NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund releases first analytics mock draft
The Super Bowl is now in the rearview mirror, meaning the 2022 offseason officially begins for all 32 teams across the league.
Draft experts have begun to release their post-Super Bowl predictions for the first round of the draft, and NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund is the latest to throw her hat in the ring.
Frelund's projections are not like your standard mock drafts. As NFL Network's analytics expert, her mock drafts consists of more of a process.
As Frelund states, "I take the best available information about free agency, which right now is admittedly not much more than what we know about player contracts, to predict players' market value. I then check free agents' projected market value against the anticipated salary-cap space for each team. Finally, I add potential free agents or drafted players to different teams and identify which individuals increase teams' projected win total the most. (My player model leverages historical pre-draft player data to forecast NFL performance.)"
With that said, here is Frelund's first prediction for how the top 10 picks in this year's draft will play out.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
2. Detroit Lions - Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
3. Houston Texans - Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
4. New York Jets - Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
5. New York Giants - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State
Analysis: "Pro Football Focus loves what Ekwonu did in N.C. State's run-blocking game, counting 18 big-time blocks this past season -- seven more than the next closest guy. He also has experience playing both left tackle and left guard. Not only would Daniel Jones appreciate this pick, but so would Saquon Barkley (which also helps Jones)." -- Frelund
Ekwonu allowed just three sacks and 10 hurries on 500 pass block snaps last season. As Frelund mentions, PFF was very high on Ekwonu's performance during his junior campaign. The analytics site awarded him a 91.6 overall grade, which included 93.8 run block and 78.3 pass block grades. In his first two seasons at N.C. State, the young tackle had overall grades of 80.6 (2020) and 80.5 (2019). Ekwonu earned numerous awards and honors this past season, including Unanimous All-American and the ACC Jacobs Blocking Award as the conference's best offensive lineman.
6. Carolina Panthers - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
7. New York Giants - George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Analysis: "Karlaftis' résumé includes reps aligned over and outside the tackle, which means at his size (he will likely measure around 6-foot-4 at the NFL Scouting Combine) teams will consider how he might be valuable in hybrid fronts and rushing from the inside as well as the outside. His ability to both win after making contact (response win rate) and ability to pressure opposing QBs when they get outside of the pocket rank in the top 88th percentile of the 10-season sample." -- Frelund
Karlaftis played in 12 games this past season, totaling 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 14 QB hits, 35 hurries, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four pass breakups and one defensive touchdown. He received an 87.2 overall grade from PFF while performing well against both the pass (90.6) and run (75.1). The 6-foot-4, 275-pound edge rusher was an All-Big Ten Selection all three years at Purdue (First-Team in 2021, Second-Team in 2019 and 2020) and also earned Third-Team All-American honors this past season.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
9. Denver Broncos - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
10. New York Jets - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his final edition of the top 50 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Draft analyst Matt Miller's 7-round Giants mock draft
ESPN Draft Analyst and founder of The NFL Draft Scout Matt Miller decided to put together seven-round mock drafts for several teams in this year's draft, including one for the Giants.
Here is how Miller believes the Giants could use their nine selections, along with each players' 2021 stats, collegiate accolades and Pro Football Focus player comparison (when applicable).
First Round (No. 5): Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
2021 Stats: 12 games, three sacks and 10 QB hurries allowed on 500 pass block snaps; 91.6 overall grade from PFF (93.8 run block, 78.3 pass block)
Accolades: Unanimous All-American (2021), ACC Jacobs Blocking Award (2021), First-Team All-ACC (2021), Third-Team All-ACC (2020)
PFF Player Comp: Kelechi Osemele
First Round via CHI (No. 7): David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
2021 Stats: 13 games, 35 total tackles (24 solo), 11 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three pass breakups; 79.4 overall grade from PFF (87.3 pass rush, 70.2 run defense)
Accolades: Second-Team All-American (2021), First-Team All-Big Ten (2021)
PFF Player Comp: Dion Jordan
Second Round (No. 36): Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
2021 Stats: 15 games, 80 total tackles (45 solo), 5.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups
Accolades: CFP National Champion (2020)
PFF Player Comp: Christian Kirksey
View photos of the best players ever to be selected with the Nos. 5 and 7 picks in NFL draft history.
Mock Draft Tracker Episode 1: Post-Super Bowl picks
John Schmeelk and Paul Dottino look at the latest mock drafts circling the internet now that the 2021 season has officially concluded.