2022 NFL Mock Draft

The NFL Draft is a special time of year. For some franchises, it provides them with hope of a new year and new talent. With other franchises, it’s looking to add in those players that will take their team to the next level. Fanbases will have the night of April 28th circled on their calendars as spring produces that eternal hope for every team. So without further delay, the first edition of the 2022 NFL Mock Draft!

*All picks as of April 8th*

TeamTeam NeedsPlayer SelectionReason
Jacksonville Jaguars (1.1)OL, DL, WROT- Evan Neal (Alabama)The Jaguars could go multiple ways in this draft and no one would blame them taking an edge rusher at #1. When you draft your franchise Quarterback, you best protect his blind side. The 6-7, 345 Alabama prospect just makes the most sense to me. His ability to drive pass rushers off the line is fantastic. Look back to Alabama’s win over Georgia in the SEC Title game. This was part of the line that isolated many defenders that will be drafted in the first round. Smart wisdom says you either protect the Quarterback or get after the Quarterback at this pick. I’m protecting my investment in Lawrence.
Detroit Lions (1.2)QB, DL, DB, WRDE- Aiden Hutchinson (Michigan)If Jacksonville passes on Hutchinson, the Lions have to take the Michigan product right? The story is just too good and will sell tickets for a franchise that is rebuilding. This choice comes down to Hutchinson and Thibodeaux. Hutchinson has the higher floor, Thibodeaux has the higher ceiling. Either player makes sense for the Lions, but the Lions roll with Hutchinson after his 14 sack, 12 quarterback hit senior season for the Wolverines.
Houston Texans (1.3)DL, WR, DBS- Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)The Texans are on the clock and they should run this pick up to Goodell. Kyle Hamilton might be the best prospect in this entire draft. The 6-4 safety can do a little bit of everything. He finished his career with the Fighting Irish with 138 tackle and 8 interceptions in just 31 career games. He has the size to stuff the run and can play coverage in Houston. Many fans will want the Texans to pick Thibodeaux, but Hamilton is the better prospect. The only thing that could swing this pick is if there are any lingering effect of a knee issue from this past year. Even so, Hamilton might be the best college safety in the past few years.
New York Jets (1.4)DL, LB, DB, WRDE- Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)The Jets use their first of two picks on a player that might have the most upside of any prospect in the draft. Thibodeaux is an athletic marvel that could provide a superhuman pass rush for the Jets. Though his production this past year leaves a little to be desired (only 7 Sacks in 11 games), that’s not uncommon from previous edge rushers. Thibodeaux might be the most physically gifted athlete in the entire draft. Which could lead to him being an absolute nightmare for the rest of the AFC East for the next decade.
New York Giants (1.5)OL, DB, QB, WRWR- Garrett Wilson (Ohio St.)The first four picks feel like a slam dunk in some sort of order. The Giants at 5 is where things get interesting. I can’t see the Giants’ front office loving any of these quarterbacks more than Daniel Jones. They could take a long look at one of the two top corners, but the Giants need a star wide out. This draft is absolutely loaded at wide receiver. Wilson has great body control and incredible upside. I’d also watch to see if the Giants package one of these picks for a proven player or roll it for multiple picks later.
Carolina Panthers (1.6)OT, QB, WRQB- Malik Willis- (Liberty)Carolina needs a quarterback bad. With McCaffrey’s injury history the previous years, the Willis pick gets interesting. Willis is not NFL ready and will need to put in the work to be ready to start at some point in year 1. You also don’t draft a Quarterback in the top 10 and not expect him to start early. But the rushing attack and power arm of Willis will inspire different options that could allow the Panthers to protect Willis’ inexperience early and allow him to grow. He will need time to learn to read NFL Defenses. The NFC South is very weak. Probably too weak to tank the season and get a top 3 pick in 2023, so the Panthers make their Quarterback call now.
New York Giants (1.7)OL, DB, QB, WRCB- Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)This pick comes down to cornerback or offensive line. You can’t ignore the talent of Gardner. Get past the fact that he played at Cincinnati. He is arguably a top 3 prospect in this draft with his 6-3 size and speed to cover the best wide outs in the NFL. The stat that you’ll hear about Gardner leading in the draft will be that he didn’t allow a single touchdown while at Cincinnati. Was that a product of competition or a display of Gardner’s true skill. When Bryce Young doesn’t throw you way much, I’ll say it’s skill. Gardner finished his career with the Bearcats with 9 interceptions and 18 pass breakups. The Giants could opt for someone like Charles Cross, but Gardner makes a lot of sense for the G-men.
