May marks the start of mock draft season. And with a long summer ahead, what better way to prepare for draft day scenarios than to mock, mock, and mock some more.
Now that the dust has settled on the NFL Draft, we have a rough idea of what those rosters will look like for the upcoming season. There will be surprise cuts, trades, injuries and fights in training camp. But for the most part, we can begin our plan of attack for the 2022 season.
Let’s get the fun started with a mock blueprint for a 12-team, 1-QB Standard league. I randomly drew the second eighth pick and all of this was easily done with our free mock draft simulator.
Tip 1.8: Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
My primary strategy in standard-scoring leagues is to prioritize running backs. But with the eighth overall pick, I was a bit worried about which options I would have to choose from.
Somehow Cook fell to me on pick eight. Cook is still a rare bell cow on a good Minnesota offensive line. Durability is an issue, but so is any runback these days.
Najee Harris would have been my pick if Cook hadn’t been on the board.
Pick 2.5: Javonte Williams (RB – DEN)
Justin Jefferson was the best player on the board, but I’d rather not attach my wagons to the Minnesota offense. Instead, I chose Williams, the congestion with the highest upside potential and the fewest questions. Sure, Melvin Gordon is back for another rodeo. But I bet Williams deserves a bigger workload in his second season.
Williams could turn RB1 upside down altogether in 2022. I love this backfield duo.
Select 3.8: Mike Evans (WR – TB)
My pick in the third round left me with an interesting receiver choice between Mike Evans, AJ Brown and Tyreek Hill. Each of these three pass catchers has an elite perk, but I went with Evans for a little more security. While I like Brown and Hill more from a talent standpoint, their changes in landscape and quarterback demotions give me pause.
Evans is a safe bet for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns with Tom Brady back in Tampa. I’m taking that stability for now and shooting up later.
Pick 4.5: Michael Pittman (WR – IND)
If I could step down from this selection, I probably would have. I was disappointed to see Saquon Barkley and DK Metcalf picked right in front of me. This left me with a difficult decision between Keenan Allen, Michael Pittman, Diontae Johnson, DJ Moore and Terry McLaurin.
While 62% of our experts suggested I take Allen, I wanted to crank it up a bit more. That put me between Pittman and Johnson. Both ended 2021 as top-16 wideouts, and both will see quarterback changes in 2022. The tiebreaker came down to the guys throwing them the ball as I’d rather work with Matt Ryan than Mitchell Trubisky and/or rookie Kenny Pickett. Johnson is the better player but his dismal situation broke the tie.
Select 5.8: AJ Dillon (RB – UK)
Dillon finished as an RB21 in standard leagues despite trailing behind Aaron Jones on the Green Bay depth chart. And since the Packers just sent their top receiver, Davante Adams, to Las Vegas, I’d expect the team to put a little more emphasis on the ground game in 2022. Dillon will be the goal-line guy in a well-trained Packers offense and still has Aaron Rodgers. Going back to Dillon is going to be gross so I’m thrilled to have him as my RB3 and to choose him over Diontae Johnson, Terry McLaurin and Patrick Mahomes.
Pick 6.5: Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)
Last season, Hunt averaged 11 fantasy points in eight games in standard formats, ranking 23rd among jams. Nick Chubb is great. But Cleveland has shown his willingness to work Hunt into the mix often when he’s healthy. Hunt is no handcuff, and he offers independent value and is a top 10 backlog when Chubb misses the time.
I would bet on Hunt rather than Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Devin Singletary or Rashaad Penny, all of whom were still on the board and ahead of Hunt.
Tip 7.8: DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI)
The wide receivers all feel the same at this point in the draft. My advice is just meet the guy you like the most. I believe in Smith’s talent and would choose him over other WR2s on the board like Marquise Brown and Gabriel Davis. The arrival of AJ Brown might limit Smith’s volume, but it could make him a deadly WR2 on an offense that could score a lot of points if Jalen Hurts can make another move.
Pick 8.5: Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)
Brown fell to me by surprise in round 8, so I decided to pass quarterback and tight end again to dig for value. Brown enjoyed a strong 2021 season and was rewarded with a trade to Arizona where he will reunite with Kyler Murray. Brown will be the featured receiver for the first six weeks of the year and will become an intriguing WR2 when DeAndre Hopkins returns from his suspension.
Choose 9.8: Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)
Now is the part of the draft where I start thinking about tight end and quarterback. Hunter Renfrow appeals to me, but he’s not that valuable in a Basic league.
The top three players on the board are all tight ends: Dallas Goedert, TJ Hockenson, and Dalton Schultz. But none of them really wowed me, so I decided to pass. Which leads me to a quarterback and Dak Prescott.
Am I in love with Prescott? no Do I think he’s an elite quarterback? Not really. But he’s a very good passer on a talented offense and should be a safe bet to finish as a top 10 player in his position. I’m happy to take what Dak gives me at what feels like a discount.
Tip 10.5: Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)
That worked fine. Schultz was the last of the above three tight ends left. So I’ll happily grab him and stack him with Prescott. The draft wizard gods smile at me.
Tip 11.8: Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI)
Seven consecutive jams went off the board before this pick, including my handcuff Alexander Mattison. To keep up with the trend I will be adding Herbert as the RB5 with some perks. I liked what Herbert showed as a rookie and he could be a solid RB2 option should David Montgomery go down. I think Herbert could be the future of Chicago’s backfield as worker Montgomery enters the final year of his rookie deal. I take a flyer on a talented young back.
Pick 12.5: Christian Kirk (WR – JAX)
Getting a team’s potential WR1 in round 12 is a steal, even if it’s Jacksonville’s WR1. Kirk signed a lucrative $72 million deal this offseason, making him one of the league’s highest-paid wide receivers. While this narrative is often exaggerated, it does suggest that Jacksonville got pretty high on Kirk.
Does Kirk deserve such a contract? Probably not. But he’s still a good player who could be the lead receiver for an amazing quarterback contender. Kirk could be the biggest beneficiary if Trevor Lawrence takes a big step forward, and there are far worse WR5 options out there.
Pick 13.8: Brian Robinson (RB – WAS)
I’m shooting at a rookie jam with a potential opening to start tasks with my last pick. Robinson is a battering ram from Alabama, something Washington doesn’t have. After a difficult year for Antonio Gibson, I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington hired Robinson to split the workload as early-down back. It’s purely speculative and we won’t know how this backcourt develops until at least the training camp. But it’s May and I’m taking a picture.
Design Assistant Degree: 95/100 (A)
The design assistant was kind enough to give me high marks for this design. And not blowing my own horn, but I agree. This team has plenty of backfield depth and a strong mix of high floor and high upside receivers to make up for any quarterback and tight end deficiencies.
What do you think of my mock draft? let me know on twitter @RealMattBarbato!
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