There are only a couple of hours left until Day 2 of the 2022 NFL draft begins and the Washington Commanders are back on the clock. In the interest of seeing who might be available for our Day 2 picks, I thought I’d run one final mock.
For this mock, I used the PFF Mock Draft Simulator. As per usual, I was looking to trade back if the right opportunity arose. In this case, I found a willing trade partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them picks 47 and 113 in exchange for picks 52 and 84, sliding back a bit in the second, but up considerably in the third, from the 4th.
Round 2, Pick 52
Nick Cross, S
With Matt Corral and Jalen Pitre off the board before 47, I “reached” a bit for the best, pure free safety in the draft, Maryland’s own Nick Cross. His description from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com is below:
Cross operated as the bouncer of the Maryland defense, playing with the aggression and explosiveness to throw opponents out of the club. He is a chase player who seeks to make a statement upon impact and has impressive stopping power near the line or as an open-field tackler. He’s a tight-hipped, linear mover, so flipping and flying are not his strong suit. He’s capable of matching with most flavors of tight end and will be most comfortable in coverages that allow him to play with a downhill trigger. He has the temperament, size and toughness to become an eventual starter in the league.
Round 3, Pick 84
Phidarian Mathis, DL
After losing Tim Settle and Matt Ioannidis to free agency, Washington absolutely needs depth along the defensive line. Mathis was named a permanent defensive captain for Alabama in 2021 and proceeded to rack up 9 sacks and 12 TFLs. An excerpt from his scouting assessment from Bleacher Report is below:
Phidarian Mathis is the high-floor defensive lineman to target in this class. A four-year contributor at Alabama, Mathis has a thick build with surprisingly nimble feet, which allowed him to play anywhere from 0-technique to 5-technique in the Tide’s scheme.
Mathis’ game is defined by his awareness and ability to read plays instantly, as well as how to handle different blocking schemes. He can sit and anchor against double-teams just as well as he can move with the flow of the play in zone and play with his eyes in the backfield. His eyes, length and violence in shedding blocks also allow him to cross-face and play a secondary gap.
Being a fifth-year senior and only sporting average explosiveness, Mathis probably is what he is at this point. Room for growth is limited. However, in his current state, he will be a good NFL run defender with enough tools to be an effective complementary pass-rusher. Combine that with his ability to be effective all over the interior defensive line, and it’s easy to see how he should be a quality starter right away.
Round 3, Pick 98
Daniel Faalele, OT
Washington has one of the best o-line coaches in the league in John Matsko, and I can only imagine what the maestro could do with this gigantic ball of clay in his hands. Faalele, who is originally from Australia, played one year of high school football before starting three years at Minnesota. He still needs development, but his ceiling appears to be sky high. A recent overview of his talent from Bleacher Report is below.
Overall, Faalele has an enticing blend of size, ease of movement and natural power with some notable refinement as a run-blocker. He will likely need to have some schemed help as a pass protector for his first few years as a starter while he refines his set points and use of hands, but his relative lack of time playing football and tools suggest he can continue improving the finer aspects of the position while being an asset in the run game right away.
How would you grade this Day 2 haul?
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