2022 NFL 1st Round Mock Draft
Generally speaking, mock drafts are a futile exercise, very few of them are accurate as nobody knows how the draft is going to play out. This year’s draft is the most unpredictable in years. The uncertainty starts at the very first pick where even in the last 48 hours or so it seems like the projected top pick has shifted. Despite many being down on this class, I’m actually a fan of this year’s prospects. Yes the quarterback class is somewhat weaker than in years past and the draft, in general, lacks those top-end, blue-chip prospects, but there is really great depth in this year’s class and I believe teams will be able to find quality starters late. This mock will not feature any trades although I can guarantee you there will be trades in the draft because there always are. To me, they’re just way too hard to nail down and predict. In my mock draft last year, I got six picks right (seven if you count the Bears picking Tevan Jenkins who I had them grabbing in the first round, and who they ended up selecting in the second round). Let’s see if I can do better this year.
1: Jacksonville Jaguars- Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
- For a while, it seemed like Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson was the guy here, but in recent days Walker seems to have pulled ahead. Walker possesses elite athleticism and has the versatility to kick inside or outside along the line. Pairing Walker with edge rusher Josh Allen gives the Jags two explosive defensive linemen, and the two would become one of the best young duos in the league.
2: Detroit Lions- Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
- Feels like the Lions would have a hard time passing up the hometown kid here. I really wanted to give the Lions quarterback Malik Willis, but if Hutchinson is on the board, I just don’t see the Lions passing him up.
3: Houston Texans- Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- Sauce has all the tools to be a top-level CB in the NFL. With CBs being at such a premium in the NFL now, the Texans take a shot on the upside here.
4: New York Jets- Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina St.
- I have Ekwonu as the best tackle in this year’s class. With rumors floating around about a potential Mekhi Becton trade, Ekwonu could step in and be an instant starter for the Jets. If the Jets keep Becton, then the two would make a quality tackle duo on a line that needs to protect Zach Wilson.
5: New York Giants- Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- I thought about going BPA with Kayvon Thibodeaux here, but the Giants could really use a right tackle. Neal is a very good tackle prospect that should allow the team to better protect Daniel Jones, or whoever their QB of the future is.
6: Carolina Panthers- Charles Cross, OT Missisippi St.
- The run on tackles continues as the Panthers select Cross. This seems to be a prime trade-down spot if any team is interested as Carolina doesn’t pick again until the end of the 4th round.
7: New York Giants- Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
- I liked what I saw from Azeez Ojulari for the Giants last year, but you can never have too many pass rushers. Once thought of as the consensus number one pick, the Giants get an elite talent here with Thibodeaux.
8: Atlanta Falcons- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio St.
- The Falcons’ receiving room is probably the worst in the league right now. Wilson is an electric player who would immediately be the best receiver on the team.
9: Seattle Seahawks- Jermaine Johnson, EDGE Florida St.
- This is a tricky one. I feel like there are several ways the Seahawks could go here, including a QB. Jermaine Johnson is one of the hottest names in the draft and his stock has risen a lot over the last few weeks. The Seahawks have lacked an elite edge rusher for quite some time now and this is their chance to get one. The Seahawks also never do what we think they’ll do in the draft so this pick is a total mystery.
10: New York Jets- Drake London, WR, USC
- This draft is all about surrounding Zach Wilson with talent. Drake London has been compared by many to Mike Evans and it’s easy to see why. The big-bodied receiver would be a great addition to the Jets’ offense.
11: Washington Commanders- Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
- Williams suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship game and may not be ready for game action until October. However, the long-term potential of pairing Williams with Terry McLaurin is very intriguing and would make Washington very potent on offense (if they can ever find a QB).
12: Minnesota Vikings- Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU
- Derek Stingley was once viewed as the next can’t miss CB. Injuries and inconsistency have thrown some doubt into that thought, but Stingley provides great upside for a team willing to take that risk.
13: Houston Texans- Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame.
- Feels like the league was higher on Hamilton before his poor 40 time at the combine. Texans go with straight up BPA here with the talented do it all Safety.
14: Baltimore Ravens- Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
- Jordan Davis just feels like a Baltimore Raven. with almost unheard of athleticism at his size, Davis would sure up the Ravens interior defensive line for years to come.
15: Philadelphia Eagles- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
- Philly needs another corner to go with Darius Slay. This would be an excellent opportunity for McDuffie to learn from one of the best corners of the decade in Slay.
16: New Orleans Saints, Trevor Penning, OT Northern Iowa
- I debated giving the Saints a QB here, but I really think they like Jameis Winston as their starter going forward. The next option would be to replace Terron Armstead at tackle. I’m not as high on Penning as others, but people around the league seem to really like him and he appears to be the consensus next tackle after the big three at the top.
17: Los Angeles Chargers, Chris Olave, WR, Ohio St
- Let’s get a little crazy here and give Justin Herbert even more weapons. Could you imagine the Chargers offense with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Chris Olave? Yes please!
18: Philadelphia Eagles, George Karlaftas, EDGE, Purdue
- The Eagles could absolutely use a wide receiver here, and I think at some point in the first three rounds they will take one. However, in this mock, the team elects to go with the talented edge rusher who could replace the aging Brandon Graham.
19: New Orleans Saints- Jahan Dotson, WR, Pen St
- After picking up a tackle earlier, New Orleans now shifts their focus to grabbing more weapons for Jameis to work with. Again, a QB is possible here, but I just get the sense they’re ready to roll with Jameis.
20: Pittsburg Steelers- Malik Willis QB, Liberty
- Finally a QB! Now I think it’s possible that Willis goes higher than this as a team, quite possibly the Steelers, sees him falling and decides to trade up and grab him. Willis is my QB 1 in this class and while I think he needs a season to sit and learn, he possesses all the physical tools to be a great QB in the NFL.
21: New England Patriots, Devin Lloyd, LB Utah
- To me, Lloyd is one of the best players in this draft. The positional value of linebackers in the league probably causes him to slide more than he should, but he lands in a great spot with New England and should be a high-level player for years to come.
22: Green Bay Packers- Treylon Burks, WR Arkansas
- Green Bay needs wide receivers. Will they actually pick one in the first round? The last time the Packers picked a receiver in the first round was 2002 when they selected Javon Walker 20th overall. If they do go in that direction, Burks would be a great get.
23: Arizona Cardinals, Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida.
- The Cardinals need some help at the corner, and I think Elam could step in and start for them right away. Edge is also an option here as well as potentially receiver
24: Dallas Cowboys- Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
- The once-great Cowboys line has some holes in it now. Zion Johnson has the flexibility to play both guards and center and will absolutely improve the Cowboys’ front.
25: Buffalo Bills- Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
- Buffalo is in need of another CB to pair with All-Pro Tre’Davious White. Enter Andrew Booth, the best CB left on the board.
26: Tennessee Titans- Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
- With the departure of Rodger Saffold, the Titans could really use a guard and Green has all the tools to be a very good one. A wide receiver is also an option here, but the value for that exists later in my opinion.
27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
- Lots of ways Tampa could go here, but in this mock, they get Wyatt who has the versatility to play several different spots along the line.
28: Green Bay Packers- Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
- Mafe boasts elite athletic tools and is one of my favorite pass rushers in the draft. Despite having Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, I think the Packers will look to add more depth at EDGE as you can never have too many pass rushers.
29: Kansas City Chiefs- Daxton Hill S Michigan
- Potential Tyrann Mathieu “replacement”? At this spot, Hill is just too good of a prospect for the Chiefs to pass up in an area of relative need.
30: Kansas City Chiefs- David Ojabo- EDGE Michigan
- I have my doubts on if the Chiefs will make both of these picks as it would make sense for them to try and bundle them together to move up. Ojabo was a likely top 10 pick before suffering an Achilles injury at his pro day. Will that scare a team off from taking him in the first round, or will a team like the Chiefs be ok with a redshirt year and gamble on the upside?
31: Cincinnati Bengals, Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
- I have Linderbaum as a top 10 player in this years draft. The positional value and him being slightly undersized causes him to slide, but the Bengals get their center to man the line and protect Joe Burrow.
32: Detroit Lions- Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
- Only two QBs in the first round? It could happen! Ridder has the tools to be a very solid player for a long time, and here the Lions elect to pick him with the final slot of the first round to get that coveted fifth-year option.
OTHERS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Here are a few other players who would not shock me if they go in the first round. I think this class is very deep in terms of quality players, and any of these guys would be deserving of first-round picks this year
- George Pickens WR Georgia
- Christian Watson WR North Dakota St
- Sky Moore WR Western Michigan
- Arnold Ebiketie EDGE Penn St
- Logan Hall EDGE Houston
- Nakobe Dean LB Georgia
- Quay Walker LB Georgia
- Lewis Cine S Georgia
- Jaquan Brisker S Penn St
- Kyler Gordon CB Washington
- Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburg
- Matt Coral QB Ole Miss
- Perrion Winfrey IDL Oklahoma