The NFL Draft is set to kick off on Thursday, April 28. Perhaps you’ve heard? If not, you still have a couple days to prepare. If you’ve been regularly following this site, you’ve seen me and my Podcast partner, Matt Bruening, doing some two-round Mock Drafts. You’ll also have seen our thoughts have significantly changed since we started in February. With the draft right around the corner and one of the craziest NFL off-seasons in recent memory trucking right along, here’s my final Two-Round Mock.
Enjoy, and bookmark this so you can laud or roast me on May 1. (If we’re being honest, it will be roasting.)
1.01: Jacksonville Jaguars—Aidan Hutchison, Edge, Michigan. The Jaguars have plenty of needs. If you’re all set, you don’t pick at the top of the NFL Draft two years in a row. They’ve acquired plenty of offensive pieces this off-season to bolster Trevor Lawrence. Here, I think they grab Hutchison to try and bolster the pass rush and keep the score from getting away from their young offense.
1.02: Detroit Lions—Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU. I get it; people think the Lions need a QB. Jared Goff isn’t the final answer, but he’s not the team’s biggest problem. It’s tempting to take a lineman or a pass rusher, too. But the secondary for the Lions was horrendous in 2021. I know they took Jeff Okuda recently but grabbing Stingley would give them a significant boost in the secondary and a chance to help hold teams in check. With that, the Goff-led offense is good enough to win some games.
1.03: Houston Texans—Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon. Name a position, and the Texans need it. The team has a few picks in the draft, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Thibodeaux is one of the elite pass rushers. J.J. Watt is gone. It’s time for the Texans to get a marquee player on the defensive front.
1.04: New York Jets—Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame. The Jets want a wide receiver. They’ve tried to wheel and deal for one, but it hasn’t happened. They also have other needs and a second First Round pick. I think at four; they go for a piece to help anchor the defense for Robert Saleh. Hamilton is a great talent that could provide a great anchor for the Jets’ secondary.
1.05: New York Giants—Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State. Technically the Giants had an offensive line in 2021. It wasn’t good. Whether Daniel Jones is the guy long-term or not, the Giants need better line play. Nabbing Cross with the first of two Top 10 picks makes a lot of sense. Let’s hope sense is in the building for the Giants.
1.06: Carolina Panthers—Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt. The Panthers’ biggest need since Matt Rhule took over is quarterback. I think they grab one here at the sixth pick as I don’t buy their renewed admiration for Sam Darnold. But which quarterback? Kenny “Small Hands” Pickett wouldn’t be my top pick, but it seems to trend that way. So, hence the selection here.
1.07: New York Giants—Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia. The Giants’ first pick went to securing the line on offense, and this second pick should go to securing their defensive front. Walker is a player whose stock has seemingly been on the rise. I think this would be a good grab for the Giants, who’d end up with a great offensive tackle and a needed pass rusher on day one of the draft.
1.08: Atlanta Falcons—Drake London, WR, USC. The Falcons have a lot of needs as the team turns the corner toward a tear it down re-build following the trade of Matt Ryan. One pick isn’t going to fix everything, especially if that pick is a quarterback that needs time to mature. Instead, I think the Falcons work on building a better roster and ride with Marcus Mariota in 2022. He still needs receivers. London is a great receiving prospect that would easily be the best receiver on the Falcons’ roster.
1.09: Seattle Seahawks—George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue. Pete Carroll is a defensive guy. The Seahawks will need to figure out the quarterback position. They may still end up with Baker Mayfield in addition to Drew Lock. Either way, my gut tells me the Seahawks look to upgrade that defense, and Karlaftis gives him a new edge-rushing weapon.
1.10: New York Jets—Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State. The Jets want to keep adding to that offense. They have Elijah Moore, Michael Carter, and Corey Davis around Zach Wilson, but adding Garrett Wilson will give them an offense that will hum. I think he’s the no-brainer selection in this spot.
