Titans take OT Bernhard Raimann in PFF’s latest mock draft

If Titans GM Jon Robinson takes another early-round tackle in 2022, he better nail it.

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In each of the last two years, the Tennessee Titans have taken an offensive tackle in the early rounds of drafts, and Pro Football Focus has them going in that direction once again in 2022.

In 2020, the Titans took Isaiah Wilson in the first round, which proved to be a disaster. In 2021, Tennessee selected Dillon Radunz in the second round, but his first season was a disappointment after he failed to cement himself as a starter at right tackle.

In his latest mock draft, PFF’s Trevor Sikkema has the Titans taking Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann with the No. 26 overall pick.

Here’s why:

“The Titans are coming off a season where they captured the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC but were bounced in the divisional round without a playoff win. Injuries and bad luck played into that, but where they should look to upgrade most is likely along the offensive line. Taylor Lewan might not be in Tennessee next season, depending on what the Titans want to do with cap space. If they decide to make some changes there, Raimann would be a good player to add at the end of the first round. If Lewan stays, look for the front office to target wide receiver or cornerback.”

The 6-foot-7, 305-pound prospect has shown to be effective both in run-blocking and pass protection, he’s a great fit for the Titans’ rushing scheme, and he has the ability to play on either side of the line.

However, some experts believe he might take a year or two to develop into a starting-caliber player, as he only converted to offensive tackle from tight end back in 2020, so chances are he won’t make an impact in his first season.

That’s something Titans fans don’t want to hear with an early-round pick after the lack of success general manager Jon Robinson has had with offensive linemen selections the past few years.

Putting aside the specific prospect for a second, what exactly would it take for Robinson to go offensive tackle early on once again?

As Sikkema states, if the Titans decide to move on from left tackle Taylor Lewan, taking a tackle this early becomes much more likely, but we fully expect Tennessee to keep him for at least one more season.

The Titans could use an upgrade at right tackle after David Quessenberry gave up the most sacks in the NFL last season, but they may already have a solution there in Radunz, although the jury is still very much out on him, and it’s also possible the Titans could have him pegged as a future starting guard.

If the Titans don’t believe in Radunz as a right tackle, that could also spur on a first-round selection at the position.

Whatever the case may be, if the Titans do decide to go in this direction, Robinson better nail his pick this time around.

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Texans should keep Fresno State OL Alex Akingbulu in mind for day 3 solution at tackle spots

The Houston Texans should keep in mind Fresno State OL Alex Akingbulu as a day three solution to any tackle problems that sill persist by draft time.

As the Houston Texans complete their rebuild under general manager Nick Caserio, the philosophy is to add players who can provide competition and love football. As was proven in the 2021 NFL draft, Caserio may package picks to get the guys wants, even if it means Houston walks away with a five-man draft class.

One player the Texans should have on their radar is offensive lineman Alex Akingbulu.

Jacob Infante from the Draft Wire had a chance to talk with Akingbulu, and the former Fresno State product revealed what he can bring to an NFL team.

One thing I can say is, I know now with all the maturity that I have, leadership roles do not necessarily have to come with age. I can bet on me being a vocal leader in any aspect of the team, just coming in and being humble, ready and hungry to learn and work. I’m always trying to better my game and just being taken under anybody’s wing, just pretty much hungry and ready to do anything and set my role. I can play either side and pretty much any position on the line, as well. [I bring] versatility and being able to be hungry.

Akingbulu also stated he watches copious amounts of tape of San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams.

Houston had a difficult time at their bookend positions in 2021. Tytus Howard was splitting time at left guard before being kicked out to left tackle. Laremy Tunsil only played five games. The Texans had to rely on Charlie Heck, Geron Christian, Cole Toner, and Jordan Steckler to get through the season.

The rest of the draft process will reveal where Akingbulu ultimately ends up. According to Luke Easterling’s latest mock draft, Akingbulu doesn’t even appear in the first two days of the draft, rendering him a day three pick.

Assistant directors of player personnel James Liipfert and Matt Bazirgan proved in last year’s draft they can find valuable picks on day three. Enter sixth-round defensive tackle Roy Lopez from Arizona. Akingbulu will have to prove he is of that caliber throughout the spring.

Texans get pass rusher, shore up secondary in latest Draft Wire mock

The Draft Wire has the Houston Texans taking Kayvon Thibodeaux and then stocking up in the secondary in their latest mock draft.

The Houston Texans possess the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Some mock drafts have the Texans in position to grab either Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. Others have the Texans missing out on both of them and having to go address the offensive line or the secondary with their third overall pick.

