The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly here, and like most fans, the writers at our team communities have strong feelings about their team’s draft needs and the players who could best fill those needs.
This draft is going to be unique for a few reasons. First of all, it’s being held in the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas, Nev. Strip for the first time ever.
Last year, there were several high profile quarterback prospects, and where they were all headed (aside from Trevor Lawrence, who was generally expected to go to the Jaguars with the first overall pick) was a topic of much discussion. This year’s top quarterbacks — Sam Howell, Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and Matt Corral, aren’t generating nearly as much excitement, as they seem like they’ll need some development to become NFL-ready starters, but it’s still going to be fascinating to see where they land and how early in the draft teams will be willing to take a chance on them.
And third, because of myriad trades, a whopping eight teams have two picks in the first round this year. That’s certainly shaking things up a bit.
Without further ado, welcome to the 16th annual SB Nation NFL community mock draft.
No. 1: Jaguars select Aiden Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
The one need the team didn’t address much in free agency, though, was at edge rusher, which was one of the team’s biggest needs exiting the season. Now, with Hutchinson, the team will finally have a sure-fire edge rusher opposite of former first-round pick Josh Allen.
No. 2: Lions select Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
There may be some concerns about his fit in Detroit now that they’ve said they will be employing more four-down sets, and Thibodeaux is coming from a 3-4 scheme at Oregon. And, yes, he will have to improve as a run defender at the next level.
But what Thibodeaux provides as a pass rusher in this league is rare and extremely coveted. The Lions finished 30th in sacks, 29th in pressure rate, 31st in team pass rush win rate. Thibodeaux will immediately improve the weakest point in Detroit’s defense. Perhaps the best part about him is that his physical tools will make him a Day 1 impact player, and he has a lot of room to improve his technique, meaning his ceiling could even be higher than his college level of production.
No. 3: Texans select Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton spent time lining up in multiple spots on Notre Dame’s defense in his three years at South Bend. In 31 career games, he produced 139 tackles, eight interceptions, and 16 passes defended. He covered slot receivers, lined up as a deep “read and react” safety, came off the edge as a rusher at the line of scrimmage, and showed his hard-hitting demeanor while working out of the box as well.
In Lovie Smith’s base Tampa-2 defense, Hamilton’s versatility means he can start on Day 1. Whether that start happens as one of two “high” safeties responsible for covering half of the field on any given pass play, or as a key piece in the run game who can crash on the ball from the box remains to be seen.
No. 4: Jets select Ikem Ekonwu, T, NC State
Looking at the team as currently constructed, you might wonder whether offensive line is worth an additional investment. The line is one of the stronger position groups on the Jets roster.
There are, however, underlying issues that make it a bigger priority than you might think. While Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker have been drafted in the last two years, the other three starters on the line will be 29 or older when the 2022 season begins. Two of the three will be entering the final season of their respective contracts.
George Fant is among these linemen. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Fant enters his contract year coming off his best NFL season. Can he replicate it? Even if he can, how much longer can he play at a high level? Will the Jets be able to re-sign him?
These questions alone make drafting another offensive lineman a viable approach, especially one who was as dominant in the run game as Ekwonu was at NC State. We haven’t even discussed the question marks around Becton who has missed 18 games due to injury across his first two seasons.
No. 5: Giants select Evan Neal, T, Alabama
Now comes the 2022 NFL Draft. With picks No. 5 and 7, no matter what else he does or what order he does it in, the league-wide assumption seems to be that Schoen pretty much has to come out of Round 1 with a right tackle to pair with left tackle Andrew Thomas, the team’s 2020 first-round pick.
There are three who enter the discussion — Ikem Ekwonu of NC State, Evan Neal of Alabama, Charles Cross of Mississippi State.
In this mock draft, where we are not considering trade possibilities like Schoen is expected to with one of his two picks, the New York Jets took Ekwonu at No. 4.
That leaves the choice for at No. 5 between Neal and Cross. As much as I love Cross’s smooth pass protection and his potential, the choice of Neal is an easy one to make here. Neal is a plug and play starter at right tackle for the Giants. He has a plethora of experience at both tackles and at guard, positional flexibility Cross doesn’t possess should there come a time when the Giants might want or need to move Neal inside.
No. 6: Panthers select Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
With a big arm, big legs, and an already established mentor/mentee relationship with Cam Newton, Willis has been a popular pick by some Panthers fans all offseason. For the team, Willis has all the physical tools you could ask for and a demonstrated ability to create plays out of the structure of the offense—a trait which has been historically useful when playing behind a Panthers offensive line.