1.11: Washington Commanders—Malik Willis, QB, Liberty. Is Carson Wentz the answer for the Commanders? Perhaps, but I’m not sold. Washington is a sneaky spot for a quarterback to go early, and I think they snag Willis knowing they don’t need him in 2022. He’ll have time to learn and mature and could be the guy for Washington.
1.12: Minnesota Vikings—Ahmaud “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati. The Vikings seem to always need secondary help. Here, the team is in a prime spot to snag one of the top corners in Gardner. I think they do just that and give themselves a leg up on defense for their new coaching regime.
1.13: Houston Texans—Evan Neal, OT, Alabama. Again, the Texans need help all over the field. Neal is just that, providing the Texans a big building block on the offensive line. Landing Neal will give them some new protection to allow Davis Mills to continue growing and thriving.
1.14: Baltimore Ravens—Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington. The Ravens don’t find themselves picking early often. One of the reasons they are is the poor secondary play they got in 2021. Needing help in that area, I think the Ravens jump on McDuffie if he lands on their doorstep here.
1.15: Philadelphia Eagles—Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah. The Eagles have two First Round Picks bunched closely together. They have a few different needs, but I think they’ll snag the top linebacker in the draft in Lloyd with the first of the picks. This should give them a solid anchor in the middle of the defense.
1.16: New Orleans Saints—Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas. The Saints made a trade to get an extra First Round pick. They may need a quarterback of the future someday but signing Jameis Winston to a two-year deal feels like a commitment to try and compete now. They need receivers, and snagging Burks here gives them a big weapon opposite Michael Thomas for Winston to target.
1.17: Los Angeles Chargers—Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State. The Chargers have filled holes this off-season, building a great team around Justin Herbert to compete in the tough AFC West. The line could still use a boost and snagging Ekwonu here in the middle of the First Round feels like a steal.
1.18: Philadelphia Eagles—Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama. The Eagles have plenty of needs and could go many ways here. The team has taken a high WR each of the last two drafts. DeVonta Smith looks like the real deal, but Jalen Reagor hasn’t panned out. I think the Eagles go back to the well and snag Williams, hoping to add another weapon to help with the development of Jalen Hurts.
1.19: New Orleans Saints—Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M. The Saints grabbed a big receiver with their first pick. Here I think they offer some increased protection to Winston. The team could grab a tackle, but it feels like better value to take a top guard in Green, a position that’s a bit thin on the team’s roster.
1.20: Pittsburgh Steelers—Tyler Linderbaum, C, Minnesota. No team seemed to struggle more in the trenches on offense in 2021 than the Steelers. Getting the top center in Linderbaum will be a boon to new quarterback Mitch Trubisky, running back Najee Harris, and fantasy players everywhere with Steelers on the roster.
1.21: New England Patriots—Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State. The Patriots added DeVante Parker in trade, but the receiving corps still needs work. Could the Patriots skip it again? Sure. But I think the Patriots strike, grabbing Olave, who feels like a good fit for the team. This gives Mac Jones another weapon in a crowded AFC field.
1.22: Green Bay Packers—Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan. The Packers lost Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this off-season. Allen Lazard is still there, and the team added Sammy Watkins, but they need more. The Packers have long eschewed taking receivers high in the draft, but the need is there. I like Moore. Maybe some feel this is too high, but I like the potential fit.
1.23: Arizona Cardinals—Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson. The Cardinals faded hard to end the 2021 season. A part of those struggles can be pinned to the defense. The secondary is a need, and in this spot, it makes sense for the Cardinals to address the secondary, in this case grabbing Booth as the fourth corner of the board.
1.24: Dallas Cowboys—Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia. The Cowboys have flirted with interest in drafting a receiver. You can never rule anything out with Jerry Jones, but it doesn’t feel like the value here. Instead, they get a premier defensive lineman in Davis, part of a duo out of Georgia that figure to be stalwarts on defense wherever they land.
