clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jake’s 2022 Mock Draft

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, folks, it’s here. You’ve waited several long months full of everything from an event known colloquially as “the Underwear Olympics,” to a fraught last few weeks of reckless speculation and news breaking that could be similarly referred to by the name of “Smoke Screen Season.”

That’s right — it’s the NFL Draft, tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

One thing you’ve assuredly encountered along this journey is the mock draft. It’s an exercise in, if not futility, then simple diversion. Perhaps nothing has become more oversaturated and done-to-death in the already comically so world-at-large of the NFL, than the mock draft, a predictive choose your own adventure scenario in which everyone from big-haired, Baltimore based draftniks, to brand new fans of the league, can take a crack at predicting how things will shake out during the annual selection process. At this point, there’s maybe nothing that inundates the NFL digital media landscape more than mock drafts of both large and small import except for fantasy football content, and to be fair, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

It just means that for someone like me (who grows tired of trendy things perhaps too quickly), it’s an activity that I have to pick and choose where and how I engage with it to avoid getting burnt out. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was limiting myself to one fantasy football team per year, a choice that gave me less teams to monitor, and more skin in the game for the one that I did manage. With the proliferation of DIY mock drafting simulators over the last few years, I’ve noticed myself start to feel a bit exhausted by the idea of them, and less keen to participate as a result - if what feels like literally everyone is going to have a mock draft, where’s the value in them anymore?

While the likely answer is that there wasn’t much value to them to begin with (much less those that I’d pump out for the site and otherwise), a simple solution to my burnout with them was to take the fantasy football approach. That is, one mock draft that I have total investment in, that I can refer back to for accuracy purposes when I revisit it for next year’s draft process. I had a ton of fun assembling it as was my hope, and I think that’ll show through in the results; so without further ado, I present below to you dear reader, my one and only mock draft of the 2022 offseason:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Syndication: USA TODAY Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

This is starting to feel like much more of a toss-up than it was even a week or so ago, which is equal parts wild to think about, and also entirely indicative of the madness (both manufactured and otherwise) that is the NFL Draft. Numerous outlets have begun to list Georgia’s Travon Walker as the odds-on favorite to go to Jacksonville with the first pick, with reasons ranging from his athletic upside being much higher than Hutchinson’s, to the Jaguars’ GM Trent Baalke having such a deep disdain for Jim Harbaugh that he’d never make one of his Michigan players the face of his franchise. None of this would especially shock me considering all we know about how the NFL operates, but at the end of the day, I’ll stick with the chalk pick at the top – Hutchinson is explosive, strong, twitched up, and has a golden boy quality about him that just screams One-One. There’s no need to overthink the pick beyond that.

2. Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It feels like we’ve come full circle on Thibodeaux. He entered the year as a big time favorite to be taken near the top of the draft, and has since seen his stock slip a bit to the point that he was no longer a guaranteed top ten player. Recently though, the proverbial Mongolian Reversal has taken place, as it often does this time of year. “Thibs” is now back into the heap as a top five type player as either the involved teams, the media, or both, have disentangled themselves from the analysis paralysis that would keep them from seeing the forest through the trees on such an elite talent. The strength and the hustle are off the charts from Thibodeaux, and his bend and twitchiness are good enough to really round out his game into a player worth building around. Unless Detroit is in love with a quarterback in a year where trading back to get good value on one is going to be difficult, I think they stick in this spot and give Dan Campbell a defensive game wrecker to work with.

3. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

Syndication: The Daily Advertiser SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Texans are an organization in such unprecedented tumult that it feels impossible to predict what they’ll do at this point. Exhibit A) Hiring Lovie Smith from within to take over for David Culley who was fired in what some consider to be dubious circumstances. The fact that they hired Smith does indicate one thing though: they’ll be running a Tampa 2 defense that relies on quick and competitive zone-based corners. Stingley is all that and a bag of chips, and while Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner may be the “safer” pick, I expect the Texans to pick for fit and ceiling in this spot.

