Green Bay Packers: 3 wide receiver options in the draft

3 draft options for the Green Bay Packers at wide receiver

By: Jeremy Trottier

With the 2022 NFL Draft just around the corner, many if not all teams still have some major holes they need to fill via their picks.  With this, the Green Bay Packers have multiple needs, but the most glaring at the moment would be wide receiver.  After trading away Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, as well as losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling via free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers really do not have much left at the position for Aaron Rodgers to work with.  In this article, I will be covering 3 draft targets at the WR position for the Packers, who could reasonably fall to the Packers various picks through the first few rounds.

Option 1: Treylon Burks – Arkansas – First Round

The first option for the Packers is the big bodied receiver out of Arkansas, Treylon Burks.  Burks would be probably the best option for the Packers at the back end of the first round if he were to fall there, as he fits the bill for a true WR1 in this league.  His game is primarily his ability to be physical and make tough high point catches through contact and has some very solid YAC capabilities.  He has some impressive overall measurables, at 6’3” 225 pounds, with 9 7/8” hands and a 79 1/8” wingspan.  His speed, while testing somewhat at an average level, is underrated, as he has some really good play speed that just is not shown in events like the 40-yard dash. 

Option 2: Jahan Dotson – Penn State – First Round/Trade into early second

Onto the second option, who is a much different prospect than Burks in Jahan Dotson from Penn State.  Dotson is an absolutely amazing route runner, as many other writers and scouts can verify, and has some great tempo in his running.  While not the 4.2/4.3 type speed receiver, he has the ability to stop and start to get himself open against DBs, and break up routes into pieces to keep defensive backs off balance.  He also has great hands and will come down with a lot of passed, even when they are not within an immediate catch radius. 

Option 3: Alec Pierce – Cincinnati – Second Round/Third Round

The final option on our list is more of a day 2 prospect, as to give some variety and allow the Packers to fill other needs on day 1 if needed.  Alec Pierce is another physical jump ball receiver at 6’3” and 211 pounds, however his speed blew a lot of people away, as he ran a blazing 4.33.  For a receiver this large and with such a wide catch radius, as well as some great high-pointing capabilities, he really has all the traits you would want in a developmental receiver.  With some training in YAC maneuvers and some diversification in his route tree, he could be something special at the next level. 

Pro Comparisons for Top CB Prospects in the 2022 Draft

Who is the pro comparison for Derek Stingley?

By: Matt Nagashima

As we gear up for the draft season, this crop of cornerbacks is making a splash. The onslaught of the modern NFL passing game has teams scrambling to revamp their secondaries, and that all starts at the corner. The 2020 and 2021 drafts both saw corners get selected twice in the top 10, and we could possibly see a similar valuation this year.

NFL scout Lance Zierlein has this class ranked 4th out of 11 position groups in the draft. Not bad, and there’s a lot to like at the top. Let’s take a look at the top 5 prospects here, and how they project at the next level.

5. Andrew Booth – Clemson

We don’t have a full profile on Booth because a quad injury held him out of the combine, but the Clemson product fields a lot to offer. At 6 foot 194 pounds, he has the length and size to hang, He played against top tier talent in the SEC, and what’s more he improved year to year in terms of production. After scarce playing time his freshman year, he posted a solid sophomore campaign playing 10 games, making 4 passes defensed and 2 picks, and built on that last year with 5 passes defensed and 3 picks. He’s also got tape making some beautiful one handed and athletic interceptions, so his potential as a ball-hawk is there.

Comparison: Bradley Roby

4. Kaiir Elam – Florida

Elam has elite traits mounted on his 6’1″ frame. He posted a 4.39 40, and with length and speed like that has the chops to make it as a boundary corner in the NFL. He’ll need to work on his consistency and abilities vs the run at the next level, but with tools like this, a team is sure to bite and mold him into the player they want to see out there. His peak performance in college was his 2020 season where he posted 39 tackles, 11 PD and 2 picks, so it’s easy to see what he’s capable of out there.

Comparison: Caleb Farley

3. Trent McDuffie – Washington

McDuffie has rock solid measurables at 5’11” 193 pounds and a 4.44, but what sets him apart is his aggressiveness in press and downhill mentality that makes him an asset vs the run. He’s been at both outside and slot positions in college, and with the growing demand for slot corners in the modern NFL, he seems like a great candidate to coach up. His quickness, stickiness and nose for the play all make him perfect for the slot, and he could be one of the greats moving forward.

Comparison: Chris Harris

2. Derek Stingley – LSU

I’d rank Stingley higher but we haven’t seen his ceiling as much as one would hope, as he’s been stunted by injury in the past two years. However, in his freshman campaign, the talent was beaming off the tape. He finished with 6 interceptions and 15 passes defended, showcasing incredible speed and burst to match with his 6 foot, 205-pound frame. If he can utilize his high-end athleticism and strength at the next level and stay healthy, he could go down as the best corner of the group.

Comparison: Patrick Peterson

1. Sauce Gardner – Cincinnati

He’s 6’3″, he’s got 4.4 speed, he’s a 3 year starter who posted 3 picks every year in college, and Rich Eisen is ready to riot and force the Jets to pick him at #4. It’s fair to say he’s popular in this draft cycle. After a good showing with the Bearcats and with tools to drool over, how is Sauce likely to stack up in the pros?

Gardner excels in man coverage, particularly in press. He’s physical at the point of attack vs receivers, and highly athletic. He could be the type of guy to lock down half of the field if he gains his DC’s trust, and I really like the idea of putting a big, sticky, fast corner opposite TE’s when applicable.

Comparison: Marcus Peters

2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Latest NFL mock draft in 2022

By: Charlie Vakassian

Free Agency has been exciting and chaotic, to say the least. With the thrill of free agency nearly finished, it comes a brand new edition of our 2022 NFL Mock Draft!

Jacksonville Jaguars-Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

While a case could be made for the Jaguars to take an offensive lineman here, they already franchise tagged Cam Robinson, and signed Brandon Scherff in free agency. The draft is deep on offensive line talent, but the same cannot be said for pass rushers. Hutchinson is by far the best edge rusher this class has to offer, and Jacksonville jumps at the opportunity to reshape their defense. 

Detroit Lions-Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

This may be more of a surprise pick, but rumors have been linking the Lions to Willis for the last couple weeks. Jared Goff is on the last year of his contract, and the Lions clearly need a better long term solution under center. Willis boosted his stock with a strong Senior Bowl and an excellent NFL Combine. He even has the best betting odds to be selected by the Lions at pick 2 (+380). His blend of speed, athleticism, and throw power will help bring Detroit back to relevancy.

Houston Texans-Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Thibodeaux’s stock has dropped, to the point where there are rumors he could drop out of the top 10 completely. I don’t buy that, and the Houston Texans won’t either. They need game changing players at premium positions, and Thibodeaux is just that. No need to overthink it. 

New York Jets-Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Jets are in a position where they can go best player available, and here they get the behemoth of a man known as Evan Neal. With Mekhi Becton a question mark due to injuries and character concerns, Neal can protect Zach Wilson’s blind side, or shift to right tackle should Becton be fine, forming a menacing duo. 

New York Giants-Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

This is a no brainer. 

While the Giants improved the interior of their offensive line by signing Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano, right tackle is still a major position of need. Ekwonu is a mauler of a tackle, who will run over his opponents in the run game, and is coming into his own as a pass blocker. He can even shift to guard as necessary, and be a quality player there. 

Carolina Panthers-Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

The Sam Darnold experiment can officially be called a failure. With Carolina striking out in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, they will likely turn to the draft to find a long term solution. Kenny Pickett is a well rounded QB with big game talent who can help bring Carolina to the promised land. 

New York Giants (Via CHI)-Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Following the release of veteran safety Logan Ryan, the Giants were thin at the safety position behind standout FS Xavier McKinney. Hamilton will change that immediately. As arguably the best pure player talent-wise in this draft, Hamilton is a game wrecker at all levels of the field. He can stuff the run, blitz the QB, play deep as a roaming safety, and even fill in at nickel corner. Wink Martindale is drooling over what Hamilton could do for his defense.

