The 2022 NFL Draft is just two weeks away. The chaos of this offseason leads many to have no idea what to expect leading into the draft. In past 8 years, the #1 pick has been either a QB or an EDGE rusher. That trend looks to continue this year with an EDGE likely landing in Jacksonville. This year does differ from most with where QB prospects will land and how soon/late. Nonetheless, this mock is based off what each team’s subreddit wants and what I think is the correct pick. I have 0 intel on inside sources, nor did I take into account player/team meetings.
1. JAX – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Jacksonville tagging OT Cam Robinson leaves me to believe they’re going EDGE with the first overall pick. Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, or Walker are all considered options here, with Hutchinson being the popular choice. Aidan Hutchinson is a three-down defensive end that will be a star on the Jacksonville defensive line. The duo of Josh Allen and Aidan Hutchinson will terrorize the AFC South QBs for years to come.
2. DET – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Detroit is in an interesting spot because of the uncertainty of Houston’s choice. They similarly have to decide between Hutch, Thibs, or Walker. As a Lions fan, I believe it will come down to Hutch or Thibs, with Hutch being my preferred choice. I don’t believe you can go wrong with either of them. Sewell will play a significant part in researching the off-field personality of Thibodeaux, as they’re both Oregon alumni. Regardless, Head Coach Dan Campbell already expressed that he wants elite football guys and is less concerned with off the field issues.
3. HOU – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Sauce Gardner will be a plug-and-play corner for Houston. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Kyle Hamilton, Trevon Walker, Ikem Ekwonu, or Evan Neal here. The latter two would be more shocking, but overall Houston should go BPA. With serious defensive needs, grabbing the best corner in the draft will give an immediate boost to a defense that was in the ranked in the bottom-five of passing yards per attempt, passes over 40+ yards, and yards per reception.
4. NYJ – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
The Jets have needs on both sides of the ball, but having an explosive pass-rusher will relieve some of the stress on the secondary. Alternative selections would be Sauce Gardner, Travon Walker, Drake London, Kyle Hamilton, or Garrett Wilson. With a deep WR class, I think the Jets will elect to grab a player that can bolster their defense.
5. NYG – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Giants need a RT and they’re in luck. I feel like this will be another Sewell situation where they may not expect him to drop to them, but he will. He’s going to be a great player in the NFL, and will hopefully rejuvenate a lackluster Saquon Barkley. I don’t think that Daniel Jones is the long-term answer for them at QB, but I don’t see an upgrade for them in this draft. Neal will have a long, successful career in New York.
6. CAR – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
Ekwonu is the smart choice here in my opinion. The fun choice? QB Kenny Pickett. Matt Rhule and Pickett have familiarity with Pickett’s initial commitment to Temple, before deciding on Pitt. Rhule, prior to landing the Carolina job, was the head coach at Temple. With constant failures at QB, Carolina is a serious contender at drafting Pickett or Willis here. However, I don’t see how they can pass on Ekwonu, who would start at LT day one. Sam Darnold showed promise early last season, so giving him much needed protection might allow Darnold to reach his high potential.
7. NYG – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
Travon Walker is a versatile defensive lineman that can be used in multiple fronts. The Giants have already invested into guys like Dexter Lawrence, Azeez Ojulari, and Leonard Williams. However, there are question marks surrounding whether Lawrence’s 5th-year option will be picked up, if Ojulari is a three-down player, and if Leonard Williams is someone that the Giants are looking to move in a trade. Regardless of these situations, Walker can come to New York and be an asset to this defense.
8. ATL – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Atlanta should be going BPA at this point. The board hasn’t fallen favorably, but Kyle Hamilton is a day one starter. He didn’t post elite combine numbers, but the film doesn’t lie. If one of the big 3 edges fall, I think Atlanta runs to the podium. Similarly, if one of Neal or Ekwonu fall, they do the same. This team will likely be drafting in the top three next year, so passing on Willis and Pickett is the best scenario.
9. SEA – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Seattle moving on from Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner may bring upon the dark ages for a team that has already struggled. I expect Pete Carroll to attempt to guide the rebuild in the right direction, but I do not see him sticking around after this year or the next. This roster needs help, but grabbing a solid tackle will kick start this rebuild. Drew Lock does have extremely valuable weapons in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, but it will come down to a matter of if he’s capable enough to get them the ball and if he has time to get them the ball. Cross will help the latter.
10. NYJ – Drake London, WR, USC
Drake London and Elijah Moore will be a top WR duo in this league in the coming years. This is a one-two punch that will help Zach Wilson immediately. London is a big target that has a basketball background. Without Elijah Moore, I would understand looking at Garrett Wilson or Jameson Williams, but London makes the most sense here.
11. WAS – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Washington adding Stingley to a young, talented defense could make them a top 5 unit. In a division that sees CeeDee Lamb and Devonta Smith twice a year, it would make sense for them to get a guy than can go toe-to-toe with the best. Washington is also a team that may be in the market for a rookie QB, with Malik Willis being a guy that I would want to see in a Commanders jersey. Other alternatives would be any of the remaining top WRs, and with Kyle Hamilton possibly falling, Washington would be a candidate to land him as well.
12. MIN – Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Minnesota will pray that either Sauce Gardner or Stingley will fall to them, but I don’t see that happening barring trades. They will go next best corner, which will either be Andrew Booth Jr. or Trent McDuffie.
