2022 NFL Mock Draft - First Round

Sunday, Apr 24, 2022 at 5:14 pm ET

The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off this Thursday, April 28th.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker DE

Now this might be a controversial pick, but I don't think so and let me tell you why. This guy is flying up draft boards, with most around the league believing he'll be a top 5 pick. His physical tools are off the charts and he probably has a higher potential upside than Hutchinson or one of those O-Lineman. We have seen the guys with those off the charts physical tools get drafted higher because a team thinks they can unlock something that was not there in college (Rashan Gary being the latest success story). The Jags have not made the smartest decisions as an organization in the past and while this could pay off this seems exactly like a risk the Jags would be willing to take. The kid played right in Georgia so not too far from those guys in the Jacksonville front office.

2. Detroit Lions – Aiden Hutchinson DE

This works out perfectly for Detroit, you could not ask for a better scenario then most people's number one overall pick who played right in Michigan and is from Michigan to fall to Detroit. The hometown kid falls to them. Now they could easily trade back since they have a lot of needs but in this scenario with Hutchinson falling to them, he is just too good to pass up on here. Detroit has to find a way to build the team up somehow and adding an edge rusher like this after adding a top OL in the last draft, those are two good building blocks for them. Do not be shocked if they go grab a QB with that 32nd pick, and having a guy compete with Goff.

3. Houston Texans – Ikem Ekwonu OT

Houston is a really tough team to pick a player for in this draft with them having so many needs. Now they are going to ride this next year out with Davis Mills at QB to see what they got. Why not take one of the best OT prospects in the draft, who at the very least is a building block on the OL for years to come while you try to figure out the QB situation. Definitely don't want another David Carr scenario where their young QB gets beat down so much he can never succeed. Even Watson was top 5 in the league in sacks each year he was there too. Not a sexy pick but they need as many high-end players as possible.

4. New York Jets – Kyle Hamilton S

This pick is perfect for the Jets, now while the Jamal Adams situation didn't work out near the end, but the Jets need a top DB, and it could very well be Sauce Gardner depending on how the top 3goes. But all the tape on the field shows Hamilton as close to a can't miss prospect can get in this class. The Jets have been losing DBs left and right lately and need a leader in that secondary and that is what Hamilton can be for them. Has that game breaking ability but none of the diva that Adams had in him. They could easily look at tackle here, but they've done a good job in FA upgrading the OL. I do not see a world where they go Wilson or London here, way too high in the draft for one of those WRs when most likely they can snag one at 10. Or even later in the draft with how deep this WR class is.

5. New York Giants – Evan Neal OT

This almost makes too much sense when the Giants are still trying to see what they have in Daniel Jones. They need to sure up that OL now, slot in the most NFL ready OT in the class coming out of Bama. Plus, if Jones doesn't work out you really want that line sured up for the next guy. Again, this is way too high for a team to draft a WR in this class especially for the Giants who just took one in the 1st round last year. Expect a safe pick with their first of two in the top 8, they're going to want to make sure this pick is not a bust.

6. Carolina Panthers – Malik Willis QB

The first QB is off the board, I know I have seen a lot of the draft “experts” say these guys could fall to the middle of the 1st round. Have any of those guys been paying attention, this is a QB driven league with increasingly more talented guys coming into the league early. Teams are less afraid to bust on the 1st round QB pick, with the Cardinals drafting one in the 1st round back-to-back years. The Panthers took a swing and a miss with the Darnold trade and are now talking about bringing Cam back and added Bridgewater. Bring in the QB with the highest upside in the draft and let him sit for the year behind Bridgewater. Now Rhule could be in trouble and if that is the case, we could see a win now mode pick with Gardner here. Rhule just got that massive contract, I see the Panthers giving Rhule at least two more years before quitting on him.

