2022 NFL mock draft: Picks 13-16
Cleveland can run the ball but can’t stop the run. Weird indeed, or is it? Nope. They need someone to go in there and clog the running lanes. Look no further than Athens, wherein the temple of defensive lineman stands Georgia’s, Jordan Davis. At 6’6″ 340 pounds, he is the definition of being a mountain of a man, and he’s got the stats to back it up.
The winner of the 2021 Outland Trophy and the Bednarik Award, Davis has separated himself from the class. Additionally, he was named to the 2021 All-America First Team by the Associated Press. So far, Georgia is 12-1 and preparing to face Michigan in the Orange Bowl with a trip to the National Title game on the line. Davis is largely responsible for the Dawgs’ success so far.
Except for the SEC title game loss to Alabama, Georgia’s defense has been a stout unit, with Davis leading the charge. The Bulldogs have allowed less than 10 points per game so far. His stats may not be eye-popping, but his presence on the field makes it difficult for offenses to move the ball, which will help at the next level.
The city of Brotherly Love is based on intimidation and physicality. However, they have not drafted a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979. Robinson only made one Pro-Bowl, in 1981, but he was a good player for the Eagles. Now, the Eagles, courtesy of a trade with Miami, take arguably, the best linebacker in the draft and a potential centerpiece for their defense in Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd.
At first glance, this may be a bit of a shock, but Philadelphia is in desperate need of a young leader with an intense motor that encapsulates the city’s identity. That would be Lloyd. This season, the Utah Utes have dealt with a lot of adversity, and Lloyd was among the players that helped the program navigate through the tough times.
While wearing red, Lloyd racked up 107 total tackles, eight sacks, and four picks, including a pick-six against Oregon in the PAC-12 title game, a victory that has Utah in the Rose Bowl for the first time, facing Ohio State. Lloyd’s future is only looking brighter by the day.
The quarterback situation in the Big Easy is a mess. Drew Brees’ retirement has left a gaping hole in the Saints’ offense. They need a new leader. Taysom Hill, regardless of what Sean Payton chooses to believe, is not the long-term solution. As such, they head to Ole Miss and take quarterback Matt Corral to lead their franchise into the future.
In 2020, Corral tossed for over 3,300 yards with 29 touchdowns and 14 picks. He threw for 20 scores this season but cut down on turnovers with just four picks—a substantial improvement, and one that will leave teams impressed with the ability to rebound. Against Tulane, Corral tied the school record for touchdowns in a game with seven, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for four. Corral was also named Second Team All-SEC.
New Orleans has weapons in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, which will help ease Corral’s development. He has large shoes to fill, and the division isn’t easy to navigate, given that Tom Brady is still going strong. Additionally, Carolina and Atlanta continue to rebuild themselves, leaving New Orleans with no choice but to continue being aggressive.
This is undoubtedly a shock, but not one that will have analysts scratching their heads. It’s pretty clear that the Pittsburgh offense needs a new signal-caller. Plus, Mike Tomlin can only do so much as a head coach. It’s time for a new era, and Pittsburgh takes Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder to be their next franchise quarterback.
In Ridder’s defense, he has a solid college career and provides the elite physical tools needed to survive in Pittsburgh and the AFC North. Twice in 2020 and 2021 was Ridder named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Additionally, he has the Bearcats in the College Football Playoff this year against Alabama after throwing for over 3,000 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight picks, and an undefeated record so far. Should he stun the Crimson Tide, he may shoot higher up the draft boards than this, but time will tell if such an event occurs. For now, he’s a Steeler, and that’s not a bad title to have.