According to Luke Easterling from the Draft Wire, the Texans are in position to take one of the two best pass rushers in the draft and bolster their edge defense.

The Texans are in prime position to land a blue-chip prospect no matter how the first two picks go, and this scenario gives them a player many thought would be the consensus No. 1 overall pick for much of the year. Thibodeaux was banged up a bit this season, and still needs some development, but his ceiling is through the roof.

If the Texans get Thibodeaux, where do they go from there?

In Round 2 (No. 37 overall), the Texans go young at running back and grab Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller.

With their first Round 3 selection (No. 68 overall), Houston addresses cornerback with Alabama’s Josh Jobe.

With Houston’s second Round 3 pick (No. 80 overall), which was gained through the Bradley Roby trade with the New Orleans Saints, the Texans take Illinois safety Kerby Joseph.

At this point in the draft, the Texans would have enough of a young defensive core to build around. With Thibodeaux, paired with Jonathan Greenard in his third season, the Texans would have a pass rush tandem to strike fear into the heart of opposing coordinators. Houston would need Jobe and Joseph to develop quickly to allow them a chance to play stiff defense on the back end and not give up big plays.

The draft is April 28-30 in Las Vegas.

Tennessee Titans take EDGE, TE in Draft Wire’s latest mock

In his latest mock draft, Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling has the Titans going EDGE and TE with their first two picks.

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In his latest 2022 mock draft, Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling has the Tennessee Titans taking a versatile edge rusher and tight end with their first two picks of the 2022 NFL draft.

In the first round, Easterling pegs Georgia edge rusher Trayvon Walker to the Titans at No. 26 overall. Here are his thoughts on the pick:

Harold Landry’s breakout season was huge for the Titans, but they need a better long-term solution on the other edge of the defensive front. Walker was one of the best players on the nation’s most dominant defense, and has the versatility to line up at multiple spots in any alignment.

The only way we could possibly see the Titans taking an edge rusher this early is if it’s someone versatile like Walker, and even then it isn’t likely.

After all, the Titans are pretty set upfront for next season. However, all bets are off if Harold Landry doesn’t re-sign.

In the third round (the Titans don’t have a second-round pick thanks to the Julio Jones trade), Easterling selects Washington tight end Cade Otton for Tennessee.

This selection is more realistic. After all, the Titans didn’t have an every-down tight end in 2021, instead opting to go with a three-man rotation of players who specialized in one area or the other.

Otton checks the boxes for an every-down tight end, as he’s a good receiver and blocker, both in the run and passing game. Here’s more information on the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end, courtesy of Drae Harris of The Draft Network:

“Cade Otton is a sufficient-level athlete with regards to downfield speed and separation quickness as a route-runner. In the run game, he is a very good in-line blocker with good power at the point of attack. He has some nastiness and tenacity to him in the run game. In the passing game, he demonstrates the football IQ and versatility to align at Y, F, or H. He has a very good catch radius and strong hands to pluck the football. He lacks elite separation quickness at the top of the route but does a good job catching the football away from his frame. He is a mismatch up the seams against smaller linebackers and does outstanding work between the numbers.”

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Lastly, here’s a deeper dive into 6-foot-5, 275-pound Walker, also per The Draft Network:

“Georgia’s Travon Walker is an exciting defensive lineman who offers rare athleticism and versatility along the defensive front. Walker, a former 5-star recruit and high school basketball star, has been a mainstay for the Bulldogs in his three-year career but has taken his game to the next level as a junior. Walker has outstanding size and length for the position and pairs those attributes together with rare athleticism. As a pass rusher, Walker displays rare get-off and explosion off the snap. He can easily win edges and shoot through gaps with his explosive and quick-twitch movements. He flashes very good power at the point of attack and has a terrific long arm, which he utilizes to knock back and shock offensive tackles. Walker primarily wins with quickness and speed-to-power as a pass rusher, failing to show consistent hand counters and secondary rush moves. In the run game, Walker sets a firm edge with a strong lock-out and anchor. He has outstanding lateral pursuit and consistently makes plays across the line of scrimmage or down the field with excellent effort. He struggles to get off blocks at times and can be slow tracking the football. All in all, Walker has rare athletic upside with position versatility but needs to develop into more of an impact player to warrant as high of a pick as his athletic traits suggest.”

Walker tallied career-highs in sacks (six), tackles (30), tackles for loss (7.5)  and pass defended (two) in 2021. Otton reeled in 28 catches for 250 yards and one score.

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Should Cowboys be interested in Kaiir Elam despite slew of recent early round CBs?

The Cowboys have been CB happy in the last two drafts, but as the old edict goes, a team can never have enough corners. @DiabeticTyler looks into the Gators’ star defender.

