It's no secret that the quarterback draft class for 2022 neither possesses a franchise-changing talent nor much in the way of depth, but that doesn't mean a) there aren't passers worthy of going in the first round or b) QB-needy teams won't talk themselves into over-drafting a prospect.
Last week, Liberty's Malik Willis made his debut in our weekly mock drafts, mostly because he has the potential to be special, but also because Liberty had its biggest test of the season on Saturday against Ole Miss. It's fair to say the Flames were underwhelming, including Willis, who finished with no touchdowns and three picks.
This week, Pickett makes his debut in our weekly mock draft, and like Willis, we currently have a second-round grade on him. But unlike Willis, he's been consistent all season; he's completing 69% of his attempts, throwing for at least two touchdowns each week for 29 total TDs against just three interceptions. There are holes in his game, for sure, but Pickett has gone from a likely Day 3 prospect to a Day 1/Day 2 player.
In addition to Pickett, Penn State's Jahan Dotson makes his mock-draft debut, and he joins five other wide receivers in Round 1.
Keep reading to see how all 32 picks unfold.
One other thing, and this is important: now that we're past the midway point of the season, we're using the 2022 NFL Draft order (via tankathon, with results prior to Monday's game) to determine selections 1-32 below.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Round 1 - Pick 2
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 3
Round 1 - Pick 4
LSU • 6'0" / 195 lbs
The Jets could go O-line here (they have two first-rounders, so keep reading), but instead choose the best CB in this class, and perhaps in any of the recent draft classes. Stingley hasn't played since suffering an injury last month but that will have zero impact on his draft stock.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Ikem Ekwonu OT
NC State • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Ekwonu is one of our favorite players in this draft class. There's talk that he may have to move inside to guard but when you watch him play, he's perfectly suited to be a dominant tackle, which is exactly what the Jags need.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • 6'2" / 205 lbs
The Corral-to-WFT pairing has been a popular one for us in recent mock drafts because Taylor Heinicke, while a good story, isn't a 17-game NFL starter. There are plenty of questions with Corral but he's had a solid season, gotten better each year, and plays with the athleticism we've seen more and more in starting QBs.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 290 lbs
Leal hasn't been as dominant in '21 as he was in '20 but not only does he easily pass the eye test, he's proven he can take over games against some of the best players in the country. Originally a defensive end, Leal, at 6-foot-4, 290, has the versatility and athleticism to play up and down the line, and that versatility would be welcome in Philly, where the Eagles' defense has been a bottom-third-in-the-league unit, according to Football Outsiders.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 220 lbs
The Giants have young safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love (and McKinney had two picks against the Raiders on Sunday), but that doesn't mean there isn't room in the secondary for Hamilton, too. He's a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed -- a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk -- and that makes him a Day 1 impact player.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Yes, the Dolphins have used a ton of draft capital in recent years on the offensive line but the unit still lacks cohesiveness. Assuming Tua Tagovailoa is the answer and the team doesn't target a QB here, it makes sense to do whatever it takes to improve the O-line. Green can play either tackle or guard and he has the ability to be a Day 1 starter.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
Washington • Sr • 6'7" / 340 lbs
This could be a tad high for Kirkland, but there's a lot to like about his game. He had his moments against Aidan Hutchinson, but there's no crime in that -- just about everybody that faced him can tell similar stories -- but Kirkland was really impressive against Thibodeaux on Saturday. The Jets need to protect Zach Wilson (or Mike White, or Josh Johnson or Joe Flacco) and targeting the O-line would be prudent here.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 11
Iowa • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country, and while 11th overall might seem rich for a center, a) Linderbaum is that good, b) the Giants lost Nick Gates to injury and c) his replacement, Billy Price, has struggled.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Clemson • 6'0" / 194 lbs
The team has already parted ways with 2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney, and Patrick Peterson is on a one-year deal. Wide receiver could also be an option here but stockpiling defensive backs is never a bad strategy, and Booth could end up being one of the best cornerbacks to come out of Clemson in recent years, and he's proven that at points during the '21 season.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Nevada • 6'3" / 226 lbs
Sam Darnold isn't the answer. This much we know. What's less certain: How healthy is Strong's knee? He's our QB1 with a clean bill, but that will be the lingering question as we go through the draft process.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 14
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Dean plays with the type of urgency and physicality that has been lacking at times in the middle of this Eagles defense. And while Dean's playing on the best defense in the country, don't be fooled -- he's not riding on the coattails of a dominant defensive line -- he's been a huge reason for its success.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Ohio State • 6'0" / 192 lbs
