Lance Zierlein 2022 NFL mock draft 3.0: Panthers pass on QB; Chiefs trade up for WR help

Since my last mock draft in March, the Saints and Eagles exchanged a bevy of picks -- setting New Orleans up to select a QB-WR combo for the future in my newest mock draft below.

With the 2022 NFL Draft drawing closer, here is how I see things playing out. And as always, I am projecting where I believe players will go, not necessarily where I think they should go.

Travon Walker
Georgia · DE · Junior

In a draft without a clear-cut top dog, this Dawg offers outstanding measurables and explosiveness, with high-end upside to cultivate.

Aidan Hutchinson
Michigan · DE · Senior

Dan Campbell's squad fought hard all year in 2021. Adding Hutchinson at a position of need does nothing but bolster the culture the Lions are building.

Evan Neal
Alabama · OT · Junior

Neal is big (6-foot-7, 350 pounds), athletic and technically sound. He can play both tackle or guard spots and would be the eventual starting left tackle if Laremy Tunsil were to move on.

Sauce Gardner
Cincinnati · CB · Junior

Taking Gardner here gives the Jets the top CB in the class while allowing them to search for a talented pass rusher at No. 10 overall.

Kayvon Thibodeaux
Oregon · Edge · Junior

The Giants need more pass rush, and they'll hope to find just that with this two-way defender who boasts untapped rush potential.

Charles Cross
Mississippi State · OT · Sophomore (RS)

The Panthers choose to add immediate help rather than draft a developmental quarterback. Cross may be more game-ready as a left tackle than Ickey Ekwonu would be.

New York Giants
(from CHI)
Ickey Ekwonu
N.C. State · OT · Junior

Ekwonu is a guard/tackle prospect with a healthy mean streak and exciting upside, if he can learn to play with more consistency in pass protection.

Garrett Wilson
Ohio State · WR · Junior

The Falcons will likely shop this pick, as they have an abundance of needs, but they must come away with a wideout either way -- and the earlier, the better.

Seattle Seahawks
(from DEN)
Derek Stingley Jr.
LSU · CB · Junior

Seattle has needs at cornerback, tackle and quarterback. After his strong pro day, Stingley is likely to carry the highest grade of the remaining talent at those positions.

New York Jets
(from SEA)
Jermaine Johnson II
Florida State · DE · Senior (RS)

Johnson is a plus run defender who flashed exciting upside as a pass-rusher at the Senior Bowl.

Drake London
USC · WR · Junior

London gives Carson Wentz a big (6-5, 210) possession target to throw to while also taking some defensive attention away from Terry McLaurin.

Kyle Hamilton
Notre Dame · S · Junior

Hamilton's pedestrian 40 time causes a mini-slide and allows the Vikings to scoop him up and pair him with Harrison Smith on the back end.

Houston Texans
(from CLE)
Devonte Wyatt
Georgia · DT · Senior

This could be a trade-in spot for a team looking to add QB. But if the Texans stand pat here, they could roll with Wyatt, a three-down talent with gap-winning quickness who has the run-stopping ability to play along with Maliek Collins.

George Karlaftis
Purdue · Edge · Junior

Karlaftis is a rugged edge defender who can play with a hand down or standing up. He'd fit the Ravens' culture and has underrated power rushing talent.

Philadelphia Eagles
(from MIA)
Trent McDuffie
Washington · CB · Junior

Philadelphia has an obvious void at one cornerback spot, and McDuffie gives the Eagles one of the stickiest, toughest man corners in the draft.

New Orleans Saints
(from IND through PHI)
Malik Willis
Liberty · QB · Senior (RS)

I'm sure New Orleans came into the draft expecting to take a left tackle or receiver with this choice, acquired in a trade earlier this month with the Eagles, but passing on Willis will likely be too difficult if he's there.

Trevor Penning
Northern Iowa · OT · Senior (RS)

This could be a trade-in spot for someone else if tackles fly off the board at a quicker rate than projected. Otherwise, Penning is an easy plug-and-play option for the Chargers.

Treylon Burks
Arkansas · WR · Junior

Jalen Hurts needs another weapon on offense, and Burks is one of the most well-rounded in the draft, combining size (6-3, 225), athletic ability, play strength and run-after-the-catch capability.

New Orleans Saints
(from PHI)
Jameson Williams
Alabama · WR · Junior

If New Orleans takes Willis at No. 16, it would only make sense to pair him with a speedy home-run hitter he could grow with over the long haul.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh · QB · Senior (RS)

Outgoing general manager Kevin Colbert might be salivating over the prospects of adding Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis here, but Pickett is an ascending talent who could compete for a starting spot this season.

Kenyon Green
Texas A&M · G · Junior

Total Patriots pick right here. Green is big (6-4, 325), tough and reliable, with multi-position flexibility if needed. He's an early starter with Pro Bowl potential.

Green Bay Packers
(from LV)
Jordan Davis
Georgia · DT · Senior

Green Bay needs a receiver, but the Packers won't reach for one if they see a better player on their board. Davis has rare traits, and his best football may be in front of him.

Chris Olave
Ohio State · WR · Senior


You didn't think GM Brett Veach was going to just sit and wait at the back of the draft with all that capital (12 total picks, including Nos. 29 and 30 and six within the first 103), did you?

Bernhard Raimann
Central Michigan · OT · Senior

The choice here could come down to Zion Johnson or Raimann. The latter is the better athlete and can play left guard or tackle, which gets him the nod.

Kaiir Elam
Florida · CB · Junior

What pick do you give the team that has the fewest holes to fill in the draft? It's not an easy call, but Elam is a quality corner with outstanding football IQ.

Devin Lloyd
Utah · LB · Senior (RS)

Lloyd could be targeted well before this, but if he's still on the board, he's a better option than what the Titans have currently. He's a Mike Vrabel-level tough guy.

Travis Jones
Connecticut · DT · Senior

The big (6-5, 333), long and disruptive Jones should step quickly into the void left by Ndamukong Suh's departure to help Tampa maintain its defensive standards.

Christian Watson
North Dakota State · WR · Senior (RS)

Doesn't Watson just feel like a Packer? He's a little raw but ridiculously athletic, with the type of size (6-5, 208) that Aaron Rodgers seems to do well with vertically.

Arizona Cardinals
(from SF through MIA)
Breece Hall
Iowa State · RB · Junior


Trading back with the Chiefs give Arizona additional draft capital -- and the Cardinals still get to add a full-package runner with the ability to impact the game on all three downs.

Boye Mafe
Minnesota · Edge · Senior (RS)

With receiver out of the way, the Chiefs turn to bolstering the edge. Mafe's explosiveness and power are exciting traits for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to mold.

Kyler Gordon
Washington · CB · Junior (RS)

With offensive line addressed via free agency, the Bengals add a talented but inconsistent cornerback with tremendous upside to help slow down the quarterbacks of the AFC.

Detroit Lions
(from LAR)
Matt Corral
Mississippi · QB · Junior (RS)

I have a funny feeling that the Lions may get frisky and jump up the board for a QB at some point, but if they sit tight, Corral has plenty of talent to become their future starter.

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