The NFL rookie draft is a lot like politics these days — we all like to act as if we know what’s going to happen, but we will inevitably be left slack-jawed and in shock when reality comes a knocking.
Someone will get picked higher than the consensus imagined. Someone will fall further. And everyone’s mock drafts will fall to pieces quicker than NCAA tournament brackets and CNN+. It’s part of why we fall in love with this season. It just wouldn’t be fun if we knew what was going to happen, right?
For this, my final mock draft of 2022 (I promise. I really do.), I dabbled a bit in some trades for the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, we all want to believe in the fabled “Best Player Available (BPA)” philosophy, but why not stack the deck a little bit to put yourself in a position where that BPA meets a dire need? That’s what we tried to do here, and then we did a little later finagling to pick up some Day 3 picks. We used The Draft Network’s magic machine to run this mock, and player observations are based on that site’s experts, information from other pundits around the world and my own eyes.
Before we get into the players, here are the trades that went down: We traded picks 14 and 119 to the New York Jets for pick 10, before moving up again by moving 45 and 128 to the other New York team for 36. We then sent 141 and a third-rounder in next year’s draft to the Los Angeles Rams for 142, 175, 211 and 212.
Here’s how everything shook out at the end of the day…
1-10: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
I wanted to come out of this with Johnson or LSU cornerback Derek Stingley, and I made the move when Johnson was still sitting at 10. He is long, quick, tireless and attacks with an array of moves. I believe he and Odafe Oweh can be an electric tandem for the Ravens coming off the edge, and is worth the draft capital to move up and land him. So, yeah… I did.
2-36: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
Another pick, another trade. Gordon is athletic, and an absolute dog who likes sticking his nose into the mess to make a tackle. I think he provides flexibility in that he can play inside and out, and can be that final piece in what could be a very strong defensive backfield, pending health.
3-76: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
In a perfect world, Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses will be protecting the edges of the Ravens offense this season for 17 games, plus an extended playoff run. After last year, I no longer believe in fairy tales, so Petit-Frere is the pick here. He has shown the ability to play both sides, but projects best at left tackle, where there are more questions regarding Stanley’s health.
3-100: Cam Jurgens, IOL, Nebraska
Jurgens can throw his hat into the center mix right off the bat, and plays with an edge that fits in with this team’s longstanding identity. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he’s listed at 303 pounds, and has impressive athleticism — starting his collegiate career as a tight end.
4-110: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State
For the record, I’m no Ohio State fan, but this is my second Buckeye in this mock. Smith has some talent, and has shown some highlight plays during his career, even though he lacks some consistency. He has battled some injuries, but here in the fourth round, let’s take a chance on a potentially high ceiling.
4-139: Matthew Butler, IDL, Tennessee
Butler is a 300-pound man with some quickness who is coming off his best season at Tennessee. He’s not the most powerful guy in the world, but he does offer some explosion, and enough size to avoid being pushed around. Think “penetration” with Butler, and what he might be able to offer as a rotational piece early in his career.
4-142: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
You ever have one of those guys who you just want to pick up in every mock draft you do? Ferguson is my guy here. He can catch a bit. He can block a bit. He’s smart. He’s tough. He can be a great option behind Mark Andrews and, hopefully, a healthier Nick Boyle. I like this cat a lot.
5-175: Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
The Ravens need some bodies in their cornerback room who can play, and Goodrich can do that. Limited a bit athletically, Goodrich is an aggressive corner who can jam at the line and is a solid tackler. I don’t see him becoming a premier outside corner in the league, but he can be a good depth piece who can contribute and not get you smoked.
6-196: Reggie Roberson Jr., WR, SMU
Roberson can reunite with his old college teammate James Proche, and he brings a big-play element to the receiver room. He is very raw, and hasn’t developed as much as I thought he would two years ago when I first watched him play. But he’s worth taking a shot at here and seeing what you have.
6-211: Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, LSU
This is a power back who can work well in the Ravens’ system, with little capital spent taking a shot on him. I really believe he is a better fit for the Ravens than most teams, and can provide something to the running back group’s depth.
6-212: Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M
Hansford is a converted wide receiver who is very physical, and could compete for snaps in run defense alignments, and on blitzes. Feels like the kind of guy who can make the team for special teams and possibly carve out a niche.