Atlanta Falcons- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

After failing to win the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, the Falcons must now try to appease Matt Ryan and keep him happy. One way to do that is by giving him more weapons. Calvin Ridley is suspended for a year, and Russell Gage left in free agency. Kyle Pitts is going to need help, and this is where Garrett Wilson steps in. Wilson is a dynamic receiver who has big play ability every time he touches the ball. His YAC ability will pair well with the red zone chops of Pitts. 

Seattle Seahawks (Via DEN)-Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

I fully expect the Seattle Seahawks to acquire a veteran QB (Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garopollo) before the draft. Whichever QB comes to Seattle will need to be protected. Cross is the best pure pass protector this class has to offer, and will help keep whoever is under center alive and well. 

New York Jets (Via SEA)-Ahmad  “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

After getting help in the trenches with Evan Neal, the Jets turn towards their defense. While getting D.J Reed was a boost for the secondary, the Jets are missing a true lockdown corner. Sauce Gardner is the best man coverage corner by far in this draft, and will cover top receivers every week.

Washington Commanders-Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Washington now has their QB in Carson Wentz, but now they need to give him weapons to help Terry McLaurin. Burks has an insane catch radius thanks to his large hands, has the speed to burn defenses over the top, and the route running to wreak havoc over the middle of the field. 

Minnesota Vikings- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Vikings are in desperate need of secondary help, so they reach a little bit to get McDuffie, the next best CB on the board. He plays best in a zone scheme, but can get the job done in man coverage as well. 

Houston Texans (Via CLE)-Travon Walker, EDGE/DL, Georgia

Walker has seen his stock soar after a stellar combine, where he could hear his name called within the top 10. However, the middle of the first round seems like an accurate spot for Walker to be drafted. He can be a chess piece for the Texans defense, having the ability to line up inside and rush from the edge, and excel at both. 

Baltimore Ravens-Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Another Georgia defensive player off the board. Davis was a monster of a defensive tackle in his time with the Bulldogs, and is exactly what the Ravens need. With Calais Campbell still a free agent, Baltimore looks for a fresh set of legs on the interior. 

Philadelphia Eagles (Via MIA)-Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU

Stingley could have a case to be the CB1 based off of his freshman year game tape alone. His game changing ability to have crucial interceptions and pass break ups was uncanny, and opposing QBs were scared to throw the ball his way. Injuries have taken their toll over the last two years though, and drops Stingley’s stock enough to where the Eagles may end up getting a steal. 

Philadelphia Eagles (Via IND)-Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Without question the best interior lineman this draft class has to offer, Linderbaum will reset the Eagles offensive line and help keep Jalen Hurts upright

Los Angeles Chargers-Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Bryan Bulaga is now a free agent. The Chargers number one goal must be to keep Justin Herbert on his feet in a scary AFC West. Penning will slot in at RT and hold off the dominant edge rushers of the division. 

New Orleans Saints-Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The Saints were another team with a shot at Deshaun Watson and were unable to seal the deal. They will likely find a stopgap QB prior to the draft, but a long term solution is needed. Matt Corral is an underrated option who has the arm strength and football IQ to be a starter in the NFL for a long time. 

Philadelphia Eagles-George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

While bringing in Haason Reddick was a good start, the Eagles still need to revamp their pass rush. Enter Karlaftis, a beast of a man with some of the strongest bull rush moves I have seen in a long time. He will pair nicely with Reddick and Josh Sweat, and cause mayhem for the NFC East QBs. 

Pittsburgh Steelers-Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

The Steelers will need to find a way to keep Mitchell Trubisky protected, as they failed to do so for Ben Roethlisberger at the end of his career. At 6’7 and 305lbs, Raimann can slot in and protect the blindside of Trubisky and future QBs in Pittsburgh

New England Patriots-Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Patriots have yet to return key free agent Donta Hightower, and have signaled that they want to get younger at LB. Getting Mack Wilson via trade was a start, but getting Devin Lloyd would immediately make New England’s LB corps one of the best in the AFC. Lloyd can rush the passer from the EDGE position, cover opposing RBs and TEs with ease, and play in the box and stuff the run. 

Las Vegas Raiders-Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

The Raiders have been doing their best to keep up with their AFC West rivals, signified by the blockbuster trade for Davante Adams. Derek Carr will need to be given time to find Adams, and this is where Kenyon Green comes in. He is the best guard prospect in the draft, and can pair with Alex Leatherwood on the interior to open holes for Josh Jacobs.

Arizona Cardinals-Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Following the departure of Chandler Jones in free agency, a hole has opened up at the edge rusher spot, and Jermaine Johnson can step in and fill that void. A powerful figure, Johnson has top notch speed and power moves which will make him a nightmare for offensive linemen in the NFC West.

Dallas Cowboys-Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

With La’El Collins being released and Zack Martin suffering from injuries, it’s clear that the Cowboys need some new blood on their offensive line. Zion Johnson is a road grader of a guard, who has the ability to shift outside and play tackle, or even line up as a center. He will open holes for Tony Pollard and Zeke Elliot, and give Dak Prescott time to make good throws.

Buffalo Bills-Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson

The Bills need somebody to pair with stud CB Tre’Davious White on the outside, and Booth fits the bill. He is a strong press corner who will lock down his side of the field, giving the strong Bills defensive line time to pressure the QB. 

Tennessee Titans-Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Titans could use a complementary WR to pair with AJ Brown and new acquisition Robert Woods. Olave had an outstanding combine, and he can run the entire route tree, and his blazing speed lets him get wide open. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones both hit the open market, and Tampa Bay has not made any attempt to bring either RB back. Breece Hall is the best all around back in this class, and his pass catching chops will be appealing to Tom Brady.

Green Bay Packers-Drake London, WR, USC

With Davante Adams leaving for Las Vegas, the Packers need to give Aaron Rodgers as many weapons as possible. London is a good start, as he can stretch the field and keep defenses honest.

Miami Dolphins (Via SF)-Sean Ryhan, OG, UCLA

Miami had one of the worst offensive lines in football last year, and need to give Tua Tagovaoila time to throw. Ryhan is an elite interior blocker who will give quality pass protection.

Kansas City Chiefs- Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Charcavius Ward left for San Francisco this offseason, and the Chiefs fill the hole with Elam, a good all around corner who can shadow opposing number ones.

Cincinnati Bengals- Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

After heavily addressing the offensive line in free agency, the Bengals get a playmaker to pair with Jessie Bates in the secondary. Hill can play down in the box or drop back in coverage at will.

Detroit Lions (Via LAR)-Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

After grabbing their franchise QB in Malik Willis, Detroit moves to get him weapons. Williams will make an excellent pairing with standout second year player Amon-Ra St.Brown

Ranking the AFC West quarterbacks

Who is the best AFC West quarterback?

By: Andy Davies

One of the biggest NFL trades in recent history took place this week, as Seattle Seahawks traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. This has now led to questions from many as to whether the AFC West is now the best division in the NFL. One thing you can say is that it has the best foursome of quarterbacks. 

Most divisions have a quarterback facing questions. The AFC East has Zach Wilson, the NFC North has Jared Goff, the NFC East has Daniel Jones, and no one knows who will start at QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

The AFC West probably has four of the top 15 players in the league at the position in the division. This should lead to some excellent in-division games in 2022 and some mouth-watering quarterback battles. 

So, who is the best of the four quarterbacks? Here is my list from first to fourth.

4.  Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders) 

It feels harsh having Carr in this position, but you have to look at the talent of the other three on this list. Out of all the fourth placed quarterbacks in each division, he is undoubtably the best. He had the best season of his career since his MVP calibre 2016 campaign with 4,804 yards, 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2021. 

With a new head coach in Josh McDaniels who served for so long as the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator, Carr will hope this can help elevate his game even further. 

McDaniels’ difficult previous stint as a head coach will be a concern for Carr and Raiders fan but if he proved the doubters wrong, then this could be a marriage made in heaven. Due to the strength of the AFC West and indeed the AFC overall, the Raiders are likely to be seen as a team that were good but a victim of their own division. 

Carr has been on record to say how he wants to be a Raider for life and frankly, there is no one out there better for this organisation who are available. 

3.  Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)

Herbert has only had two seasons in the NFL and the way his young career has gone so far, he is likely to be higher on this list in five years’ time.

