2022 NFL Mock Draft: When does a quarterback come off the board?

·12-min read

Trying to predict the NFL Draft is always an exercise in futility and it is a task that is all the more difficult in 2022.

With the top 10 shrouded in mystery and doubts over whether any quarterback will be selected in the first round, this is one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory.

But that hasn't stopped us from attempting a mock draft.

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Through assessing the needs of all 32 teams and the advanced data, Stats Perform has made a selection for every pick in the first round and each of the eight, yes eight, teams who do not own a choice in the opening round.

Here's what we think each team should do in a draft that promises to provide plenty of surprises.

First Round

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The favourite for this pick until being displaced by Travon Walker, Hutchinson is the most pro-ready edge rusher in the class. His pressure rate of 30.8 per cent was second among all edge defenders in the draft class in 2021.

Aidan Hutchinson
Aidan Hutchinson

2. Detroit Lions - Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

Ranked 30th in allowed open percentage in pass coverage last season, the Lions should put concerns about drafting a safety this high to one side to grab the most versatile and arguably the best defender in the draft.

3. Houston Texans - Ikem Ekwonu, Tackle, NC State

The Texans were 31st in pass protection win rate last season. Ekwonu would give them an athletic tackle who offers upside in the run game to pair with Laremy Tunsil.

4. New York Jets - Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati

The Jets had the best corner in the NFL by combined open percentage allowed in Bryce Hall (14.61) last season. By adding Gardner, an ultra-reliable press-man corner, their much-maligned secondary would be in impressive shape.

5. New York Giants - Evan Neal, Tackle, Alabama

New York is committed to Andrew Thomas at left tackle, but the Giants were 22nd in pass protection win rate in 2021 and still have a hole to fill at right tackle. Enter Neal.

6. Carolina Panthers - Charles Cross, Tackle, Mississippi State

The Panthers' roster is in dreadful shape, and they could look to reach for a quarterback here. However, they were 30th in pass block win rate in 2021, and tackle is just as pressing of a need.

7. New York Giants - Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

For a team that has invested much in both lines in recent years, the Giants are still severely lacking on both sides of the trenches. The fast and ultra-powerful Thibodeaux would give a pass rush that was 26th in win rate last season a much-needed boost after posting a pressure rate of 24.5 per cent last year that was fourth-best among edges in this class.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

The Jaguars are widely expected to bet on Walker's phenomenal athletic traits, but a Falcons team that already looks to have punted on 2022 would allow him more time to develop as a pass rusher. Walker would also be an excellent fit as a 3-4 defensive end in Dean Pees' defense with his prowess in run defense.

9. Seattle Seahawks - Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

A lack of pass rush off the edge has long since been a problem for the Seahawks. Johnson, whose tally of 17 adjusted sacks was second only to Hutchinson in 2021, can finally fill the void.

10. New York Jets - Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Alabama

It is unclear when Williams will be ready to play after tearing his ACL in the National Championship Game. However, the Jets, who attempted to trade for Tyreek Hill, have enough receiving depth to be patient with a dynamic speedster, whose nine receptions of 50 yards or more were the most in the FBS last season.

Jameson Williams
Jameson Williams

11. Washington Commanders - Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

If Carson Wentz is going to succeed in Washington, he will need all the help he can get. Wilson, who won his matchup with a defender - which Stats Perform labels as recording a 'burn' - on 71.6 per cent of targets in 2021, would offer the Commanders quarterback a separator who can pick up yardage after the catch and be an excellent complement to Terry McLaurin.

12. Minnesota Vikings - Derek Stingley, Cornerback, LSU

The Vikings have Patrick Peterson back for another year, but they need long-term solutions in the secondary, having ranked 23rd in open percentage allowed in 2021.

13. Houston Texans - Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, Washington

Houston performed even worse in coverage last season, finishing 31st by the same metric, making a corner with versatility to start outside and in the slot an obvious fit.

