Skip to main content

Andrew Erickson’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0


 
With the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine in the books, the time has come to unveil my 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0. This post-combine mock draft has alterations from version 1.0 due to player movement on draft boards and changes in NFL teams’ needs through the free agency process. And of course, the blockbuster Russell Wilson trade has massive repercussions in both real-life and in the dynasty fantasy football rankings

Workout warriors like Jordan Davis, Christian Watson, and Travon Walker are flying up NFL draft boards after strong combine outings, so I have to follow suit by including them as well. Davis wasn’t even in my first mock draft, which seems ludicrous after he ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at 341 pounds (130.64-speed score, 99th percentile). Won’t take long for him to hear his name on Day 1. 

Check out our latest dynasty trade values >>

*Note this mock draft is based on what I think will happen, not necessarily what I would do in each team’s position.*

  1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Aidan Hutchinson (Edge – Michigan)

The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Doug Pederson to be their head coach with hopes that he can help develop quarterback Trevor Lawrence in his second season. The first order of business for Pederson looks to be solidifying the offensive line after Lawrence faced the fifth-most dropbacks under pressure in 2021.

The new Jags head coach spoke to games being won and lost in the trenches, and that you’re not going to have a passing attack if you cannot protect the quarterback. That phrasing suggests that Jacksonville will select an offensive lineman – at least it was until they placed the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson for the second straight season. 

Robinson posted a career-high PFF pass-blocking grade (76.6) in 2021. With him back in the fold for 2022, Alabama tackle Evan Neal is no longer the sure-fire selection at No. 1 overall.

Instead, the new odds-on favorite to be selected No. 1 is Michigan pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson (-175). His 2021 PFF defense grade (94.5) is the highest among any edge defender entering the NFL since Washington Commander Chase Young.

The former Wolverine cemented himself atop the draft’s top prospects after showcasing his short-area quickness in both the 3-cone drill (6.73, 100th percentile) and 20-yard shuttle (4.15, 94th percentile) at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

It is also worth noting that offensive tackle still could be in play for the Jaguars at No. 1 overall with both starting tackles (Robinson, Jamaar Taylor) free agents in 2023. Outside them, the Jaguars have just 2021 second-rounder Walker Little under contract. 

TEAM NEEDS: OL, TE, WR, DT, CB, S


  1. DETROIT LIONS: Travon Walker (Edge – UGA)

Only the Atlanta Falcons boasted a worse pressure rate on defense than the Lions did a season ago. Seems only fit that Georgia edge defender, Travon Walker, is the pick to provide a spark to the knee-cap hungry Detroit defense. 

Walker led the Georgia Bulldogs No. 1-ranked defense in total pressures this past season with 13 coming during their playoff run.

His rare agility at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds will be a major issue for opposing offensive lines. The former Bulldog flashed his rare speed/bend at the NFL Combine with a 4.51 40-yard dash (98th percentile) and 6.89 3-cone drill (93rd percentile). 

With 35½ inch arms to boot, Walker possesses rare traits that make him worthy of the No. 2 overall pick. 

TEAM NEEDS: WR, EDGE, S, LB, QB, CB


  1. HOUSTON TEXANS: Kyle Hamilton (S – Notre Dame)

After “loading up” on offensive personnel in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans looked primed to flip the script and add to their defense that ranked 31st in yards per play allowed.

Edge player Kayvon Thibodeaux and safety Kyle Hamilton are both standout defensive players, so I could envision Houston going in either direction. However, with the general manager Nick Caserio stemming from the New England Patriots system – notorious for valuing pass coverage in favor of pass rush – Houston opts for a do-it-all defensive playmaker.

Adding the dynamic defensive back from Notre Dame should fill the gap in the position left by free agent Justin Reid. Hamilton should fit well in Lovie Smith’s zone-heavy defense that moves safeties in the box and slot.