The high ceiling that Willis presents is, unsurprisingly, paired with a lower floor than some other quarterbacks in this class. Guys like Kenny Pickett or Matt Corral are considered to be more pro-ready. However, the Panthers are looking for a long-term answer and “2022’s Andy Dalton” isn’t that.
Many of Willis’ struggles in college came from sloppy mechanics that a competent coaching staff might be able to iron out. Since the Panthers seem intent on proving Matt Rhule is just that, Willis is their no-brainer answer.
No. 7: Giants select Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
I fully expect the Giants to add a pass rusher in this draft. I am not doing it with this selection, though.
Defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale.
Look at Martindale’s history as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Coverage, especially top-tier press-man cornerbacks, have always been more important to Martindale’s defense than premier pass rushers.
Martindale’s calling card is pressure defense in the front with a lot of press-man coverage in the back, where cornerbacks are left on an island to fend for themselves. He will send extra rushers, often from unique angles, but also will design exotic four-man pressure packages. His history has shown that he needs top-tier cornerbacks more than he needs elite edge rushers. ... With that in mind, my choice for the Giants at No. 7 is Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner.
No. 8: Falcons select Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, FSU
I went with Johnson because I believe he’s a really, really good player who will make an immediate impact for the Falcons. He’s the first piece in what is likely a multi-year retooling of the edge group. While Johnson lacks the sky-high pass rushing ceiling of the top players in the class, he’s an elite run defender with a very good floor at the position. I don’t think we’ll ever see Johnson pushing 12-15 sacks in a season, but if he gets 10 reliably and adds a ton of production against the run? That’s still a great player and a worthy eighth overall pick.
Johnson wins with a combination of power, explosiveness, and technique that makes him scheme-versatile and one of the most pro-ready players in the class. He continued to improve every week at FSU, and capped his season with an incredibly dominant Senior Bowl performance. Johnson was legitimately the best player in Mobile, and it wasn’t close.
No. 9: Seahawks select Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Penning has played at both tackle and right guard, which should immediately intrigue the Seahawks front office. Jamarco Jones didn’t really pan out during his time in Seattle but he pretty much secured a roster spot purely because he was depth at tackle and guard. In Penning’s case he’s far better suited to tackle than Jones ever was, so while he’s usually on the left side he could switch to right tackle at the pro level.
Stands out as a run blocker
Again, it’s partially tongue-in-cheek. With Russell Wilson gone, I think it is highly likely that the Seahawks once again become one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL. Penning’s highlights in the run game stand out a bit more than his pass protection, and no doubt the Seahawks will be looking at any OL who can run block well, and PFF gave Penning a 99.9 run blocking grade for 2021.
No. 10: Jets select Drake London, WR, USC
One thing has been clear about Douglas during his time with the Jets and his tenure with the Eagles front office. He likes his receivers big. Aside from players like Hill and Elijah Moore who has exceptional speed, almost every outside receiver Douglas has acquired through the years has been 6’2 or taller.
This leads me to believe USC’s Drake London will be the guy if the Jets are in this position. London is 6’5 and 220 pounds. He is also an excellent contested catch player, an area where the Jets are lacking at receiver. Additionally, he profiles as a solid possession receiver who is difficult to bring down with the ball in his hands, making him a potential fit for Mike LaFleur’s offense.
No. 11: Commanders select Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The talent is there to be the best player in the draft, and [Stingley] has been cleared of all injuries heading into the start of his NFL career. He will still only be 20 years old when he is drafted in less than two weeks. Washington made a big splash in free agency last offseason by signing William Jackson III and they brought back Kendall Fuller via free agency two years ago. They drafted Benjamin St-Juste in the third round last year, but concussions ended his rookie season prematurely.
Stingley provides a potential bargain-priced superstar here, and a succession plan for Washington’s secondary.
No. 12: Vikings select Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Stingley pick really threw things off for yours truly as I was all ready to make him the selection at No. 12. Cornerback is still, honestly, the biggest need for this team after the moves they’ve made in free agency, and Stingley would have been a great selection to pair with another former LSU great in Patrick Peterson for at least a season.
That meant having to go to the backup plan, and after considering at least a couple of other positions, I decided to stay with the cornerback position and take the next man up. On our board, that’s Washington standout Trent McDuffie, who is our pick at No. 12 overall. ...