After an impressive Rookie of the Year campaign in 2020, he showed no signs of slowing down in 2021, narrowly missing out on a spot in the playoffs. Only Tom Brady (5,316) had more passing yards than Herbert (5,014), who was third in the league for passing touchdowns behind Brady and Super Bowl 56 winner Matthew Stafford.

In the 2021 season, he broke the record for most touchdown passes, passing yards and completions in the first two seasons of an NFL career. He also has the single season records for touchdowns, completions and passing yards.

It is amazing how many people doubted him coming into the 2020 draft but so far, he is proving to be the best talent to come out of the draft since Patrick Mahomes.

2. Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos)

2021 was the first season under the Pete Carroll and Wilson era where the Seahawks had a losing season, yet their QB still managed to rack up 25 touchdowns, 3,113 yards and 6 interceptions. 

He won a Super Bowl back in the 2013 campaign and probably should have won another one a season later. 2021 was also the first time in his career that he missed a game, showing the stability he offers in then position.

It was clear his relationship with Carroll was deteriorating in what was a stale run-first offense. He will be given a new lease of life under an exciting Denver offense and a defense to match. With Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Javonte Williams, Wilson will have a field day under first time head coach Nathaniel Hackett. 

Having served as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator during Aaron Rodgers’ back-to-back MVP winning seasons, Wilson could do a lot worse than having Hackett as his head coach. It could finally be time for him to get an MVP vote in 2022.

Wilson is an elite QB and has the most experience on this list. However, there is one quarterback we haven’t mentioned yet.

1. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)

The easiest selection of the four positions. Now Brady has retired, it is between Mahomes and Rogers for the title of the best in the league. He has played in four straight AFC Championship games, all at home, which is something no player or team has done before. 

He won an MVP, Super Bowl ring, and Super Bowl ring before he lost a game by more than 8 points. Mahomes only did this when they lost in Super Bowl 55, the second consecutive appearance in the big game. He really should have played in another Super Bowl this season, had it not been for their second-half meltdown in a very un-Mahomes fashion.

Since being drafted tenth overall in 2017, he has thrown for 18,991 yards and 151 touchdowns. In his 63 career games, he averages 301 yards per game. We have seen the likes of Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson change the game when you assess the way they use their feet. However, Mahomes’ seems to have changed the way quarterbacks who do not have electrifying speeds use their feet to drag their team down the field, as seen with the likes of Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. These quarterbacks are by no means slow, but they use their feet when they need to and do so with effect. 

Mahomes could easily end his career as one of best quarterbacks ever, so he has no place other than being first on this list. 

The problem with underlying racist narratives in the scouting community

By: Natalie Miller

Over the years, the NFL scouting community, professionals, media, and fans have had an issue that not enough people talk about: the branding rod of racial stereotypes at the quarterback position.

Phrases that almost all of us have been guilty of using, that we casually throw onto, more often than not, black quarterbacks that don’t often get shared with their white quarterback counterparts. Phrases like “low football IQ”, “surprising intelligence”, “processing issues”, etc. are pervasive. This is so often lazily thrown onto black quarterbacks to explain away why a player may have struggled in some areas but is almost never thrown onto a white quarterback draft prospect.

The same hypothetical intellectual mountain that is placed in front of black quarterback prospects that is made to be a dirt hill for the same white prospects. You can see some examples of this in this current draft; articles came out that teams were “Surprised about Malik Willis’ intelligence”, which is a tone-deaf statement, given that to get to this position in the draft process at the most complicated position in sport, a person’s intelligence should be presumed to be pretty high. Why is it that these statements only seem to stick to black athletic quarterbacks?

Asserting this verbiage onto a black QB’s intelligence has become such an exponentially lazy trope that many writers don’t even notice when they include it in their work.

This isn’t the only issue that arises with these black prospects, and one does not have to dig deep to find examples of poor ethics when framing these young athletes. One only needs to look back to Justin Fields. Media writers and twitter scouts were so eager to find a reason to explain why Justin was falling on draft boards that they jumped to terrible conclusions and spread those conclusions like wildfire. There were multiple media reports that Justin Fields “struggles processing” and that was leading to a drop in draft stock. This, notably, was not parroted beyond the media, as scouts knew that was not true. Combined with larger media that put out the ridiculous notion that Fields had a terrible “work ethic” and was “a last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback” with concerns over whether he had the “desire to be a great quarterback” but rather “a desire to be a big-time athlete”.

There were no tangible reasons to reach these conclusions beyond a lack of understanding of a player’s perceived value in the draft. It was simply reaching for reasoning to try and explain away preconceptions on a player. There was no obvious behind the idea that Fields lacked motivation or drive. In sharp contrast, he had just played a game in which he took pain-killing injections to be able to return to the field after a shot to the ribs.

However, this is far from a recent problem with Justin Fields and Malik Willis alone. It happens every year. Cam Newton faced scrutiny for a “fake smile” and “wanting to be an icon” as the media looked to murder his credibility before he stepped foot on an NFL field. Black quarterbacks face unfair evaluation in the media and online, one can only hope that these notions are not perpetuated within the NFL scouting rooms.

Nor is this the only underlying racist verbiage that is aimed at these QBs. It comes with their player comparisons and projections as well. When a black QB has a high ceiling, who are they almost unanimously compared to? JaMarcus Russell. It is used as a sign. Commentators discuss how Russell lacked motivation and was unintelligent, and how it could be a massive disaster should the player bottom out like Russell.

Russell being the low floor scapegoat for black quarterbacks is more complicated than the media typically portrays, however, as no one really digs into why he really failed. Did he have issues with motivation? That was made fairly clear, but the underlying reasons for that are enormously complex and not a blanket for ultra-talented black quarterbacks. Russell dealt with familial loss, addiction, and so much more that was the ultimate cockail for failure for a young quarterback regardless of race.

Why is it that white quarterbacks with rocket arms and immense talent are never compared to Russell? It is almost never brought up that they have a floor that could bottom out due to “work ethic” or “processing issues”. Instead, it’s typically referred to as “lack of ability to transition” to the NFL. Who are white QBs compared to when discussing bust potential? Usually the ultimate bust reference for them is Ryan Leaf. Commentators take the time to examine why Leaf struggled, why he busted, and the issues he dealt with in his personal life. This is not something JaMarcus Russell is frequently afforded in the same conversation.

These words and phrases have consequences beyond the audience’s perception of a player. This manner of speech trickles down into fan forums, family living rooms, and almost certainly into youth football. How do these words affect young black players who want to play quarterback? How do they perceive these words? How does it affect their perception of their dreams and what they want to develop into?

These young men idolize players like Cam Newton and assassinating their character only hurts that perception. Does it bleed into a coach’s opinion at a youth level? Does he perceive that a young black player who wants to play QB will have “trouble processing” information that a young white player won’t? I know it has certainly happened in the past, and we can only hope it doesn’t happen now, but it isn’t beyond reasoning that it likely does, especially with the way these young players are talked about. It doesn’t seem like a huge leap in logic to conclude that those who consume slightly racist undertone media begin to adopt those same racist type stereotypes.

As a community, we in the media need to work together to eliminate this subtle, underlying racism in our wording and evaluation of these young black quarterbacks. We need to recognize who consumes the material, and how perceptions are changed by the outlets they trust. The words we use matter, and the routine we fall into when diagnosing these quarterbacks have a far-reaching impact beyond the NFL.

Pre-NFL Combine 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Latest NFL Mock draft

By: TD Hunter

The 2022 NFL Combine is officially upon us and that means the 2022 NFL Draft is close at hand. The Combine is a highly important event that allows NFL teams to get a close and personal look at many of these highly touted draft prospects. The Combine can make or break a prospect in terms of draft position, depending on how they test, which is why many draft hopefuls spend months training for the event.