1.25: Buffalo Bills—Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia. And here, Davis’ teammate lands with the Bills. The Bills could use more weapons at receiver and possibly an RB. All that can come later. Here, the Bills grab a big piece to help solidify the defensive line. Along with other additions, like Von Miller, Wyatt should help the Bills as they try to make a Super Bowl run.
1.26: Tennessee Titans—Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College. The Titans were the top seed in the AFC Playoffs in 2021, but some people still have their doubts. Still, this run-first offense needs to build its offensive line, especially after losing guard Roger Saffold. Johnson would be a boon to the middle of the Titans’ line, helping open holes for Derrick Henry.
1.27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State. The preceding picks would be a blow for the Buccaneers, who’d love to get a guard or a defensive tackle. With those positions not sitting as values, I think the Buccaneers pivot to get a solid pass rusher in Johnson, who can help bolster that defensive line.
1.28: Green Bay Packers—Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa. The Packers snagged a receiver with their first pick; I think they go with protection up front, another area of need. Penning is the best tackle remaining on the board and feels like a good value for the Packers.
1.29: Kansas City Chiefs—George Pickens, WR, Georgia. The Chiefs have back-to-back picks, and receiver is still a need. The team signed Juju Smith-Schuster and MVS, but there is still room for someone else. I think Pickens, while a slight risk coming back off injury, is a good value and pick up for the Chiefs here.
1.30: Kansas City Chiefs—Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma. The Chiefs need to do some work on the defense, particularly the defensive line. While Davis and Wyatt are off the board, the Chiefs can add a block in the middle with Winfrey, pairing him with Chris Jones to solidify the middle of the defensive line.
1.31: Cincinnati Bengals—Cole Strange, IOL, Chattanooga. The Bengals have spent the off-season working on their glaring weakness, the offensive line. Strange might be a bit of a reach here, but it feels like the right move for the Bengals as they look to strengthen the interior of the offensive line to allow Joe Burrow and the offense to thrive.
1.32: Detroit Lions—Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina. The Lions will eventually need a new franchise quarterback. With the second pick, the Lions strengthened the roster. With the second First Round Pick, the Lions can grab Howell and allow him to grow behind Goff in 2022. They also get the coveted Fifth Year option by taking a First-Round quarterback. It feels like a win-win.
2.01: Jacksonville Jaguars—Daxton Hill, S, Michigan. The Jaguars addressed the defensive line with their top pick. Here, it’s about the secondary. The pick of Hill would be something of a steal here to start the second round and gives the Jaguars another piece to build around on defense.
2.02: Detroit Lions—Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor. The Lions grabbed a corner at 1.02 and got a future quarterback to close the First Round. Here, the team goes back to the secondary well and fills a need at safety, grabbing Pitre to add to a young and re-building secondary.
2.03: New York Jets—Boye Mafe, OLB, Minnesota. The Jets will be having a great draft if it falls this way. They get a rock in the secondary with Hamilton, a great receiver in Wilson, and now a solid linebacker and rusher in Mafe. This gives Saleh another big piece to build around on defense as the Jets try to compete in the competitive AFC.
2.04: New York Giants—Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia. The Giants had a couple of high picks, which they used to snag a tackle and an edge rusher. Linebacker has seemingly been a weak spot and needs for the Giants for years. Snagging Dean here will help the Giants start to reverse that.
2.05: Houston Texans—Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State. The Texans have holes all over the roster. Here, the team looks to add to its receiving corps behind Brandin Cooks. This gives another weapon for Davis Mills as he leads the 2022 Texans.
2.06: New York Jets—Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington. The Jets continue a strong draft with their fourth pick in the Top 40. This time the team snags Gordon to bolster the cornerback position. If the Jets can come away with a top receiver, great safety, great linebacker, and solid corner prospect at this point, fans should be thrilled.
