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2022 NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft Buzz: Latest league news, rumors from Friday ahead of Rounds 2, 3

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, and Liberty quarterback Malik Willis remains available.

After seeing himself mocked as high as No. 2 overall to the Detroit Lions, Willis tumbled out of a first round Thursday night that saw only one quarterback drafted: Pitt QB Kenny Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Where Willis lands is one of the top storylines heading into Night 2 of the draft, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport tossed out four potential destinations for the top remaining QB on Friday on NFL Draft Kickoff.

"This all could come together very quickly for Malik Willis," Rapoport said. "There's a couple of teams that have done a ton of homework on quarterbacks."

Rapoport said that the Minnesota Vikings are one intriguing team to monitor. While the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a one-year extension that will keep him in Minnesota through the 2023 season, that does not preclude them from drafting a potential successor in Round 2, per Rapoport. The Vikings own the second pick of the second round (No. 34 overall), so Willis might not have to wait too long to hear his name called tonight.

Other teams possibly in play for Willis, per Rapoport: the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and Lions.

Here's what else we're monitoring Friday ahead of Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft:

  • Throughout the pre-draft process, common convention suggested the Carolina Panthers were one of the most logical landing spots for Baker Mayfield if they exited the first round without having selected their quarterback of the future. That proved to be the case after general manager Scott Fitterer nabbed offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu at No. 6 overall, so can we expect another blockbuster trade this weekend? NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Friday there have been on-going conversations between the Panthers and the Browns regarding Mayfield, but his contract (Baker is due more than $18 million this season) complicates any potential trade. Rapoport pointed out a wild-card scenario for Carolina is a trade back into the second round for a quarterback. Potential targets? Willis, Ole Miss' Matt Corral and North Carolina's Sam Howell. The Panthers do not pick again until Day 3 (No. 137 overall), meaning any trade likely would include 2023 draft picks.
  • Thursday night saw the first time since 2014 that a running back did not get drafted in the first round. Rapoport reported on NFL Draft Kickoff that he doesn't expect that drought to go on much longer. Iowa State's Breece Hall and Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III are still available as the consensus top-two RBs, and both seem likely to be drafted in the early portion of the second round. Rapoport identified the Houston Texans at No. 37 overall as the team most likely to first dip their toes in the RB pool. Houston signed Marlon Mack, previously a Colts backup, in the beginning of April, and its leading rusher from 2021 was Rex Burkhead with 427 yards.

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