A player that was seen as a fringe 2nd round choice could test well and be put in the 1st round while a 1st round hopeful could bomb the Combine and find himself out of the 1st round all together. Either way, the Combine is guaranteed to shake up draft boards once it is all said and done. With the Combine commencing today, here is one more mock draft before everyone’s big board gets blown up and reshuffled.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama


The Jaguars took quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall in last year’s draft and now they must do all they can to surround him with talent and help him succeed. Investing in Lawrence’s protection is a good start. Neal is a monstrous prospect who can lock down Lawrence’s blindside for the next decade. With tackle Cam Robinson set to hit free agency, a franchise left tackle is needed in the worst way.

Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan


This is a perfect fit. Hutchinson is a relentless pass-rusher who brings a high level of competitiveness and ferocity that head coach Dan Campbell has been preaching since last year when he took over the Lions. Hutchinson is a local kid, growing up in Michigan and playing college ball at the University of Michigan, already making him a fan-favorite among the Detroit faithful. The Lions have a big hole at EDGE rusher and Hutchinson can come in right away and make his mark.

Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame


While many will say this is too high for safety, the Texans can’t afford to be picky. Houston is in dire need of difference-makers, no matter the position. An argument can be made that Kyle Hamilton is the best player in this entire draft. A true playmaker while at Notre Dame, Hamilton flew all over the field and displayed elite athleticism and instincts. A unicorn of a player, Hamilton is someone the Texans can certainly build their defense around.

New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon


I’m not entirely convinced the Jets are 100% going offensive line with their first 1st round pick. If Mekhi Becton comes back healthy and Alijah Vera-Tucker keeps progressing and George Fant plays like he did in 2021, the Jets offensive line won’t be as big of a weakness as most think. Sure, the line will need attention but there are already sound building blocks there and that allows the Jets to use resources elsewhere. Only a few months ago, Thibodeaux was being looked at as a lock to go first overall. While he is sliding down draft boards a bit, the Jets shouldn’t overthink this. Head coach Robert Saleh helped take the 49ers to the Super Bowl on the back of an elite pass rush. Pairing Thibodeaux with Carl Lawson (who did not appear last season due to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon) should give Gang Green an elite pass rushing duo.

New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State


Don’t be surprised if Ekwonu goes first overall by the time the draft rolls around in April. He is a violent run blocker who is only getting better in pass protection. He has all the tools you want in an offensive lineman and can play both tackle and guard if need be. New Giants GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have already thrown their full weight behind quarterback Daniel Jones and building the offense around Jones will be their top priority. Jones has been behind some of the worst offensive lines in the entire league since he was drafted and it is time to shore up that major weakness.

Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State


The Panthers have taken several swings at quarterback and have missed and that is arguably their biggest need. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the first quarterback go off the board to Carolina. However, the Panthers have a massive hole at left tackle that they have tried to fill several times only to fail. Charles Cross is arguably the best pass protector in the entire draft and he can come in right away to lock down Carolina’s blind side. As of right now, the Panthers don’t pick again until the 4th round so getting an immediate contributor from this class would be huge.

New York Giants: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State


Johnson was the Senior Bowl darling, consistently dominating in his drills and showcasing elite athleticism. As a result, his draft stock has soared up in recent weeks and there’s no sign of it slowing down. He may be fully cemented in as a Top-10 pick. The Giants are in desperate need of a difference maker on defense. Azeez Ojulari was a great start last year but they need someone to pair with him to generate more of a pass rush. Johnson is a relentless quarterback hunter that adds a scary element to the Giants stop unit.

Atlanta Falcons: Travon Walker, DL, Georgia


Atlanta is in dire need of help along its front seven but luckily they can look close to home for that help. Travon Walker is an explosive defensive lineman who boasts a rare blend of physicality, athleticism and versatility. A big frame combined with scary speed and burst has made Walker an enticing prospect. The Falcons need another difference maker next to Grady Jarrett and Walker can be that man. He would instantly improve a weak unit of the Atlanta defense.

Denver Broncos: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty


When it is all said and done, I believe the Broncos will upgrade their quarterback position via trade and bring in a proven vet. But there are no trades in this mock and so the Broncos bring in the most enticing passer in this year’s class. Willis is physically gifted and can make all the throws necessary and create big plays with his legs but still has a long way to go. The Broncos will need patience in Willis’s development but that patience can pay off in a big way down the line.

New York Jets: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati


The Jets need some major help in the secondary. With his pass rusher secured with their first 1st round pick, Coach Saleh looks to upgrade the backend of his defense. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is one of the favorites of this draft, and for good reason. He’s 6’2, close to 200 pound frame helps him be physical with the biggest NFL receivers while having the speed to stay with anyone. And then there is his swagger, which is something Gardner oozes with. He doesn’t get beat often and he lets his opponents know it. In a division filled with playmakers on offense, having a weapon like Sauce Gardner can only help.

Washington Commanders: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas


The Commanders need a quarterback in the worst way but this year’s crop just does not pop off the screen. With Willis off the board, the Commanders instead beef up their offense in another big way by drafting Burks. The Arkansas receiver is big at 6’3, 225 lbs but is a smooth route runner and can run like the wind. Terry McLaurin is a phenomenal young receiver but only has one year left on his rookie contract while last year’s big free agent addition, Curtis Samuel, failed to make much of an impact due to injury.

Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU


Another year, another corner slotted to the Vikings in the first round. Minnesota has tried and tried again to fill the voids at the corner but have mainly come up empty-handed. With Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith, both set to hit free agency, adding to the secondary is a must. Stingley had some of the cleanest tape of any player during his freshman year in 2019 and looked like a lock to go in the Top-5. However, injuries and inconsistent play the following two years have left some wondering where exactly he is as a player. Either way, Stingley possesses an immeasurable talent that the Vikings simply cannot pass up.

Cleveland Browns: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama


To say the Browns need help at receiver would be an understatement. The issues with Odell Beckham Jr. led to his high profile release and now it appears the team may move on from Jarvis Landry as well. The Browns may be wise to start fresh at the position and a good way to do that is to bring in Jameson Williams. Most see him as the top receiver in this draft. The top receiver for the Crimson Tide showed off sticky hands and big play capability every time he was on the field. He can quickly come in and establish himself as a threat on this team.

Baltimore Ravens: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan


The offensive line in Baltimore is in dire need of help but Ojabo is just too good to pass up. Former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is now the defensive coordinator for the Ravens and bringing in Ojabo to help implement his defense is enticing. Some see Ojabo as a project who hasn’t been playing football for very long but what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in high end athleticism and overall feel for the game. He is a monster of a quarterback hunter and pairing him with last year’s first round pick, Odafe Oweh, gives the Ravens potentially one of the best young pass rushing tandems in the league.

Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson


The first of three first round picks for the Eagles goes towards amping up a bad secondary. Booth is seen as one of the top defenders in this class and it’s not hard to see why. He has a great frame for the position and meshes speed with physicality well. Getting a young, dynamic corner opposite veteran Darius Slay will only help this Philly secondary.

Philadelphia Eagles: Drake London, WR, USC


Is it really a draft unless the Eagles take a receiver in the first round? While 2020 pick Jalen Reagor can already be chalked up as a bust, the Eagles did good the following year with DeVonta Smith. However, Smith lacks ideal size and so the Eagles add that with London. At 6’5, 215 lbs, London offers a much different skillset than Smith. Able to go up and snag the ball, London could use his enormous catch radius to be a reliable weapon for quarterback Jalen Smith.

Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa


The Chargers have a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert and they need to protect him at all costs. Last year, the team took Rashawn Slater in what proved to be a homerun of a pick. Now they take a second bookend tackle to give Herbert even more time. With Bryan Bulaga coming off an injury and carrying a hefty contract and backup Storm Norton struggling, a stable presence on the right side of the line is needed. Penning is big at 6’7 and has showing a nasty attitude while blocking.

New Orleans Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State


It is difficult to say which direction the Saints will go this offseason, but one thing is for sure and that’s another playmaking wide receiver is needed. If Michael Thomas comes back healthy, the team still needs a compliment. If Thomas isn’t back, and the team was made painfully aware of this last year, the Saints don’t have anyone that can come close to replacing him. Wilson is a dynamic threat who runs pristine routes that can help elevate New Orleans’ offense no matter who is throwing to him.

Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah


“BUT THE EAGLES NEVER SELECT AN OFF BALL LINEBACKER EARLY!” Well, maybe 2022 is different because the Eagles are in need of such a linebacker. Lloyd may have Eagles fans forgetting about their trepidations early on as his instincts and athleticism would wow the Philly faithful. Lloyd has good size and can do it all for the Eagles’ defense. After seeing Micah Parsons dominate in every facet for the division rival Cowboys, the Eagles may just want to change it up and add a dynamo defender like Lloyd.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh


The Steelers may be a few years too late when it comes to rebuilding at quarterback but better late than never. With the retirement of Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers begin completely anew at the position for the first time since 2004. Taking a local stud like Pickett is an endearing way to go in terms of replacing him. Pickett is a relative late riser in the draft process but there is enough to like about his game to warrant a first-round selection. A mobile quarterback with solid accuracy, Pickett can lead the Steelers into the new decade.

New England Patriots: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington


It sounds like things are getting ugly between the Pats and the camp of JC Jackson. The stellar corner is due a big extension but looks destined to hit free agency. Even if he were to come back, another talent opposite him is needed. McDuffie doesn’t have dominant size but he plays bigger than he’s listed and has the type of tenacity that Bill Belichick likes on his defense. If the Patriots are going to compete with the Bills for the division, more talent in the defensive backfield is needed.

Las Vegas Raiders: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia


This might not be a popular pick initially but it does make sense. The top four interior defensive linemen for Las Vegas are all free agents and while some certainly may be back, the Raiders would be wise to shore up the position through the draft. Davis is an absolute monster at 6’6, 340 lbs who is impossible to run on and can’t be moved. He can swallow up blockers, allowing the elite pass-rushing duo of Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue to wreak even more havoc. Though there are some concerns about his snap limitations, there is no denying that dominating presence. He may be an intriguing late first-round prospect come April.

Arizona Cardinals: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue


Karlaftis is a guy that people may be overthinking. He may not be that smooth, elite athlete that leaves teams drooling over but he is a strong power rusher who deploys a plethora of pass-rushing moves to get to the opposing quarterback. The Cardinals have a definite need at EDGE with Chandler Jones and Markus Golden both set to become free agents, with Jones, in particular, most likely pricing himself out of Arizona’s range. Karlaftis would be a welcome addition to Arizona’s front seven.

Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M


The Cowboys feed into their strength to keep it a strength by drafting a local Texas offensive lineman. Kenyon Green is legitimately one of the best offensive linemen in this entire draft. Green has an elite skillset and his versatility allows him to play any position. Combining great upper body strength with athletic quickness and tremendous technique, Green is one of the most complete prospects in 2022. The strength of the Dallas Cowboys over the last few years has been their offensive line but that strength has been waning as of late. With starter Connor Williams set to be a free agent, Green can come in and start at left guard right away and would prove to be a massive upgrade.

Buffalo Bills: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn


As seen in the playoffs, the Bills could use a bit more talent in their secondary. Even with Tre’Davious White coming back from injury, upgrading the spot opposite him is a must. McCreary can be that upgrade. Quick enough to play in the slot and big enough to play on the perimeter, McCreary can be moved around wherever he is needed and can still play at a high level. Fast and strong and a willing tackler, McCreary can hardly be called a “liability” in any one aspect of his game. If the Bills are truly pushing for a Super Bowl, McCreary would be a much needed reinforcement.

Tennessee Titans: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State


Good players inevitably fall further than what most expect and that is the case with Chris Olave. A bona fide star from Ohio State, Olave possesses tremendous deep speed and clean route running. While he is far from the biggest receiver in this draft, he more than makes up for that lack in size with playmaking ability. It is that playmaking ability that the Tennessee Titans are sorely lacking. Tennessee has nothing behind AJ Brown and Julio Jones at receiver and both of those players missed extended time due to injury. More depth is needed at the skill positions and Olave would be a scary option to add to a Tennessee offense that lacked explosion most of the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa


One of two things will happen with Linderbaum: either teams recognize his talent and take him close to the Top-10 (as they should) or he will be a victim of positional value and will fall to late in the first round. Linderbaum is one of the best overall players in the draft but centers just do not go that high in the draft. The other teams’ loss is Tampa Bay’s gain. Tom Brady has retired and this will be a new team but the offensive line will have a new look as well. Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet recently announced his retirement while Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen is set to hit free agency. Linderbaum can step in right away and be the team’s starter for the next ten to fifteen years and he could establish himself as one of the top interior linemen in the league sooner rather than later.

Green Bay Packers: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan


The Packers have never been shy about drafting players they think will help their team, no matter where they are on most big boards. The offensive line for Green Bay last season was an absolute wreck and it’s clear more depth is needed there. Raimann doesn’t have a lot of experience playing football but he is a big dude who plays with a nasty streak. Exceptionally strong, he drives defenders back with an initial pop and can develop into a fantastic player in time. With questions abounding at right tackle and left tackle David Bakhtiari coming off a major injury, it would be wise to invest in a tackle come April.

Miami Dolphins: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia


The Dolphins defense is transitioning and having a smart, athletic, high-intensity man in the middle to lead it would be highly beneficial. The 2021 Butkus Award winner is a ready-made three-down linebacker who brings speed, great tackling, and fantastic football IQ to the defense. While he is far from a finished product, Dean could develop into a heat-seeking missile used to help keep the mobile Josh Allen in check.

Kansas City Chiefs: Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State


As usual, the Chiefs need help on defense. Though the stop unit stiffened up during the second half of the season, the defensive line could use some reinforcements. At 6’5, 270 lbs, Cam Thomas is a big piece to add. Though he is listed as an EDGE, he is versatile enough to the lineup at several different positions, a quality Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo covets. Thomas would be an immediate terror playing next to Chris Jones.

Cincinnati Bengals: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College


Cincinnati’s magical season came up short thanks largely to the horrendous play of its offensive line. Upgrading Joe Burrow’s protection will most certainly be the top priority of the Bengals this offseason and adding Zion Johnson would go a long way to improving that line. Johnson can play center and both guard positions but absolutely excels at right guard, which may be the weakest part of Cincy’s offensive line. The Bengals have the talent to get back to the Super Bowl and Johnson would be a major boost to the interior of that line that held Cincy back last year.

Detroit Lions: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State


It would be a travesty if Dotson weren’t a first-round pick come April and here, he makes it in with the last pick. Dotson is an electrifying playmaker that is a threat to score any time he has the ball. Though he lacks Calvin Johnson-like size, he makes up for big-play potential. Due to his sticky hands and savvy route running ability, Dotson can be moved all over the field and still be used to his maximum potential. The Lions are in need of such a threat. Their plodding offense struggled to get anything going for most of the season last year. Dotson would strike fear in opposing defenses while opening things up for TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. Most will advocate for a quarterback in this spot but with the Lions selecting at 34 overall and the Jaguars also having a massive need at receiver, the Lions safely go this route.

Top draft gems in the 2022 NFL Draft

Latest draft gems in the 2022 NFL Draft

By: TD Hunter

The 2022 NFL Draft is littered with big names and big talents that teams will be clamoring to select this coming April.

INTRO

Travis Jones
Position: Defensive Line
School: UConn
Height: 6’4
Weight: 326 lbs


2021 Stat Line: 11 games, 48 TAK, 7.5 TFL, 4.5 SK


Strengths:
-Tremendous upper body strength with strong hands to match
-Great length for a nose tackle
-Handles double teams well
-Solid first step
-Outstanding run defender
-Pushes the pocket well with a high motor


Weaknesses:
-Has the quickness you’d expect from a near 330 pounder
-Needs refinement as a pass-rusher
-Almost strictly a 1-technique


Overview:
Travis Jones is a relatively late riser in the draft process but the buzz surrounding him is well deserved. The defensive lineman out of UConn blew away observers during the Senior Bowl, showing off a unique blend of short-area quickness and natural power that overwhelmed nearly every offensive lineman that went up against him in one-on-one drills. This display of natural ability has him rising on most draft boards. However, the Senior Bowl was just a taste of what Jones has to offer. While at UConn, he was a big-bodied interior disrupter. A wall of a defender, he was virtually impossible to run against and his strength combined with a relentless motor helped him collapse plenty of pockets. While he still needs polish as a pass rusher and does not rely so much on his natural strength to win matchups, he has plenty to offer any team looking for a stout nose tackle. Had Jones played for a bigger football program, it is possible that he may be talked about as a potential first-rounder this year.