4. TRADE – Alanta Falcons (via NYJ): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Trade details: Falcons package the eighth overall pick and their 2022 third-round pick (74th overall) to move up to the Jets fourth overall slot

And we have our first quarterback off the board. To some, Willis’ Lamar Jackson-esque traits are enough to make him a top five talent; to others, he shouldn’t even be picked on night one. Regardless, I see the Falcons as a crouching tiger in the QB sweepstakes of this draft. After they went all in on Deshaun Watson and whiffed harder than post 2016 Chris Davis on any given at-bat, they left themselves in quite the lurch at the most important position in sports with Matt Ryan’s departure being a foregone conclusion from that point. Thankfully for them, the upside of Willis probably projects as something similar to Watson, and with Marcus Mariota now in the building, they have the ideal mentor for the young small school prospect to be brought up under as he makes the jump to the big league. Speaking of jumps, the Falcons would leapfrog their division rival Panthers (who are also rumored to be in on Willis) by sending an additional third rounder the Jets way – in terms of Jimmy Johnson value, they’d win that trade by a slight margin (1620 points vs. 1800 for fourth overall), but with Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, and Gardner all gone, the Jets would likely be happy to snag another third rounder in a deep class, and then take their pick of the litter at eight.

5. New York Giants: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Syndication: Florida Times-Union Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll are setup to get their new regime off to a hot start with the fifth and seventh overall pick, and with a quarterback getting picked ahead of them within the top five, they’d be jumping for joy in this scenario. They’ll have an opportunity to get Daniel Jones some help in his make or break season at seven and beyond, but with this selection, they stick to the board and take the guy who’s in conversation to go first overall for good reason.

6. Carolina Panthers: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

NCAA Football: Alabama at Miami Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

With Malik Willis off the board, Carolina likely focuses on a trade back, or simply plucks the best player off of their board a-la the Giants right in front of them. In this case, I expect them to love Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, and Charles Cross the most out of anyone currently available, and that’s a trio that you can’t go wrong with. Ekwonu’s pass sets could use some work, while the inverse is true of Cross, who also played in a wonky Mike Leach offense at Mississippi State. While I wouldn’t necessarily choose Neal out of this group of three, it’s those factors that I expect to be tiebreakers for an NFL decision maker like Scott Fitterer. Neal is a mover of mountains, smoother than he looks at first blush, and did it all at the highest level of college football. While it might be another year before he’s blocking for a would-be franchise quarterback, the Panthers will at the very least have found their franchise left tackle with this pick.

7. New York Giants (via CHI): Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State

NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the Giants taking one of the board’s top players in Walker, and then watching Carolina get the first crack at the offensive tackle class, they end up “settling” for Ekwonu at seven. Truthfully, this might be the best case scenario for New York, as “Ickey” is absolutely shot out of a cannon in the run game, and projects very well as a right tackle across the line from Andrew Thomas who’s started to settled in nicely on Big Blue’s blindside. The Giants claim that they feel they’ve failed Daniel Jones thus far and will be giving him one last year to prove himself – whether that claim is actually true, or is a symptom of this being a weak quarterback class at the top remains to be seen, but what is true in this scenario is that whoever is their starter in 2023 will be well protected by two young bookend tackles.

8. New York Jets (via ATL): Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

NFL: Scouting Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets gambled a bit by giving up their top pick, but still land a player they were likely eyeing up in that spot. Gardner is long, strong, and good in press man situations, similar athletically (if not necessarily stylistically) to Richard Sherman, who Robert Saleh worked with in Seattle. Ultimately, he’s one of the best players in the draft, one who will make a defense better basically by default. In that sense, the Jets run to the board to make this selection.

9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the Seahawks do miss out on Derek Stingley and Sauce Gardner who both feel like baby Legionnaires of Boom in their own unique ways, Cross represents one of the best marriages of need and value out of any pick thus far. Currently slated as Seattle’s starting left tackle is Greg Eiland, a man who’s overview on the page consists of three words: “No available information.” They’re reportedly open to a reunion with Duane Brown who played well last year, but will be 37 when the 2022 season kicks off. With Malik Willis long gone, I’d expect Seattle to run this pick to the podium, and look for potential hedges against Drew Lock elsewhere.

10. New York Jets (via SEA): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star RobertScheer / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Go big or go home” seems to be the mantra for Joe Douglas thus far. Derek Stingley’s health and proverbial sea legs will need to hold up for him to make good on his enormous potential, as will the knee of Jameson Williams who tore his ACL just a few months ago to do the same for the explosive wide receiver prospect. Had the Jets gotten their shot at Charles Cross here I could’ve seen that being the pick, but instead of protection up front for Zach Wilson, New York gets him a burner on the outside to take advantage of his cannon arm a-la Tyreek Hill, who they tried to trade for. Zach Wilson was a traits-based prospect who’s returns have been iffy thus far, but if Joe Douglas stays consistent to his process, and wants to get his young quarterback receiving help, I could very much see them making Williams the first wideout to come off the board on Thursday.

