Eagles

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles find their QB and defensive studs

Eagles

If the NFL season ended right now the Eagles would have two picks in the top 10 and three picks in the top 14.

Of course, the season isn’t ending right now. But things are lining up for the Eagles to have a franchise-altering haul of picks in 2022.

The big question centers around the quarterback position. Will they run it back with Jalen Hurts? Will they acquire a veteran? Or will they draft their next QB? That question gets answered in our latest mock draft:

1. Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

The Lions will likely be tempted to take a quarterback here, but instead they simply take the best player in this class. Thibodeaux is a stud. At 6-5, 250 pounds, Thibodeaux this season has 4 sacks, 8 TFL and 2 forced fumbles in 6 games. He has all the traits to be a Pro Bowler at the next level and his production at Oregon matches. In 26 career games, Thibodeaux has 16.0 sacks. For a team with one of the worst defenses in the league, getting a player like Thibodeaux would help a ton.

2. Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Maybe the Texans take a quarterback here but if they aren’t in love with any of the prospects, which is certainly possible, getting a player like Stingley would simply add a great player to a team that seems kind of aimless right now. Yes, it seems very early to take a cornerback but Stingley has such a high ceiling that it might be worth it. Now, maybe if the Texans don’t like the QBs they’d be willing to trade out of this spot, but for now they simply land one of the best prospects available. Stingley has been injured again this year but if he checks out medically at the combine, he’s still a great early pick.

 

3. Eagles: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

You’ve heard that this class is a weak one when it comes to the quarterback position and that’s true, especially when you compare it to last year’s crop. But if the Eagles fall in love with one of these QBs, they shouldn’t let that stop them. If I had to guess which QB they fall in love with, the guy who makes the most sense is Corral. The Eagles were reportedly in the house this past weekend when Corral and Ole Miss took on Malik Willis and Liberty, so they’re doing their homework.

This is not a shot at Hurts. He has done some good things in his second year and has shown improvement. But it’s fair to wonder if he’s shown enough improvement to make the Eagles think he’s their long-term solution. This is a franchise that puts a ton of value on this position. And while we’ve seen growth from Hurts, we have also seen some inconsistencies that haven’t gone away as he and Nick Sirianni haven’t really meshed well for much of the season.

So why Corral? Well, we heard about the Eagles’ interest in Zach Wilson during the pre-draft process last year but the Jets weren’t willing to pass him up. There are plenty of similarities between Wilson and Corral and they don’t end with how they might both end up being late draft risers. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote this about Corral: “With Corral, I see a player with similar setup and release quickness to Zach Wilson when he was coming out of BYU last season.”

In Saturday’s win over Liberty, Corral completed 20 of 27 passes for 324 yards and a a touchdown. This season, he’s completing  nearly 67% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and 2 picks. Even when he faced Alabama, he completed 21 of 29 passes. The big knock on him last year was that he threw too many picks, but he’s cleaned that up in 2021. Corral has a ton of physical tools as a passer and plenty of ability as a runner too. He has big upside and the Eagles might view him as a potential franchise guy. Would it be the right pick? Not sure. But with the Eagles, I wouldn’t rule it out.

4. Jets: Kaiir Elam, CB Florida

With Wilson entrenched as their franchise quarterback, the Jets have some freedom here to go to defense. This is a heavy cornerback draft and the Jets will have their choice of many of them. But there’s a lot to like about Elam. At 6-2, 195 pounds, Elam a long, ball-hawking cornerback. The Jets have just one interception through eight games this season. Getting a player like Elam could help turn around that pass defense.

 

5. Jaguars: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

It is very unusual for a safety to go this high in the draft but the Jaguars are a pretty unusual team. In this case though, Hamilton seems worth it. The Jags need some impact players on their defense and Hamilton fits that bill. Hamilton has been dealing with a knee injury recently but when he’s right he’s one of the best players in the nation.

6. Washington: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

WFT needs a lot but quarterback is atop the list. It’s possible they won’t just be able to sit back and land a QB, but it’s also possible they’ll be drafting higher when the season is over and done with. Willis is an intriguing prospect for a lot of reasons but you can see how a team could talk themselves into drafting him in the first round. There’s a real boom-bust factor here but for a franchise that is desperate to find its next QB, it might be worth a shot. And how fun would it be for the top two QBs to go to the NFC East? 