Dameon Pierce
Position: Running back
School: Florida
Height: 5’10
Weight: 215 lbs


2021 Stat Line: 100 CAR, 574 YDS, 13 Rushing TDs, 19 REC, 216 YDS, 3 Receiving TDs


Strengths:
-Perfect frame for the pros
-Finds holes with good vision
-Has enough speed and explosion to break off long runs
-Solid as in pass protection
-Showed potential as a pass-catcher


Weaknesses:
-While he has good speed, he is no track star
-Not overly quick or shifty
-More of a downhill runner that takes an extra step to hit his extra gear
-Could never take over a feature role while at Florida


Overview:
In a league that values players that can fill multiple roles, Pierce is going to make one team very happy. The former Florida Gator has all the tools to carve out a prominent role on any team, whether that be a short-yardage/goal-line runner, a third-down back who is relied upon as a pass-catcher, or a blocker, or even a special teams player. That kind of versatile skill set would make him an ideal No.2 running back for any team looking for quality depth at that position. Pierce was never used extensively during his time at Florida and many see that as a sign of concern but the bright side is that he comes into the league with little wear and tear. He may not wow any team with his explosiveness or game-breaking ability, but he could quickly prove to be a perfect complimentary piece that can wear many hats on any team.

Troy Andersen
Position: Linebacker
School: Montana State
Height: 6’4
Weight: 242 lbs


2021 Stat Line: 137 TAK, 14 TFL, 2 SAK, 2 INT, 7 PBU, 1 FR


Strengths:
-Violent tackler
-Fiery competitor
-Superb athlete with sideline-to-sideline speed
-Has shown plenty of potential while in coverage
-Has been labeled as “the most versatile player in the draft”


Weaknesses:
-Has only spent two full years at linebacker
-Still learning the position that can delay his processing
-Easily taken out of a play if a blocker gets his hands on him


Overview:
When someone says that Troy Andersen has done it all as a football player, they mean it. Andersen has played quarterback, running back, and linebacker while with Montana State and has racked up accolades while playing all three positions. However, linebacker appears to be his permanent home in the NFL and it’s not hard to see why. A tremendous athlete who can chase down anyone, Andersen flies to the ball. The downside is that he is still relatively new as a linebacker and may take a year or two to develop as he learns the intricacies of the professional game. Still, his athletic profile could make many teams drool and his versatility could be enticing to any coach wanting to run a few trick plays.

Calvin Austin
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Memphis
Height: 5’7
Weight: 170 lbs


2021 Stat Line: 63 REC, 1,053 YDS, 11 TDs


Strengths:
-Terrific hands and doesn’t drop many passes
-Electrifying playmaker
-Can play both inside and out on the perimeter


Weaknesses:
-Very small frame
-May only ever be a Top 2 or 3 option on offense at best
-Competitive but can still be handled easily on the line


Overview:
Calvin Austin was seen as a diminutive track star who just played football but his 2021 dispelled that notion in a hurry. Displaying top-end speed with soft hands, Austin quickly established himself as an electrifying playmaking threat. Obviously his smaller size and stature will lower his ceiling in the league and his physical limitations may cap his potential and that will scare some teams off come April, but they shouldn’t. Austin plays much bigger than his size suggests and can quickly become an explosive second option for a team looking for a secondary dynamic threat. He played both in the slot and on the outside while in Memphis so he is not just limited to the inside. Austin’s stock may drop because he doesn’t have that prototypical size at receiver but what he lacks in size he easily makes up for in virtually everything else.

Cam Taylor-Britt
Position: Cornerback
School: Nebraska
Height: 6’0


2021 Stat Line: 51 TAK, 1 SAK, 1 INT, 11 PBU


Strengths:
-Great size for the position
-Vicious tackler for a corner, isn’t afraid to deliver a big hit
-Solid ball skills with 5 career interceptions
-Physical in man coverage, excels in zone coverage
-Fierce competitor


Weaknesses:
-Does not possess top-end speed
-Can get “grabby” with breaking receivers
-A willing yet sloppy tackler


Overview:
If a team is looking for a high intensity enforcer on the perimeter, they should look no further than Cam Taylor-Britt. The defensive back out of Nebraska is a firery leader who is never afraid to lay down a big hit on a ball carrier. Standing a hair above 6 feet and hovering around 200 pounds, Taylor-Britt has the size and attitude to handle bigger receivers. Though his lack of top end speed and his competitiveness will get him in trouble from time to time with speedy receivers, he has more than enough functional athleticism to keep up with most pass catchers. The most impressive aspect of his game, his tackling, certainly needs refined but that can be said about most corners in football. All of these traits could help Taylor-Britt see the field early and often in his young NFL career as whichever team that drafts him will certainly love the physical nature that he can bring to a secondary.


Cole Turner
Position: Tight End
School: Nevada
Height: 6’6
Weight: 246 lbs


2021 Stat Line: 62 REC, 677 YDS, 10 TDs


Strengths:
-Impressive size
-Solid athlete
-Great RAC ability
-Willing blocker
-Can line up at multiple spots to create matchup problems


Weaknesses:
-Suffers from concentration drops
-Needs to add bulk to be more dominant
-Doesn’t possess elite straight end speed


Overview:
Turner has quietly been one of college football’s most productive tight ends over the last few years. A favorite target of fellow 2022 draftee quarterback Carson Strong, Turner’s blend of size and athleticism made him a matchup nightmare for opposing defense. NFL teams should be drooling over him come draft time. His 6’6 frame makes him a big target and his athleticism combined with his willingness as a blocker means he can line up along the line as a traditional tight end or flexed out wide as an extra receiver. That level of versatility will make him a valuable asset for any NFL offense. While he doesn’t possess game-breaking speed, he has enough juice to rip off big yards after the catch while he is one of the better blocking tight ends in this draft. The depth at tight end in the draft might drop him down a bit as more polished prospects may go earlier but Turner has everything a team is looking for in a starting tight end. With a little bit of patience, Turner has the opportunity to shine within a year or two.

Michael Clemons
Position: EDGE
School: Texas A&M
Height: 6’5
Weight: 270 lbs


2021 Stat Line: 32 TAK, 7 SAK, 1 FF, 1 FR


Strengths:
-Imposing size
-Nice combination of speed and strength
-Has a variety of pass-rush moves
-Played both on the edge and inside


Weaknesses:
-Not overly athletic or flexible
-Has trouble diagnosing plays and can be late to the ball-carrier
-Has had a few off-field issues


Overview:
When you build a pass-rusher, he most likely will look like Michael Clemons. Coming out of Texas A&M (the same school as Myles Garrett), Clemons has an interesting blend of size, speed, and power that allowed him to be used both on the edge and kicked inside as an interior pass rusher. His strength and ability to set the edge make him a stout run defender already and Clemons has a variety of pass-rush moves to help him wreak havoc in an opponent’s backfield. He does have trouble diagnosing plays and he does not possess elite lateral mobility meaning he can be late to a ball carrier but that can be adjusted with time and coaching. Clemons may not light the world on fire in his first few years in the league but he flashes plenty of potential that makes him an intriguing late-round prospect that could be a project that will pay off nicely for any team willing to put in the work.

Max Mitchell
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Louisiana
Height: 6’6
Weight: 300 lbs


2021 Stat Line: N/A


Strengths:
-Elite in pass protection
-Highly atheltic
-Possesses prototypical frame
-Can play either tackle position
-High football IQ


Weaknesses:
-Does not possess elite strength
-Needs to add weight
-Can get pushed back by stronger pass-rushers


Overview:
If your team needs help at offensive tackle, then Max Mitchell is a name you should familiarize yourself with. An experienced starter, Mitchell has seen extensive action at both tackle spots. An elite athlete, Mitchell may very well be one of the best pass protectors in this entire draft. A great lateral mover, he would do well in a run-heavy, zone-blocking scheme. His lack of upper body strength is a bit concerning but that is something that can be added later. At 6’6, Mitchell has the frame to bulk up when asked but he would be an excellent developmental swing tackle and shouldn’t take him long to lock down a starting spot at one of the two tackle spots.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Where will Kenny Pickett land?

