Now that the regular season is over, you know what time it is! Playoffs? No, it's mock draft season! Right now only picks 1-18 are established, while the rest will be decided once the playoffs are over, so for now I'll be using my playoff predictions (2022 NFL Playoff Predictions - Cat Scratch Reader) to determine the order for picks 19-32. So without any further ado, here is my first mock draft of the postseason:
2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
1. Jaguars- Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
While the Jaguars have a pretty solid D-line as it is, it definitely is nowhere near as talented as the one that carried them to the AFC Championship game a few years ago. So even though it doesn't address a huge need for them, the Jaguars simply have to go BPA by drafting Hutchinson here.
2. Lions- Kavyon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
Since the Lions passed on Justin Fields (a QB arguably more talented than any in the 2022 class) to take the best player available in Sewell, I could see them doing the same here. Also, supposedly they view Goff as more than just a bridge QB, so it would make sense for them to build around him instead of settling for a QB from this relatively average class. Ironically the best player available here is also a lineman from Oregon, however this time it's an edge-rusher. The Lions have needed pass-rush help for as long as I can remember, and Thibodeaux is seen as one of the best edge-rushers in this class.
3. Texans- Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Supposedly the Texans would have traded Tunsil before the trade deadline if he didn't have an injury, so I imagine that they would try to get out of his contract this offseason. Considering that they are most likely going to trade their best O-linemen away, and their O-line played terribly in his absence, they should get the best O-lineman in the class here. While they could consider a QB here, Mills has played well as of late, and none of the QBs in this class are worth a top 3 pick.
4. (Trade from Jets to Saints)- Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburg
The Jets have a lot of needs, and since they have another pick in the top 10 from the Seahawks, they don't mind trading down here.
The Saints have a very talented team, however none of the QBs on their roster are capable of taking advantage of that talent to turn them into a true contender. As such, they desparately need a true franchise QB to properly replace Brees. While I'm sure they'll be involved in the veteran trade market, they don't really have the cap space to take on a QB contract, nor do they have the resources to pull off a trade. It would be much cheaper, both in terms of their cap space and their draft picks, to instead trade up for a QB in the draft. Pickett is considered by many to be the QB1 of this class, and due to his good combination of mobility, arm strength, and accuracy, he would be a great fit in Sean Payton's offense. While Pickett probably isn't worth a top 5 pick, the Saints felt the need to jump other potentially QB-needy teams like the Giants and Falcons to get him.
5. Giants- Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Giants desparetly need to build an O-line around Daniel Jones if they ever want him to develop into a franchise QB, so they should start by getting the next best O-lineman here. Linderbaum is considered to be the best interior O-lineman in this class, and should greatly help the Giants not only in protecting Jones, but also in openining up the run game for Barkley.
6. (Trade from Panthers to Texans)- Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why we'd be trading this pick to the Texans. Since Rhule is on the hot seat and needs to drastically upgrade both our QB situation and our O-line if he wants to make the playoffs, I could see him going all-in on a trade for Watson to save his job. In this scenario, I'm predicting that we'll trade three 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks, two 3rd round picks, a young defensive starter like Chinn or Gross-Matos, and Darnold for Watson and Tunsil. This way we get out of Darnold's contract, we get our franchise QB and LT, and all it cost us was literally out entire future. But desparate coaches do desparate things, so I could easily see Rhule pulling the trigger on an insanely expensive trade like that. While I was originally going to predict that the Dolphins would trade for Watson, their firing of Flores seems to have drastically reduced their chances of getting him.
Since the Texans already used one of their 1st round picks to address the offense, I imagine that they would use this pick to help their defense. The Texans have needed a true CB1 for years now, so getting the best CB in the class here makes sense for them.
7. Giants- Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State
This is the pick that the Bears sent to the Giants as part of their trade-up for Fields.
Like I said before, the Giants need to drastically upgrade almost every position on their O-line, to the point where I could see them using two first round picks to do so. Ekwonu is a good fit for them because he has the versatility to play at OG or OT, and they could use help at both posiitons.
8. Falcons- George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
The Falcons need to build up their trenches on both sides of the ball, so they should just get the next best lineman, either offensive or defensive, avaialble. The Falcons have needed edge-rushing help for as long as I can remember, so getting the next best one makes sense here.