One of the knocks on McDuffie is going to be his size, as he stands 5’11” and weighs 195 pounds. That’s significantly smaller than the two corners that have already gone off the board in our mock draft, but being small doesn’t always mean that a cornerback is going to have difficulties. The positives from McDuffie, from everything I can see, far outweigh the potential negatives, and with the Vikings’ need for talent at the cornerback position McDuffie seems to be a natural fit here.
No. 13: Texans select Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
Walker would be paired with Jonathan Greenard, the up-and-coming defensive end who secured eight sacks last season. They’ll bookend a young defensive line including Roy Lopez, Ross Blacklock, and Maliek Collins. He’ll immediately be the most talented player on the line, but how will he perform when not surrounded by equal talent?
While most don’t believe Walker will be around at the 13th pick, there were still several prospects the Texans could have taken at this pick. Namely, his co-star on the d-line Jordan Davis. The Texans may also want to address offensive line by selecting Charles Cross out of Miss. State. Devin Lloyd the LB from Utah and Garrett Wilson from Ohio State.
No. 14: Ravens select Charles Cross, T, Mississippi State
Best Case: Stanley’s Back, Cross At Left Guard
“But Kyle, you’re burning the No. 14 overall pick on a left guard.”
No, you’re spending it on a hopeful franchise tackle. The Ravens had the best tackle pair in the NFL three seasons ago with Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr., and it was a key component to their 14-2 season and Jackson’s League MVP. But after the Brown forced his way out of Baltimore, the Ravens have needed to rebuild their offensive line.
Cross would begin NFL work at guard, where the transition to the professional league is less difficult. Then, he works toward manning the right tackle spot.
The health of Jackson is pertinent, and a big-time blocker helps improve both the run game and the passing attack. Jackson will have more time in the pocket, and the run game can gash for more yards. It’s not the pretty pick, but it will sure make Jackson and the offense happy.
No. 15: Eagles select Jordan Davis, EDGE, Georgia
Why wouldn’t you want to take a chance on a 6’6”, 341-pound defender with these kind of athletic tools? Especially when one considers Davis only started playing football in his sophomore year of high school and just turned 22 in January. There’s reason to believe he hasn’t yet reached his ceiling.
Davis is obviously more than just a workout warrior. He was a dominant interior presence for the national champs. That much might not be reflected in the stat sheet with just two sacks in 14 games. And just seven sacks in 41 total games at Georgia. But his impact obviously goes beyond the box score given the extra attention that he commands; he can’t regularly be single-blocked. One must also consider that Kirby Smart’s scheme hasn’t exactly produced prospects with big-time sack numbers (see: Devonte Wyatt with five in four years, Travon Walker with 9.5 in three years).
No. 16: Saints select Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
Jameis Winston is only signed through the 2023 season, so the Saints plan at quarterback for 2024 and beyond is murky at best. If Jameis struggles either this season or next, the Saints lack a first round pick next year to find a replacement. All of their eggs are currently in the Jameis Winston basket, but Winston is far from a “sure thing” in the NFL. Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett gives the Saints the chance to hedge their bet on Jameis Winston a bit and potentially find their quarterback of the future.
The Saints obsess over RAS (“Relative Athletic Score”), and typically only draft a quarterback who scores as a high athlete. Liberty QB Malik Willis has shot up numerous draft boards and might have been the preferred option at quarterback, but he skipped testing for RAS and was selected by the Carolina Panthers sixth overall anyways. Kenny Pickett has an elite RAS that the New Orleans Saints would likely find enticing.
No. 17: Chargers select Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
In just his lone year starring for the Crimson Tide, Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and a whopping 15 touchdowns, a number that ranked third in the nation. But despite his elite speed and athleticism displayed on offense, he also has the ability to level up a club’s special teams unit as a return threat. This past season, Williams returned 10 kickoffs for a combined 352 yards and took two kicks back for touchdowns.
While all of this sounds spectacular, we have to mention the obvious.
During the national title game earlier this year against Georgia, Williams tore his ACL. After undergoing tests, it was deemed that Williams’ timetable for recovery was better than many would have expected. While he hasn’t been able to perform or test in front of scouts, Williams is currently on pace to be back on the field in time for training camp. That would put him between five and six months post-surgery. At the end of the day, however, Williams isn’t against waiting a bit longer if it means feeling closer to 100 percent prior to returning to play.