The talented safety didn’t necessarily increase his draft stock after running a 4.59 40-yard dash, but that raw time requires context. Hamilton is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, so it’s actually a solid time when adjusting for size. The Fighting Irish product also posted elite numbers in the jumping drills with a 38” vertical jump (81st percentile) and 131” broad jump (100th percentile). 

TEAM NEEDS: S, LB, DT, EDGE, CB, QB, RB, WR


  1. NEW YORK JETS: Kayvon Thibodeaux (Edge – Oregon)

The New York Jets have a multitude of holes on their roster, especially on defense, so they look to bolster that side of the ball with elite pass-rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Oregon product generated 48 pressures in 11 games his junior season – 4.4 per game. That mark ranked tenth among the 2022 edge class.

Pairing Thibodeaux with their 2021 prized free-agent acquisition, Carl Lawson, will help form a dynamic pass-rush duo for Gang Green.

TEAM NEEDS: WR, TE, OL, EDGE, DT, CB, S


  1. NEW YORK GIANTS: Evan Neal (OT – ALA)

Out with the old, in with the new. Big Blue cleaned house this offseason hiring Brian Daboll as head coach and Joe Schoen as general manager. Both guys spent their last several seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Management/ownership understands they need to put Daniel Jones in a position to succeed this season, to identify him as their long-term answer at quarterback.

The easiest way to achieve that goal is to add protection upfront in the form of offensive lineman, Evan Neal. The Alabama tackle finished top-10 in his draft class in the lowest pressure rate allowed (2.4%) in his first season as a full-time left tackle.

Neal should help fortify PFF’s third-worst offensive line that may be without Nate Solder and Will Hernandez due to free agency.

TEAM NEEDS: OL, EDGE, LB, CB, TE


  1. CAROLINA PANTHERS: Ikem Ekwonu (OL – NC State)

The Panthers offensive line was an absolute mess in 2021, allowing the league’s sixth-highest pressure rate. Taylor Moton is their best pass protector at right tackle, but left tackle needs to be improved from the hodgepodge unit of Cam Erving, Brady Christensen and Dennis Daley from a season ago.

With the sixth overall pick, Carolina is primed to take a franchise left tackle. NFL.com insider Daniel Jeremiah said just that on the Rich Eisen show claiming the team is “dead set” on drafting an offensive lineman at 6, even if it’s a reach.

Ikem Ekwonu is that guy. Ekwonu allowed zero quarterback hits in 2021 and offers versatility to also line up at guard. He’s also an absolute mauler in the run game – PFF’s fifth-highest graded run-blocker in 2021.

The Wolfpack offensive lineman did wonders for his draft stock at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine generating rhetoric that he will be the No. 1 pick by Jacksonville when April 28th rolls around. 

TEAM NEEDS: LT, QB, OL, LB


  1. NEW YORK GIANTS: Ahmad Gardner (CB – CIN)

Having already addressed the offensive line with their first pick, the Giants flip the script defense with their second first-round selection. With trade/cut rumors swirling surrounding 2023 free agent cornerback James Bradberry – $21 million cap hit in 2022 – Big Blue adds lock-down press cornerback from Cincinnati, Ahmad (Sauce) Gardner.

New defensive coordinator Don Martindale is more than happy to put corners on an island that fits Gardner’s strengths to a tee. He played the second-most snaps from man coverage among his classmates in 2021 and allowed just 55 total receiving yards. Gardner has also never allowed a touchdown in coverage.

Meanwhile, Bradberry ranked outside PFF’s top-65 cornerbacks last season in man coverage grade.

TEAM NEEDS: OL, EDGE, LB, CB, TE


  1. ATLANTA FALCONS: Jermaine Johnson (Edge – FSU)

As mentioned earlier, the Falcons defense finished dead last in pressure rate last season. Generating a pass rush has been a consistent issue for their squad for several seasons, so they need to equip the defensive line with talent in this draft.

Therefore, the Falcons cannot pass up on Jermaine Johnson from Florida State at pick 8. The Georgia transfer tied Aidan Hutchinson with 14 sacks to lead the 2022 NFL Draft class. 

Johnson fits the pass-rush mold in new defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ 3-4 scheme.

