2022 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles grab athletic freak, break tradition in mock draft

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Eagles grab athletic freak, break tradition in mock draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

In the final hours before the real draft gets under way, the Eagles reap the benefit of an early QB run and grab the player many are saying is the most athletic in the draft.

1. Jaguars – Aidan Huchinson, Edge, Michigan

It’s best not to overthink things in the draft, especially with the first overall pick. The Jags go chalk and take Hutchinson. By the way: Why does the team with the first overall pick get 15 minutes on the clock? If they haven’t decided by Draft Day, they should fold the franchise.

2. Lions – Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

Walker has been rocketing up draft boards since his performance at the Combine, and the Lions take a potential game-wrecker at No. 2.

3. Texans – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

A lot of teams need secondary help, but there aren’t a ton of no-brainer picks at the cornerback spot in this draft. Houston grabs Sauce, the CB with the least amount of question marks.

4. Jets – Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Thibodeaux was at No. 1 for a few weeks on several mock drafts. The Jets will be more than happy to pull down Thibs here at No. 4.

5. Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Another player who was at the top of a handful of mocks earlier in the process, the Giants sprint to the podium for Neal to plug in at right tackle.

6. Panthers – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

If you know what the Panthers are going to do with this pick, grab yourself a Powerball ticket while you’re at it. It would be no surprise if Carolina trades this pick; their next pick isn’t until Saturday in the fourth round.

7. Giants (via Bears) – Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

Johnson is a bit of a stretch here, but I think he’s a good fit for Big Blue. A cornerback could also be in play here for the Giants.

8. Falcons – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

I feel like the QB run starts here, if it doesn’t start with Carolina at No. 6. Atlanta goes with the most complete prospect in Pickett. Expect about 200 targets for Kyle Pitts.

9. Seahawks (via Broncos) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

With Pickett off the board, Seattle gets their Drew Lock insurance in Willis, who has all the physical tools but needs a lot of work in the film room to get where he needs to be.

10. Jets (via Seahawks) – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

If Hamilton was a corner, not a safety, he’d likely go top-3 in this draft. Not sure why teams don’t value safeties in the draft. Isn’t an upper echelon safety the hallmark of any strong defense?

11. Commanders – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Commanders need to give Carson Wentz a puncher’s chance, if only to make the trade for him worth it. He’s a complete receiver, and gets the edge over Jameson Williams due to his comparative health.

12. Vikings – Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

Stingley will be exceedingly comfortable going to the Vikings, where he will be reunited with his old DC at LSU, current Minnesota secondary coach Daronte Jones.

13. Texans (via Browns) – Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Houston could trade out of this spot – they need talent just about everywhere – but if they stay here, they grab Corral, who will easily take the starter job from incumbent Davis Mills.

14. Ravens – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Lamar Jackson has taken a step back, largely because he wasn’t given time to operate in the pocket. Enter Cross, the best pass-protector in the entire draft.

15. Eagles (via Dolphins) – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

The Eagles grab Fletcher Cox’s successor here at 15, because he likely won’t last very much longer. Davis’ Combine numbers (4.78 40-yd dash at 341 pounds) opened a lot of doors for him, and if he lives up to potential, he could be the cornerstone of the next great Eagles defensive line.

16. Saints (via Eagles via Colts) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

A healthy Williams would have gone top-5, but the Saints would be perfectly happy grabbing him here to lineup across the field from Michael Thomas, who missed all of the 2021 season with an ankle injury, but should return healthy this season.

17. Chargers – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Chargers are not very far away from being a Super Bowl contender. They need to shore up their run defense, and their offensive line. It wouldn’t surprise me if they drafted Devonte Wyatt here, but Penning is my call, just to keep Herbert upright and healthy for the future.

18. Eagles (via Saints) – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

I know, I know. The Eagles don’t value linebackers, especially in the draft. But you can’t overlook a linebacker with Lloyd’s credentials, and his ability to run a defense, so the Eagles take this LB in the 1st round for the first time since 1979. He can absolutely do it all on the field, and will make DC Jonathan Gannon’s job that much easier with his ability to shut down the run, as well as cover in the passing game.

19. Saints (via Eagles) – Daxton Hill, CB/S, Michigan

New Orleans adds a safety who can start right away. A smart player with the speed to cover just about any player you throw at him. Even if they do happen to catch the ball, Hill is such a sure tackler that they won’t go much further.

20. Steelers – Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

Johnson will help whomever ends up at QB for Pittsburgh. He has a world of experience at guard and tackle. A very smart player who will round out a suspect Steelers O-line.

21. Patriots – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

The Patriots need a lot of help on the edge, and Karlaftis lasting this long would be a welcome sight. He’s more of a conventional 4-3 end, but New England has a great track record of molding players, so this marriage would be an interesting one.

22. Packers (via Raiders) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Filling the sizable shoes of Davante Adams is nearly impossible, but the Packers would do well to grab Olave. A player with his speed and route running ability might even improve to mood of Aaron Rodgers.

23. Cardinals – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

Feel like Booth should be drafted higher were it not for his injury history. Strained a quad training for the Combine, and also had core muscle surgery in March which kept him away from Clemson’s Pro Day. Still, definitely a first-round talent and Cardinals will gladly take him here.

24. Cowboys – Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

Dallas ranked 25th in the NFL in yards per carry allowed last season. Wyatt should help out in a big way. He’ll generate a big push up the middle, which will help not just the run, but collapse the pocket on passing downs.

25. Bills – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Despite having the league’s top pass defense in 2021, they let Levi Wallace, a 17-game starter, walk in free agency. They remedy that with the versatile McDuffie, who excels in both man and zone coverage.

26. Titans – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Tennessee took an unsuccessful shot with Julio Jones last season. They take Burks here, who has a very similar build to Jones, and also similarly, plays faster than he looks, especially after the catch.

27. Buccaneers – Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

Green’s body (6-4, 323) is definitely NFL-ready. His technique? Debatable. He had five holding calls this past season for the Aggies. They’ll need him to hit the ground running after losing guards Alex Cappa (free agency) and Ali Marpet (retirement).

28. Packers – Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

Green Bay brought Winfrey in for a top-30 visit last week. He doesn’t exactly jump off the screen in game film, but he impressed a lot of people at the Senior Bowl, and ran a 4.89 40-yd dash before suffering a hamstring injury at the Combine.

29. Chiefs (via Dolphins via 49ers) – Drake London, WR, USC

Feel like the Chiefs will have to trade up from this spot to get into the WR run midway through Round 1, but staying put and getting London would be a welcome sight. If the price for London and the top receivers is too steep, look for them to go after Penn State WR Jahan Dotson or Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore here.

30. Chiefs – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Cine should thrive in the Chiefs’ defense if things are going according to plan. He has great range as a deep safety, and deliver knockout blows in run support and throws over the middle.

31. Bengals – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

An NFL-ready body, he still needs a bit of coaching. But it shouldn’t take a whole lot to unseat Eli Apple for a starting role in Cincinnati’s secondary.

32. Lions (via Rams) – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Dean visited the Lions a couple weeks back, so the interest is definitely there. Surprisingly, Detroit was the only visit Dean made. His in-game smarts more than make up for what he lacks in size, which sounds a lot like former Lions LB and current assistant to the team president, Chris Spielman.

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