No. 18: Eagles select Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The reality is the Eagles need help at receiver. Their top three options are currently DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Zach Pascal. DeVonta had an encouraging season as he broke the Eagles’ rookie record for receiving yards. Watkins might be unlocked with improved quarterback play but he might be more of a WR3. Pascal should really be no more than a WR3 and ideally a WR4. Jalen Reagor shouldn’t even be on the 2022 regular season roster.
The Eagles need more receiver talent. And they know it! They tried to trade for Calvin Ridley. They had interest in trading for Robert Woods. They had interest in signing Allen Robinson. Ultimately, the Birds failed to land one of their targets. And likely in part because of an offense that ranked dead last in passing play percentage last year.
With the Eagles unable to convince veteran receivers to come to Philly, the draft remains their best avenue to upgrading the position. To be clear, the Eagles should not be drafting merely to fill holes. But the talent at receiver tends to line up with their picks in the middle of the first round. It’s a sensible marriage of need and value.
No. 19: Saints select Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Garrett Wilson’s RAS metrics profile similarly, albeit a little better, to former Saints receiver Kenny Stills — poor height/weight, elite speed, average explosiveness — and the Saints would probably be perfectly fine adding a player like prime Kenny Stills to their offense. Wilson’s ceiling is far from capped by this RAS score, though, as some of the NFL’s best receivers had lower RAS scores than Wilson - Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, and Stefon Diggs, to name just a few.
The Saints could go other routes with the 19th pick, and don’t necessarily need to add a receiver here. Instead, the Saints could try to find a high-RAS receiver with the 49th pick and address other needs here. However, New Orleans has tried in the past to add mid-round receivers (Tre’Quan Smith, anyone?), so in this mock, the Saints instead choose to draft something closer to a “sure thing.” If New Orleans were going to pass on wide receiver here, other players considered would be Central Michigan’s OT Bernhard Raimann and DT Devonte Wyatt out of Georgia.
No. 20: Steelers select Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
The rationale behind this pick had mostly to do with all those selected before the Steelers. With the top two quarterbacks off the board, it’s debatable whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers think enough of Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder to pull the trigger at number 20. Additionally, with a run of three straight wide receivers ahead of this selection, it didn’t appear to be the best option for the Steelers to go that route. After conferring with senior editor Jeff Hartman, we concluded that the wisest option was to go strictly “best player available” and selected Wyatt.
At 6‘3“ and 307 pounds, Wyatt would help to infuse some youth into the Steelers defensive line room. With defensive captain Cameron Heyward turning 33 next month and Tyson Alualu turning 35 and coming off a season where he only appeared in two games due to an ankle injury, the Steelers could use a high-end talent at the position. Add in the uncertainty with Stephon Tuitt after not appearing in 2021, this position group has the potential to be a huge strength or a glaring weakness going into 2022. The addition of Devonte Wyatt would help solidify the group moving forward.
No. 21: Patriots select Bernhard Raimann, T, Central Michigan
Drafting Bernhard Raimann is a way for New England to fall back on their tried and true method of developing players with all of the tools at that position, behind veterans who have succeeded in the system. Nate Solder sat behind Matt Light. Marcus Cannon sat behind Sebastian Vollmer. Isaiah Wynn spent an injury plagued rookie season behind Trent Brown. Raimann fits so well under this umbrella because of his background as a foreign exchange student with limited experience playing the game. There’s no better person for him to enter the professional ranks under than Belichick.
No. 22: Packers select George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
If the board shakes out like this on draft day, and the Packers don’t trade up into a range where they can lock in one of the faster receivers, it’s easy to envision this selection for Green Bay.
At the moment, the team is very light in front seven depth. Outside linebacker Rashan Gary is going to carry a $10.9 million cap hit on his fifth-year option next season, which means it’s time to start thinking about his future in Green Bay. The team also just extended Preston Smith on a long-term contract, but the details of the deal make it so the team can save $7.5 million in cap space in 2024 and $40 million in cash over three years with a release or trade after Year 2.
The edge position is not as addressed long-term as it may seem on paper, and the dropoff after Karlaftis is deep. Ranked 18th overall on the consensus board, the only other remaining top-40 edge defenders in the class at this point in the mock draft are Michigan’s David Ojabo (who is coming off an Achilles injury) and Minnesota’s Boye Mafe (who will turn 24 years old during his rookie season.) For reference, Gary is a 24-year-old currently.