TEAM NEEDS: EDGE, OL, WR, RB, CB


  1. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Malik Willis (QB – Liberty)

A forward-thinking team doesn’t trade away a 33-year old franchise quarterback unless they have a tentative contingency plan in place. And no, that plan does not feature Drew Lock as the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback.

All the buzz out of Indianapolis was that Seattle loved Malik Willis, so I’d imagine that he is the rookie quarterback they envision selecting at this spot. Willis impressed teams at the combine, with overall offensive knowledge, ability to retain offensive info and play-calls for the position.

It makes sense for Seattle to get up to No. 9 overall because it allows them to leap in front of Washington, who also looked to be in the market for the Liberty quarterback.

Willis’ dual-threat ability averaged nearly 100 rushing yards per game in college mimics that of a younger Russell Wilson, so it’s no wonder why Seattle is so high on the Flames signal-caller. 

TEAM NEEDS: QB, TE, CB, RB, DT, OL, EDGE


  1. NEW YORK JETS: Garrett Wilson (WR – Ohio State)

The Jets saw the Bengals offense take off in Year 2 after they paired their second-year quarterback with a dynamic rookie wide receiver. If they want Zach Wilson to take a similar leap in Year 2, New York needs to give him more offensive weapons. Insert Garrett Wilson.

The Ohio State wide receiver was deemed open on 90 of 107 targets in 2021 — an 84% open target rate. Elijah Moore — the Jets’ second-round pick in 2021 — earned an 88% open target rate his last year at Ole Miss.

TEAM NEEDS: WR, TE, OL, EDGE, DT, CB, S


  1. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: Charles Cross (OT – MISS ST.)

The Washington offensive line figures to lose some talent with guard Brandon Scherff, center Tyler Larsen and tackle Cornelius Lucas hitting free agency. Their OL earned a top-5 pass-blocking grade in 2021, so the Commanders would be wise to not let offensive protection fall to the wayside. 

Charles Cross is a locked-and-loaded franchise left tackle after taking over 1,200 snaps from that position the last two seasons. The Mississippi State Bulldog was elite from Week 4 onward as PFF’s second-highest graded pass-blocker (87.6).

Cross also showed up against the strongest competition allowing just two combined pressures in four SEC matchups against Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn.

TEAM NEEDS: QB, OL, CB, S, LB, WR


  1. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Derek Stingley (CB – LSU)

The Vikings ranked fifth in most passing yards allowed this past season and have a glaring hole at cornerback. Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander played the most snaps for Minnesota last season but are prime candidates to leave in free agency. That leaves just Cameron Dantzler as a starter surrounded by less-than-ideal options.

The Vikings fill the void by selecting Derek Stingley Jr., who was seen as a can’t miss option after his freshman season. The LSU product has regressed some the past two years, but talent showcased in 2019 – PFF’s highest-graded corner – is worth it.

Anticipate that Minnesota probably has a solid read on Stingley’s profile heading into the draft, based on them hiring former LSU defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach, Daronte Jones.

TEAM NEEDS: CB, QB, LB, DL


  1. CLEVELAND BROWNS: Drake London (WR – USC)

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry has a strong track record of adding pass-rushers through the draft. I’d presume they select as pass-rusher with one of their top two picks, with the other being a wide receiver. 

Jarvis Landry may have played his final snap in Cleveland, and Donovan Peoples-Jones is not a No. 1 WR.

Drake London boasts all the skills to be an alpha possession receiver at the next level. The 6-foot-4 and 219-pound towering wide receiver only played in eight games due to an ankle injury but made every game count. He commanded a 38% target share and led all WRs in contested catches (19). London concluded the year third in yards per route run (3.52) in his draft class.

The USC product has also yet to turn 21. 

TEAM NEEDS: WR, EDGE, DT, LB, S


  1. BALTIMORE RAVENS: David Ojabo (Edge – Michigan)

Baltimore needs to inject more youth into their pass-rush. Calais Campbell and Justin Houston are both free agents leaving last season’s first-round selection Odafe Oweh as the top pressure generator. It makes too much sense for Baltimore to select Michigan edge David Ojabo with their new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald also from Michigan.