The latest 2022 NFL mock draft

By Charles Vakassian

With the 2021 NFL season now in the books, all eyes turn towards the offseason. Teams seek to fill the holes on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. Some have more needs than others. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we will do our best to meet those needs.

Jacksonville Jaguars-Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Jaguars need to keep Trevor Lawrence on his feet, plain and simple. Neal is the safest tackle prospect in this class. Surprisingly nimble for a man of his size, Neal can protect the blindside of Lawrence, or slide to the right side and form a bookend with Cam Robinson

Detroit Lions-Aidan Hutchinson, Edge

Michigan The most refined edge rusher of this class, Hutchinson can come in and make an immediate impact on a Lions team that was feisty in 2021. 

Houston Texans-Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The Texans have a lot of needs, so giving them the best player in this draft makes the most sense. Hamilton is the ultimate chess piece, who can be a single high safety, down in the box, slot corner coverage, or even rushing the passer. He will instantly upgrade a subpar Houston defense which could be losing Justin Reid to free agency.

New York Jets-Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

The Jets opted to fortify the trenches with their first pick of this round. With Mekhi Becton facing some uncertainty, Ekwonu can step in and be a mean protector for Zach Wilson on his left side. Ekwonu is a road grader, with nastiness in his game. His pass protection could use a little work, but his upside is enormous, and he already is an elite run blocker. 

New York Giants-Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

The Giants get an elite pass rusher to fall into their laps at pick 5. Thibodeaux would be the first player off the board in most drafts, but concerns about his work ethic and character cause him to fall a few spots. The Giants have been missing an alpha pass rusher since Jason Pierre-Paul, and Thibodeaux makes an elite pairing with promising youngster Azeez Ojulari.

Carolina Panthers-Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

Sam Darnold was not the answer, and neither was a past his prime Cam Newton. The Panthers have the weapons on offense to be a decent team. Kenny Pickett can be the QB to lead them to the playoffs and beyond for the future. Pickett has a strong frame at 6’3 and 220lbs and has the mobility to run when he needs to and avoid oncoming rushers. 

New York Giants (Via Chicago Bears)-Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi

The Giants have committed to building around Daniel Jones for 2022, and the best way to see what he has is to keep him on his feet with good pass protection. Charles Cross is the best pure pass protector in this draft class. He has some concerns in the run game, but Brian Daboll will be running a scheme that is pass-heavy. Cross will pair nicely with stud left tackle Andrew Thomas, and form an excellent duo at the tackle spots. 

Atlanta Falcons-Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

It seems more and more likely by the day that Calvin Ridley and the Falcons will seek to part ways. If this is the case, Atlanta will need to add reinforcements to the receiver room, or else Kyle Pitts will be double or triple-teamed every game. Wilson is one of the better receivers out of college who can do amazing things when he has the ball in his hands. With an aging QB in Matt Ryan, it is key to give him a WR who can take short passes and turn them into big plays. 

Denver Broncos-Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

It would not surprise me if this pick was traded to the Packers as part of an Aaron Rodgers trade, but in this mock Denver stays put and takes a three-level playmaker in Devin Lloyd. He can line up as an edge to rush the passer, drop back into coverage on tight ends and running backs, and even 

New York Jets (Via Seattle Seahawks)-Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati 

Robert Saleh likes to build his teams around an elite defense, and this selection goes a long way towards doing that. Gardner is the best man coverage corner in the draft, with fluid hips and good reaction time to keep pace with faster and more athletic receivers. He and Bryce Hall make an excellent tandem on the back end. 

Washington Commanders-Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The Commanders finally solve their long-standing quarterback problem. Willis has the most upside out of any QB in this draft class. He put on a clinic at the Senior Bowl, showcasing his cannon arm and elite speed. He will immediately make Washington a better team, and with an already elite-level defense, could be enough to push them into playoff contention. 

Minnesota Vikings-David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

The Vikings have a few needs on their defense, but finding an edge rusher to take the heat off of star pass rusher Daniele Hunter should be their top priority. Ojabo is explosive off the edge and displays excellent speed to get around offensive tackles. He could use some work in run defense, but he can come in right away and be a force on passing downs.

Cleveland Browns-Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Cleveland is in desperate need of another offensive playmaker, with Jarvis Landry getting older and David Njoku a free agent. Burks can come in and be a big body wide receiver for a sometimes inaccurate Baker Mayfield. Burks is a physical freak at 6’5 and 225lbs, with an enormous catch radius, making him a perfect red-zone target. 

Baltimore Ravens-Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Following the trade of Orlando Brown to the Chiefs, the Ravens attempted to fill his shoes by signing Alejandro Villanueva. The move was not too successful, as Villaneuva allowed 9 sacks and 11 penalties in his age 34 season. A bookend to Ronnie Stanley is a must-have this offseason to protect Lamar Jackson. At 6’7 and 330lbs, Penning is a freak of nature who plays with a nasty streak, especially in the run game. This will serve him well in a run-first Baltimore offense

Philadelphia Eagles (Via Miami Dolphins)-Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

The first of 3 picks in the first round for the Eagles, and they land a guy who could easily end up being the best corner in this draft. Stingley displays elite playmaking, and a penchant for clutch stops. He can come up and stop the run, and is an excellent ballhawk, nabbing 6 interceptions in his one healthy season in 2019. The injuries are a concern, which is why he slips to pick 15. Philly is delighted to get a running mate for Darius Slay. 

Philadelphia Eagles (Via Indianapolis Colts)-Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Another pick to boost the Eagle defense. Dean has the ridiculous speed for a linebacker and can keep up with running backs and tight ends in coverage, while also being used as a Blitzer. The Eagles needed a captain on their defense, and Dean can be that man, 

Los Angeles Chargers-Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Linval Joseph and Justin Jones are entering free agency, leaving a hole in the middle of the defensive line. Who better to fill it than the 340lb Davis? His extreme length and size will force teams to commit two linemen to block him, and he can push the pocket in the passing game with strong bull rush moves. This allows more opportunities for Joey Bosa on the outside as well. 

New Orleans Saints-Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The Saints may finally be facing a rebuild. Even if they are choosing to compete with the roster they currently have, they need an upgrade at QB. Matt Corral can be their franchise quarterback and lead them into the future. Corral is an athletic type of QB, who moves well in the pocket, and can extend plays to make something happen. Saints fans will be happy to see this after watching aging Drew Brees and Jameis Winston not look to be the long-term solution. 

Philadelphia Eagles-Tyler Lindsrbaum, C, Iowa

The Eagles get a replacement for the aging Jason Kelce, who is contemplating retirement, by plucking the best center prospect in ages. Linderbaum is amazingly fast for a guy who is 289 pounds. If you watch his game tape, he routinely gets to the second level and demolishes his blocks. Jalen Hurts will appreciate this selection as well, as Linderbaum is strong in pass protection and has an incredible football IQ, picking up stunts and blitzes before they happen.

Pittsburgh Steelers-Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

Following the retirement of longtime QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are left searching for the next franchise centerpiece. Sam Howell can step in and be the QB of the future, Howell is quick to read the field, and get the ball out fast before any pressure comes. He has power behind his throws as well, and is strong in the intermediate passing game. He is a physical runner as well, not afraid to run through defenders to pick up yards. 

New England Patriots-Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

J.C Jackson is a free agent, and will command an extremely large contract, something Bill Belichek and Co. have been reluctant to hand out in the past (See Trey Flowers, Nate Solder, Kyle Van Noy). The Pats snap up his replacement with the selection of McDuffie, a versatile player who can play in multiple schemes. McDuffie is a former track star who has the speed to match with burners downfield, and the anticipation to read the play before it happens. New England values intelligence on the field, and McDuffie brings strong play and a high football IQ. 

Las Vegas Raiders-Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Josh McDaniels wants to build his offense to help Derek Carr as much as possible, and he gives him another weapon in Chris Olave. One of the best route runners in this draft class, Olave can find the holes in zone coverage and has the quickness and cutting ability to beat man coverage. 

