Bears

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Jets, Eagles have half of Top-10 picks

Bears

Opening Paragraph:  Football is a game of attrition, unfortunately, injuries are a part of a team's reality and its misfortune. As a result, some organizations' plans are altered in areas where initially there were no concerns. This past Monday night, the Titans lost several players due to injury, most significantly their first-round draft pick, Caleb Farley. Consequently, Tennessee may have to allocate resources for a position they thought secured from last year's draft. Mock drafts tend to be as volatile as the NFL teams and players they track.

And remember, it's been six weeks so the draft order is far from clear.

1. Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Thibodeaux is an elite athlete whose speed, power and length are problematic and uncomfortable to deal with for most offensive linemen. When standing up in an edge/rush position, his explosive first step is almost indefensible. The winless Lions (0-6) rank in the lower third of the league in points allowed (28.7 per game) and surrendered twice as many touchdown passes (12) as rushing scores (6). Detroit needs to develop an identity on defense, so taking Thibodeaux with the first pick would go a long way toward creating a strong defensive culture.

2. Eagles (via MIA): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Despite the controversy surrounding Stingley's injury (surgery on his re-injured left foot), he still projects as a top five prospect. Whether or not he returns this college campaign, Stingley might still be chosen as high as the second pick in the draft. There is precedent of a similar scenario occurring during the 2019 draft, when a season ending injury (groin/core muscle surgery) cost defensive end Nick Bosa several games at Ohio State. Despite the severity of the injury, Bosa was still selected second overall in the 2019 draft. Therefore, Philadelphia's need at corner back may encourage them into taking Stingley at the same draftable slot.

 

3. Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Jacksonville finally broke into the win column with a victory overseas in England this past weekend. Nevertheless, the Jaguars' offense struggles scoring and generating first downs in a consistent manner. Jacksonville ranks 26th in the NFL in scoring (19.3 points per contest) and is the second worst team at converting third downs (31.3 percent). Taking Neal could possibly provide power and balance for short yardage conversions, while fortifying Jacksonville's pocket protection during obvious passing situations.

4. Texans: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

There isn't a clear "cut above the rest" quarterback in this upcoming draft. Most preseason signal callers thought to be sure first round guarantees are exhibiting noticeable warts in their gameplay. Willis has struggled lately, throwing six interceptions in his last two contests. However, his dual-threat ability to run for yardage and scores (655 rushing yards / nine touchdowns) offer a balancing remedy to his inaccuracies when passing. Willis' athletic upside and leadership continue to make him an attractive option for quarterback starved teams, like Houston.

5. Giants: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

New York owns the NFL's worst percentage (41.2%) at scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Giants' red zone ineffectiveness directly correlates to their sixth worst scoring average of 19 points per game. One solution to improving their scoring output would be for the Giants to upgrade their offensive line. Green's enormous size ( 6-4, 325 lbs), incredible strength and exceptional footwork allow him to routinely out leverage defenders, making him a dependable building block for any organization. 

6. Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Starting safety, Marcus Maye is arguably New York's best player on defense, however during his 57 career games with the Jets, the team has only won 16 times. Maye is an unrestricted free agent heading into next season, so the Jets' front office must determine if his asking price matches their expectations for future victories. The possibility of drafting an elite talent such as Hamilton, may offer an affordable alternative for a young, rebuilding team like New York.  

7. Patriots: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

DeMarvin Leal's versatility to either play with his hands on the ground or attack from a standing position, might appeal to a master, defensive schemer like, future Hall of Fame coach, Bill Belichick. Leal can operate effectively from various defensive alignments, regardless of whether he is positioned inside (3-technique), or along the edge of the line (5-technique). Quick for his size (6-4, 290 lbs) and blessed with length and flexibility, Leal's athleticism poses a fluid challenge to most offensive linemen.