11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

With Carson Wentz now in the fold (to the chagrin of many who support this rickety roller-coaster of a franchise), I think Ron Rivera feels less pressure to find a quarterback in the short term. Does that preclude them from throwing a dart at one on Day 2? No. In fact, I expect them to. But they have a starter in place who can feasibly lead them to nine or 10 wins if things break right, which frees them up to go best player available. Hamilton certainly is that as one of the best safety prospects the league has seen in years, and Washington has shown some interest in him. This is yet another pick that almost makes too much sense.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Drake London, WR, USC

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

This would be the first surprising pick of the night, but here’s why I think I’m on the right track. The Vikings have some needs on defense such as cornerback and edge rusher, but they’ve invested enormous prior draft capital in the former position group, and now have Za’Darius Smith paired up with Danielle Hunter at the latter. Perhaps more in line with my thinking, they signed Kirk Cousins a few years ago to get them over the Super Bowl hump, and thus far, he hasn’t managed to take them to the heights Case Keenum did in 2017. With an offensive head coach now in place, and an analytically minded GM picking players for him, I could see Minnesota wanting to further juice up their passing attack with a traits-laden unicorn like London to see if they can in fact push for a Championship with Cousins leading the way. If the answer is no, then whoever replaces Cousins will have the luxury of a dynamite receiving duo in London and Justin Jefferson, just as Cousins did with Jefferson and Adam Thielen for several years.

13. TRADE – Philadelphia Eagles (via HOU): Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

NCAA Football: Georgia Pro Day Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Trade details: Philadelphia swaps 15 and their fifth-round pick (154) to move up to Houston’s pick

Howie Roseman jumps up in front of his buddy Eric DeCosta for the price of a fifth rounder to secure a player that Baltimore will surely love. In Davis, the Eagles land a near-perfect Fletcher Cox replacement who can come in and learn from the veteran while also providing gameplan-wrecking presence in the middle of the defensive line as a rookie. With another selection coming right up, they’re off to a hot start.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

NFL: Scouting Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The word out of Owings Mills is that there’s almost zero buzz on Jermaine Johnson from the Ravens key decision makers. As is the case this time of year (that is, #SmokeScreenSzn), that makes me feel like he’s very much in play to be their first pick. His height, weight, and arm length will give them shades of Matt Judon, and his tenacity in the run game will make him a favorite of the coaching staff early on. He’s still developing a bit as a pass rusher and will need more of a play-to-play plan to win in the NFL than he did in the ACC, but having already made a difficult jump from JuCo to the rugged SEC at Georgia (and then again to Florida State where he settled in as the cornerstone player he had shown flashes of), there’s reason to believe he’s ready to meet the challenge of the league head-on. The Ravens have taken plenty of swings at improving their pass rush over the years, some legit (Yannick Ngakoue) and others a bit more half-hearted (Tim Williams, Jaylon Ferguson) - a tandem of Odafe Oweh and Jermaine Johnson is hard to see flaming out in a year or two like the aforementioned ones.

15. TRADE: Pittsburgh Steelers (via HOU): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Pittsburgh vs Wake Forest Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Details: Pittsburgh sends 20 and their 2022 fourth (138th overall) to move up to 15

The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t used to existing in quarterback limbo, and there are few better examples of being in such a space than being slotted to start Mitch Trubisky at the position. The former Bears top pick will likely be good enough to win the Steelers a decent amount of games in 2022, and not do much else. Add mentoring the draft’s fastest riser at the position over the course of last season in Pickett, a Pittsburgh product who will feel right at home in the pros as far as location, if not in some respects on the field. Those would be poise against pressure, arm strength, and a lack of overwhelming physical tools that are becoming something of a prerequisite to exceed at quarterback. Some guys find a way though, and with some Derek Carr comparisons floating out there, the Steelers might just talk themselves into the hometown kid in a way they didn’t with Dan Marino almost 40 years ago. They give up a fourth rounder to do so and leapfrog the Saints, who have been strangely quiet as far as QB’s go in this process considering their glaring need at the position.

