Heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, I like many fans out there, was flying high. A draft filled with quarterback-rich talent. Generational prospects such as Trevor Lawrence. Dynamic talent such as Justin Fields and Trey Lance. Fast forward a few months, and the 2022 quarterback class just is not measuring up. What if the NFL front offices feel the same way? What if teams who need a quarterback bypass help at the quarterback position for talent at other positions?
1) Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux DE Oregon (previous: Rattler)
If the Texans do not take a quarterback here, the talented Kayvon Thibodeaux will be at the top of their list. Thibodeaux has tools that NFL front offices covet.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars: Derek Stingley CB LSU (previous: Thibodeaux)
The Jaguars would prefer if Kayvon Thibodeaux would fall to them. The Jaguars need help anywhere they can get it. Adding a shutdown cornerback like Derek Stingley Jr. would help immensely.
3) Detroit Lions: Kyle Hamilton S Notre Dame (previous: Strong)
The Lions need a long-term plan at quarterback, but for now, they simply draft a player who many believe is the best in the class. Kyle Hamilton is the moveable chess piece on defense that can do anything.
4) New York Jets: Jaxson Kirkland OT Washington (previous: Stingley)
We know Joe Douglas has a history of investing in the offensive line. Keeping Zach Wilson protected and giving him the best possible chance for success is priority #1 in New York.
5) New York Giants: Evan Neal OT/OG Alabama (previous: Howell)
Dave Gettleman and the Giants front office would not be able to resist if Evan Neal is on the board. Neal is a people mover in every sense of the world.
6) Atlanta Falcons: DeMarvin Leal DT Texas A&M (previous: Willis)
DeMarvin Leal is a tier to himself on the defensive interior. Leal is a game wrecker who is as adept at stopping the run as he is in pressuring the quarterback.
7) Cincinnati Bengals: Darian Kinnard OT/OG Kentucky (previous: Neal)
The Bengals continue to add difference makers on their offensive line. Darian Kinnard blows people off the ball with ease.
8) Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Booth Jr. CB Clemson (previous: Elam)
The Eagles know they have long-term needs on the back-half of their defense. Andrew Booth Jr. is a tantalizing talent that needs refinement to achieve his potential at the next level.
9) Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts): Brandon Joseph S Northwestern (previous: Green)
We just mentioned the Eagles’ desire to make the back-half of their defense a strength. Brandon Joseph causes a lot of problems for the opposition.
10) Minnesota Vikings: Kaiir Elam CB Florida (previous: Hutchinson)
The Vikings’ defense has been getting torched to start the 2021 season. Their secondary remains a problem and until they use multiple assets on the position, it will remain an issue.
11) Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Harris LB Alabama (previous: Hamilton)
We know the Raiders’ front office affinity for drafting players from major college programs. Christian Harris is the top linebacker in this class and would do well to continue to transform the Raiders’ defense.
12) Carolina Panthers: Kenyon Green OG Texas A&M (previous: Leal)
The Panthers need additional help along their offensive line. Kenyon Green is a plug-and-play offensive guard who can start from day one.
13) New York Giants (via Bears): Spencer Rattler QB Oklahoma (previous: Jackson)
Our first quarterback comes off the board here in the middle of the 1st round. The Giants turn the page on Daniel Jones and bring the talented Spencer Rattler to provide some juice to the Giants passing game.
14) Washington Football Team: Sam Howell QB North Carolina (previous: Banks)
The Washington Football Team is fully aware that they need to come away with a long-term option at the quarterback position. Sam Howell fits like a glove stylistically for what the WFT is looking for.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami): Drake Jackson DE USC- (previous: Karlaftis)
The Eagles are back on the clock here and they continue to retool their defense. Drake Jackson is electric off the edge in generating a pass rush. For a team that prioritizes the position as Philadelphia does, this is a great pairing.
16) Denver Broncos: Carson Strong QB Nevada (previous: Harris)
Teddy Bridgewater has played well so far. This projection is not a knock against him. I don’t believe the Broncos front office views Bridgewater as the long-term answer to the quarterback position. A player like Strong can sit and develop.
