2022 NFL Mock Draft 1A: Wild Card


Samuel Fung, Staff Writer

Pick 19-24 are now set. Six teams have bowed out of the NFL playoffs and have thus started their offseason. The Raiders have already fired their general manager, the first of what will be many moves. Here is the first extension of the NFL Mock Draft I released last week, with picks 19-24.

19. The Philadelphia Eagles select Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Eagles have already made two first-round picks, but this one is the one they own. (The others belonged to the Colts and Dolphins because of trades last year). Their biggest need on defense is linebacker, and this is the best value draft pick to use on a linebacker. Nakobe Dean brings a lot to the table. Everything from elite speed and sideline-to-sideline range to physicality and flexibility. Dean has the physical traits to succeed in the NFL. He is also a great blitzer and tackler, and can cover running backs, which spells out an ideal run-stopping linebacker that the Eagles would take.

20. The Pittsburgh Steelers select Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The Steelers are under the assumption that Ben Roethlisberger retires, and it seems certain that he will leave. The Steelers need a quarterback desperately. They could also use another method of attack on offense. Enter Malik Willis. Liberty’s Lamar Jackson, as I call him. He is a tough and elusive runner, and is physically gifted, with the ideal frame and a rocket arm. There are weaknesses to his game, but, in Pittsburgh, there are enough weapons, with Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, and Pat Freiermuth already there. With Willis, the Steelers are getting a much more athletic version of Big Ben, a guy with a knack for big plays.

21. The New England Patriots select Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Patriots managed to have a great season offensively without a receiver with the quality of a number one wideout. Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers ain’t it. Hunter Henry is a tight end. Bill Belichick needs someone dynamic in his offense. Olave is a smart receiver who is a polished route runner who now holds Ohio State’s career receiving touchdowns record. He can fit right into any NFL offense, a valuable asset for a receiver. He may be small, but if DeVonta Smith has taught us anything, size is not always a big factor.

22. The Las Vegas Raiders select Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

The Raiders somehow went 10-7 despite a torrid offensive line that was shredded to pieces in the offseason. The team was very volatile throughout the year, and a lack of protection did not help that cause. Selecting a tackle like Charles Cross, a very solid pass protector who is exceptionally athletic for his position, will be a huge help to the Raiders if their goal next year is to shock everyone and make a playoff run.

23. The Arizona Cardinals select Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Rams cooked the Cardinals secondary like they were chickens, and the boundary corners were not the best. Robert Alford is old and Marco Wilson needs some help. Getting a former teammate of Wilson’s will help. Kaiir Elam is amazing at zone and press coverage and defined the term “lockdown cornerback” at Florida. He is a very disciplined corner with the ideal length and athleticism, ball skills, and physicality to complement his coverage skills. He will be a great addition to a Cardinals team in need of secondary help that wants to win the defensively strong NFC West division come next year.

24. The Dallas Cowboys select Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Both of the Cowboys’ top linebackers—Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal—are pending free agents. Micah Parsons is not good in coverage, so there is a huge need for an off-ball linebacker. Devin Lloyd is a very productive linebacker who can drop back in zone coverage like Neal and can tackle like Vander Esch. He will slide right into the open void that will be left by one of those linebackers. If not, he is just an extra dynamic piece to an already stacked Cowboys front seven.