2.07: Chicago Bears—Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan. The Bears have a few needs if they want to build up the offense and defense. It all starts with protecting Justin Fields. Raimann gives the team a solid prospect at tackle to help build up the offensive line and allow Fields to continue to grow in his role as the Bears’ starting quarterback.
2.08: Seattle Seahawks—Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi. The Seahawks currently have Drew Lock at quarterback. If the team moves for Baker Mayfield, they probably go another way. But it hasn’t happened yet makes me think they aren’t sold on Baker. With the first of back-to-back picks here in the Second Round, it makes sense to move on Corral, who I think is one of the better QB prospects in the class.
2.09: Seattle Seahawks—Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida. The Seahawks use their second of back-to-back picks on another piece for the defense. The Seahawks were once known for their secondary, but it hasn’t been that way lately. Picking Elam here gives them a piece as they re-build that secondary an area of need.
2.10: Indianapolis Colts—Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State. The Colts moved to dump Carson Wentz and upgrade at quarterback with Matt Ryan. That means this top pick can be used elsewhere. The Colts have a great receiver in Michael Pittman, but many questions beyond that. Snagging another receiver makes sense. A lot of the top options are off the board, but I like the swing here with Watson.
2.11: Atlanta Falcons—Travis Jones, DT, UConn. I’m sticking with my belief the Falcons will look to build up the roster in 2022 and think about a long-term answer at QB in 2023. There are options on the board here, but I’m going with Jones to help address the defensive line. The Falcons have holes everywhere. Strengthening areas of need makes good sense.
2.12: Cleveland Browns—David Bell, WR, Purdue. The Browns traded for Amari Cooper and have Donovan Peoples-Jones. That still leaves questions at receiver. The team doesn’t have a First-Round pick but needs to add some weapons for Deshaun Watson. Bell’s stock has slid some in recent months, but I still like the potential here.
2.13: Baltimore Ravens—Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama. The Ravens used a First-Round pick on a cornerback to bolster a woeful secondary. Here, I think they keep the theme of defense going and snag a tackle in Mathis. This should help clog up the middle of the line, something important in a division facing Joe Mixon, Najee Harris, and Nick Chubb.
2.14: Minnesota Vikings—Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State. The Vikings snagged a top cornerback with their first pick, and here will address their need for a pass rusher by grabbing the best defensive end left on the board. The Vikings have decent pieces on offense, so bolstering the defense should help the team compete.
2.15: Washington Commanders—Christian Harris, LB, Alabama. I went with a big swing for the Commanders, snagging Willis as the QB of the future. The team has 2022 needs too. The Commanders made the 2020 playoff field before falling apart in 2021. With Wentz, the team has the pieces to compete in 2022. Harris should provide some talent and stability in the middle of the defense, something the Commanders can sorely use.
2.16: Chicago Bears—John Metchie III, WR, Alabama. He might have gone higher if Metchie had not torn his ACL in the SEC Championship Game. Still, he had a heck of a couple of years for Alabama, and this feels like a good value for a Bears team that is woefully thin when it comes to offensive weapons.
2.17: New Orleans Saints—Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State. Another team that some think needs a quarterback. With Winston and Dalton in the fold, I think the Saints will try to compete. Given that, I like the addition of another lineman in Lucas. That will open holes for Alvin Kamara and help keep Winston on his feet as he targets Thomas and Burks.
2.18: Kansas City Chiefs—Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn. The Chiefs used a pair of First Round picks to snag a wide receiver and a defensive tackle. Another need for the team is the secondary. The Chiefs address that with their third pick, snagging McCreary to add to their cornerback group.
2.19: Philadelphia Eagles—Lewis Cline, S, Georgia. The Eagles snagged a top linebacker and a top receiver with a pair of First-Round selections. Here in the middle of the Second Round, the Eagles help the secondary with the selection of Cline, a top safety candidate from that impressive Georgia defense.
2.20: Pittsburgh Steelers—Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati. The Steelers grabbed a center to solidify their line in the First Round. The team signed Mitch Trubisky and still has Mason Rudolph, but quarterback is a long-term concern. If Trubisky isn’t the answer, Ridder may be one of the few quarterbacks in the 2022 draft ready to start in year one. Getting him here would be a steal.
2.21: Green Bay Packers—Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson. The Packers used a First-Round pick on Moore at receiver, but some have argued that the Packers should use both First-Round picks on receivers. Ross never replicated his production from his freshmen season and struggled with injury, but it feels like a decent pick for the Packers to continue to give the team some options.
2.22: New England Patriots—Quay Walker, LB, Georgia. The Patriots used their First-Round pick to snag a receiver. In the Second Round, Bill Belichick goes back to his roots to bolster the defense. Walker is a solid prospect at linebacker, a piece that will give the Patriots’ defense a boost in the middle.
2.23: Arizona Cardinals—Breece Hall, RB, Purdue. The Cardinals re-signed James Conner, who had a strong 2021 season. Hall is my Top running back available, and I think he’s a great value here for the Cardinals, as he gives them a good rusher and receiver, another weapon in the backfield that could be the long-term answer for the team.
2.24: Dallas Cowboys—Dylan Parham, IOL, Memphis. The Cowboys’ line used to be one of its greatest strengths. But pieces have begun to weaken. Grabbing another lineman prospect here makes a lot of sense for Dallas as it tries to make a deep playoff run again.
2.25: Buffalo Bills—Kenneth Walker, III, RB, Michigan State. The Bills haven’t solidified the backfield the past few years. Zack Moss wasn’t the answer, and Devin Singletary has only shown flashes. The Bills’ offense looked strong with a consistent running game down the stretch. Walker might be the best pure runner in the draft and would be a huge upgrade for the Bills’ rushing game.
2.26: Atlanta Falcons—Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State. The Falcons continue building their roster out through the draft. The team bolstered its receiving corps, defensive line, and now grab a safety in Brisker to help build up the secondary.
2.27: Green Bay Packers—DeMarvin Leal, Edge, Texas A&M. The Packers have so far grabbed a couple of receivers and a tackle. Here I think the Packers make a move to strengthen the defense. Leal gives them another pass rusher and defensive end. You can never have enough depth in key positions for a team that’s been in the title hunt the last three years.
2.28: Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Sean Rhyne, IOL, UCLA. It’s a bit of a reach, but the Buccaneers have serious questions on the interior of the offensive line. This should help bolster the Buccaneers’ offense as Tom Brady and company make another run toward a Super Bowl.
2.29: San Francisco 49ers—Tariq Wooten, CB, UTSA. The 49ers need help in the secondary, especially with K’Waun Williams now in Denver. With their first pick in the draft, the team snags a corner in Wooten. It’s a bit of a reach, but it filled a hole for a team in the NFC Championship Game last season.
2.30: Kansas City Chiefs—Logan Hall, Edge, Houston. The Chiefs continue to build up the defense, snagging another pass rusher in Hall. He adds to the other pieces they’ve grabbed to help as Kansas City looks for ways to slow down the improved opposition in the AFC West.
2.31: Cincinnati Bengals—David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan. Ojabo was arguably the top Outside Linebacker prospect heading into the draft. A devastating injury during his Pro Day hurt his stock. The defending AFC Champions can afford to take the risk, and I think snagging him and his potential late in the second round makes some sense.
2.32: Denver Broncos—Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State. The Broncos didn’t have a First-Round pick, thanks to the trade for Russell Wilson. The team traded Noah Fant to get Wilson, and while I like Albert Okwuegbunam, depth at tight end is a question. McBride is not only the top candidate at tight end, but he’s a local kid, something the Broncos have loved to grab in past drafts.
Matthew Fox is a member of the FSWA. He’s a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.