There are several teams in the market for QBs, but the dearth of talent at the top of the board means other needs could be addressed first. That's the case here for the Broncos, where Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton and Diontae Spencer are all in the final year of their contracts.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Kaiir Elam CB
Florida • 6'1" / 191 lbs
The Bengals' defense is young, aggressive, and balled out often during the first two months of the season. But the unit has struggled in recent losses against the Jets and Browns, and beefing up the secondary should be at the top of the to-do list, especially if there's no offensive lineman they like here.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • 6'1" / 189 lbs
Olave is one of the best route runners in this class and while Odell Beckham Jr. wasn't productive with the Browns this season, Rashard Higgins is in the final year of his deal. And after Jarvis Landry, only rookies Demetric Felton and Anthony Schwartz, and second-year wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones are under contract.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Purdue • 6'4" / 263 lbs
Karlaftis, who reminds us of A.J. Epenesa, has flashed this season for Purdue. And while injuries and the pandemic saw him play limited snaps in '20, he was nearly impossible to stop in '19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Grady Jarrett remains one of the best defensive players on the roster but the Falcons could stand to beef up the interior line. Meanwhile, Davis has consistently been a one-man wrecking crew for Georgia this season.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Mississippi State • 6'5" / 311 lbs
The O-line has been replacement-level this season, according to Football Outsiders, but the unit has played better in recent weeks. That said, Trent Brown and Ted Karras are in the final year of their current deals, and Cross, who is having a solid campaign for Mississippi State, has the potential to be special.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Washington • 5'11" / 193 lbs
Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, and plays primarily outside, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, though he has been balling out on the outside for the Huskies this season.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Drake London WR
USC • 6'4" / 213 lbs
London, who was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing USC season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, isn't going to run a 4.3 but he's a high-point-catch machine who can take over games. Michael Thomas' season is over before it began but assuming he returns to New Orleans in '22, and the team settles on a QB, London would fit an obvious need at WR2 for the Saints.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Cincinnati • 6'3" / 200 lbs
The Raiders have had several weeks of off-field news that has resulted in the firing of the head coach and releasing both 2020 first-round picks, including CB Damon Arnette, whom the team parted ways with on Monday.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Alabama • 6'1" / 179 lbs
Sunday's forgettable effort against the Broncos aside, the defense really has been a pleasant surprise -- in part because Dallas stocked up on that side of the ball in the '21 draft -- which is why the team targets wide receiver here (also worth noting: Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson could be free agents in the spring).
Round 1 - Pick 25
Auburn • 5'11" / 190 lbs
The Bills have the NFL's best defense, according to the advanced stats (hey, it held the Jags to just nine points!), but there isn't much depth behind Tre White and Taron Johnson. McCreary has been very good for the Tigers and he's done it against some of the best wide receivers in the country.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Kendrick is a first-round pick all day long, and he's proven that again this season with Georgia after transferring from Clemson. The biggest issue for NFL teams will be off-field issues; if Kendrick has matured since his time with the Tigers, he'll be worthy of a top 32 selection.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 28
Pittsburgh • 6'3" / 220 lbs
PIckett has had a fantastic season but we view him as a second-rounder. Of course, previous drafts are littered with teams taking players earlier than expected and given Pickett's age, maturity, and the huge strides he's made from the 2020 season, we wouldn't be surprised if a team in the bottom half of Round 1 targeted him.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Kentucky • 6'5" / 322 lbs
Kinnard is a mauler who plays with an edge and he can wreak havoc as both a run and pass-blocker. He may have to kick inside at the next level but his ability to open holes in the running game makes him an immediate asset for this Ravens offense.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Jahan Dotson WR
Penn State • 5'11" / 182 lbs
Dotson has been electric this season for the Nittany Lions, and he threatens the defense at all three levels. He's not going to break a lot of tackles but that assumes defenders are able to get their hands on him; he's as fast as he is elusive, and a legit home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Round 1 - Pick 31
South Carolina • 6'4" / 258 lbs
The Titans' defense has turned a corner, and we all witnessed it together against the Rams on Sunday night. Denico Autry, Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry all registered sacks vs. Matthew Stafford, but there's always room for more pass-rushers. Enagbare is a twitched-up athlete who flashes every week, and will only get better with more reps and added muscle.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Lloyd is a twitchy, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league the last 7-8 years. And while the Cards have been stockpiling the position in recent years with Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins, don't try to pigeonhole them as "linebackers," but instead as "football players." Put it another way: Lloyd would make an already fast defense even quicker to the ball.