The Dallas Cowboys’ secondary has long been an issue, but it looked much improved this past season under new defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn. Cornerback Trevon Diggs had a vastly improved year following his rookie campaign, leading the league in interceptions with 11. The Cowboys’ cornerback depth chart reads as follows: Diggs, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright, and special teamer CJ Goodwin. Diggs, Joseph and Wright are all still on their rookie deals and look to be in Dallas at least for the next few years. Brown’s deal ends after 2022 and Lewis’ deal following the 2023 season.

A team can never have enough cornerbacks, and this looks to be especially true in Dallas this year. Diggs ascent is going to lead to a huge payday, limiting the amount of resources that can be allocated elsewhere, so a slew of young talent to take over for the veterans is a necessity. If the right fight comes along, they need to be fully prepared to pull the trigger on the position, but is there anyone at the top-end of the draft class worthy of bypassing bigger needs? Could University of Florida’s Kaiir Elam be that enticing?

 

Cardinals land polarizing pass rusher in this new mock draft

Check out who the Cardinals land with the 23rd pick in the draft in Daniel Jeremiah’s first mock draft of the year.

The Arizona Cardinals have the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft and have a number of different directions they could go with that selection. NFL Networks’ Daniel Jeremiah has his first mock draft of the year and projects the Cardinals will go with a pass rusher.

In his recent mock draft, the Cardinals land Michigan pass rusher David Ojabo.

Ojabo is a polarizing player in league circles. I love his get-off quickness and ability to bend at the top of his rush, but he’s going to need some time and reps to improve against the run. Chandler Jones is a free agent and the Cardinals need to add some youth up front.

Ojabo only has one year of production, although it is good. He had 11 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles in 2021 for the Wolverines, who made it to the College Football Playoff.

Ojabo, of course, is the lesser-known Michigan pass rusher. He played opposite Aidan Hutchinson, who will probably be the No. 1 pick in the draft., Hutchinson had 14 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss.

The last time the Cardinals drafted a lesser-known pass rusher on a team, it was when they landed Markus Golden, who played with Shane Ray.

Golden became a consistent pass rusher.

The Cardinals do need to find a replacement for Jones or someone to develop behind him.

What would you think of Ojabo in the first round? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Chargers Scouting Report: Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson

Putting Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson under the microscope to see if he is a fit for the Chargers.

With the 2022 NFL Draft only a few months away, we are full steam ahead on our annual evaluations for this year’s prospects.

With the Chargers having needs at various positions, we will do our best to evaluate the players that we feel fit the team precisely.

Today, we are taking a look at Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson.

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State, #5, Junior, Austin, TX, 6’0” | 188

40-yard Dash: N/A
Bench Press: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
3-Cone Drill: N/A
20-Yard Shuttle: N/A

Career: Earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2020, second team in 2021. Played in 32 games for the Buckeyes, recording 143 catches, 2,213 receiving yards, and 23 touchdowns. 

Red Flags: None

Strengths: Slippery, cunning route runner that slashes through his breaks with ease. Sells routes with his entire body, implementing head fakes and sudden lower-body deception to manipulate defensive backs. Hips plummet on command to change direction quickly, enabling Wilson to break his route down and stop on a dime. An alert player that works back to the quarterback and taps into his creativity to help extend plays. Turns into a magician when turning upfield for yards after the catch. Shimmies his way around defenders and breaks tackles with a large arsenal of juke moves, great contact balance, and natural elusiveness. Has unreal bunnies to out-leap the coverage for contested catches. Tracks the ball well, ensnaring almost every ball that enters his vast catch radius with reliable hands.

Weaknesses: Moved to slot his sophomore year, unlocking his potential but placing a cap on his vertical potential. Tactics to overcome press coverage are spotty and inconsistent. An ineffective run blocker that showed little to no eagerness to participate. Doesn’t have a reputation as a speed demon, with most of his big plays resulting from developments in the open field rather than separating in a straight-line footrace.

Final Word: An inventive route runner that puppeteers defenders out of position with his rampant style, Wilson is a dynamic prospect at the receiver position that leverages his athleticism with equal success when the ball is in his hands. With above-average height and size, Wilson is a dynamic prospect that would succeed best in a slot role at the next level for a team keen to accentuate his yards after catch expertise.

Fit Likelihood: High

Grade: 1st

Film Highlights

Wilson displaying extreme sharpness through his breaks against Penn State.

Wilson’s showcasing his quick change of direction skills and effortless ability to sink his hips and change directions.

Wilson dusting a Maryland cornerback with a staggering and sudden release.