8. Eagles: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Hutchinson is a relentless predator, who aggressively attacks using powerful swipes and a variety of counter moves. He operates with a suddenness that generally places offensive linemen on their heels, creating balance issues for blockers and disrupting pass protections. Hutchinson is equally adept against the run, setting the edge at the point of attack to contain running plays along the perimeter. Philadelphia could use a versatile edge defender, especially considering the aging free agents they have at that position.

 

9. Eagles (via IND): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Burks is a good sized target who moves with surprising agility for a man his size (6-3, 232 lbs). The fluidity of his hip movements improve his separation from defenders when pivoting and cutting on combo pass routes. Burks uses his frame to shield defensive backs from the ball when they challenge him on contested passes. Using his enormous hands (5XL glove size) and extensive wingspan, Burks' physicality overcomes most defensive backs anywhere on the gridiron. The Eagles could definitely benefit from drafting a large inviting target who can catch passes from any angle.

10. Jets (via SEA): Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

Jackson's ability to change direction sets him apart from most of his peers, and his NFL caliber explosiveness makes him an asset for any team's pass rush. Jackson's speed (40 time of 4.5 seconds) and lateral quickness help him rush the passer, or drop into shallow coverage zones during pass plays. Although Jackson plays at 255 pounds, his frame can handle an additional 20 pounds and still retain optimal agility. The Jets will require defenders that can apply pressure on quarterbacks in a pass happy league and Jackson is qualified to do so.

11. Washington: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

By the end of this college campaign, Howell will have played approximately 38 games, and provided a quality sample size of his quarterbacking skills. Howell possesses a live NFL caliber arm and plays with the confidence coaching staffs seek when orchestrating professional offenses. Though not ideally tall for his position, his thick frame (6-1, 220 lbs) is sturdy enough to handle wear and tear at the next level. Before his college career ends, Howell may throw 100 or more touchdown passes, suggesting a level of success that should translate in today's passing pro game.

12. Falcons: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Since 2018, the Falcons have been one of the most scored upon defenses, allowing an average of 25.7 points per game. In addition to being scored upon, Atlanta's feeble pass rush between 2018 and 2020 averaged 31.3 sacks a season, which is noticeably below the NFL average of 38.5 during that same span. Currently, Atlanta is surrendering almost 30 points a contest (29.6) , registering only nine sacks in five games played. Drafting Karlaftis could only improve such an anemic pass rush. In 24 games played, Karlaftis' efforts have resulted in 12 sacks and 23 tackles for loss. 

13. Dolphins (via SF): Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Elam is an explosive defender whose length (6-2, 192 lbs) effectively shrinks passing windows for quarterbacks to complete passes through. His size creates mismatches in his favor, improving Elam's leverage against receivers while manipulating opponents downfield. The Dolphins are among the worst pass defenses in the league, having surrendered 1755 passing yards and currently ranking 29th in the NFL. Should Miami select the Florida native, Elam's talents could possibly upgrade this struggling secondary.

14. Broncos: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Denver is enveloped in a crossroads season, regarding the future fate of its quarterbacking position. Free agent acquisition, Teddy Bridgewater is average and former first round pick, Drew Lock is mired on the bench. Denver must decide during the off season if renewing Bridgewater's contract, or accepting Lock's fifth year option would be prudent for the organization. Chances are they may opt to reset by taking a talented signal caller like Corral, a player with better athleticism (450 rushing yards), throwing accuracy (66.3 passing percentage) and higher upside.

 

15. Panthers: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Linderbaum is a fundamentally sound technician, who out leverages opponents by playing lower, beneath their pad level and utilizing excellent footwork. His level of awareness and savvy are NFL capable and his ability to anchor against power rushers is extraordinary. Carolina's incumbent center (Matt Paradis) is on the other side of 30 and an unrestricted free agent, so drafting Linderbaum might be a fiscally viable option for the Panthers.

16. Giants (via CHI): Ikem Ekwonu, OL, North Carolina State

Ekwonu is a better run blocker than pass protection specialist, but his sizeable frame (6-4, 320 lbs) and wide base, allow him to anchor and control defenders at the point of attack. An extremely physical lineman, Ekwonu's punch generally halts defenders in their tracks and immediately shifts encounters in his favor. By drafting Ekwonu, it’s possible the Giants could create a more physical mindset for their inconsistent offense, and develop an aggressive culture that controls games from the line of scrimmage. 