No. 23: Cardinals select Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Another scenario where we probably see a first-round pick sit for their first season, Johnson is a potential All Pro. He has the size, speed, agility, strength and length to be a true force at guard for a decade.
Johnson compares favorably to former Bucs guard Ali Marpet and Kansas City Chiefs guard Joe Thuney.
Those are nice high end comps for the Boston College product.
However, he has a high floor, where you could see a Cameron Ervin to Mark Glowinski type of player.
While Erving being the worst case scenario is not wanted, he’s been a starter for a number of teams over his career.
No. 24: Cowboys select Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Green can step in and start for the Cowboys at left guard from day one which is the sort of fix you are looking for with a first-round pick. Incidentally this is exactly what happened the last time that Dallas took a guard this highly although it was Connor Williams out of the other major Texas university. Williams was not a popular player down the stretch of last season but he was a starting-caliber guard for a majority of four seasons. That production absolutely has to be replaced.
Kenyon Green is in fact regarded as the top guard in the class by some, but others feel that it is Boston College’s Zion Johnson. For what it’s worth Johnson was taken by the Arizona Cardinals and Revenge of the Birds just one pick ahead of us at number 23 overall.
Given the fact that Johnson was gone it boiled down to Green or Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks (Ohio State’s Chris Olave went to the Philadelphia Eagles and Bleeding Green Nation at 18 overall if you are interested). While receiver is certainly a need for this team in this moment it does not trump guard and the drop-off there with someone picked in a later round is much less. Simply put, Kenyon Green made the most sense.
No. 25: Bills select Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Booth solidifies the CB2 position for the next several years and can help Tre’Davious White return from injury at his own pace in 2022. He can push Dane Jackson for that second CB role and even if he stays as the third cornerback, the Bills will have a cost-controlled option to start at CB if someone gets hurt. Especially with the age of the safeties and the cost of the rest of the back-seven starters, having Jackson and Booth at cornerback for the next few years is huge.
I promised that I wouldn’t pick a cornerback for the Bills anymore after last year. I think it makes too much sense, though. White’s contract is up in four years when Booth is set to hit free agency (or the fifth-year option pay bump). The most obvious hole for a starting spot or even top depth on the roster is at cornerback. Even if you believe in Dane Jackson as a long-term cornerback on this team, this is still a need pick.
No. 26: Titans select Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Ideally, they would add a guy with elite speed, but those guys were off the board here. The next best thing is to add a receiver who has really good hands and has shown the ability to make huge plays. That guy is Treylon Burks. Last season at Arkansas he had 66 catches for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns. For those of you who don’t like to do math, that is 16.7 yards per catch.
The Titans feature a heavy play-action scheme. The receivers they already have, Brown and Woods, are really good at running quick-hitters and then making plays with the ball in their hands. Burks will be able to do the same thing for this team.
With Woods coming off an ACL injury, Burks will be expected to step in and play a big role from Week 1. He will be up to the task.
No 27: Buccaneers select Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Dotson would be able to come in and make an impact for the Bucs from day 1, but it may not be as big as some would hope but that is not a knock on him, it just speaks to the depth they have.
Even though Godwin will be able to play in 2022, there is no guarantee that he will be ready for the first few weeks of the season, which would mean the Bucs top two receivers would likely be Mike Evans and Russell Gage, which is solid but after that there is a drop off. Drafting Dotson would allow the team to have much better depth and another explosive option for Tom Brady.
Some may not believe the Bucs need to draft a receiver in round 1, but the more ways and options a team has to create offense is better, especially in today’s NFL. Dotson could be the 4th receiver on the depth chart once Godwin is back, but it would make depth in the receiver room very good.
No. 28: Packers select George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Ultimately, even though it might take Pickens a bit to develop and reach his ceiling as a receiver, that ceiling is sky-high and he should still be able to contribute as a deep threat as a rookie — something the Packers’ offense desperately needs after Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s departure in free agency. Pickens of course missed portions of the last two seasons with injuries, most notably suffering a torn ACL in 2021 spring practices. However, he returned just over eight months later, playing in the Bulldogs’ final four games of the year and providing a jolt to an offense that needed some splash plays.
No. 29: Chiefs select David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Chiefs have made a point to get younger and cheaper this offseason, prioritizing the long-term vision of the organization rather than just 2022. Picking Ojabo would be another example of that being the case, sacrificing depth at edge in 2022 for the chance at a top-tier pass rusher for 2023 and beyond.