Cardinals projected to receive 3 compensatory picks in 2022 draft

After first being projected to get a fifth-round pick and two seventh-round selections, now it is expected to be a sixth and two sevenths.

The Arizona Cardinals only have five of their original selections in the 2022 NFL draft. They have selections in the first three rounds and then in the sixth and the seventh rounds. They dealt their fourth-round selection last year to move up and draft cornerback Marco Wilson and then they traded their fifth-round selection to acquire tight end Zach Ertz.

They are expected to receive compensatory picks.

According to projections by OvertheCap’s Nick Korte, the Cardinals will get three Day 3 picks — one in the sixth round and two in the seventh.

They are expected to get a sixth-round pick to compensate them for the loss of running back Kenyan Drake, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, while they should receive seventh-round selections for tight end Dan Arnold, who signed with the Carolina Panthers, and defensive lineman Angelo Blackson, who signed with the Chicago Bears.

Initial projections had them receiving a fifth-round pick for losing cornerback Patrick Peterson, but receiver A.J. Green hit performance bonuses that elevated his signing to cancel out the fifth-round selection and instead giving them a sixth-rounder for Drake.

The NFL has not yet announced compensatory selection. That typically happens in March.

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Giants select OT Charles Cross in first Bucky Brooks mock draft

In the first mock draft from Bucky Brooks, the New York Giants select OT Charles Cross and then land a shiny new edge rusher.

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The New York Giants are expected to use one of their two first-round picks (and possibly both) in the 2022 NFL draft on an offensive lineman. Ideally, one of those will be an offensive tackle.

But what if Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are both off the board when it’s the Giants’ turn to pick at No. 5 overall?

That’s a scenario we have not seen in many mock drafts to date, but a route Bucky Brooks took in his first mock for NFL Network. But even with Neal and Ekwonu off the board, Brooks stayed true to Big Blue’s needs and went with Mississippi State OT Charles Cross.

Rebuilding the Giants’ offensive line has to be a top priority for new general manager Joe Schoen. As a Day 1 starter, Cross could immediately help Big Blue re-establish a blue-collar mentality on offense.

There are some who genuinely believe Cross has the highest upside of any available offensive tackle. He would be a Day 1 starter and like Andrew Thomas before him, would grow over time.

Ironically, choosing between Neal, Ekwonu and Cross is very similar to the choice teams had to make in 2020 when it came to the aforementioned Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs.

Moving ahead to pick No. 7 overall, Brooks has the Giants going with a suddenly hot name: Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo.

The Giants have always been at their best when a dominant defensive front can take over the game. The ultra-twitchy pass rusher from Michigan would add significant juice.

The selection of Ojabo came with Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum still on the board. Brooks stuck to positional value on that pick and let Linderbaum slide all the way to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 14 overall.

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4-round 2022 Mock Draft: Cowboys trade up, start to address blocking issues

The Cowboys need work up front, and they’re gonna get this work in our first mock draft exercise of the 2022 offseason. | From @KDDrummondNFL

Finally solving their defensive issues, at least for a year, the surprise failure of the Dallas Cowboys in 2021 turned out to be their inconsistent offense. After starting the season strong through their first six games, injuries began to mount to every position group on that side of the ball and although they maintained their status as one of the league’s best teams, their offense failed them when it mattered.

It appears, based on early tea leaves, that the offensive staff is capable of returning. Stephen Jones, even without Jerry Jones’ full blessing, has said that Mike McCarthy is returning as the head coach. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was once a hot commodity to be a head coach somewhere, but even with him interviewing for a handful of vacant positions the scuttlebutt is he will once again be in Dallas to run that side of the ball. So what can and will change? That conversation likely revolves around the offensive line.

Will coach Joe Philbin be back? Perhaps, but what will he have to work with? On the left side Tyron Smith missed multiple stretches of the season and Connor Williams was benched, reinserted, and now hits free agency. On the right side Zack Martin is a stalwart and is a First-Team All-Pro yet again, but there’s a chance La’el Collins doesn’t return after his five-game suspension voids his contract guarantees and Terence Steele received plenty of love from the staff for his time in the lineup.

Then there’s the middle of the field, where second-year center Tyler Biadasz got 17 starts. His performance was up and down, and while Dallas could conceivably feel comfortable going into 2022 with him as the starter, it’s not a position that they should shy about addressing this offseason. If that doesn’t come in the form of free agency, there’s a glaring alpha dog in this year’s draft in Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum.

The problem is there isn’t a realistic shot of him making his way to No. 24, so in our first mock draft exercise of the year, Dallas will trade up to acquire him.