He coached as their DC during Ojabo’s breakout season in which the Wolverine defender tallied 11 sacks. Ojabo played just 26 snaps in 2020. Drafting Ojabo would also reunite him with his former high school teammate in Oweh.

I’d fully expect the two to form a dynamic pass-rush duo based on Ojabo’s freakish athleticism that normal football players just don’t have. His 4.55 40-yard dash ranks in the 96th percentile among edge defenders. 

TEAM NEEDS: C, EDGE, CB, DT, S, OT


  1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Treylon Burks (WR – ARK)

The wide receiver position needs to be addressed on offense. Jalen Reagor looks like a total bust after two seasons, so the Eagles still need to pair DeVonta Smith with another top-tier wideout.

Enter Treylon Burks

The Razorbacks wideout finished first in his class in yards per route run (3.57) while also ranking No. 1 in yards per route run when lined up outside (6.08) among all receivers. It’s an encouraging sign that a size-speed specimen delivered when aligned on the perimeter, as he spent 77% of his career in the slot. 

His 8.5 yards after the catch rank 14th among 169 qualifying wide receivers (92nd percentile) over the past two seasons, and that caters perfectly to the Philadelphia offense.

The Eagles finished second in screen pass rate in 2021.

TEAM NEEDS: IOL, S, CB, LB, EDGE, WR


  1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Devin Lloyd (LB – Utah)

The crux of the Eagles’ problems on defense last season can be traced back to their porous linebacker play. T.J. Edwards is a solid starter, but he is still slow and it’s bare-bones behind him on the depth chart. Hence why Devin Lloyd is the pick. The Utah product is a do-it-all linebacker with the ability to cover tight ends, generate pressure and play on all downs.

He finished the 2021 season with eight sacks and 90 solo tackles – ninth-most in the FBS. Lloyd should mitigate the damage that tight ends inflicted on the Philly faithful last year.

TEAM NEEDS: IOL, S, CB, LB, EDGE, WR


  1. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: Jameson Williams (WR – ALA)

The AFC crown has become an arms race between teams with elite quarterbacks. What the Chargers can – and should do – is to surround Justin Herbert with weapons as far as the eye can see. Mike Williams has been locked up long-term, but that doesn’t mean they stop adding wide receivers.

Alabama’s Jameson Williams can be the extra firepower that L.A. needs to get over the top after a monster season as the Crimson Tide’s No. 1 receiver. 

Williams commanded a 31% dominator rating by hanging 1,561 receiving yards, 20 yards per reception and 15 touchdowns — all achievements that ranked top-three among his 2022 NFL Draft class. His gargantuan yardage totals were fueled by his ability to create yards after the catch and downfield. He finished top-seven among all college wide receivers in yards after the catch per reception (9.3) and receiving yards on 20-plus air yard throws.

Neither Keenan Allen or Mike Williams win with speed, making Jameson Williams the perfect fit to the receiving corps. 

TEAM NEEDS: WR, CB, DT, OT


  1. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Chris Olave (WR – Ohio State)

The relationship between Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints seems to be improving, with reports suggesting the team is not looking to trade him before the 2022 season. However, even with Thomas back in the fold, there’s still a major gaping hole at the wide receiver position in the Big Easy.  Long-time general manager Mickey Loomis has had zero issues spending high-end draft capital on WRs in the past, making Chris Olave the selection here.

The former Buckeye doesn’t offer the same exact skill set as Thomas, but he can separate from defenders at an elite level downfield. Olave wrapped up his 2021 season in the 96th percentile in separation versus single coverage and caught seven touchdowns on throws of 20-plus air yards.