Plus, the Chiefs have enough draft capital to address the position with another draft pick soon after this one — a player that may not have the same ceiling as Ojabo, but a solid enough foundation to play snaps immediately.
The bottom line
Kansas City needs to revamp their talent at defensive end, and selecting David Ojabo is a great way to start that overhaul. Even if he doesn’t have first-round impact in 2022, he could be the team’s most impactful defensive linemen in 2023 and beyond.
Amid an offseason that proves Kansas City is thinking about the long term more than the short term, this selection would fall right in line.
No. 30: Chiefs select Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
When you think about defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, you think about how much he loves to play three-safety sets on third down and mix things up to confuse the offense. Hill has the versatility to do that, not being pigeon holed into one alignment and becoming a weakness if lined up elsewhere.
The combination of Hill and Justin Reid’s ability to move around the defense could be a big asset — and when you add in Juan Thornhill to complete the trio, it could be the most well-rounded three-safety group Spagnuolo has had since he’s been in Kansas City.
Hills’ abilities as a slot cornerback can also be valuable in terms of being flexible with personnel. The Chiefs could be in their nickel package with three safeties on the field, rather than two safeties and three cornerbacks.
In the long term, it’s easy to envision Hill becoming a key playmaker in a creative defense like Spagnuolo’s. As creative as he can get with his blitzes and third-down packages, Hill could be the chess piece that the rest of the defensive scheme revolves around — similarly to Tyrann Mathieu’s role towards the end of 2019.
No. 31: Bengals select Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Size be damned, Linderbaum has the traits you look for in an elite center. His athleticism is nearly off the charts, he’s a leverage king, and he fits the Bengals’ wide zone scheme to a tee. At just 22 years of age, he has a long and productive career ahead of him, and the more experience he accrues, the easier he’ll be able to compensate for his perceived shortcomings.
This wouldn’t be the only pick that makes sense at this juncture. A cornerback or pass-rusher would absolutely help this defense going forward, but the value of one of this year’s best offensive linemen—and arguably the best center prospect in recent memory—being available is simply too good to pass up.
As the Bengals’ first-round pick, Linderbaum can start Day 1 at center, which would officially place free agent signee Ted Karras at left guard. You could not ask for a better centerpiece to a completely rebuilt offensive line. Linderbaum would make it one of the best in the NFL without a shadow of a doubt.
No. 32: Lions select Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Lloyd (6’3, 237 pounds) is a true modern-day linebacker who can stay on the field for all three downs and fill a multitude of roles in a variety of concepts/schemes. His skill set and experience allow him to operate behind both three and four-man fronts, making him a terrific fit for what the Lions do on defense.
Statistically, Lloyd was a consistent, high-level producer for all three years he was a starter (33 games) at Utah. He was a two-time captain who was recognized as a hard worker—both on the field and in the film room—which showed up on the field every game.
As a senior, Lloyd led the team in tackles (111), tackles for loss (22, which was second in FBS), interceptions (4), and defensive scores (2). He also recorded a forced fumble and six pass breakups over those 14 games.
Beyond the box score, Lloyd’s instincts and closing speed are elite and the basis for nearly everything he does well on the football field.
No. 33: Jaguars select Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
No. 34: Lions select Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
No. 35: Jets select Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
No. 36: Giants select Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
No. 37: Texans select Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
No. 38: Jets select Logan Hall, DE, Houston
No. 39: Bears select Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
No. 40: Seahawks select Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
No. 41: Seahawks select Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
No. 42: Colts select Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
No. 43: Falcons select Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
No. 44: Browns select Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
No. 45: Ravens select Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
No. 46: Vikings select Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
No. 47: Commanders select Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
No. 48: Bears select David Bell, WR, Purdue
No. 49: Saints select Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
No. 50: Chiefs select John Metchie, WR, Alabama
No. 51: Eagles select Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
No. 52: Steelers select Alec Pierce, WR, Georgia
No. 53: Packers select Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
No. 54: Patriots select Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
No. 55: Cardinals select Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
No. 56: Cowboys select Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
No. 57: Bills select Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
No. 58: Falcons select Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
No. 59: Packers select Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
No. 60: Buccaneers select Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
No. 61: 49ers select Myjai Sanders, EDGE, USC
No. 62: Chiefs select Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
No. 63: Bengals select Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
No. 64: Broncos select Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma