2022 NFL Mock Draft
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
2. Detroit Lions - Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
There’s late buzz that this could be Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, but I think Detroit ultimately elects to play it safe with hometown Hutchinson.
3. Houston Texans - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
HC Lovie Smith flat-out said this offseason that Houston’s secondary play needs to be better. Enter Stingley, who’s been a pre-draft riser after an inconsistent college career.
4. New York Jets - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
OT Mekhi Becton is coming off a disastrous 2nd season. OT George Fant turns 30 in July and is entering the final year of his contract. Ekwonu was a 3-year college starter and is a strong fit in OC Mike LaFleur’s scheme.
5. New York Giants - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Neal has experience at LT, RT and guard. In New York, he’d be a plug-and-play starter at RT, bookending 2020 1st-rounder Andrew Thomas.
6. Carolina Panthers - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
QB Kenny Pickett would be a major reach here. The Panthers would love to move back from this spot, with the Saints a potential trade partner. But if they make the pick, expect an upgrade on the offensive line.
7. New York Giants - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
This long, press-man corner is a dream fit in new DC Wink Martindale’s scheme.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
WR is definitely a possibility here (I’d bet on Drake London in that case). But the Falcons can address that position with 1 or 2 of their 4 picks on Day 2. Edge rusher is just as big a need – and Thibodeaux might wind up being the best player in this entire class.
9. Seattle Seahawks - Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
This is a potential trade-down spot. If the Seahawks make the pick, it could also be OT Trevor Penning. But Johnson is widely expected to be a top-10 pick and certainly fills a need in Seattle.
10. New York Jets - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
I think Jermaine Johnson is the pick if he makes it here. If not, the Jets continue to build around QB Zach Wilson after missing on WR Tyreek Hill earlier this offseason.
11. Washington Commanders - Drake London, WR, USC
The big, bruising London would be a perfect complement to speedy Terry McLaurin and shifty Curtis Samuel. S Kyle Hamilton is also a distinct possibility here.
12. *TRADE* Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings) - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
With the WR run underway, the always-aggressive Eagles make a small move up to grab the most electric playmaker in this year’s WR class.
13. Houston Texans - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The ultra-versatile Hamilton joins CB Derek Stingley in Houston’s re-made secondary.
14. Baltimore Ravens - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Ravens love their big dudes in the middle of the field. 6’6, 341-pound Davis certainly qualifies.
15. *TRADE* Minnesota Vikings (from Philadelphia Eagles) - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Vikings could opt to add to their WR room with new HC Kevin O’Connell likely to deploy a lot more 3-WR sets than the previous regime. But CB is also a need – and McDuffie is as NFL-ready as they come.
16. New Orleans Saints - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Saints get their replacement for LT Terron Armstead. Penning was a 3-year college starter and tested as a 96th percentile athlete at the Combine.
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Penning is at or near the top of the Chargers’ wish list. After getting sniped by the Saints, they turn their intention to the interior.
18. Philadelphia Eagles - George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Karlaftis is a power rusher who racked up 14.5 sacks in just 27 games at Purdue.
19. New Orleans Saints - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
This is a potential landing spot for QB Kenny Pickett. But the Saints evidently believe they’re in a win-now window, so they add Olave, who might be the most NFL-ready WR in the class.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Steelers, beginning the post-Roethlisberger era, have been heavily linked to Willis all offseason.
21. New England Patriots - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
This 3-year college starter is lauded for his versatility and instincts. Sounds like a Patriot.
22. Green Bay Packers - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
For the 1st time since Javon Walker way back in 2002, the Packers nab a 1st-round WR. Burks is a beast with the ball in his hands and has the size and ball skills to develop into a true #1 WR.
23. Arizona Cardinals - Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
The Cardinals lost Chandler Jones in free agency; J.J. Watt is now 33. This team needs an infusion of young, pass-rushing talent. Mafe tallied 11.5 sacks over his final 18 college games and earned a 99th percentile Relative Athletic Score at the Combine.
24. Dallas Cowboys - Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Don’t be surprised if Dallas goes WR here. But guard is also a major need after letting Connor Williams walk in free agency.
25. Buffalo Bills - Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Lots of Breece Hall buzz here – but I think Buffalo’s front office is too analytically minded to take a 1st-round RB. Cine would be the long-term replacement for S Jordan Poyer, who’s 31 and entering the final year of his contract.
26. Tennessee Titans - Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
Could this be the spot for QB Kenny Pickett? Maybe. QB Ryan Tannehill turns 34 in July and carries a $36.6 million cap hit in 2023. But the Titans were the AFC’s #1 seed last year and seem more like a win-now team to me. Smith is a smashmouth O-lineman who fits perfectly in Tennessee.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Logan Hall, DL, Houston
Hall played all along the defensive line at Houston and would line up at DE next to Vita Vea in Tampa’s 3-4 scheme.
28. Green Bay Packers - Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
After adding a WR at pick 22, the Packers turn to the defensive side of the ball here. Walker started only 1 season at Georgia but has been a pre-draft riser and is widely expected to go in Round 1.
29. Kansas City Chiefs - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
The Chiefs don’t need to go WR here. They added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. And they have 4 picks on Day 2. CB is a big need for this team after losing Charvarius Ward and Mike Hughes in free agency.
30. *TRADE* Carolina Panthers (from Kansas City Chiefs) - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Full disclosure: I expect Pickett to land in the 1st round but have no idea who will take the plunge. My best guess is that it’ll be a team that trades back up into the back-half of the round. Let’s go with Carolina and HC Matt Rhule, who recruited Pickett at Temple back in 2016. The Panthers don’t have the ammunition in this year’s draft to make this trade but could put together a package of 2023 picks.
31. Cincinnati Bengals - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Bengals return their top 3 CBs from last season but could at least use an upgrade over Eli Apple.
32. Detroit Lions - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
The versatile Hill could be used at safety or slot CB for a Lions defense that allowed the 3rd most passing TDs and 2nd most yards per pass attempt last year.