7. Eagles: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

The Eagles care an awful lot about their defensive line but that group needs to be replenished. Derek Barnett didn’t work out as a first-round pick and is on an expiring contract. The Eagles still have Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat but it’s time for a serious upgrade on the D-line. This is a franchise that hasn’t drafted a Pro Bowl defensive player since Fletcher Cox back in 2012.

After Hutchinson played just a handful of games last season because of injury, he’s back on the field in 2021 and looks as good as ever. In nine games this season, Hutchinson has 6.0 sacks, 7.5 TFLs and 35 tackles. In addition to his production, he’s also expected to test really well at the combine. So he’s a productive, athletic player with a high floor and a high ceiling. He checks a lot of boxes.

8. Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Giants would probably be pretty happy if they sat at No. 8 and had the best offensive line prospect fall into their laps. Maybe it’s unlikely but the Giants could definitely use some more help on their O-line, especially young help that will be around for a while. Daniel Jones hasn’t been very good or consistent in his NFL career, but he hasn’t had a good line either. Andrew Thomas was playing better before getting hurt, so the thought of having bookends with Thomas and Neal is pretty attractive.

9. Dolphins: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

 

Who knows who the Dolphins quarterback will be next season, they have to make sure he’s protected. Green (6-4, 325) is a big prospect but he also moves well for his size too and would immediately bolster the interior of that Miami line. Right now the Dolphins have Liam Eichenberg playing guard but he has flexibility, so drafting Green might bump him back to tackle.

10. Jets: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

Yes, we have back-to-back Aggies to close out the top 10. The Jets have a chance to double-down on defensive players and get two of the best in this entire class. At 6-4, 290, Leal is a monster inside. This season in just 8 games, he already had 5.5 sacks, 8.5 TFLs and 41 tackles.

11. Giants: Kingsley Enagbare, Edge, South Carolina

At 6-4, 265 pounds, Enagbare definitely has NFL size. He likely would have been a Day 2 pick if he came out last year, but he has put together another solid season as a senior and deserves to be a first-round pick. He has 20 sacks over his last three college seasons. Even though he’s big, Enagbare has played the “Buck” position for the Gamecocks, which means he does a little bit of everything. He has some intriguing athleticism, which makes me think he might go earlier than some suspect.

12. Vikings: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

It might not be a popular pick to take a center in the first round and it would be uncommon to draft one this early, but Linderbaum is as solid as they come. He’s just 290 pounds, so Linderbaum isn’t the beefiest center, but he understands how to use leverage and projects as an early-career starter.

13. Panthers: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

There’s no way the Panthers can be happy with Sam Darnold and it’s time to move on. We all know that this QB class isn’t highly regarded but it only takes one team to take a shot on a guy and there are plenty of things to like about Howell. He’s put up good numbers for three seasons in the ACC. He has decent athleticism, shows good accuracy and has plenty of zip. There are tools to work with.

14. Eagles: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Eagles have struggled to draft cornerbacks for years but that can’t stop them from trying in what should be a very good class. Booth has the potential to be one of the best in this bunch. He’s 6-foot but is very aggressive and tough against the run. He also has that swagger that you look for in No. 1 cornerbacks.

The Eagles will have Darius Slay in 2022 but he’s over 30 and Steven Nelson and Avonte Maddox are both on expiring contracts. The Eagles have a bunch of young, developmental corners but none of them are sure things. Of course, no draft pick is either, but the Eagles need to take a swing at another corner and hope they hit.

 

15. Broncos: George Karlaftis, Edge, Perdue

Maybe the Broncos are able to get a quarterback with their first-round pick but if not, getting a dominant edge player would be a pretty good consolation prize. Von Miller is gone and Bradley Chubb has missed plenty of time with injuries in his career. Karlaftis (6-4, 275) is a dominant player for the Boilermakers. He has just 2.5 sacks this season but don’t let that fool you. He’s plenty disruptive.

16. Bengals: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The Bengals have a 5-4 record this year and have put up a lot of points, but in order to take another step, they need to get better on defense. They have the NFL’s 22nd-ranked pass defense and adding a player like Gardner would improve it immediately. The Bengals paid Trae Waynes to be their top corner but that hasn’t worked out. They’ve gotten good play from Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie, but they need a top corner. Gardner could be that guy.

17. Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Odell Beckham Jr. is gone and the Browns don’t have a very stable situation at receiver. Getting a receiver like Wilson this late in the draft would be an absolute steal for Cleveland. Wilson (6-0, 188) isn’t the biggest receiver prospect but he’s put up big numbers in back-to-back years and has a chance to continue a strong tradition of OSU receivers succeeding at the next level.

18. Chiefs: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

The Chiefs could use some pass rush help but with the top edge rushers gone, they pick up the guy who might be the best linebacker in this class. Dean is a modern-day NFL linebacker, meaning he’s undersized but he can cover and is versatile enough to do just about anything. He has the ability to blitz, which can be utilized in KC.

19. Falcons: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Falcons could really use another playmaker on offense in Arthur Smith’s scheme and there’s no question that Olave is a big-time playmaker. He has averaged 15.7 yards per catch in his college career and has 10 touchdowns in eight games in 2021.

20. Patriots: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Patriots landed their franchise quarterback in 2020 by drafting Mac Jones so now it’s time to get him a target he can grow with. Burks has put up big numbers in the SEC for a few years now. In 2020, he had 51/820/7 and in 2021, he has 48/799/8. He has also been very confident, going over 80 yards receiving in six of his last seven games.

21. Steelers: Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi State

Maybe it’s time for the Steelers to draft Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement but that’ll be hard to do in the 20s. Instead, they add a 6-5, 305-pound offensive lineman. The Steelers have been getting decent line play although there have been ups and downs as they shuffle up front. Adding a blue-chip tackle like Cross would really help.

 

22. Saints: George Pickens, WR, Georgia

Yes, another receiver. There are likely to be several going in this first round. Like the Steelers, maybe the Saints think about taking a QB here. They need one. But the value might not line up for them. And the Saints clearly need some weapons no matter who their quarterback is. Pickens hasn’t played yet this season (ACL) but he’s nearing a return and if he proves he’s healthy, he’s still a first-round pick.

23. Raiders: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

This is probably a tad late for Davis, the huge 6-foot-4, 340-pound juggernaut. The Raiders have a pretty solid defense but need a run-stuffer in the middle of that line. Davis would fit that description.

24. Cowboys: Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas

The Cowboys have gotten a ton of interceptions from Trevon Diggs this season but get another guy to generate big plays in the secondary. Catalon had shoulder surgery in October, cutting his season short but the risk could be worth it for Dallas.

25. Bills: Drake London, WR, USC

Stefon Diggs is obviously a great player but the Bills would benefit from getting Josh Allen another young target. London fractured his ankle and is out for the season, but the 6-5, 210-pound receiver put up an incredible 88/1,084/7 season before the injury. He’ll have plenty of time to heal and will still go very high in this draft.

26. Chargers: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

Winfrey (6-4, 292 pounds) would help a Chargers defense that has been completely gashed in the run game this season. Winfrey might be raw but he has the type of athleticism and tools that Brandon Staley would be able to mold.

27. Buccaneers: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Carlton Davis is set to be a free agent after this season and the Bucs could look to find a replacement in the draft. A converted wide receiver from his days at Clemson, Kendrick has good ball skills like you’d expect from a former wideout. He might not be the best scheme fit but he has enough natural tools to make this work.

28. Lions: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinatti

A four-year starter for the Bearcats, Ridder has shown great consistency and that has continued during his senior season. Ridder (6-4, 215) is a sleeper first-round pick but he has some great traits. He’s got a big arm and moves really well. The issue with Ridder has been accuracy (61.5% in his career), but you’re not getting a perfect quarterback late in the first round.

29. Ravens: Drake Jackson, Edge, USC

With Calais Campbell and Justin Houston heading toward free agency, the Ravens need to replenish at pass rusher and Jackson would be a nice addition. In nine games this season, Jackson (6-4, 250) has 5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss.

30. Packers: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Lloyd is 6-3, 235 pounds and has great range with ability to cover. It seems likely that Lloyd will test well at the combine and that could have his stock rise some.

 

31. Titans: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M

Tennessee really needs to upgrade their tight end position and Wydermyer might be the best tight end in this class. He is a big bodied tight end (6-5, 255) and physical in the blocking game too. He has proven to be a reliable target in the SEC, catching 108 passes over his three seasons with the Aggies.

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

The only running back in this mock draft goes to the Cardinals with the last pick. Chase Edmunds has been solid for the Cardinals but this pick would give them a chance to add another dynamic weapon to an already dangerous offense. Four Aggies in the first round, but all four are worthy.

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