 

17. Browns: Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma

The interior of the Browns' defensive line has been successfully challenged by the last two opponents, surrendering on average 128 yards per game. Teams might conclude its more effective to run at the Browns, rather than implement a pass heavy game plan. Winfrey is adept at maintaining gap control and using angles to out flank offensive lineman. Starting defensive tackle, Malik Jackson is an unrestricted free agent and 31 years old, whereas Winfrey is essentially the same size (6-3, 290 lbs) and more affordable. There is a chance that Cleveland might target Winfrey in next year's draft.

18. Vikings: Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson

Booth is a quick twitch athlete, who plays with unwavering confidence and aggressiveness. He owns the area he's defending, using active hands and a physical approach when challenging receivers. Booth's ability to track passes increases his worth as a potential cover corner at the next level. The Vikings currently have three unrestricted free agent corner backs on the roster and may decide to part ways due to fiscal demands. If so, taking Booth would be a great way to reset and institute a culture of physicality to Minnesota's boundary defenders.

19. Steelers: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

For several weeks, this mock draft targeted Ridder as an option for the Steelers at quarterback, eventually replacing future Hall of Famer, Ben Roethlisberger. Nothing has changed. Ridder may be the most well rounded quarterback from the 2022 draft class. He is an effective runner, but doesn't exclusively rely on his mobility to make plays for the team. Ridder can make every pass and has shown an ability to rise to the occasion, having currently led Cincinnati to its highest ranking (#2)in school history.

20. Chiefs: Drake London, WR, USC

Kansas City wideouts, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson are solid receivers, but not extraordinary playmakers. Draft prospect, Drake London is a special talent who competes using every aspect of his 6'5", 210 pound frame. If the Chiefs choose not to renew Pringle or Robinson ( both unrestricted free agents), taking London may elevate an already explosive Kansas City offense. London's size would add another endzone dimension for All-Pro quarterback, Patrick Mahomes and generate more single coverage opportunities for the other receiving weapons.

 

21. Saints: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Strong does a good job of throwing his receivers open, something NFL coaches and front office decision makers search for feverishly. A very accurate quarterback with exceptional touch, Strong would fit in nicely with the type of offensive schematics the Saints employ. New Orleans may want to seriously consider taking the 6'4" passer from Nevada.

22. Bills: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Strong does a good job of throwing his receivers open, something NFL coaches and front office decision makers search for feverishly. A very accurate quarterback with exceptional touch, Strong would fit in nicely with the type of offensive schematics the Saints employ. New Orleans may want to seriously consider taking the 6'4" passer from Nevada.

23. Titans: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

Unfortunately, rookie cornerback, Caleb Farley tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) for a second time and is done for the season. This recent setback marks the third major injury the 2021 first-round pick has suffered in four years. Durability concerns may force the Titans to consider taking another cornerback in the upcoming draft. McCleary plays with an aggressive suddenness that catches receivers off-guard and generally disrupts many pass attempts.. Most importantly, McCleary doesn't possess Farley's injury history.

24. Raiders: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Penning plays the game like a Raiders' throwback, offensive linemen from the eras of the '70s and '80s. Blessed with great size and length (6-7, 329 lbs), Penning's weight is well proportioned to his large frame, enabling a better athleticism than most would suspect. Competitive, tough and nastily tempered Penning plays with single-minded desire to "destroy" anyone in his path. Las Vegas should take a gamble on this player from the FCS ranks.

25. Chargers: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Davis may easily be the most dominant defensive force of nature in the 2022 draft class. A massive human (6-6, 340 lbs), Davis is an immovable presence who typically shoves his way past double and triple teamed blockers. He utilizes underrated quickness and herculean strength to wreak havoc along the line of scrimmage, dismantling offensive plays before they effectively develop. The Chargers need a youthful infusion within their defensive interior and Jordan would be a seamless fit.

