The time has come. The 2022 NFL Draft is finally upon us.
After months and months of watching the tape, going to all stat events, and the combine and pro days, we can now finally put a bow on the 2022 NFL Draft class. I can’t remember a year where it’s so unpredictable—even at the top of the draft. Expect the unexpected come Thursday night and that’s the exact angle I chose to go with for my FINAL predictive mock.
Let me know your thoughts by hitting me up on Twitter @Brentley12.
- Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
I do not agree with this pick, but it’s what I think is going to happen. The Jaguars are going to swing for the fences and bet on Walker’s traits and upside over more established players at the position in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson. Walker has the potential to be a very good edge rusher but I ultimately think he will eventually kick inside where he has difference-maker upside.
2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
It’s a homecoming for Hutchinson as the Michigan native stays home with the Lions. I was close to giving them Kayvon Thibodeaux, but I think in the end they decide to go with Hutchinson, who they probably never expected to be there. In Hutchinson, the LIons are getting a very good pass rusher who has the athleticism, power, and technique to wreak havoc off the edge.
3. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
It feels like things have finally come full circle with Derek Stingley Jr. Once thought to be a generational talent at corner and a potential No. 1 overall pick, Stingley’s stock cooled after a couple lackluster seasons but it appears the tides have turned. After a stellar pro day and news coming out of an injury that affected his 2021 play, I believe the Texans will decide that his talent and upside are just too good to pass up.
4. New York Jets: Ike Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Jets reportedly love Ekwonu and this pick just makes too much sense. Ekwonu is an outstanding athlete with the power and foot quickness to be a dominant run blocker. Whether or not the Jets trade Mekhi Becton, Ekwonu should still be the pick.
5. New York Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The best pass rusher in the class falls to No. 5 and the Giants couldn’t be more excited. The team is in desperate need of additional pass rush help and Thibodeaux offers the type of first-step quickness, length, and fluidity to consistently get home.
6. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
Whether it’s at No. 6 or a trade-back, I expect the Panthers to take a quarterback at some point in Round 1. They just can’t run it back with Sam Darnold and this is the sort of last-ditch attempt that a coach on the hot seat would do. Pickett is a solid quarterback prospect who offers very good accuracy, touch, and decision-making while also being a very underrated athlete.
7. New York Giants: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
What a dream situation for the Giants. They get a player they strongly considered taking at No. 5 and just like that drastically improve their defense. Gardner is a long, physical corner who is outstanding in bump and run coverages. He profiles as an excellent replacement for James Bradberry, who is a candidate to be moved come draft night.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Falcons can literally take any player available and I could make a strong case for it. I’ll go ahead and give them WR1, who is Garrett Wilson. Wilson is an elite wide receiver prospect who possesses outstanding body control, separation quickness, and hands. He is also excellent after the catch and in contested situations. He would give quarterback Marcus Mariota a fighting chance.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The slide for OT1 finally stops as the Seattle Seahawks select Alabama’s Evan Neal. Neal has rare size and athleticism to project as a long-term answer at left tackle and for a team like Seattle, which is looking like a long-term rebound, securing a cornerstone blindside protector makes a ton of sense.
10. New York Jets: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The Jets were in on Tyreek Hill. They are rumored to be in on Deebo Samuel. Clearly, they want and need a receiver. This is a no-brainer to me. Williams, had he not tore his ACL in the National Championship, would very likely be the first receiver off the board. He has rare speed and explosiveness and projects as an outstanding fit in the Jets offense who is lacking a deep vertical threat.
11. Washington Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC
Washington has got to get better at receiver if Carson Wentz has any chance at a career revival. While Terry McLaurin is a stud, the depth behind him is severely lacking. Drake London is an alpha-type receiver who excels at the catch point and after the catch. He can be the Alshon Jeffrey-type of receiver that Carson Wentz thrived with when they were with the Eagles.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik WIllis, QB, Liberty
*TRADE*Similar to the Chicago Bears last year, the Steelers trade up to nab their quarterback of the future. In Willis, the Steelers are getting a quarterback with extremely high upside and with the skill set to completely change their offense. He has a rocket arm, tantalizing athleticism, and very high character. That being said, there are some concerns with his accuracy and touch in the shorter areas of the field but the upside is just too high for the Steelers to resist.
13. Houston Texans: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Houston just might have their quarterback of the future in Davis MIlls but in order to figure that out, they’ll have to add some talent around him so he can succeed. Adding a player like Olave to pair with Brandin Cooks would give the Texans some serious speed at receiver and Mills an excellent secondary option.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
I could see this not happening because it’s just too obvious, but in the end, I got to go with my gut. Jordan Davis is just simply meant to be a Raven. Davis has a rare blend of size, strength, and athleticism to be a true difference-maker at nose tackle. He is the exact type of player the Ravens need from a run defending standpoint but also I believe he is untapped potential as a rusher from the inside.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
My No. 1 overall player finally comes off the board at pick No. 15. Kyle Hamilton slides a bit not because of his talent, but just because the teams before don’t need a safety as bad as some other positions. The Eagles could certainly use help at safety and are delighted to see Hamilton fall this far. He has as much upside as any safety I have ever scouted and could be a Pro Bowler very early on in his career.