7. New York Giants (via CHI) – Ahmed Gardner CB

Time for the top CB to get drafted, the Giants have been linked to him more and more lately. Now unless the Jets take him at 4, I see him falling right into their lap at 7. They could go high upside in Thibodeaux, but he is also a much bigger risk. Go get a shutdown corner in Gardner and add another building block to this team. I don't see them going WR with either first round pick for reasons I explained at the 5 pick. I see the Giants making sure they hit on their two top 8 picks and that means being a little more risk adverse with some of the last couple first round picks not panning out to well. With Andrew Thomas, Deandre Baker, Ereck Flowers and Eli Apple being some of the names just to name a few. Now I did just name off busts at OT and CB while having them take on of each at those positions in this draft. Don't get too worried Giants fans, Gardner and Neal are much different players from Thomas and Baker. Have faith that they won't blow mess up two top 10 picks.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Kayvon Thibodeaux DE

This is a dream scenario for the Falcons, they have a guy that was projected to go top two for most of the season. Only to watch his draft stock continue to fall. I've seen him mocked in the middle of the first round in multiple mocks and cannot seeing this guy fall that far. One of these teams is going to take a shot on this guy, Atlanta is not going to let him fall past them when they have needs all over the defense. Especially at edge rusher. Kayvon gives them a big physical edge rusher who has an exceedingly high potential, his floor might just be the lowest of those top 3 pass rush prospects though.

9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) – Trent McDuffie CB

Another team with needs all over the place and some people have been on them drafting a QB. But if you look at the moves that they've made it wouldn't make sense. I know the big one was trading their franchise QB, but they have a 70+ year old head coach who said this isn't a rebuild and they really like Drew Lock. I see them trading for a veteran like Baker or Jimmy G, or even a FA, hopefully Kaepernick to add to the room. I see them going for a big need on this defense and that is their secondary. A lot of people have been on the Stingley hype train and while I think he could be the top corner in this entire class I don't think Seattle is willing to risk a top 10 pick on him. When there could be someone better that played right in their backyard at Washington in McDuffie.

10. New York Jets (via SEA) – Garrett Wilson WR

What do you know in this mock the Jets waited on receiver and they were rewarded with arguably the best one in the class in Garrett Wilson. I say arguably because Both Jameson out of Bama and London out of USC could both be better and were better before they both got hurt this past year. Guys with injury risks are hard to take with that top 10 pick like mentioned with Seattle before. But having a WR corps with Moore, Wilson, Davis, and Berrios with two veteran TE, could actually make for an exciting offense with the Jets next year. You have to know what you have with Zach Wilson as well so getting him another weapon could really show you what you have.

11. Washington Commanders – Charles Cross OT

Now this was almost a QB pick, but in my heart of hearts I think this team will make the trade for a Jimmy G or Baker in the coming months, maybe even after the draft. They have seen both Baker and Jimmy get to the playoffs and be competitive. In that NFC east they just need an above average passer in the room who with a solid run game and defense can get them to the playoffs and maybe even win a playoff game. Cross is the number one tackle on some people's boards, but in this one he falls to the Commanders at 11. He is someone who could help replace the two all-pros they lost in the last two years in Williams and Scherff. They are in win now mode and with this draft class being weaker than normal they could easily choose a veteran that could help them win now and function as a stop gap for the next couple years while they search for the future franchise guy.

12. Minnesota Vikings – Jordan Davis DT

This is basically a luxury pick for the Vikings, Jordan Davis has shown he can be a game breaker. With Aaron Rodgers still in the division why not add another big rusher, but one that can come right up the middle on Aaron. Him and Tomlinson coming up the middle, with Zadarius and Hunter on the outside. It could be a scary looking pass rush for the Vikings whole need it, especially if Fields takes a leap for the Bears.

13. Houston Texans (via CLE) – Jermaine Johnson II DE

This is an easy pick for the Texans, Johnson should probably be a top 10 pick, but this is a deep pass rush class, and it helps the Texans continue to build from the ground up. Adding Johnson, a top tier edge rusher and the best OT in the draft would be a great start to building a winning team. Hopefully, the culture starts to get better, getting rid of Watson was a perfect way to start that process as well. Johnson did have 12 sacks last year for FSU, he brings strong fundamentals and athleticism right into the NFL, look for Lovie Smith to try and help the run game and build the defense.

14. Baltimore Ravens – Tyler Linderbaum C

This pick is perfect for the Ravens, losing their starting center in free agency will hurt the team, better to find a strong building piece for the future that can build a new relationship with from scratch. I love Linderbaum as a prospect as well, the fit being perfect is just bonus. He is a mauler; he is one of those guys you want to go into the trenches with. He should be able to start right away for whatever team that drafts him. If he doesn't go here though it could be a far fall for the top center prospect in the draft. He could easily fall to the late first round picks.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA) – Derek Stingley Jr CB

The reports are looking good from his workouts, so he could easily climb up draft boards. He is too talented, and the upside is too high for him to fall into the 2nd half of the first round. The Eagles need to help out that defense and getting someone opposite of Slay could really help out. Having multiple picks in the first round you have more of an ability to take risks on huge upside guys. Stingley could easily be the best CB in this class but with two rough years and a major injury in there he could just as easily bust and be a journeyman corner. The upside will be too high for the Eagles to pass up on and they grab this guy with their first of two 1st round picks.

16. New Orleans Saints (via PHI) – Kenny Pickett QB

2nd QB off the bord comes 10 picks after the first one. The Saints have their guy for this season already with Winston, but they should be looking towards the future. Pickett projects to be at his best in a dome in the NFL. After losing Bree's and Payton it is time for a mini rebuild. Take a shot on a young QB this year and try to build this thing back up. It's tough to sell rebuild though with Kamara and Thomas still there and an above average defense. The Saints don't need a gunslinger to win that division, but you probably don't win it next year with Brady back any ways. Try to set yourself up for after Brady retires to run a very weak division with no Brady. Plus, with the Panthers going young QB, you have to keep pace with the division rivals.

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Trevor Penning OT

This is all about a luxury pick, I could see the Chargers moving down with this pick and just adding more depth, but you can never have too many talented OL on your team. With a young QB with the arm talent Herbert has, the name of the game is all about protection. Adding a young RT that can be part of the future of that o-line with Slater and Linsey already there. Now should they move back probably but why not go get a day 1 impact player at a position of need. Especially when the pass rushes in that division have improved and you're going to have to put up a ton of points in the AFC.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) – Devin Lloyd ILB

The Eagles trend of picking defense continues, when you have a mobile QB like Hurts, you should be leaning into the run game more, the Eagles biggest offensive need is receiver and this is a truly deep class of pass catchers. They can go get one in the 2nd round; I don't think you will find a LB of this caliber in the 2nd round. Getting Lloyd and Stingley, two guys that could be defensive starters right away and could also be the top two players at their position in this draft in the middle of the first round. They could end up with two of the biggest steals in the draft.

19. New Orleans Saints – Chris Olave WR

I get that there is a wide receiver movement going on right now, but this class is so deep, and no one can truly know what the receivers will do at the next level. This pick is kind of perfect for the Saints, especially if Michael Thomas decides he doesn't want to be there anymore. Giving your first-round pick at QB a young pass catcher to build chemistry with is exactly what this team needs. I love Olave as a route runner, and he has just spectacular body control. If Thomas stays on the Saints, he is a perfect guy to help mentor Olave, if not Olave could see a ton of targets his rookie year.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Desmond Ridder QB

I've seen a lot of mocks with Malik Willis going here, which is just not going to happen. These insiders saying QBs might fall in this draft are simply crazy. Sure, maybe a Pickett might fall to them, he almost did in this mock but someone who has the upside of Willis doesn't fall in a weak QB class. Most likely we're going to see more QBs taken ahead of where they're projected because QB has always been and always will be king. You are not winning a Super Bowl without a franchise QB, the 49ers got to a super bowl and win a ton of games with Jimmy G but still traded the farm to get Trey Lance. Teams are becoming less afraid of making a mistake when drafting QBs to thinking we gotta keep drafting one till we find he guy. Pittsburgh is not going to run Trubisky all year, they're going to draft someone this year and if he doesn't work out, they'll draft another one next year if they made a mistake. QBs are going to rise in this draft with it being a weaker class just like WRs probably fall a little bit due to it being a very deep class. Ridder has been a winning QB at Cincinnati for the entirety of his starting career there.