9. (Trade from Broncos to Seahawks)- Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
In this scenario I am predicting that the Broncos will trade several first round picks, including this one, to the Seahawks for Russell Wilson. While Wilson has expressed his desire to stay in Seattle, and the Seahakws currently have no intention of trading him, I think they will come to the conclusion this offseason that their team is much closer to a rebuild than to being a contender. The Broncos loaded up on early round picks to finally get a franchise QB like Rodgers, but since he's likely to stay with the Packers, they go after the next best option in Wilson instead. The Seahawks would gladly welcome these picks, since they have a lot of needs, and not a lot of draft material to fill them after the Adams trade. Also, I'm predicitng the Seahawks to sign a veteran like Tyrod Taylor and for Drew Lock to be part of their trade with the Broncos, so they wouldn't have to use a 1st round pick on a QB if they didn't want to.
Considering the Seahawks' O-line was already mediocre enough for Wilson to want a trade, and they're likely to let their best OT walk in Free Agency, they should get the next best O-lineman here to replace him.
10. Jets- Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
This is the pick that the Seahawks sent to the Jets as part of the Adams trade.
Considering the Jets traded their best defensive player in Adams, are likely to let their best safety in Maye walk in Free Agency, and need as many defensive playmakers as they can get, getting the best safety in the class here makes sense for them.
11. Washington- Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
While Heinicke was a fun story, he has clearly shown that he is not franchsie QB material. Rivera has openly stated that they are always looking for their future franchise QB, and since they are probably too conservative to get involved in the trade market, I could see them drafting the next best QB here. While the QB2 of this class varies based on who you ask, I could see Rivera liking Willis since his mobility and arm strength will remind him of a young Cam.
12. Vikings- Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cinncinati
The Vikings haven't had a true CB1 since they cut Xavier Rhodes, and considering they play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, it would make sense for them to get the next best one here.
13. Browns- Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Supposedly the Browns are going to move forward with Mayfield as their starter, so they should surround him with as much talent as possible for his upcoming contract year. Their passing game took a huge hit after the release of Beckham, so they should get the best WR in this class to replace him. While the WR1 of this class is up for debate, I think Williams will end up being the first WR taken since he's from Alabama, had an amazing season for them, and should run a very fast 40 time.
15. Eagles- Damone Clark, LB, LSU
This is the pick that the Dolphins sent to the Eagles as part of their trade-up last year.
The Eagles have needed LB help for years now, so maybe this is the year their GM will finally upgrade the position. Supposedly NFL teams are really high on Clark, to the point where they're comparing him to Micah Parsons.
16. Eagles- David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan
This is the pick that the Colts sent to the Eagles as part of the Wentz trade.
The Eagles' D-line has been getting old and ineffective as of late, so getting the next best D-lineman here makes sense for them.
17. Chargers- DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Considering that Bosa is really their only effective D-lineman, the Chargers should get as much D-line help as they can get. Leal makes sense for them since he has the versatility to play at DT or DE.
18. (Trade from Saints to Jets)- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
This is the pick that I'm predicting the Saints to send to the Jets in their trade-up for Pickett.
The Jets need all the help that they can get on defense, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them use both of their 1st round picks on that side of the ball. While their young CBs have played admirably this year, they desparetely need a true CB1, so I could see them getting the next best one here.
19. (Trade from Eagles to Chiefs)- Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Since this is the Eagles third 1st round pick, they didn't mind trading down here.
From their big trades for Frank Clark and Orlando Brown Jr, one can see that the Chiefs are no stranger to being aggressive on draft day. Considering in this scenario they made the Super Bowl again only to lose to the Packers, I could see them trading up to prevent that from happening again. They've lacked a true a CB1 ever since they traded Marcus Peters, and since the Jets just took the CB3 of the class, I could see them feeling the need to trade up for the next best one here.
20. Steelers - Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
You may be surprised to see that I am neither predicting the Steelers to draft a QB, nor am I predicting them to trade this pick for one. While I do think that Matt Corral would be a great fit for their offense, supposedly Mike Tomlin would rather trade for a veteran to replace Big Ben. I don't see them getting into a bidding war for the likes of Watson or Wilson, so I could see them trading a 2nd or 3rd round pick to the 49ers for Jimmy G. This way they can keep their 1st round pick and use it to help their aging O-line. Green makes sense for them because he's versatile enough to play at OG or OT, both positions of need for them.