Atlanta Falcons (1.8)DL, OL, WR,WR- Drake London (USC)The Falcon’s receiving core took a major hit with the suspension of Calvin Ridley. Now that Matt Ryan is no longer the Quarterback in Atlanta, does it still make sense for add in weapons to this offense? TE Kyle Pitts should be better next year, but will need help. Drake London has the size (6-5) to be a matchup nightmare in the redzone. For the Trojans this past year, he had over 1000 yards receiving to go along with 7 touchdowns in only 8 games.  Adding a weapon like him could go a long way for making the Falcons a fun team to watch. People will ask if Kenny Pickett is a better option at Quarterback.
Seattle Seahawks (1.9)OL, QB, DB, LBOT- Charles Cross (Mississippi St.)For some reason I think Baker Mayfield will be the starting Quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks week 1 of 2022. Don’t ask me why, just a gut feeling. Seattle needs to invest in their offensive line and Cross is a monster at 6-5 307. Some draft analysists have him on par with Evan Neal. But he’s clearly at least the second best tackle in this year’s draft. Draft him and plug him in on that offensive line for the next 10 years. Give whoever is playing quarterback time to get the ball down the field to Metcalf.
New York Jets (1.10)DL, LB, DB, WRCB- Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)Imagine if on your second pick in the top 10, Stingley Jr. is just waiting to fall into your lap? That’s what the Jets could be staring at when they are on the clock at 10. Stingley is an impressive athlete, who ran a 4.37 at the LSU Pro Day. Some Scouts will consider Stingley a better prospect than Gardner. Stingley had 6 interceptions during his freshman year with LSU as they won a National Title. The kid is a stud athlete but does come with some injury concerns. Still Jets fans should be singing down Broadway with these first two picks.
Washington Commanders (1.11)WR, DB, TELB- Nakobe Dean (Georgia)The Commanders are in a tough spot here as Hamilton, Gardner and Stingley are all off the board. They would love to add one of those players to their lineup immediately. Linebacker isn’t a huge need, so why pick up Nakobe Dean? Dean could eventually be transitioned into a hybrid position in Ron Rivera’s defense. He has great speed and loves to hit. His football prowess and toughness are off the charts as well. Dean will become a quick leader in the locker room and a player Washington fans will adore. His only downside is his lack of size, but would only limit him at times in coverage.
Minnesota Vikings (1.12)DB, DL, OL, TEOG- Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)It’s tough when you are a fan of a team and the mock draft tells you that you are going to be selecting a guard. Viking fans should get behind the idea Kenyon Green for the sake of Dalvin Cook. Green is 6-4, 325 and is built for the run game. Honestly, Green will eat defenders for breakfast if given the chance. He is the nasty lead guard that you want opening holes that Cook can explode through. Green could easily plow the road for Cook to gain the rushing crown easily.
Houston Texans (1.13)DL, WR, DB,LB- Devin Lloyd (Utah)Acquiring a second pick in the first round from the Deshawn Watson deal, the Texans would be elated to find Devin Lloyd waiting for them at 14. Lloyd is the type of linebacker that Lovie Smith will need to run his defense. With his 6-3 size and his high football IQ, he’ll be able to set any defensive adjustments that Smith wants to make. He led Utah’s defense with 111 tackles and 7 sacks this past season. He relies on high football knowledge and play recognition to be a playmaker.
Baltimore Ravens (1.14)DL, DB, WR, OLDE- David Ojabo (Michigan)Ojabo is the defensive end that the Ravens have been searching for the past few years. He is an athletic monster that will keep offensive coordinators and tackles up at night watching film. His physical dominance will jump off the screen. He is that defensive end that you give one job to- attack the Quarterback. While physically gifted, some will say he was a product of playing opposite of Hutchinson at Michigan. He is one of the more raw prospects in the first round, but after a few years of NFL coaching he could be one of the gems of the 2022 draft.
Philadelphia Eagles (1.15)DB, LB, WRWR- Treylon Burks (Arkansas)For the Eagles to make some noise in the NFC East this year, they will need to surround Jalen Hurts with more weapons. That means one of the first two picks must be used on a wide receiver. There is a lot to like about Treylon Burks. From his 6-3 frame to his ability to overpower defensive backs from the slot. Burks could make a huge difference for the Eagles. He’s a physical receiver that will benefit from the offensive rules of the NFL. He needs some seasoning in the NFL, but will provide Hurts with a big target all over the field.