13. HOU – Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
In a division that sees Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, getting a big body to disrupt them is important. Going Sauce Gardner on the outside and then coming back with Jordan Davis on the inside has the potential to make this Houston defense into a solid unit.
14. BAL – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Baltimore will go best defensive lineman available, which leaves either Karlaftis or Devonte Wyatt. The Ravens did re-sign Calais Campbell, but the aging Pro-Bowler could be a positive mentor to Karlaftis and 2021 first round selection Jayson Oweh.
15. PHI – Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
Fletcher Cox re-signing to a one-year deal with Philly helps, but I think they go with Wyatt here now that Karlaftis is gone. I can see Baltimore selecting Wyatt, which would make Karlaftis a more preferred choice. Regardless, I believe Philly will look to improve their defensive line with one of their firsts.
16. NO – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Following the rumors that New Orleans wanted to jump LAC because they wanted an OT, Penning seems like the surefire pick. With both Pickett and Willis on the board, NO can wait until 19 if they decide to draft a QB.
17. LAC – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Much of LAC fans think the OT rumors are a smoke screen, because Jameson Williams would be elite for this offense. Keenan Allen still years of productivity left, as his style seems to hold up in this league longer than a speedster type does. Nonetheless, Josh Palmer has shown promise and with Jameson Williams, Justin Herbert will be a perennial top 5 QB. 4 WR sets, with the inclusion of Jalen Guyton, is a scary thought for defenses in the AFC West. Let’s obviously not forget about Austin Ekeler and new signee Gerald Everett, goodness. What a sight this would be.
18. PHI – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
This is a make it or break it year for Jalen Hurts. Drafting JJAW and Jalen Reagor have been absolute failures, but Devonta Smith and Garrett Wilson are can’t miss prospects. Pairing the two will give Philly two dynamic weapons that could be argued as top prospects in their respective classes.
19. NO – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
New Orleans going with Kenny Pickett here would allow him to sit behind Jameis Winston for a few weeks to the whole year. He won’t have extreme expectations to come into the league and immediately perform. The Saints are entering the post-Sean Payton era by bringing in their next QB.
20. PIT – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Malik Willis going to Pittsburgh gives him the best chance to succeed in this league. They have weapons across their offense, a QB centric OC, and a veteran head coach. Willis has the ability to be a great QB, but he needs time to learn and develop as an NFL QB. Trubisky is a good enough QB to be a temporary solution to Pittsburgh’s need of a QB, while Willis develops into the long-term solution.
21. NE – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Devin Lloyd falls into Bill Belichick’s lap and the AFC East will hate this. Lloyd is a versatile LB that can both rush the passer and drop back in coverage. Developing in the Belichick system will allow for Lloyd to continue doing what he does best, tackling behind the line of scrimmage.
22. GB – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Replacing Davante Adams is near impossible. If I was Green Bay, I would actually use both first round picks on receivers. Grabbing Burks here at #22 is great value as he is a physical freak. Big body receivers who run as fast as he does are hard to come by. Aaron Rodgers will be demanding weapons in this draft, and he will get a good one here.
23. ARZ – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Arizona can go in a multitude of ways here. Losing Chandler Jones significantly worsens Arizona’s pass rush. I would consider David Ojabo here, but with his injury, he will likely make it into the middle-late second round. McDuffie is a great athlete, which would add to a defense that has invested draft capital in guys like Byron Murphy Jr., Isaiah Simmons, and Zaven Collins.
24. DAL – Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
Dallas getting a stud lineman is very Dallas-like. Tyler Linderbaum is also another candidate to land in Dallas. Either way, getting an interior lineman is the likely pick.
25. BUF – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Elam might be the best press corner in the draft, landing on a team that has heavily invested into their defensive line in past drafts and signing Von Miller. Elam will be setup for success, as his issues with holding can be fixed by the coaching staff.
26. TEN – Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
Lots of mocks have them grabbing TE Trey McBride, but I think they go with Green or Linderbaum. A sleeper pick would be Chris Olave to pair with AJ Brown, but Green has the ability to play both guard positions, along with RT. His versatility is a trait that is too good to pass on.
27. TB – Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma
Tampa can go in many different ways, but adding Winfrey to a defensive line that consists of mostly veterans will allow for the unit to remain fresh during the season.
28. GB – Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
Linderbaum falling to GB gives them a tough decision, as they could take Olave here, or bolster their defense with Daxton Hill. However, Linderbaum has the potential to be a great center in this league, which reminds me much of the Frank Ragnow pick for Detroit. It’s not sexy, but it’s the best thing to do.
29. KC – Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Not re-signing Tyrann Mathieu leaves me to believe that they are taking one of the top safeties here with one of their back-to-back picks. With glaring holes left by both Mathieu and Tyreek Hill, I would expect them to address both of those immediately in the draft.
30. KC – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave can come in a be a significant playmaker for a team that is losing probably the best playmaker in the league. By no means is he Tyreek Hill, but I think pairing him with Juju Smith-Schuster will allow this offense to not skip a beat.
31. CIN – Tyler Smith, IOL, Tulsa
Protect Joe Burrow at all costs. Offensive lineman here, please.
32. DET – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Lewis Cine is a physical safety that can bring the Lions’ secondary together. Nakobe Dean and George Pickens are guys that the Lions can also pick here, or at #34. I would not be shocked to see them wait on a WR until the middle of the draft, as bolstering the defense should be the single most important task this offseason.