14. Baltimore Ravens - Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, Utah

With Patrick Queen perhaps a little slower to develop than anticipated, the Ravens have a clear need at linebacker. Lloyd was tied for first among FBS linebackers with four interceptions in 2021, also recording eight sacks.

15. Philadelphia Eagles - Devonte Wyatt, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

There's an argument for Wyatt's Georgia team-mate Jordan Davis here, but the Eagles like their defensive linemen to attack rather than simply eat up space. That's Wyatt's game, and he would add yet more strength to a pass rush that was eighth in win rate last year, helping Philadelphia protect a fragile secondary.

16. New Orleans Saints - Trevor Penning, Tackle, Northern Iowa

Needing a replacement for the departed Terron Armstead at left tackle, the Saints can bet on this nasty small-school product who is blessed with long arms and athleticism that saw him run a 40-yard dash that put him in the 97th percentile for tackles.

17. Los Angeles Chargers - Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Arkansas

The Chargers already have size at receiver in the form of Mike Williams, but they don't have a wideout who was used quite like Burks, who frequently received the ball on backfield carries and screen passes at Arkansas. Burks' average depth of target was just 9.4 yards but only Williams (4.91) and Wan'Dale Robinson (4.86) averaged more burn yards per route than Burks (4.56), who can add another facet to an already exciting passing game.

18. Philadelphia Eagles - Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, Georgia

Philadelphia doubles up on Georgia prospects, with Eagles fans having called for help at linebacker for some time. Dean can profit from the destruction the Eagles create up front, as he recorded six sacks for a Bulldogs defense that relied on his blitzing to create pressure in 2021. He also had six pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

19. New Orleans Saints - Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC

New Orleans elected to stick with the historically erratic Jameis Winston at quarterback, meaning it helps to have as many well-built ball-winners at receiver as possible. The Saints already have two in Michael Thomas and Tre'Quan Smith. London, fourth with a burn rate of 71.3 per cent last year, would give them another who offers upside with his surprisingly fluid route-running.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pittsburgh

Pickett gets to stay in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers landing the most pro-ready quarterback in an underwhelming class. He delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 82.7 per cent of pass attempts in his final college season, the best ratio of any quarterback in the class, and can immediately compete with Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job.

21. New England Patriots - Zion Johnson, Guard, Boston College

A classic Bill Belichick pick. Following the bemusing trade of Shaq Mason, the interior is the weakness of the Pats' offensive line, which ranked seventh in pass block win rate and ninth in run block win rate last year, and Johnson can address that with his ability to play both guard and center.

22. Green Bay Packers - Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

The Packers surely cannot go another first round without taking a wide receiver, especially after trading Davante Adams. Olave is not close to becoming a player of Adams' calibre, but he brings speed and route-running refinement, ranking tied fourth among receivers in this class for burn yards per target (14.08) in 2021.

23. Arizona Cardinals - George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

With Chandler Jones gone, the Cardinals need to pair J.J. Watt with a younger edge rusher. The powerful Karlaftis can learn from the future Hall of Famer, who should be able to help him add to a skill set that includes a fearsome bull rush. Karlaftis impressed with a pressure rate of 21.9 per cent in his final year with the Boilermakers.

24. Dallas Cowboys - Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Penn State

Wideout and offensive line are both obvious needs for the Cowboys, but Jerry Jones eschewing a receiver to pick a lineman just doesn't seem likely. Dotson's catch rating, which measures how successfully a receiver brings in balls that are considered catchable on a 0 to 1 scale, of 0.978 was the best of any receiver in the class last season.

25. Buffalo Bills - Andrew Booth Jr, Cornerback, Clemson

The one thing missing from what looks a vastly improved Bills defense? A corner to play across from Tre'Davious White. A leg injury kept Booth out of pre-draft testing, but he excels in both man and zone coverage and his five interceptions were the most among ACC cornerbacks over the last two seasons.