17) New England Patriots: Trent McDuffie CB Washington (previous: Gardner)
Trent McDuffie is a savvy, instinctual football player. McDuffie is the type of player that the Patriots front office has coveted. McDuffie could develop into the successor for Stephon Gilmore.
18) Tennessee Titans: Aidan Hutchinson DE Iowa (previous: Burks)
The Titans’ defense needs to get better at every level. Tennessee has not sustained a consistent pass rush in a number of seasons. Aidan Hutchinson can bring an element of physicality upfront that has been lacking.
19) Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Linderbaum IOL Iowa (previous: Nelson)
The Cowboys are a franchise that invests in their offensive line. Tyler Linderbaum makes perfect sense as a player who can play both offensive guard and center.
20) Arizona Cardinals: Ahmad Gardner CB Cincinnati (previous: Booth)
The Cardinals need to focus long and hard on their defensive backfield. Ahmad Gardner is a physical corner who can step in and help their pass defense and can come up and stop the run as well.
21) New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave WR Ohio State (previous: Bell)
I expect the Saints to move on from Michael Thomas following the 2021 season. The Saints will need an influx of offensive weapons. Chris Olave makes sense as a player who can get open in the intermediate and also stretch the field.
22) Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Cross OT Ole Miss (previous: Cross)
The Steelers drafted running back Najee Harris in the 2021 NFL Draft, and now need to invest in players to block for him. Charles Cross is a 1st round caliber offensive lineman that would fit right in, in the Steel City.
23) Los Angeles Chargers: Treylon Burks WR Arkansas (previous: Wilson)
The Chargers projection will tie directly into whether or not they bring back Mike Williams. For the time being, we are projecting that Williams hits the open market. Filling his shoes with a player like Treylon Burks would be exciting.
24) New York Jets (via Seattle): Daxton Hill S Michigan (previous: Olave)
The Jets need to draft good players–it is as simple as that. Daxton Hill is a player who is rising in draft circles around the league.
25) Cleveland Browns: John Metchie III WR Alabama (previous: Pickens)
The annual speculation on Odell Beckham Jr. has become tiresome. The Browns need to look into adding some youth into this receiving core. John Metchie III would step in from day one and help quarterback Baker Mayfield.
26) Baltimore Ravens: Myjai Sanders DE Cincinnati (previous: Winfrey)
Year in and year out, it feels like the Ravens simply draft good football players. Myjai Sanders feels like a Ravens type of draft pick.
27) Miami Dolphins (via 49ers): Jahleel Billingsley TE Alabama (previous: Harrison)
The expectation is that the Dolphins will allow Mike Gesicki to walk in free agency. Adding a replacement like Jahleel Billingsley would open up a part of this Dolphins offense that does not currently exist.
28) Green Bay Packers: Garrett Wilson WR Ohio State (previous: Metchie)
The Packers remain a team in flux with long-term questions abound. It might be time for the Packers to draft a new leading man in their passing game.
29) Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall RB Virginia Cavaliers (previous: Hall)
The Buffalo Bills cannot run the football–at least not in the traditional sense. They invested second-day draft picks in Devin Singletary and Zach Moss and thus far, neither has paid off. The Bills take the top back in the draft and add an element that they haven’t had in a long time.
30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: George Karlaftis DE Purdue (previous: Billingsley)
The Buccaneers are one of the few teams in the leagues with few needs. The Buccaneers are getting a bit long in the tooth up front. An injection of youth along their defensive line would make sense.
31) Detroit Lions (via Rams): David Bell WR Purdue (previous: London)
The Detroit Lions need to find offensive weapons in any way that they can. David Bell is flying under the radar in NFL draft circles to some degree. Bell is a dynamic talent that would be the best receiver on the team the moment he is drafted.
32) Kansas City Chiefs: George Pickens WR Georgia (previous: Sanders)
What do you get from the team that has everything? George Pickens has top ten talent but slides this far due to the injury concern. If the Chiefs draft Pickens and can rehab him properly, the offense would improve–a scary proposition for the rest of the league.