Olave cemented himself as a top-20 selection by blazing a 4.39 40-yard dash (90th percentile) at the NFL Combine

TEAM NEEDS: QB, WR, CB, DT, OL, LB, FS


  1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Tyler Linderbaum (C – Iowa)

Jason Kelce has been ho-hum about whether he will return to the Eagles for the 2022 season. Regardless, he is entering his age 34-season, so the end is near. Philly can lock up his long-term replacement at center with Tyler Linderbaum. He has graded out as PFF’s No. 1 center in the nation over the last two seasons.

Linderbaum also owns the second-highest run grade among all OL in the nation, which bodes well for him in a run-heavy Eagles offense.

TEAM NEEDS: IOL, S, CB, LB, EDGE, WR


  1. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Andrew Booth Jr. (CB – Clemson)

Pittsburgh has an obvious need to address with their offensive line, but that has not been a position they have attacked with high-end draft capital under the Kevin Colbert regime. 

Pittsburgh last drafted an offensive lineman in the top two rounds back in 2012. So, although tackle Trevor Penning or guard Kenyon Green makes a ton of sense, I believe Pittsburgh looks to fix the back-end of their defense.

Cameron Sutton is their only starting cornerback under contract for next season with both Ahkello Witherspoon and Joe Haden hitting free agency.

Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. can slide in opposite Sutton from Day 1 to help shore up the secondary.

TEAM NEEDS: QB, OL, CB, S, WR


  1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Trevor Penning (OT – Northern Iowa)

Many will harp on the Patriots to take a wide receiver at No. 21, but it’s just not in Bill Belichick’s DNA to pay up at that position. And when he has it’s never panned out: ie. N’Keal Harry, Chad Jackson, Aaron Dobson.

So instead, New England goes the “boring” route by selecting offensive tackle, Trevor Penning. The Northern Iowa product’s draft stock has been increasing since the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and his NFL Scouting Combine performance pushed him even further up draft boards.

The 6-foot-7 and 325-pound behemoth ran a 4.89 40-yard dash (97th percentile) and blazed a 7.25 in the 3-cone drill (96th percentile) – tied for the fastest time of tackles that tested. 

Head coach Bill Belichick is infamous for honing in on prospects that perform well in the short-area speed drills like the 3-cone and short shuttle. With a prospect profile that draws parallels to former Patriots first-round tackle Nate Solder, New England is more than satisfied to snag Penning at No. 21 overall with right tackle Trent Brown hitting free agency. 

Penning’s 97.3 overall PFF grade and 99.9 run-blocking grade both ranked first in all of Division 1 college football in 2021.

TEAM NEEDS: WR, LB, OL, S


  1. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Jordan Davis (DT – UGA)

The Mike Mayock Raiders would surely overdraft a defensive tackle in this spot, but I am slightly optimistic that under a new regime they can get better value in the first round with the HC/GM pairing of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler.

However, with the top-end wide receivers off the board and defensive tackle a glaring need, the Raiders can’t resist the temptation with speed demon, Jordan Davis.

Davis’ 4.78 40-time at 341 pounds is the best weight-adjusted time among 487 interior defenders to run at the combine per PFF’s Kevin Cole. It generated an astounding 130.64-speed score. For perspective, DK Metcalf’s 133.3-speed score ranks in the 100th percentile, which he ran at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds. 

At worst, Davis can be an elite run-stuffer at the next level. But his uber-athleticism clearly shows he is an absolute game-wrecker in his range of outcomes. 

TEAM NEEDS: WR, DT, OT, DE, LB, CB


  1. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Trent McDuffie (CB – Washington)

The Cardinals have zero cornerbacks on the roster that earned a top-35 PFF grade in 2021. Their highest-graded CB – Robert Alford – is an impending free agent. They need to add to their secondary with cornerback, Trent McDuffie.

McDuffie played his college ball at Washington – a school that general manager Steve Kiem is too familiar drafting defensive backs from.  Both Byron Murphy and Budda Baker were second-round picks out of Washington.

He should thrive in the Cardinals’ zone scheme after allowing just 60 yards in zone coverage through 2021’s totality.