16. New Orleans Saints (via IND): Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints could go a number of directions here, and settle on a somewhat boring (but necessary pick). Penning’s valuation is all over the place as things stand, but plenty of teams are reported to have Round 1 interest in him. I could certainly see the Saints being one of those teams, especially after losing Terron Armstead in free agency. The former UNI standout will take plenty of development before he’s truly able to replace Armstead, but in the meantime, his nasty demeanor will serve him well in his transition to the NFC South.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Joshua A. Bickel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Operation: Surround Justin Herbert with everything he needs to get us over the Super Bowl hump is off to a hot start. The Bolts have made big ticket acquisitions left and right this offseason, and also done well to retain one of their key offensive playmakers in Mike Williams. But beyond Williams and Keenan Allen, their depth chart at wideout is looking a little thin; why not add maybe the most pro-ready wideout in the entire draft to give Herbert yet another weapon through the air?

18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Syndication: Arizona Republic Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Eagles secured a near-perfect Fletcher Cox replacement a few picks earlier in Jordan Davis, and now they do the same for another stalwart of theirs on the other side of the ball. Jason Kelce will be back for another year in 2022, but is getting pretty long in the tooth – with Tyler Linderbaum having drawn some comparisons to Kelce, the fit feels almost too perfect. Make it happen, Howie Roseman.

19. TRADE: Buffalo Bills (via NO): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Trade details: The Bills give up 25th overall and their fourth-round pick (130 overall) to jump up to 19

If Brandon Beane has shown anything throughout his tenure as the Bills GM, it’s that he doesn’t mess around when it comes to getting receiving help for his young quarterback. As Josh Allen transitions his way into becoming one of the more respected veterans in the league, that shouldn’t change; why mess with a good thing, right? Speaking of good things, Wilson is a dynamo at the position, a combination of explosiveness and precision that would draw attention away from Stefon Diggs and allow for the development of Gabe Davis in a way that a player like Cole Beasley never could. Buffalo forks over their fourth rounder, jumping wide receiver-needy Green Bay and New England in the process.

20. Houston Texans (via PIT): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Oregon vs Utah Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After grabbing one of the best players in the draft in Stingley, the Texans maximize their value on a player that Lovie Smith will undoubtedly covet. Lloyd’s downhill violence, processing, and natural fluidity make him the ideal centerpiece of a Tampa 2 scheme. Regardless of what the future holds for them at quarterback, the Texans are off to a hot start in building this team in their head coach’s ideal image.

21. New England Patriots: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / USA TODAY NETWORK

While other teams wheel and deal to pick flashy positions to keep pace in a league that’s turning into an offensive arms race, Bill Belichick sits pat at 20 and takes what’s sure to be a very highly rated player on his board. Karlaftis has the pop and power to hang with anyone at the NFL level, and his hand usage is creative enough to set him apart from the ham-and-eggers that eat innings on the EDGE for the vet minimum paycheck from day one. From there, I’d expect him to develop into a Rob Ninkovich type player that will set the edge and get after the QB in New England for many years.

22. Green Bay Packers (via LV): Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

NFL: Scouting Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The board fell in a tough way for the wideout strapped Packers, but they love cornerbacks in the mold of McDuffie. This would represent a bit of a fall for the feisty Washington standout, but putting him into one of the best defensive backfields in the league will serve as a nice consolation.

23. Arizona Cardinals: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

Syndication: Online Athens Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cardinals went flash and panache to help Kyler Murray make the leap last offseason, and it worked to an extent. The problem is, the young quarterback is still without a playoff win, and now in varying states of disgruntled without a new contract in the pipeline. Regardless of his thoughts, I thin Steve Keim would see Wyatt as too good of a player to pass up in this spot. The penetrating defensive lineman is perfect for the modern game, and will help the Cards defense in a division that contains the Rams and 49ers.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys are overdue for a “Jerry Jones highjacks the room and selects a player he’s in love with” scenario. Or, are they? He recently made it clear that Micah Parsons was his call in the first last year, as opposed to his son’s, whom he pinned the selection of Taco Charlton on. Jerry is sure to be hot on Burks, the feral hog-slaying playmaker who stood out for his alma mater at maybe the flashiest position in the sport. This might be a bit of a reach for him value wise, but it’s likely he’ll be productive in Dallas very early on. All of that will make it worth it to a franchise that prioritizes ticket sales maybe even above winning.