21. New England Patriots – Jameson Williams WR

I don't want to see or hear any “but they just traded for Devante Parker comments” That is a trade for a guy they're throwing away and see if it hits. We know Belichick loves himself a Bama guy and we know they talk a ton too. They have a need for a #1 wideout, they have a young QB who already has chemistry with Williams and Williams would be the first receiver take in this draft if not for the injury he suffered at the end of the year. This match almost makes too much sense and Williams could come up draft boards in the coming month but with how the board shook out this time. Williams gets a great organization to go to with a HOF HC and his former college QB back.

22. Green Bay Packers (via LV) – Treylon Burks WR

Packer fans rejoice, they're taking a wideout with this pick. Now there are rumors from guys like Peter Schrager and former Packer (someone who is still well connected to the team) Leroy Butler. They have both talked about a big move that no one would see coming for the Packers. Talks of a trade for a star receiver that no one thinks is available. Even the president Mark Murphy and HC LaFleur have talked about how crazy things can happen on draft night. Now if they did do a trade for a WR, I don't think this pick will be involved in that trade and if they do, they still might draft one here. Most likely though if they trade for a receiver, they probably wait to take one in till the middle rounds. In this mock no trade has been done, so they pick a guy with a great athletic score, someone that is much faster with pads on than his 40 time would allude to. I love Treylon Burks with this pick for GB, and if they don't trade for a receiver, they could easily take two in their first 4 picks.

23. Arizona Cardinals – Kenyon Green OG/C

We are starting to get to the end of my first Mock draft pf the season, I want to get a 2nd one in right before the draft for my final most accurate mock. With this pick we add some protection for their franchise QB. Adding more protecting up the middle can only help, especially someone who is so versatile they can play across the O-Line. The offense is dynamic in Arizona and while the defense could be a focus here, I just don't see someone at this point in the draft that can help this team as much as Green can right away. The interior of the offensive line might be the biggest need for the Cardinals, and they get a rockstar at #23 for the line.

24. Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Smith OT/G

Now Dallas could easily surprise us here and take a wide receiver after losing Cooper but there are just so many more needs than that. Defense and OLine should both be higher on the list. With this pick they replace their starting right tackle that they lost this off-season in La'el Collins. Tyler Smith is a big versatile OL that can play tackle but might be more suited for the OG spot on the line. Now he is more of a project which is always tough to project, but this guy has that killer mentality on the line. He is very raw as a prospect; he has all the physical tools to be a pro-bowl OG or OT depending on the team you talk to. Some like him more at guard, others are fine keeping him at tackle. When I say raw though I mean it. He was heavily penalized last year at Tulsa and his mechanics need some work. But at 20 years old he is one of the youngest in the draft and could use a season as a backup before starting.

25. Buffalo Bills – Breece Hall RB

I've gone back and forth between Walker and Hall here, I'm back on Hall for the time being. I'm just hearing from more and more around the league that he is going to be the first back taken. I don't think we see more than one RB go in round one but if it is going to be one it will be Hall or Walker. Hall's amazing combine that lines up with Jonathan Taylor and his ability to be a threat in the passing game helps a lot too. The Bills have not had explosiveness at this position since those injury prone years of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. They can't keep running Josh Allen the way they do; they need an actual 3 down back that can be on the field all the time. Hall and Allen both on that offense opens up more of the option threat, we've seen a great YPC for Singletary, getting someone who can physically handle a workhorse role could open up this offense even more. Plus, they need a way to slow the game down and not get in so many shootouts. If this isn't the most obvious need in the draft other than GB at WR then idk what is.

26. Tennessee Titans – Davonte Wyatt DT

Tennessee is a really tough one to project, I think they are going to add a defensive stopper up the middle. It seems like the defense needs to keep growing, where that offense will still rely on the Henry Brown combo attack. Last year they dealt with a lot of injuries to their key offensive weapons and still ended up the one seed. I could see them adding WR and RB depth in the middle rounds but its tough to use a first-round pick on a backup skill player. Wyatt a giant DT that played in the SEC would be a great addition to this defense. I see Vrabel falling in love with this guy to be a Wilfork like player up the middle for this defense as Wilfork was for the Pats for so many years.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Zion Johnson OG/C

This one is strictly because Brady is back, when Brady first came to Tampa, they drafted an OL in the first round and now that he is back the process repeats itself. With Bowles as HC, they are going to focus on the run game and defense more. Adding an interior lineman after losing multiple starters on the OL this offseason is going to be crucial. Especially when the IOL is especially important for the run game and for a pocket passer like Brady who can't really roll out that quickly at 45.

28. Green Bay Packers – Boye Mafe OLB

This 2nd Packers pick could go so many different ways, they could add D-Line depth with Karlaftis or Travis Jones. They could attack the secondary with Daxton Hill, they might even go back to the offensive line. I think we can rule out the secondary and OL though. They do a spectacular job at developing the OL and could attack it in the late rounds again this year. The secondary I don't see when they do have a starter locked into each position, while they could try to upgrade over Savage, but I don't see it with a first-round pick. I think we're going to see them try to grab a edge rusher after losing Smith. This is a luxury pick for the Packers who are taking someone who has a lot of upside. Now while he might only be a situational pass rusher at first, he could develop into a starter. Plus, he knows how to play in the cold playing in Minnesota for his entire football career.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA) – Jahan Dotson WR

This is the speed pick for them to replace Tyreek Hill. Dotson has a lot going for him in the draft, he helps replace some of the speed they lose with Hill and this guy has spectacular hands that isn't afraid to go up and get the ball. He tracks the deep ball very well and has excellent body control. He could start right at the other outside receiver spot from the jump. I know they have Hardman and MVS, but I think we all know they aren't suitable replacements. MVS played with an MVP these last two years and didn't do much of anything other than a handful of big plays. Hardman we've seen play without Hill, and he has the same resume as MVS. A handful of great games but nothing consistent. These guys are what they are, and neither is a replacement for Hill. Dotson at least has the potential to be a star receiver .

30. Kansas City Chiefs – George Karlaftis DE

The news I hear and see from scouts, draft experts and reporters is astounding. I see players going in the top 15 in some mocks and that same guy going in the 2nd round in others. I've seen George as high as 15 in some mocks and as low as the 2nd round in others. Watching his tape, I think he is a guy that can start right away but doesn't have the upside as some of the other pass-rushers. That screams that he is going to a team later in the 1st round and most notably a win now team looking for immediate help. Karlaftis probably starts immediately for that Chiefs OL and helps keep Chris Jones inside where he is at his most dangerous.

31. Cincinnati Bengals – Andrew Booth CB

Let us run through these last two picks, Andrew Booth was great this past season but that gets missed by some after a really down year from Clemson. This guy suffers from the depth at the position too getting pushed down the draft board. I would have said this pick will be an OL guaranteed just two months ago but they hit FA running with their OL pick-ups. I think that allows them to attack the secondary with this pick which they will need to bolster up with how stacked the AFC is right now.

32. Detroit Lions (via LAR) – Sam Howell QB

This pick I feel is going to be a QB, I don't see them thrilled about the future with Goff but see him as a stop gap for the next guy. I don't see them taking Willis, a project in a weaker QB class over Hutchinson which is how it fell in this mock. They need to build the entire team, and while they could easily wait till the 2 picks in the 2nd round, I think they go get their guy right here with the pick they got back in the Stafford trade. Now some have Corral up as the third guy, but I don't see it, especially not for the Lions who already have a guy that is safe and makes those quick short throws. They go upside here and get a guy who last year before the season was projected as a top 2 pick. He has one of the best deep balls in the class and a flick of the first arm strength. You go upside here so that way if you hit you get that 5th year option and a cheaper rookie deal for a starter in two years. If you get him in camp and he is just not it, you're probably picking in the top 5 again next year and can go get a Stroud or Young in a much stronger QB class.

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