16. New Orleans Saints: Charles Cross, OT, Miss. State
The Saints have to find a replacement for Terron Armstead and luckily for them one of the draft’s best pass blockers falls to No. 16. Cross has outstanding foot quickness and balance to mirror in pass protection and has very good punch timing. He has some to prove in the run game but I think he could excel in that area with more reps.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Head coach Brandon Staley is hungry for corners who can play man to man and that’s exactly what McDuffie does best. His cat-like quickness and fluid hips allow him to stay sticky through the route and he is tough as nails in the run game. Los Angeles would be able to boast the best secondary in the NFL after this selection.
18. Philadelphia Eagles: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Johnson is a victim of an extremely deep draft. Based on talent alone Johnson should be a top 12 pick. That being said, I just couldn’t find a landing spot for him. Because of that, the Eagles get yet another massive steal. The Eagles are getting older at EDGE and Johnson would give them some youth and explosiveness that they desperately need.
19. New Orleans Saints: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
The Saints must get more explosive outside to complement what they have in Michael Thomas. Dotson is as explosive as any receiver in this draft and would provide the Saints a dynamic playmaker to go with a quarterback who likes to air it out in Jameis Winston.
20. Minnesota Vikings: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
The Vikings elected to trade back from 12 and still find a way to get help at a position of need. Kyler Gordon is a forgotten name in this corner class but I believe we see him come off the board earlier than people might think. He has the length and quickness to excel in either man or zone coverages and is an outstanding tackler.
21. New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, ILB, Utah
I almost went offensive line here to replace Shaq Mason and provide more protection for their franchise quarterback Mac Jones. However, I just couldn’t pass on Devin Lloyd, who is far and away my best available player. Lloyd is exactly what you want in today’s NFL at linebacker, as he can be effective on every single down. Whether it’s as a run defender, in coverage, or even rushing the passer, Lloyd has the talent to vastly help this Patriots defense.
22. Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Packers’ need at receiver is obvious. They need to somehow replace Davante Adams and ensure that Aaron Rodgers has enough weapons to keep this offense amongst the best in the league. Burks certainly isn’t as polished as some of the other receivers in this class, but his blend of size, strength, and overall playmaking ability is just too intriguing to pass up.
23. Arizona Cardinals: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Arizona is disappointed that none of the top receivers fell to 23, but they’ll quickly get over it as they realize they have the opportunity to improve their pass rush, which took a massive blow with the trade of Chandler Jones. Karlaftis may not be as flashy as some of the other names in this EDGE class, but he is a heck of a football player who should make a difference very early in his Cardinal career.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
I was a little surprised to see that Penning was still available here but that’s just how the board fell. The team lost La’el Collins in free agency and needs to certainly address their offensive line in some capacity. Penning would give the team a long-term answer at right tackle.
25. Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, S, Florida
This was extremely difficult. I am torn between Zion Johnson or Kaiir Elam but in the end, Elam just seems like a Bill. The team needs another option opposite Tre White and Elam can fit in very nicely. He is a long and athletic corner with outstanding ball skills.
26. Tennessee Titans: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
The Titans desperately need to address their offensive line and unfortunately most of the top names are off the board. This may come as a surprise with Smith going over Zion Johnson but I believe the Titans are desperate for a right tackle of the future and Smith’s physical traits are extremely high. While there is some risk here, the Titans are willing to bet on his traits and hope they land a high-end starter at right tackle.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travis Jones, DT, UConn
Tampa Bay doesn’t have very many holes on this roster and that’s a credit to GM Jason Light. If I were to try and find a hole it would be inside their defensive line which recently lost Ndamukong Suh. Enter UConn’s Travis Jones who is one of my favorite players in this class. He is an explosive player for a man his size and is a player who flashes very high upside both as a run defender and pass rusher.
28. Green Bay Packers: Quay Walker, ILB, Georgia
I am admittedly not the biggest Quay Walker fan but I can definitely see the appeal. He is a height, weight, speed prospect at linebacker and a player that offers outstanding range and athleticism on the second level. Pairing Walker with De’Vondre Campbell would give the Packers a very strong inside backer duo.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Michigan
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the top six wide receivers are off the board by 29. Now, they could certainly look to trade up, but instead, I have them staying put at 29 and selecting an explosive edge rusher in Boye Mafe. He has the first-step quickness and bend to consistently stress offensive tackles edges and makes life hell on opposing quarterbacks.
30. Kansas City: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
With the loss of the Honey Badger, the Chiefs look to add another versatile defensive back in Daxton Hill. Hill has very good length with outstanding explosiveness and burst. He has played as a traditional single-high free safety and as a nickel where he showed tremendous toughness. I love his fit into this defense.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
The slide finally ends for Johnson who could very well hear his name as high as the mid-teens. He is a rock-solid offensive line prospect with the smarts, power, and versatility to immediately contribute at the next level. For the Bengals, while they did well adding some veterans on the offensive line, they simply cannot pass on Johnson, who will undoubtedly be one of the best five linemen for them come Week 1.
32. Detroit Lions: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Does any player in this class embody Dan Campbell more than Lewis Cine? I don’t think so. Cine is a physical, downhill safety that looks to destroy ball carriers upon contact. While he is an outstanding run defender, I believe he also has some appeal as a man-to-man cover player as he has the length and movement skills to match tight ends.