Arizona Cardinals-Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

I was tempted to mock a WR at this pic, with A.J Green and Christian Kirk entering free agency. I am of the belief Arizona will address that position in free agency. Thus, they can take the best player possible, who in this case is Florida CB Kaiir Elam. A great man coverage corner, he has the speed to keep up with faster wideouts, and the physicality to press up at the line of scrimmage. He can shadow the number one WR on the opposing team and would make life miserable for Cooper Kupp, D.K Metcalf, and the other top WRs of the NFC West. 

Dallas Cowboys-George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

The Cowboys hit a home run with their selection of Micah Parsons last year, and hope to repeat the process with this pick. Karlaftis is a monster at 6’4 and 275lbs, who uses his power to simply run through offensive linemen to get to the QB. He has the ability to line up inside as well and can command double teams. His power, combined with the speed of Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence, makes the Cowboys pass rush very scary. 

Buffalo Bills-Travon Walker, IDL, Georgia

Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are free agents this offseason, and are frankly towards the end of their careers, as they would both be 34 next season. Travon Walker would make another excellent addition to the front 7 the Bills have been building. Walker has the ability to line up as an edge rusher, or get his hands in the ground and push the pocket as a defensive lineman. His versatility makes him a fun piece to use, along with youngsters Gregory Rousseau and Ed Oliver. 

Tennessee Titans-Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

The Titans simply need to find more playmakers for Ryan Tannehill. Julio Jones and A.J Brown suffer from the injury bug, and tight end Anthony Firkser is a free agent. Tennessee gets arguably the best TE in the draft to come in and be a red-zone force. McBride is a solid route runner who can go up and highpoint 50/50 balls, and use his size and catch radius to get in the proper position. He still needs work as a run blocker, but the Titans need his receiving chops more than anything else.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The Buccanneers are a mess on offense. Tom Brady has retired. Rob Gronkowski will likely follow him. Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette, and Ronald Jones are all heading into free agency. If Tampa Bay wants to try and stay competitive for whatever QB they bring in, they need to have weapons besides Mike Evans. Jameson Williams is coming off of a bad injury in the college national championship, but has elite separation skills and speed to get open. 

Green Bay Packers-Drake London, WR, USC

Aaron Rodgers finally gets the first-round receiver! London is a tall drink of water at 6’5 and 210lbs. He uses his size to make catches in tight windows and is able to run any route asked of him. Rodgers can turn him into an elite WR in no time. 

Miami Dolphins (Via San Francisco 49ers)-Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky

The Dolphins’ one and only goal this offseason is to improve the offensive line, which was simply a disaster in 2021. Here, they get a mauler of a player in Darian Kinnard. A right tackle in college, Kinnard will likely shift over to the guard, where he can do his best work as a powerful run blocker. His pass protection would be superior on the interior, as his size puts him at a disadvantage against speed rushers when at tackle. 

Kansas City Chiefs-Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Chiefs fans know all too well how often Daniel Sorensen was getting beat in coverage, and they can finally breathe easy as Kansas City grabs his replacement. Hill has blazing speed, running a 4.30 40-yard dash as a high school prospect, and has the ability to play nickel corner as well as a traditional safety. 

Cincinnati Bengals-Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

Much like the Dolphins, the Bengals main goal of the offseason is to protect their quarterback. Joe Burrow was on his back more times than Cincinnati would have liked. Jonah Williams is a good left tackle, but every other spot is in need of an upgrade. Here, Johnson comes in to boost the interior offensive line. A powerful road grader, Johnson can play both guard spots or center. 

Detroit Lions (Via Los Angeles Rams)-Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Lions choose to wait one more year for a QB, as they will not be close to competing soon anyway. Here, they pick up a weapon to pair with rookie sensation Amon-Ra St. Brown. Dotson is a burner, who can take the top off the defense, and has the big-play ability to take short passes to the house.

New York Giants Special Teams Outlook

What is the Giants Special Teams Outlook?

By: Charlie Vakassian

Special teams was one of the few strengths of the Giants in 2021, as they were a top 15 unit in the NFL. That was mostly anchored by kicker Graham Gano, as he made 29 of his 33 field goal attempts and nailed all his extra points. He was essentially the Giants offense, as the starting unit failed to crack end zone time after time. Punter Riley Dixon was wildly inconsistent to lackluster, as he repeatedly booted punts into the end zone or left kicks way short, giving opposing teams good field position. His salary of $3.1M makes him an easy-cut candidate, as the Giants should find a better and cheaper alternative elsewhere. Finding a return specialist would be ideal, although someone in the house could do the job, like Kadarius Toney.

Free Agency Options

Free agency has a couple options out there. Corey Bojorquez is a solid choice, and has a cannon leg, as he averaged over 50 yards a punt in 2020, and was more than serviceable in 2021. Other names to watch include Bryan Anger, Jordan Berry, and Pat O’Donnell. The Giants did just bring in Jamie Gillan on a futures contract, so maybe he gets a shot to punt. As for return specialists, Jakeem Grant is hitting the market, although the Bears seem set on retaining him. Ray-Ray McCloud led the NFL in punt return yards this past year, and could be a solid get. The position is not high on the list of needs, but someone will be brought in.

Draft Options

I consider this to be a very unlikely route, given the Giants long list of needs at other positions. That being said, anything is possible. Matt Araiza out of San Diego State is a special punter, and could be one of the rare special teamers to hear his name called during the draft. He has booted punts of 77, 80, and 88 yards before, and holds multiple NCAA punting records. Again, this has a very small chance of happening, but a late draft pick could be spent to solidify the punting position for years to come. As for helping the return game, wide receivers John Metchie III and Jahan Dotson possess blazing speed and agility, and have return experience in college.

Concluding Thoughts

As I repeatedly stated, these are not major needs for the Giants. Dixon needs to be cut to save cap space, so there will more than likely be a new punter. We will also likely see a different face returning punts and kicks. Graham Gano is under contract and is a productive kicker, so his roster spot is safe and secure. This concludes the New York Giants Position Outlooks! I appreciate you all taking the time to read these, and go Giants! Be on the lookout for my New York Giants Mock Draft 1.0!

Nevada QB Carson Strong declares for the 2022 NFL draft: Here’s an early overview

Carson Strong brings a lot of swagger to the 2022 NFL Draft

By: Tim Rodriguez

Nevada quarterback Carson Strong has officially declared for the 2022 NFL draft. A big-armed pocket passer from the Mountain West, Strong presents an intriguing option in an otherwise disappointing quarterback class. With the biggest red flag being knee concerns, Strong will certainly have to answer plenty of questions during the pre-draft process.

What does he do well?

Strong has an absolute rocket attached to that right shoulder of his. He stands tall in the pocket and delivers missiles time and time again for Nevada. Strong has undoubtedly the most powerful arm in the class, with the ability to throw the deep ball and fire balls with velocity into tight windows. Strong also does plenty of work pre snap, which is not something that many of the quarterbacks in the class can say. Arm strength, pocket presence and pre snap prowess make Carson Strong a candidate to be the first quarterback off the board in April.

What are the concerns?

The biggest concern with Strong is his knee. Strong missed his entire senior season in high school thanks to a serious knee injury. Strong then had two more surgeries before the 2021 season. Medical checkups at the combine will be huge for Strong. A red flag with medicals could push him down the board in a class where so many of the quarterbacks are grouped tightly together as a result of no clear number one.

The other concern with Strong is a lack of athleticism. His pocket presence stops him from being a statue in the pocket, but the new age of football is demanding quarterbacks to do more unfortunately. Offensive line play is getting worse, and pocket passers are becoming a thing of the past. Had this been five years ago, Strong would be the first quarterback taken in this class without question. Athleticism heavily favors the other quarterbacks in the class like Matt Corral, Malik Willis, and Kenny Pickett.

Conclusion

Overall, Carson Strong is a solid quarterback prospect. In last year’s class, he may have been a day two pick, but that is not the world we currently live in. The 2022 quarterback class may be the worst we have seen since 2013. While there still are plenty that go in the first round, there is no Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in this class. Zach Wilson would be undoubtedly the best at this position in this class. A good pre draft process and medical checkup will go a long way in helping Strong solidify himself as QB1.

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