20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
I’m going to keep projecting this pick until Howell’s stock starts to rise again, which could be fairly soon.
It feels like it’s just a matter of time before NFL Draft pundits and analysts alike start to remember how good Howell was when he was surrounded by a bunch of former NFL players. This past season, he was not.
He also seemingly unlocked an aspect of his game many did not know he had in him. Howell rushed for over 800 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season and actually finished with the same number of total touchdowns (35) as he did a season ago when people were talking about him as a QB1.
With his ability to push the ball vertically as well as make plays with his legs, Howell could very well ascend out of Pittsburgh’s range when all is said and done.
21. New England Patriots: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Bill Belichick loves to add players from Kirby Smart’s program at Georgia, and has done so frequently in recent years.
The Patriots spent a boatload of money in free agency last season so I foresee their primary needs being addressed in 2022 via the NFL Draft.
Nakobe Dean was one of the most versatile and impact defensive players in college football this past season. Every time you turned on Georgia, no. 17 stood out on a defense absolutely loaded with star power.