The 2022 NFL draft in Las Vegas is finally here and so is my final mock draft! This year there has been a lot of criticism about this draft class but I think the depth in this class is a lot better than people have given it credit for. This mock will be what I think will happen in round 1, have some blurbs for the top 10 and will also include some trades.
Pick 1 – Jaguars
Travon Walker – Edge – Georgia
The number 1 pick in this year’s draft has had 9 different betting favorites already and Walker is the latest player to make a huge jump in the betting odds. Walker is an athletic freak that was played in a very specific role in Georgia’s national title-winning defense. His upside is high but his production has been fairly low, a lot of this could be due to the role he was asked to play and the Jags will be hoping in their scheme he can rush the passer too much greater success. I would be picking Hutchinson here if I was them but I understand making the high level swing.
Pick 2 – Lions
Aiden Hutchinson – Edge – Michigan
Hutchinson gets to stay in the state of Michigan and the Lions get to sprint the card in to take him. Hutchinson is a perfect style of player for this Lions team and can give the Lions an instant pass rush in year 1. His ceiling may be lower than Walker but he himself is also an athletic freak that only has one real worry which is his arm length vs elite NFL tackles. A lot of talk is that Hutchinson could fall past number 2 but I would be shocked if this talk became true on draft night.
Pick 3 – Texans
Derek Stingley Jr – CB – LSU
Stingley is my CB1 and the rumours / betting markets seem to project that he will be the pick at no 3 for the Houston Texans. The Texans play a huge amount of Tampa 2 coverage and for me Stingley fits that zone coverage better than Sauce Gardner. Stingley’s tape in his first year starting at LSU is probably the best tape in this whole class, if teams trust that over the last two seasons then Stingley will go very high.
Pick 4 – Jets
Jermaine Johnson – Edge – Florida State
This was the toughest pick of the top 10 so far. A lot of talk around the draft seem to signal that the Jets love Jermaine Johnson. However they could try to wait till 10 select him and go corner or offensive line at pick 4. I will stick with the rumours that the Jets love Jermaine Johnson enough to take him at 4 and then they go WR at pick 10.
Pick 5 – Giants
Evan Neal – OT – Alabama
According to insiders across the NFL the Giants love Evan Neal and have him as a clear top 2 tackle in the draft. With his versatility at LT, RT, and Guard I think he makes a lot of sense for a team that needs offensive line help across the board. I would plug Neal in as the Giants starting RT for the 2022 season. Charles Cross could also be in consideration here also for the G men but picking a tackle before the Panthers makes a lot of sense here.
Pick 6 – Texans ( Trade with Panthers )
Ikem Ekonwu – OT – North Carolina State
All the signs now point towards the Panthers not taking a QB here at pick 6 and I think in this draft class getting the value you want to trade back could be difficult for the Panthers. If they stay at pick 6 then I think Ikem makes a lot of sense for this team. Rumours around the league say the Panthers like Ekonwu or Cross the most in the top 10 and this can help stabilise the offensive line for whichever veteran QB starts for the Panthers this year.
Pick 7 – Giants
Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner – CB – Cincinnati
Sauce is a lot of people’s CB1 in this class and I think his tools make a lot of sense for a Wink Martindale defensive scheme. He can play press coverage extremely well and will allow Wink to blitz the QB as much as he wants. The talk around the NFL is that the Giants also love the person and see Gardner as a leader for them in the future. Gardner did not allow a single touchdown in his college career. Giants could also look to trade back but the value / fact Gardner is still on the board will be too tempting to pick him.
Pick 8 – Falcons
Kayvon Thibodeux – Edge – Oregon
Thibodeux is my number 1 edge rusher in this class so the Falcons just will not be able to turn down the talent if he falls to pick 8. Thibodeux is an extremely athletic pass rusher that has the upside to develop into one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. If this happens on draft night it would not shock me if the Falcons started getting a lot of trade offers for teams to move up for the star pass rusher.
Pick 9 – Saints ( Trade with the Seahawks )
Charles Cross – OT – Mississipi State
The Saints trade up with future capital to move up but keep two first round picks for the 2022 draft. With this trade I have the Saints moving up to grab the best pass protecting tackle to replace Armstead who signed with the Miami Dolphins. Since the Saints and Eagles initial trade there has been a lot of rumours on QB or non QB and I just think they would love to secure the tackle of the future if he falls to pick 9.