TEAM NEEDS: CB, RB, WR, TE, DT, OL


  1. DALLAS COWBOYS:  Zion Johnson (G – Boston College)

Dallas has the third-fewest salary cap space available making it unlikely they can retain starting left guard Connor Williams. Lucky for them, the draft’s No. 1 guard is still on the board at pick 24.

Zion Johnson is a solid starting guard from Day 1 and would be an immediate plug-in-play option. Johnson allowed just two quarterback hits and six total pressures in his final season at school.

The BC Eagle tested extremely well at the NFL Combine posting top marks in the shuttle (4.46, 93rd percentile), 3-cone (7.38, 92nd percentile), bench press (38, 97th percentile) and vertical jump (32”, 91st percentile). 

TEAM NEEDS: OL, WR, S, LB, DE


  1. BUFFALO BILLS: Kaiir Elam (CB – Florida)

Starting outside cornerback Levi Wallace is scheduled to hit free agency this offseason giving the Buffalo Bills a prime opportunity to upgrade at the position. Stud corner Tre’Davious White is also returning from a torn ACL, so it makes sense for Buffalo to add depth.

At 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, cornerback Kaiir Elam is the perfect target. The Florida Gator allowed the nation’s third-lowest passer rating when targeted (18.3) as a true freshman in 2019. Facing SEC wide receivers for three straight seasons will translate well into the NFL.

TEAM NEEDS: DT, DE, CB, WR, G


  1. TENNESSEE TITANS: Christian Watson (WR – NDS)

Depending on how free agency shakes out, the Titans could easily select an offensive lineman with their top selection. Center Ben Jones and right tackle David Quessenberry are both free agents. Left tackle Taylor Lewan is rumored to be a cut candidate.

But they are in such dire circumstances at the wide receiver position with virtually no depth behind A.J. Brown and an aging unreliable Julio Jones. They neglected to address WR last season with any high draft capital and won’t make the same mistake twice.

Tennessee adds North Dakota State’s Christian Watson to fill the void. It might seem like a reach here in the first round, but Tennesse doesn’t pick again until 90. So they remain aggressive to get their guy who has skyrocketed up draft boards during the pre-draft process.

Watson was the talk of the town as a standout in the 2022 Senior Bowl. The North Dakota State prospect showed that his 35% dominator rating and No. 1-ranked 4.33 yards per route run were no fluke, even if they came against an easy schedule of opponents.

And he continued on his draft stock ascension with a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash (92nd percentile) during on-field testing. That speed at Watson’s size is absolutely ludicrous.

Combine that with his 38.5″ vertical (84th percentile) and 136″ broad jump (98th percentile)  – all that’s left is calling the dude a certified stud that has likely earned Round 1 draft capital.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson has never been shy about investing high-end draft capital into the wide receiver position, with his highest-drafted wideout (Corey Davis, 5th overall) also a small-school prospect like Watson. 

TEAM NEEDS: WR, OL, TE, LB, CB


  1. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Kenyon Green (G – Texas A&M)

The Buccaneers have boasted one of the best offensive line units the best two seasons, but might be out of luck in 2022. Starting right guard Alex Cappa and center Ryan Jensen are available on the market. Other starting guard Ali Marpet recently announced his retirement at age 28.

With salary cap funds spent on bringing back Chris Godwin on the franchise tag, Tampa Bay looks to the draft for interior offensive line help in the form of Kenyon Green

The Texas A&M Aggie can start from day one at left guard after finishing 2021 as the highest-graded SEC guard in his draft class. But what separates Green is his versatility. He has experience playing every position across the offensive line outside the center position. That experience will make him a highly-coveted target in the first round.

TEAM NEEDS: QB, IOL, DL, WR, RB, TE, CB


  1. GREEN BAY PACKERS: George Pickens (WR – UGA)

Aaron Rodgers is back to the Pack. The Green Bay Packers’ long-time quarterback inked a four-year mega-deal to return to the squad as he seeks out his second Super Bowl ring.