26. Bengals: Jalen Wydermeyer, TE, Texas A&M

Six games into the 2021 NFL season, the Bengals are proving to be an exciting and explosive offense. The combination of their three excellent receivers and versatile running backs keeps defenses off-balance, while making Cincinnati a threat from any spot on the field. Adding an athletic tight end who consistently threatens the middle of the field and poses problems for defenses in the red zone, could make the Bengals potentially indefensible. Wdyermeyer is an ascending talent and arguably the best tight end option in this draft class.

27. Packers: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

Another first-round receiving prospect from Alabama is no surprise, but the possibility of one lasting this far into opening round would be unusual. If Metchie fell to the Packers, it would be highly egregious and gross negligence to not select him. A dynamic athlete with loose ankles and quick feet, Metchie's start and stop acceleration concerns defenders trying to gauge his speed. Metchie as a slot receiver would make the Packers already formidable offense more deadly and unpredictable... as long as two-time NFL MVP, quarterback, Aaron Rodgers stays.

 

28. Cowboys: Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern

The Cowboys are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and are playing to their potential this year (5-1 win/loss record). However, retaining talent gets expensive in the NFL and Dallas may have to be frugal going onto next season. The Cowboys currently have 21 unrestricted free agents and four of them play the safety position. It's unlikely Dallas resigns all four. So, the Cowboys may select Joseph, whose seven career interceptions in 16 games played indicate his impact as a game changing defender.

29. Buccaneers: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina

Tampa is in "win now mode" and it’s understandable considering how many veterans are at least 30 years old (18 players). Clearly, an infusion of talented youth is required and Enagbare's physical traits plus production as an edge rusher, suggest he may be a player of interest for Tampa. Enagbare moves with good balance and is adept at attacking blockers with active hands and uncommon flexibility, which has led to 15 career sacks and 22 tackles for loss.

30. Lions (via LAR): Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

The Lions rank 25th in both points allowed (28.7) and total yards surrendered (384.5) per contest. The struggle defensively is real and a lack of impact, playmaking linebackers presents a glaring need for Detroit. Harris is another in an extensive line of Alabama linebackers that are NFL ready when they enter the draft. Athletic versatile enough to defend the run and pass, Harris' skill set should make him an invaluable asset who's scheme adaptable.

31. Ravens: Adam Anderson, EDGE, Georgia

Anderson can get after the quarterback quicker than a hiccup from a parched person in the desert. A muscled, lean athletic build distributes Anderson's balance, strength and innate quickness equally throughout his frame. An ability to transition his speed to power, or flip his leverage point and use strength to set up a quick accelerated move past blockers, makes Anderson special. Baltimore always seems to be in the appropriate draft position to select exactly the caliber of player they need.

32. Cardinals: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

The Cardinals' primary ball carriers are both unrestricted free agents (Chase Edmonds and James Connor) and Arizona may choose to draft a running back who offers better versatility with similar production. Spiller has the size of Connor coupled with the receiving acumen and suddenness Edmonds provides. Spiller would be an excellent choice for an explosive Cardinals' offense that's improving from week to week.

Now to the Bears' picks.

47. Bears: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

Faalele's titanic size (6-9, 380 lbs) is intimidating and somewhat incomprehensible when compared to most NFL offensive linemen. Despite his massive frame, Faalele is mobile and displays a functional flexibility that can handle edge rushers. Although he isn't quick or sudden in his movements, his anticipation and fundamentals help him win against his opponents. Faalele is better suited as a right tackle, and Chicago would greatly benefit from his untapped potential to become a dominant force.

 

78. Bears: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

If Williams played on a better team, or was seen in several nationally televised games, he might be a household name. Fortunately for him, the NFL talent evaluators don't depend on television to do their due diligence when assessing potential professionals. Williams is an assertive pass defender who competes on every play and is usually positioned well in coverage situations. Chicago could use a player who plays similarly to longtime, Chicago Bears' great, Charles "Peanut" Tillman.

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