25. New Orleans Saints (via BUF): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

After snagging Trevor Penning, and accumulating some extra value in a trade back, the Saints give themselves a plan to work from at the quarterback position. Ridder is big, strong, athletic, and mechanically sound, but could use some work as far as decision making and processing go. We’ll see if a staff led by Dennis Allen will be the one to unlock said potential, but you can argue Ridder is well worth that gamble.

26. Tennessee Titans: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans could go a number of directions here, but the board has been wiped clean of value consistent prospects at wide receiver and quarterback. Kenyon Green would be a very nice add though, a player that can play multiple positions along the offensive line and do it with a ruggedized demeanor that will fit with Mike Vrabel like a glove. Green blocking for Derrick Henry might be worth the price of admission to Titans games in and of itself.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Daxton Hill, CB, Michigan

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Best player available for the Bucs here, as bigger needs are passed up to grab an athletic secondary prospect in Michigan’s Dax Hill. His unique blend of traits and playing style will get him on the field right away as a nickel defender, and prove to be a huge help when the Bucs play some of the league heavyweights. One example would be the Rams, who torched Tampa’s secondary to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat en route to winning a Super Bowl last season – a pick like this would ensure Jason Licht didn’t forget that, and won’t allow it to happen again.

28. Green Bay Packers: George Pickens, WR, Georgia

Syndication: Online Athens Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

After missing out on the first crop of wideouts, the Packers stayed true to their board and picked the best player in McDuffie. Now, they go out of their way to get Aaron Rodgers a little bit of help. Or rather, a big bit of it. Pickens is a sizable, tough receiver with professional hands, and will be a red zone threat for a quarterback who routinely tosses 40 or more of them a year. Davante Adams he is not, but to be fair, few are; as far as attempts to replace him with the 28th pick, you can probably do a lot worse than this selection.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (via SF): Jalen Pitre, CB, Baylor

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Mississippi at Baylor Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs lose a versatile piece on the back end of their defense in Tyrann Mathieu, and replace him with Justin Reid and Jalen Pitre. Not bad. The former Baylor standout will likely man the nickel more than actual deep safety, but wherever he’s used, he’ll give this defense some much needed help on it’s back end.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

This will strike some as a bit of surprise, but the Chiefs have the luxury to make longer term picks. They’ll likely be in the playoff picture (if not at the very top of it) with or without production from OJabo in the regular season, and added juice to your pass rush as the weather starts to get colder is always a good thing if you can get it. Even if they don’t, Kansas City locks up a former top 15 talent at a premium position for the next five years thanks to securing the chance at the fifth year option by taking him in the first round. As always, the rich get richer.

31. Cincinnati Bengals: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

NCAA Football: Florida at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Things break fairly well for the Bengals here, who land a long, athletic boundary corner after the teams ahead of them opt for some smaller, athletic technicians. Elam is a bit impulsive, and plays a touch too fast at times, but a lot of his weaknesses feel correctible if he lands in the right place. The Bengals did as good a job as anyone of coaching up unheralded players last year, so they might be just the spot for a guy with all the talent and athleticism to put it all together.

32. Detroit Lions: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Syndication: Online Athens Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Lions locked up a generational talent at the front end of their defense in Thibodeaux, and now attempt to sure things up on the back end with a damn good safety prospect in Cine. Explosive and solid in what he’s asked to do, the former Bulldog and his championship pedigree should be a favorite of Dan Campbell (who’s trying to build a culture) from early on.

Second Round:

Ravens package 45 and 119 to move up to Chicago 39 and draft Andrew Booth

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

After sitting still in the first round and landing a premier edge rusher, the Ravens have to feel pretty good about themselves entering Day 2 of the Draft. They’ll feel even better if a player of Andrew Booth’s quality begins to fall their way. But not that good – in order to secure the feisty young corner’s services, Eric DeCosta bundles pick 45 and 119 in the fourth round to move up and secure his services. If Booth does indeed fall out of the first round as has been speculated for a good amount of time now, the Ravens should be all over a trade up like this. The Marlon Humphrey comparisons he’s drawn should tell you all you need to know about why.