New Orleans Saints (1.16)QB, WR, OL, DBQB- Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh)Kenny Pickett falling to New Orleans midway through the first round might be the best thing for his career. Pickett was fantastic for the Panthers this year, throwing 42 touchdowns to 7 interceptions while completing 67% of his passes. He’s an accurate quarterback that keeps his eyes down the field to find break downs in the defense. The biggest knock on Pickett is his arm strength. This won’t be a huge factor playing in the NFC South with over half of his games being in a dome. New Orleans has some weapons and with the hope of Michael Thomas coming back this year, Pickett could ease his way into the starting lineup against weaker divisional opponents.
Los Angles Chargers (1.17)OL, DL, LB,OT- Ikem Ekwonu (NC State)Ekwonu falling to the Chargers at 17 could be a huge steal for them. Ekwonu played both guard and tackle for the Wolfpack, but really shined this year as a left tackle. His reach will keep defenders away and his experience playing multiple positions on the line will allow the Chargers to be versatile with his usage to start his career. His 6-4 size, probably indicates that he will start out at the guard spot, but don’t be surprised to see him protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside within a few seasons.
Philadelphia Eagles (1.18)DB, LB, WRS- Daxton Hill (Michigan)The Eagles second pick helps out their secondary with Daxton Hill. Hill is a safety will the skill to cover wide out down the field or step up into the box to help the run game. He’s a fantastic athlete with a quick first step. During his last season at Michigan, he had 9 pass breakups where as Kyle Hamilton only had 4. Hamilton is slightly more unique of a football player than Hill, but Hill can be plugged into a defense in training camp and make a difference immediately.
New Orleans (1.19)QB, WR, OL, DBC- Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)Whoever plays Quarterback for the Saints, needs to make sure that pressure doesn’t come straight up the middle. At 6-3, 290lbs, Linderbaum is bit undersized to handle some of the nose guards of the NFL. He does have amazing athleticism and the ability to pull to outside. These skills are the reason why Linderbaum could make the move to guard which would have a bigger impact for the Saints. Iowa has produced some great offensive lineman over the years. He will be another phenomenal talent to come out of the Hawkeye’s program.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1.20)QB, DB, WR, OLWR- Chris Olave (Ohio St.)After watching a Chris Olave’s career at Ohio St., he feels like the perfect Pittsburgh Steeler receiver. At 6-1, what he lacks in size, he makes up in route running, work ethic and football IQ. Olave has excellent hands that will help him when he can’t get full separation from a defensive back. He has the ability to quickly develop chemistry with a quarterback after seeing almost no drop off from Justin Fields to CJ Stroud. Olave will have the speed that could compliment a Steelers offense nicely.
New England Patriots (1.21)DB, LB, OL, WRWR- Jameson Williams (Alabama)The Belichick/Saban connection continues with this pick. New England needs to surround Mac Jones with weapons and why not add the lightning fast Crimson Tide receiver? All season long, he was an elite difference maker for the Tide. Coming off the ACL injury might give fans pause, but he should be ready to go in training camp in order to develop the needed chemistry with Mac Jones. Plus Bill will have all the insider information from Saban. So as long as he is comfortable with the pick, Pats fans should be as well.
Green Bay Packers (1.22)WR, DE, OL, LBWR- George Pickens (Georgia)Finally, the Packers are drafting weapons for Aaron Rodgers. Pickens  is coming off an injury year at Georgia, where he never really reached his full potential with the Dawgs commitment to run the football. Pickens could thrive with Rodgers, who knows how to get the ball to receivers who win in traffic. Pickens will have to be able to get past the injury history and trusting his knee to make cuts to win underneath routes. Pickens could develop into a great asset for Rodgers as he finishes his career in the frozen tundra.
Arizona Cardinals (1.23)DB, WR, DL,DE- Travon Walker (Georgia)Walker might be one of the most diverse pass rushers in the entire draft and one unique prospect. With his build and size, on the surface he would make a perfect counterpart opposite of JJ Watt. But he has the strength and power to line up and mix it up with guards and centers throughout the league. He doesn’t have the sheer size like his teammate Jordan Davis, but he is a bit more explosive. Walker could learn from Watt for the rest of his career and be a Pro Bowl Defender by year three.
Kansas City Chiefs (1.24)WR, DB, DEDE- George Karlaftis (Purdue)Kansas City needs to improve their defense. Losing the Honey badger hurts the secondary and if one of the top safeties or defensive backs slip, watch for the Chiefs to move up a few picks. If you can’t draft someone to defend the pass, draft the guy who can attack the quarterback. That’s what the Chiefs are getting in George Karlaftis. The Junior out of Purdue has quick feet and is strong at the point of attack. With all the Quarterback talent in the AFC West now, the Chiefs must upgrade their pass rush.