21. Dolphins- Brian Robinson Jr, RB, Alabama
This is the pick that the 49ers sent to the Dolphins as part of their trade-up for Lance.
The Dolphins seemingly love to draft offensive players from Alabama in the first round, like Tua and Waddle, so I could see them doing so again here. While their running game has been decent, they've lacked a true RB1 ever since they cut Ajayi, and a workhorse like Robinson would be a huge help for Tua. Also, it seems like Flores was the one who seemed to favor their RB committee instead of having a true RB1, so perhaps with him gone their philosophy will change.
22. Raiders- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
After cutting their former 1st round WR in Ruggs, the Raiders were left with Renfrow and Waller as their only legitimate passing options. So to help maximize Carr's potential in this offense, it makes sense for them to get the next best WR for him here.
23. Bills- Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Bills have a very talented team, especially on defense, but their one flaw has been stopping the run. Their suspect run defense singlehandedly cost them games against the Titans and Patriots, so they should dedicate this offseason to fixing that problem. Considering the middle of their D-line is aging and ineffective, getting a massive run-stuffing DT like Davis makes sense for them.
24. Cardinals- Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson
The Cardinals haven't had a true CB1 ever since they let Patrick Peterson leave in Free Agency, and considering the tough dvision they play in, they should definitely get the next best one here.
25. Bengals- Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Bengals O-line has played really well for them this year, which is a big reason why they've won their division and made the playoffs for the first time since 2015. However, their O-line has definitely exceeded their expectations, since on paper they're not very talented. So to avoid an eventual let-down, and to continue to protect their franchise QB in Burrow, the Bengals should get the next best O-lineman here.
26. (Trade from Patriots to Cowboys)- Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
The Patriots never seem to mind trading down, so I could see them doing so once again here.
Jerry Jones is not known to be a very patient owner, so considering they were one game away from making the Super Bowl in this scenario, I could see him being aggressive with a trade-up. While the Cowboys' defense has certainly improved, they are still susceptible to big plays, and don't have much talent at safety, which is why it would make sense for them to get the next best one in the class here.
27. Lions- Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
This is the pick that the Rams sent to the Lions as part of the Stafford trade.
The Lions desparately need offensive weapons, so if they're going to move forward with Goff as their starting QB, they should use this pick to get the next best WR for him.
28. Buccaneers- Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
The Bucs already have a lot of talented weapons, but the injuries this year showed them that they can never have enough. Considering they already cut Brown, Gronk is a threat to retire at any moment, and Godwin is a Free Agent, they might not be able to keep the band together much longer. Since Brady doesn't seem like he's going anywhere anytime soon, they should get the best TE in this class as another weapon for him.
29. Titans- Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
The Titans have a pretty good O-line, but they were injury-prone and ineffective this year, which led to Tannehll getting sacked an excessive amount. Their only attempt to replace their former Pro-Bowl RT turned into a bust of a 1st round pick, so they should get the next best O-lineman here to replace him. Kinnard is a perfect fit for this team since his natural position is at RT, and since he's a tremendous run-blocker.
30. (Trade from Cowboys to Patriots)- Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
This is the pick that I'm predicting the Cowboys to send to the Patriots as part of their trade-up.
As previously stated, Belichick never minds trading down and acquiring more picks. With this pick I could see them getting another weapon for Jones, since as of now their WR room leaves a lot to be desired.
31. (Trade from Chiefs to Eagles)- Drake London, WR, USC
This is the pick that I'm predicting the Chiefs to send to the Eagles in their trade-up.
Considering the Eagles used their first two 1st round picks on defense, I could see them using this pick for the offensive side of the ball. Even though this would make it the third year in a row that the Eagles have used a 1st round pick on a WR, I could see them doing so since they need more weapons for Hurts.
32. Packers- Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Packers could use this pick to get another weapon for Rodgers, especially since they might have to replace Adams soon, but at this point it seems like their GM will never get Rodgers a 1st round WR. If they don't get a WR here, I imagine they would look to addressing the defensive side of the ball. While the Packers did sign some really solid LBs in Free Agency, they could still use an upgrade at the position. Considering that they almost lost to a Jackson-less Ravens because they couldn't stop the run, couldn't contain a mobile QB, and couldn't cover over the middle, getting an athletic, versatile LB like Dean makes sense for them.