Third Round:

76th overall: Cole Strange, C, Chattanooga

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens might not be lying when they say Patrick Mekari is their starting center, but that doesn’t mean that will 100% be the case in September. That’s especially true if a player like Cole Strange – who DeCosta mentioned by name in a Senior Bowl recap video – falls to them at 76 in the third round. Big, smart, and tough, he’s a perfect fit for the Ravens at center, and would be yet another investment into an offensive line that EDC vowed to revamp for 2022.

TRADE - 94th overall: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Trade details: Ravens package 100 and 196 to move up to 94 in a trade with the Chiefs

Some people claim that wide receiver isn’t a need for the Ravens currently as Hollywood Brown, Rashod Bateman, and Devin Duvernay all return for 2022. Ditto for Tylan Wallace, an intriguing fourth round investment last year. But a position that you’re “good” at can become a thin one in the blink of an eye, and if even one of those aforementioned three starters (particularly Brown or Bateman) are injured for any significant stretch of time, then the Ravens are yet again hamstrung at a historic problem position. A big body and technically sound, Pierce would nicely round out their room with some size that they’re desperately lacking.

Fourth Round:

110th overall – Jeremy Ruckert, Tight End, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Value, value, value – it wouldn’t shock me at all if Ruckert was the best player on Baltimore’s board in this scenario at all. Speaking of value, they value tight ends that can both block, and get downfield in the passing game, and the former Buckeye would provide that for them from early on. With needs met on Day 1 and 2, this feels like a bit of a luxury pick that the Ravens could afford to make.

128th overall – Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

We have our first patented EDC double dip in this class, with the Ravens GM adding depth to a position they’re severely lacking for it. Alontae Taylor is long, physical, and competitive in man-to-man, and also willing in run support which is a nice plus. Baltimore can’t afford to trot players like Robert Jackson onto a football field in meaningful games if they hope to be serious contenders this year, and yet another investment at corner (with a good player like Taylor to boot) would be a good way to avoid that.

139th overall – Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana

NCAA Football: Indiana at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Squarely built, and an absolute thumper in the run and blitz game, McFadden feels like a throwback player at the linebacker position. Eric DeCosta trended towards speed and flash with Patrick Queen in his first significant investment at the position group, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely forgotten his roots with it as it relates to the Ravens history. This feels like it might be a bit of an overinvestment, but McFadden feels like a player who could’ve gone in the second or third round 10 years ago. In that sense, he feels like he could be the relatively random pick on Day 3 that has fans scratching their heads a bit – that doesn’t mean it would be a bad one, though. Just know that if the draft starts off this way (that is, almost ideal for the Ravens) that you’re due for a selection like this at some point.

141st overall - Brian Robinson Jr. RB, Alabama

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

A tall and powerful short yardage back, Robinson will have a “baby Gus” quality that will endear him to the Ravens fanbase, particularly if his services are needed while the two starting running backs in front of him continue to rehab from their injuries from last year. He’s not just a battering ram though; Robinson possesses some one-cut ability that will help him in the option game as he picks his way through trash and chunks forward for yardage. In other words, he’d be well worth a Day 3 flier on for an offense that needs more out of its running game than others.

Fifth Round:

Sixth Round:

Seventh Round:

Summary:

All in all, I feel pretty solid about how my one and only mock draft of 2022 wound up. The Ravens wind up making eight total picks, while completely punting on the fifth, sixth, and seventh round which feels like a nice marriage of quantity with potential quality. While that may not be exactly how it plays out, I do expect Baltimore to be aggressive with their war chest of early Day 3 picks to make some noise on Day 2 as we saw in this scenario. If they are, they’ll walk away from this draft feeling very good about themselves as there’s some legit talent to be had in the middle of the proceedings following COVID pushing some otherwise league-bound talent into this year’s pool.

While I’m sure this article and all of its contents will be rendered useless in less than 12 hours by the time you’re reading this, I had a ton of fun putting pen to paper on this mock draft. Thanks so much for reading, and if you’d like a more detailed breakdown, we gave it on today’s episode of the Baltimore Beatdown Podcast. Speaking of which, tune into our YouTube page tonight sat 8PM Eastern, where Spencer and I (along with guests both within the site and elsewhere) will be live streaming the draft – there’s sure to be plenty of fun had, as well as some (hopefully) quality analysis on the proceedings. See you then.