26. Tennessee Titans - Kenyon Green, Guard, Texas A&M

Tennessee finished 28th in pass block win rate and 19th in run block win rate in the previous campaign. Green can offer a boost in both areas.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, Florida

Between Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, the Bucs don't lack corner depth. Where they have struggled is keeping those players healthy. Elam, who performed excellently in his matchup with Jameson Williams last season, can provide insurance and ball skills. He racked up 20 pass breakups in three seasons for the Gators.

28. Green Bay Packers - Bernhard Raimann, Tackle, Central Michigan

The Packers can't keep relying on the versatility of Elgton Jenkins if the injury bug hits again at tackle. Raimann can slot in immediately at right tackle for a team that saw their season come to an end in part through a failure to protect Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs, ranking 23rd in pass block win rate.

29. Kansas City Chiefs - Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

Davis, the undisputed star of the NFL Scouting Combine after running the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds at 341 pounds, gets to slot in next to Chris Jones on the Kansas City defensive line and takes his run-stopping skills to a team that allowed the second-most yards per carry (4.77) in the NFL in 2021.

30. Kansas City Chiefs - Daxton Hill, Safety, Michigan

Tyrann Mathieu doesn't appear to be returning to Kansas City, but Hill can take his place as the versatile safety in the defensive backfield. He had nine pass breakups and two interceptions in his final year with the Wolverines.

31. Cincinnati Bengals - Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa

With Linderbaum likely limited to a team that runs a zone-blocking scheme, and possessing arms barely over 31 inches that put him in just the first percentile for centers, there is talk of him falling out of the first round. However, the Bengals made the Super Bowl despite a line that was 25th in pass block win rate and 27th in run blocking. They should look past those concerns to make him the final piece of their offensive line makeover.

32. Detroit Lions - David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

After missing out on Hutchinson, the Lions take a chance on the other Michigan pass rusher despite his Achilles injury suffered at his pro day. Ojabo had the highest 2021 adjusted sack rate (7.6 per cent) of any edge player in the class.

Teams with no first-round pick

39. Chicago Bears - Alec Pierce, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati

The Bears need a downfield weapon for Justin Fields. Pierce, who registered a burn rate of 72.9 per cent and averaged 14.74 burn yards per target with an average depth of target of 16.4 that was the highest in the class, fits the bill.

42. Indianapolis Colts - Logan Hall, Defensive Line, Houston

After finishing 2021 a disappointing 20th in pass rush win rate, it makes sense for the Colts to add Hall, who would offer inside-out versatility to a D-Line also featuring DeForest Buckner and Yannick Ngakoue.

44. Cleveland Browns - David Bell, Wide Receiver, Purdue

Bell's 1,286 receiving yards were the second-most in the Big Ten conference last season and he did much of his best work from the slot, where the Browns have a hole after the departure of Jarvis Landry.

61. San Francisco 49ers - Cam Jurgens, Center, Nebraska

The tone of general manager John Lynch's comments on Monday suggested center Alex Mack will be retiring. Jurgens is an excellent fit for a zone-heavy offense that was eighth in run block win rate as the Niners made the NFC Championship Game.

64. Denver Broncos - Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB

Wright is the sleeper of the edge class, which he led in both pressure rate (31.3 per cent) and run disruption rate (18.7 per cent), numbers that hint at him being able to help fill the Von Miller void.

86. Las Vegas Raiders - Coby Bryant, Cornerback, Cincinnati

The Bearcats corner who was tested more frequently as teams avoided Gardner, Bryant's 10 interceptions since 2018 were tied for the fourth-most in the FBS.

102. Miami Dolphins - Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina

Long, powerful and blessed with an impressive array of pass rush moves, Enagbare (24.6 per cent) trailed only Wright and Hutchinson for pressure rate in his final year with the Gamecocks.

104. Los Angeles Rams - Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati

The Rams have shown a scant disregard for draft picks that was rewarded with a Super Bowl title. Their first pick comes in the third round, and Sanders is an undersized pass rusher whose pressure rate of 20.4 from his final year of college ball could improve drastically playing on the same front as Aaron Donald.