Buffalo Bills (1.25)DL, DB, RB,OLDT- Jordan Davis (Georgia)If there was an elite running back in this draft, it be tough not to send one up to Buffalo. In this draft, the Bills can wait until the second or third round to pick up a Kenneth Walker III. At 25, they go with the big man Jordan Davis. Jordan Davis is just a monstrous human being. Sitting at 6-6, 340 he is powerful and a wrecker in the middle of the defensive line. He has power at the point of attack and will routinely require offensive lines to double team him. He can definitely improve as a pass rusher but will step in and help the Bills defense go to the next level.
Tennessee Titans (1.26)WR, LB, DB, DL,LB- Christian Harris (Alabama)This feels like a reach for the Titans. At 26, none of the top flight receivers or defensive backs are around. They could take an receiver like David Bell here but the biggest need for the team out of Nashville is linebacker. Christian Harris started for Nick Saban’s defense as a Freshman, which speaks volumes. He has a high football IQ that allows him to recognize plays and get to the ball carrier quickly. He will need to improve his coverage ability to be a true star in Mike Vrabel’s defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1.27)DL, DB, OLDT- DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M)The Bucs defense started to look old at times last season. The middle of the defense was big on name and age. Leal would inject a youthful energy into the middle the defensive line. Leal has ideal size at 6-4, 290 with a long wing span that allows him keep offensive linemen away from his chest.  He has good leverage that will help him drive up field from the middle. He had 8.5 sacks this past year for the Aggies. On the downside, he will need to learn multiple pass rush moves to improve his versatility as a pass rusher.
Green Bay Packers (1.28)WR, DE, OL, LBOT- Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)This first round has to be all about helping Aaron Rodgers. After snatching up a new target for Rodgers to hit in the Red Zone, the second pick is about protecting Rodgers. Trevor Penning is not a house hold name because of playing at Northern Iowa, but don’t let that piece fool you. Penning is 6-7, 330Lbs. He’s quick and loves to engage defenders at the point of attack. He has all the talent to protect Rodgers’ blindside, but due to the level of competition from college, the Packers would probably shift him over to the right side, where he shines as a run blocker.
Dallas Cowboys (1.29)DL, WR, OLG- Sean Rhyan (UCLA)The Cowboys could definitely used help at the receiver and defensive end position after their offseason, but at this point Dallas addresses their need for an interior lineman. Sean Rhyan is a college tackle that could easily move into the guard spot for the Cowboys. He’s a strong run blocker who matched up well against an elite pass rusher like Thibodeaux. UCLA had one of the country’s best rushing attacks this past year, and Rhyan was a big part of it. He attacks blockers and like to get out in space to be that true mauler. He may not be an elite level guard like Zach Martin, but could help open holes for Elliott to keep defenses honest.
Kansas City Chiefs (1.30)WR, DE, DB, RBCB- Trent McDuffie (Washington)Tell me if this description sounds familiar- Slightly undersized, fast, high football IQ and likes to strip the football? It’s the description for Trent McDuffie out of Washington. The 5-11 junior comes in and would be a huge impact on the Chiefs defense. McDuffie will give Andy Reid and the Chiefs defense a similar level of flexibility to line up outside or in the slot. Some fans will point to McDuffie’s size and lack of interceptions in college on why he should not be a first-round pick. Don’t sleep on his versatility and the ability to step up and make tackles in space.
Cincinnati Bengals (1.31)OL, DB, TEG- Darian Kinnard (Kentucky)If the Super Bowl showed us anything, the Bengals must continue to invest in their offensive line. At the 31st pick of the first round, the best prospect is Darian Kinnard out of Kentucky. Kinnard played tackle during his career at Kentucky but could see a move into the guard position at some point in his career. Cincinnati should try him at right tackle to start his career. While probably not quick enough to guard Joe Burrow’s blindside, he’s a big man to get out in space and plow the road for Joe Mixon.
Detroit Lions (1.32)QB, DL, DB, WRWR- David Bell (Purdue)With the last pick of the first rounder, the Detroit Lions roll with the 6-2, possession receiver David Bell. Bell burst on the scene as a freshman for the Boilermakers with 88 catches for 1,035 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is a polished route runner that is always in control of his movement down field. He’s a violent runner with ball in his hands. He doesn’t possess elite speed but enough to be effective in the passing game. He could easily be a high-volume receiver in the Lions’ offense. Think Jarvis Landry in with the Miami Dolphins.

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Hosts The Irrational Confidence Podcast with Fresh.

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