2-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Combine Mock Has Trades Galore!

Oregon star defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux can be the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, 2022 NFL mock draft.
Oregon star defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux can be the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, 2022 NFL mock draft. /
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Malik Willis, 2022 NFL mock draft, 2022 NFL Draft
2022 NFL mock draft, Malik Willis. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. QB. Liberty. 5. Malik Willis. player. 58

A trade! The newly-named Washington Commanders trade up six spots in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft in order to leapfrog three teams that are potentially eyeing quarterback (Panthers, Falcons, Broncos). Ron Rivera and company have kept the cards close to their chest, but it is clear that if the Commanders have aspirations to become a true contender, they need a quarterback capable of doing more than the bare minimum.

With respect to Taylor Heinicke and other potential veteran options, they simply do not possess anywhere near the same upside that Malik Willis brings to the table.

Willis originally attended Auburn, spending two seasons on campus as a backup to Bo Nix. He decided to transfer following his sophomore season, looking for an opportunity to get on the field to show his talent. He found that opportunity with Hugh Freeze and the Liberty Flames. Under Freeze, Willis was encouraged to be himself and it resulted in a uniquely exhilarating brand of football.

He has legendary arm strength and speed at the position that is only rivaled — in terms of 40-yard dash time — by Michael Vick. He is far from a finished product, so Washington may look to follow a similar blueprint that the 49ers used with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance in 2021. They may even bring in Jimmy G himself to steer the ship until Willis is ready.

Scouting Report. player. Pick Analysis. QB. Pittsburgh. Kenny Pickett. 6. 87

There are a lot of different ways that Matt Rhule can find his next quarterback. The Panthers will likely be in on Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson if any of the three are made available this offseason. It has been reported that the Panthers were on the cusp of acquiring Matthew Stafford before the Rams swooped in with an offer containing two first-round picks.

What if they again come up short in their pursuit of an established veteran? That is where Kenny “Two-Gloves” comes in. Pickett actually committed to play for the Panthers head coach while Rhule was still leading the Temple program. The quarterback ultimately landed at Pittsburgh and produced mixed results until the 2021 season. He had one of the best performances in school history, posting 40 touchdowns en route to an invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Pickett’s hand size is a real concern, but he should be able to provide the immediate contribution that the Panthers will be looking for. This is their only pick in the top 100, they better get it right.