Pick 10 – Jets
Drake London – WR – USC
The first WR comes off the board here to the New York Jets, who were heavily linked with veteran WRs all summer. Drake London is not one of my top 3 WRs in the class but a lot of Jets beat writers keep mocking London to the Jets to add some size and downfield ability to this Jets offense. Another WR would not shock me here, especially Jameson Williams.
Pick 11 – Commanders
Kyle Hamilton – S – Notre Dame
Kyle Hamilton is an elite prospect that can improve this Commanders secondary.
Pick 12 – Vikings
Trent McDuffie – CB – Washington
Vikings need corner help and their new GM values pass coverage.
Pick 13 – Panthers ( Trade with Texans )
Kenny Pickett – QB – Pittsburgh
Panthers don’t have a tackle they want on the board so they take a QB here.
Pick 14 – Ravens
Jordan Davis – DT – Georgia
This pick makes too much sense! Ravens value athletes and stopping the run.
Pick 15 – Chiefs ( Trade with Eagles )
Jameson Williams – WR – Alabama
Chiefs get their WR of the future and trade with a team they know well.
Pick 16 – Seahawks ( Trade with Saints )
Trevor Penning – OT – Northern Iowa
Penning has been mocked to the Seahawks for a while and they need tackle help desperately.
Pick 17 – Chargers
Zion Johnson – IOL – Boston College
Chargers get to improve their offensive line in a move that allows Matt Feiler to go back to RT.
Pick 18 – Eagles
Chris Olave – WR – Ohio State
Eagles add another weapon to pair with Smith and to help whichever QB they draft next year.
Pick 19 – Saints
Garrett Wilson – WR – Ohio State
Saints need a WR2 and Wilson can be that and more for them. Wilson is also friends with Michael Thomas.
Pick 20 – Steelers
Malik Willis – QB – Liberty
Mike Tomlin apparently loves Malik Willis and here they get him. A high upside QB that will take time to develop.
Pick 21 – Patriots
Devin Lloyd – LB – Utah
Patriots don’t mind drafting low value positions and Lloyd fills their huge hole at LB.
Pick 22 – Packers
George Karlaftis – Edge – Purdue
The Packers always value the trenches and this helps add depth for them in year 1 with a chance of adding a great starter in year 2.
Pick 23 – Cardinals
Kenyon Green – IOL – Texas A&M
Cardinals will have an IOL need in 2023 and Green could also upgrade the room in year 1.
Pick 24 – Cowboys
Treylon Burks – WR – Arkansas
Jerry Jones…. that is all.
Pick 25 – Seahawks ( Trade with Bills )
Desmond Ridder – QB – Cincinnatti
Seahawks apparently love Ridder and Corral but Ridder is clearly above him in my rankings. Bills trade back for an RB or CB…..
Pick 26 – Titans
Tyler Smith – OT – Tulsa
Smith is a really exciting prospect and has the athletic profile to have tackle/guard versatility.
Pick 27 – Buccaneers
Lewis Cine – S – Georgia
The Buccs always love secondary depth and Cine can be moved all around the field to offer them more depth for a team that has a lot of free agents next year.
Pick 28 – Packers
Christian Watson – WR – North Dakota State
Packers value size at receiver and missed out on tier 1. Watson offers them the size/speed profile that value and need badly.
Pick 29 – Eagles ( Trade with Chiefs )
Travis Jones – DT – Connecticut
The Eagles value defensive line depth and Fletcher Cox looks like he will be leaving next summer.
Pick 30 – Chiefs
Daxton Hill – S – Michigan
Dax Hill is a versitile player that can play the Honey Badger role perfectly for this Chiefs team.
Pick 31 – Bengals
Tyler Linderbaum – C – Iowa
Linderbaum is a top tier prospect from this class and the zone scheme fit is perfect for the Bengals.
Pick 32 – Lions
Quay Walker – LB – Georgia
Quay Walker is perfect for this Lions coaching staff and has recieved buzz about going as LB1.