draft.

No. 1: Jaguars choose Aiden Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

From Demetrius Harvey at Massive Cat Nation:

The one want the staff didn’t handle a lot in free company, although, was at edge rusher, which was one of many staff’s largest wants exiting the season. Now, with Hutchinson, the staff will lastly have a sure-fire edge rusher reverse of former first-round decide Josh Allen.

No. 2: Lions choose Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

From Jeremy Reisman at Satisfaction of Detroit:

There could also be some considerations about his slot in Detroit now that they’ve mentioned they are going to be using extra four-down units, and Thibodeaux is coming from a 3-4 scheme at Oregon. And, sure, he must enhance as a run defender on the subsequent stage.

However what Thibodeaux gives as a go rusher on this league is uncommon and very coveted. The Lions completed thirtieth in sacks, twenty ninth in strain fee, thirty first in staff go rush win fee. Thibodeaux will instantly enhance the weakest level in Detroit’s protection. Maybe one of the best half about him is that his bodily instruments will make him a Day 1 impression participant, and he has quite a lot of room to enhance his method, which means his ceiling might even be increased than his faculty stage of manufacturing.

No. 3: Texans choose Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

From T.D. Durham at Battle Crimson Weblog:

Hamilton frolicked lining up in a number of spots on Notre Dame’s protection in his three years at South Bend. In 31 profession video games, he produced 139 tackles, eight interceptions, and 16 passes defended. He coated slot receivers, lined up as a deep “learn and react” security, got here off the sting as a rusher on the line of scrimmage, and confirmed his hard-hitting demeanor whereas understanding of the field as nicely.

In Lovie Smith’s base Tampa-2 protection, Hamilton’s versatility means he can begin on Day 1. Whether or not that begin occurs as one in all two “excessive” safeties accountable for masking half of the sector on any given go play, or as a key piece within the run sport who can crash on the ball from the field stays to be seen.

No. 4: Jets choose Ikem Ekonwu, T, NC State

From John Butchko at Gang Inexperienced Nation:

Trying on the staff as presently constructed, you would possibly wonder if offensive line is value an extra funding. The road is among the stronger place teams on the Jets roster.

There are, nevertheless, underlying points that make it a much bigger precedence than you would possibly assume. Whereas Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker have been drafted within the final two years, the opposite three starters on the road will probably be 29 or older when the 2022 season begins. Two of the three will probably be coming into the ultimate season of their respective contracts.

George Fant is amongst these linemen. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Fant enters his contract 12 months coming off his finest NFL season. Can he replicate it? Even when he can, how for much longer can he play at a excessive stage? Will the Jets be capable to re-sign him?

These questions alone make drafting one other offensive lineman a viable strategy, particularly one who was as dominant within the run sport as Ekwonu was at NC State. We haven’t even mentioned the query marks round Becton who has missed 18 video games as a result of harm throughout his first two seasons.

No. 5: Giants choose Evan Neal, T, Alabama

From Ed Valentine at Massive Blue View:

Now comes the 2022 NFL Draft. With picks No. 5 and seven, it doesn't matter what else he does or what order he does it in, the league-wide assumption appears to be that Schoen just about has to return out of Spherical 1 with a proper deal with to pair with left deal with Andrew Thomas, the staff’s 2020 first-round decide.

There are three who enter the dialogue — Ikem Ekwonu of NC State, Evan Neal of Alabama, Charles Cross of Mississippi State.

On this mock draft, the place we aren't contemplating commerce prospects like Schoen is anticipated to with one in all his two picks, the New York Jets took Ekwonu at No. 4.

That leaves the selection for at No. 5 between Neal and Cross. As a lot as I really like Cross’s clean go safety and his potential, the selection of Neal is a straightforward one to make right here. Neal is a plug and play starter at proper deal with for the Giants. He has a plethora of expertise at each tackles and at guard, positional flexibility Cross doesn’t possess ought to there come a time when the Giants would possibly need or want to maneuver Neal inside.

No. 6: Panthers choose Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

From Walker Clement at Cat Scratch Reader:

With an enormous arm, massive legs, and an already established mentor/mentee relationship with Cam Newton, Willis has been a well-liked decide by some Panthers followers all offseason. For the staff, Willis has all of the bodily instruments you can ask for and a demonstrated means to create performs out of the construction of the offense—a trait which has been traditionally helpful when enjoying behind a Panthers offensive line.

The excessive ceiling that Willis presents is, unsurprisingly, paired with a decrease flooring than another quarterbacks on this class. Guys like Kenny Pickett or Matt Corral are thought-about to be extra pro-ready. Nevertheless, the Panthers are on the lookout for a long-term reply and “2022’s Andy Dalton” isn’t that.

A lot of Willis’ struggles in faculty got here from sloppy mechanics {that a} competent teaching workers would possibly be capable to iron out. Because the Panthers appear intent on proving Matt Rhule is simply that, Willis is their no-brainer reply.

No. 7: Giants choose Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

From Ed Valentine at Massive Blue View:

I absolutely anticipate the Giants so as to add a go rusher on this draft. I'm not doing it with this choice, although.

Why?

Defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale.

Have a look at Martindale’s historical past as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Protection, particularly top-tier press-man cornerbacks, have all the time been extra necessary to Martindale’s protection than premier go rushers.

Martindale’s calling card is strain protection within the entrance with quite a lot of press-man protection within the again, the place cornerbacks are left on an island to fend for themselves. He'll ship additional rushers, usually from distinctive angles, but in addition will design unique four-man strain packages. His historical past has proven that he wants top-tier cornerbacks greater than he wants elite edge rushers. … With that in thoughts, my alternative for the Giants at No. 7 is Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner.

No. 8: Falcons choose Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, FSU

From Kevin Knight at The Falcoholic:

I went with Johnson as a result of I consider he’s a extremely, actually good participant who will make a direct impression for the Falcons. He’s the primary piece in what is probably going a multi-year retooling of the sting group. Whereas Johnson lacks the sky-high go speeding ceiling of the highest gamers within the class, he’s an elite run defender with an excellent flooring on the place. I don’t assume we’ll ever see Johnson pushing 12-15 sacks in a season, but when he will get 10 reliably and provides a ton of manufacturing in opposition to the run? That’s nonetheless a terrific participant and a worthy eighth total decide.

Johnson wins with a mixture of energy, explosiveness, and method that makes him scheme-versatile and one of the pro-ready gamers within the class. He continued to enhance each week at FSU, and capped his season with an extremely dominant Senior Bowl efficiency. Johnson was legitimately one of the best participant in Cellular, and it wasn’t shut.

No. 9: Seahawks choose Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

From Mookie Alexander at Discipline Gulls:

Versatility

Penning has performed at each deal with and proper guard, which ought to instantly intrigue the Seahawks entrance workplace. Jamarco Jones didn’t actually pan out throughout his time in Seattle however he just about secured a roster spot purely as a result of he was depth at deal with and guard. In Penning’s case he’s much better suited to deal with than Jones ever was, so whereas he’s normally on the left aspect he might swap to proper deal with on the professional stage.

Stands out as a run blocker

Once more, it’s partially tongue-in-cheek. With Russell Wilson gone, I feel it's extremely seemingly that the Seahawks as soon as once more turn out to be one of the run-heavy groups within the NFL. Penning’s highlights within the run sport stand out a bit greater than his go safety, and little question the Seahawks will probably be taking a look at any OL who can run block nicely, and PFF gave Penning a 99.9 run blocking grade for 2021.

Finest gamers remaining:

  • Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
  • Charles Cross, T, Mississippi State
  • Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
  • George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
  • Drake London, WR, USC

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