2022 NFL mock draft: Teams high on OL, low on QB in first round

Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum (65).
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum (65). /

Pro Football Network recently released a 2022 NFL mock draft. Here’s why teams are high on the offensive line and low on quarterbacks next year. 

Now roughly halfway through the 2021 college football season, the excitement level for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft is cranking up a notch. Already this year, there have been some major surprises among top draft prospects and colossal shifts in position in draft boards.

As the season marches on, the top quarterback prospects for next April continue to be a bit underwhelming. Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler — once thought of as a potential future number one pick — has since plummeted his draft stock after being benched for Caleb Williams.

While some quarterbacks like Matt Corrall and Malik Willis have shown promise, their play hasn’t been impressive enough to warrant them the top picks in next year’s NFL Draft. Recently, Pro Football Network’s Tyler Olson released his updated 2022 NFL mock draft. He has just one quarterback being taken inside the top 10.

While Olson still has four quarterbacks being selected in the first round, just one — Liberty’s Malik Willis — lands inside the top-10 picks. PFN has Willis going to the Atlanta Falcons with the 8th overall pick.

Willis has been impressive this year. The former Auburn transfer has been the non-Power 5 player to watch this year, as he has the tools that translate to the NFL stage. Still, his low level of competition in some inconsistencies as a passer still hardly makes him a ‘can’t miss’ prospect.

Pro Football Network also has Carson Strong, Matt Corral, and Sam Howell landing between picks 13 and 20 overall. However, the offensive line really gets a boost in this most recent mock draft.

In addition to Alabama OT Evan Neal being selected 2nd overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Olson has three other offensive linemen going in the top 11 picks next year. These include Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Texas A&M OG Kenyon Green, and Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum. All four of these offensive line prospects have taken a step forward this year and could be early first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.

How can QBs regain positioning in 2022 NFL mock draft?

It won’t be easy for some of the quarterbacks in next year’s draft class to break the stigma they currently have tied to their names. For someone like Spencer Rattler, the best option might be to go back to school, transfer to a different team, and try to string together one great season before declaring for the draft. For a player like Sam Howell, showing that he can carry his team to victory the rest of the way is a must.

There is no doubt that the quarterbacks at the top of this list have talent. Matt Corral, Malik Willis, and Sam Howell all have NFL arms with plus mobility and the ability to extend the play. However, they need to continue to elevate their game if they want to hear their names called early in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Next. NFL Draft: 3 first-round picks who have been a letdown so far. dark

It will be interesting to see how the quarterbacks and offensive lineman from this class finish their 2021 season. Much of what they do will dictate where each of these players will land next April.