2022 NFL mock draft: Picks 9-12
Sunday Night was a disaster. Plain and simple. Washington’s offense needs a complete reboot. And it starts with the quarterback position. Granted, the offensive line looks as if they could use some new blood, but it all starts with getting a quarterback. Thankfully for Washington, they are in an excellent position to take one, and they grab Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett.
This past season, the Panthers were fortunate to have No.8 as their leader, guiding them to the ACC Championship. Though Pickett will not play in a bowl game, his career is solidified, and his breakout season will be enough to sway teams in his direction. Breaking Dan Marino’s passing records didn’t hurt his case either.
Only Dak Prescott is the established quarterback in the NFC East. Also, despite a Sunday Night embarrassment, Washington’s defense still ranks among the best in the league. They need a quarterback to help their offense. Moreover, Washington has not had a franchise quarterback for a long time; Pickett can change that.
Matt Ryan is getting up in age and won’t be quarterbacking for long. However, he has shown that he still has the desire to keep going, and it warrants another year. So, Atlanta looks at the board and takes the best player available. In this case, it’s Kyle Hamilton, who was expected to go in the top five.
Everyone else’s loss is Atlanta’s gain. Three interceptions this season may not seem like much, but his ranginess is what separates Hamilton from the rest of the safeties in the draft class. Hamilton was named an Associated Press Second Team All-American and a finalist for the Bednarik Award. Hamilton was also a team captain and a Phil Steele All-American First Team member.
Deion Jones and Grady Jarrett need a leader in the backfield while they occupy the front lines. Hamilton can be that type of player and, given time and help, could emerge as one of the best safeties in the league, which helps given the passing attacks that reside within the NFC South.
It’s easy to get swept up in Denver going after a quarterback in the offseason via trade, i.e., Aaron Rodgers. But since that hasn’t happened, they should focus on building their team up. Teddy Bridgewater will likely be given another year, and Denver’s offense has shown some potential, but the Broncos need an impact player, regardless of position, right away.
DeMarvin Leal is the right man for the job. Additionally, he comes from Texas A&M, a school that produced another great Bronco, Von Miller. While Leal is nowhere near the former Super Bowl MVP, he has traits that translate well for the NFL and will be essential in trying to control Kansas City and Los Angeles within the division.
However, Leal was recently arrested for possession of marijuana. That may cause some level of concern. On the field, Leal is a first-team All American as named by the Associated Press. 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks is an impressive total. With this legal issue on his resume, it will be interesting to see how it goes for him, but the matter is reportedly closed, so it shouldn’t have too much impact.
Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw form an extremely gifted offensive tackle duo, but they need help inside if Kirk Cousins continues to be their quarterback. The Vikings do just that by going the route Denver did but at a different position. Kenyon Green, the guard from College Station, heads to the Twin Cities, with pedigree written all over him.
A 2021 AP All-America First Team and 2021 All-SEC First Team selection, Green is a powerful blocker that can dominate the line of scrimmage and open up running lanes that Dalvin Cook would be thrilled to have at his disposal. He also started 12 games at four different positions along the o-line, similar to a Bruce Matthews kind of profile.
With Green Bay dominating the NFC North, Minnesota knows that they will need all they can get past the Lambeau crew while staving off Detroit and Chicago in the process. The league is becoming more offensive-based, and a strong offensive line is the way to go.