The Packers have their work cut out for them as they are currently $37 million under the cap, making their draft picks critical to hit on. The right approach will undoubtedly influence the team’s draft strategy to select impact players with their high-end draft capital on cheaper salary cap hits that can contribute from Day 1.

And what better way to do that — while also keeping your veteran quarterback happy — than drafting a stud wide receiver in the first round with George Pickens.

The Georgia Bulldog broke out as a true 18-year old freshman, finishing 2019 as PFF’s the 17th-highest-graded receiver in the nation (88.0) — ahead of future NFL wideouts like Jerry Jeudy, Justin Jefferson, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.

His 2.64 yards per route run were identical to Jefferson’s. Pickens’ unbelievable first year generated a 27% dominator rating — the No. 1 age-adjusted mark among the WRs in this draft class.

Injuries plagued Pickens’ draft stock during the college season, but he looks to be fully healthy based on his testing at the NFL Combine. I will be drafting a lot of Pickens in my dynasty rookie drafts. 

TEAM NEEDS: WR, OL, CB


  1. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Bernhard Raimann (OT – Central Michigan)

If Miami ever wants to see Tua Tagovailoa succeed, they need to protect him upfront. They had the worst PFF pass-blocking grade as a team in 2021. New head coach Mike McDaniel knows how essential it is for an offense to possess a functioning OL unit from his days spent in San Francisco, so the Dolphins select 6-foot-7 tackle Bernhard Raimann.

The Central Michigan product went from playing tight end two years ago to PFF’s third-highest graded tackle in 2021 (94.6).

TEAM NEEDS: OL, RB, WR, TE, LB


  1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: George Karlaftis (Edge – Purdue)

Alex Okafor, Jarran Reed and Melvin Ingram are all free agents for the Chiefs defense. Ingram was the team’s second-most efficient pass-rusher behind Chris Jones and the highest-graded run defender. Reed played the most snaps along the interior of the defensive line. 

So KC bolsters their pass-rush unit with Purdue’s George Karlaftis. As a freshman in 2019, Karlaftis generated the tenth-most pressures in the FBS. And after a truncated 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Boilermaker edge rusher finished 2021 11th in the nation in pressures per game (4.5).

TEAM NEEDS: WR, CB, DL, S


  1. CINCINNATI BENGALS: Tyler Smith (OT – Tulsa)

You don’t need to look too hard to identify the Bengals’ glaring weakness across their offensive line. Quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked 70 times in 2021 – the next closest quarterback was Ryan Tannehill with 48 sacks. Woof.

It’s critical that Cincy goes from bottom to at least mediocre-to-average across the line if they wish to get back into Super Bowl contention. And that starts by plugging up protection with Tyler Smith.

The Tulsa tackle has played over 1,700 snaps from the left side in his college career and finished 2021 as PFF’s fourth-highest graded tackle. 

TEAM NEEDS: OL, CB


  1. DETROIT LIONS: Kenny Pickett (QB – PITT)

Jared Goff will still be in the plans for the Lions in 2022 with a $15.5 million roster guarantee this season. Seems most likely he will be the starter while the team grooms a rookie franchise quarterback behind him. Goff has a potential out in his contract before the 2023 season.

Ergo, Brad Holmes and company select Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett at the end of the first round to get that fifth-year option. The former Panther threw more touchdowns (42) in 2021 than the previous three seasons combined as the entrenched starter (38).

TEAM NEEDS: WR, EDGE, S, LB, QB, CB


Just missed the cut:

LB Nakobe Dean, QB Matt Corral, DT Devonte Wyatt, QB Desmond Ridder, S Daxton Hill, WR Jahan Dotson, CB Kyler Gordon, QB Sam Howell, DE Boye Mafe, DT DeMarvin Leal, S Lewis Cine, CB Roger McCreary,  OT Nicholas Petit-Frere and WR David Bell

Try the only fantasy football draft software that syncs with your draft >>


SubscribeApple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Andrew Erickson is a fantasy analyst at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @AndrewErickson_.

Dynasty, Featured, Featured Link, Mock Drafts, NFL, NFL Draft