The 2022 NFL Draft is almost here and the uncertainty at the very top of the draft is beyond exciting. It’s been a while since we were this unsure about the top pick this close to draft night.
Here is my latest crack at a 2022 predictive mock draft. This is not necessarily representative of what I would do, but what I think will happen when Thursday night rolls around. Dive in and let me know what you think.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE
It’s amazing that we don’t know the No. 1 pick will be this close to the draft. Hutchinson is the top player in the class and will immediately earn a major role in Jacksonville. This pick didn’t seem certain earlier this week, but I think it’s the pick now.
- Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE
While the Kayvon Thibodeaux roller coaster has been all over the place this draft season, it’s starting to feel like it’s much ado about nothing. Thibodeaux is impressing teams across the league and fits a major area of need for Detroit. Hutchinson staying in Michigan is a great story, but I don’t think it’ll factor into Brad Holmes’ decision.
- Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB
Speaking of roller coasters, Derek Stingley Jr.’s draft stock has been dizzying to keep track of. The Giants are going to trade James Bradberry eventually, right? Stingley Jr. has experienced a major rise lately and would be a great fit in New York.
- New York Jets: Ikem Ekwonu, OT
All indications from the local beat writers are that the Jets favor Ekwonu over Ahmad Gardner. I’m going to ride with them and with OT1 here.
- New York Giants: Ahmad Gardner, CB
The Giants are going to trade James Bradberry eventually, right? Gardner has experienced a major rise lately and would be a great fit in New York.
- Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT
I don’t think the Panthers take a quarterback. They need an offensive tackle desperately and rumor has it they’re in love with Charles Cross. I’m betting they make a trade for Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo.
- New York Giants: Trevor Penning, OT
This was the toughest choice so far because Evan Neal is still on the board, but I’ve heard rumblings that New York really likes Trevor Penning. Penning is someone I can see the Giants falling in love with.
- Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR
The Falcons have a plethora of options here with the No. 8 pick but wide receiver is the most pressing. Atlanta simply cannot go into the 2022 season with their current crop of pass-catchers, and fortunately, they won’t have to with the addition of Drake London.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Garrett Wilson, WR
TRADE: Eagles receive No. 9; Seahawks receive No. 15, No. 59
We’ve heard the Eagles are interested in trading up for a wide receiver and I think Wilson is the guy. The Eagles need to find out whether or not Jalen Hurts is the guy this year. One of the best ways to do that is to add another WR to pair with DeVonta Smith. If Hurts isn’t the guy, then the next QB will be happy to have Jameson Williams.
- New York Jets: Jameson Williams, WR
The Jets have been very intentional about trying to add to their WR corps this offseason. They don’t trade for Deebo Samuel and instead take TDN’s and my WR1.
- Washington Commanders: Chris Olave, WR
There’s a bit of a WR run here, but there’s an obvious connection between Olave and Washington in NFL circles. They need to add a WR opposite of Terry McLaurin and do so with another Ohio State Buckeye.
- Dallas Cowboys: Evan Neal, OT
TRADE: Cowboys receiver No. 12; Vikings receive No. 24, No. 56, No. 129
Neal’s slide stops here. Dallas has been rumored to want to trade up and OL and WR have been pegged as the positions of interest. I’m not buying a trade-up for a pass-catcher—especially after the run that just happened. Neal is a splashy pick at a major area of need.
- Houston Texans: Jermain Johnson EDGE
With the top wide receivers gone, the Texans can go a number of different ways here but adding to their front seven with a dynamic pass rusher like Jermaine Johnson is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, IDL
Jordan Davis is a monster of a man and a space-eater up front. The Ravens could use him up front to wreak havoc on their AFC North opponents.
- Seattle Seahawks: Travon Walker, EDGE
TRADE: Seahawks receive No. 15, No. 59; Eagles receive No. 9
- New Orleans Saints: Kenny Pickett, QB
It was admittedly more difficult finding a place for Kenny Pickett than I originally anticipated. However, given the amount of OTs off the board at this point, the Saints are less tempted to go elsewhere with this pick. The Saints are still trying to win now and Pickett has the highest floor of the 2022 crop of QBs.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Trent McDuffie, CB
With Chris Olave, Trevor Penning, and Jordan Davis gone, the Chargers are likely not going to get one of their top players. However, McDuffie is a value here and would help bolster a secondary that will be facing some major high-flying offenses in the AFC West.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Drake London, WR
Another year, another swing at a first-round wide receiver. The Eagles need to find out whether or not Jalen Hurts is the guy this year. One of the best ways to do that is to add another WR to pair with DeVonta Smith. If Hurts isn’t the guy, then the next QB will be happy to have Drake London.
- New Orleans Saints: Tyler Smith, IOL
There’s a lot of buzz about a team in the top 20 liking Tyler Smith. The Saints seem like a fit and need to add to their OL. It’s not hard to see NFL coaches falling in love with Smith.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis, QB
The Steelers are built to compete in the AFC North now and it feels like they have a strong interest in Malik Willis. Kevin Colbert’s going-away gift is a new QB and he falls into their lap a lot like Mac Jones did for the Patriots last year.
- New England Patriots: Quay Walker, LB
The Patriots need to bolster the second level of their defense and there are strong rumblings that Walker will be the first linebacker off the board. This is a good scheme, need, and rumor fit.
- Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks, WR
Is this finally the year the Packers draft a first-round wide receiver? Sportsbooks certainly believe so. Wide receiver is a heavy favrite to be Green Bay’s first selection. Treylon Burks would certainly not replace Devante Adams, but he’d give Aaron Rodgers a receiver who can make plays with the ball in his hands.
- Arizona Cardinals: Jahan Dotson, WR
Steve Keim likes the flashy first-round pick and I think he does it again by selecting the speedy Penn State wide receiver to replace Christian Kirk.
- Minnesota Vikings: Kaiir Elam, CB
TRADE: Vikings receive No. 24, No. 56, No. 129; Cowboys receiver No. 12
The Vikings really need to add a corner and they still get a very good option here after trading down. Elam is only just about to turn 21 years old and would become an immediate starter in Minnesota.
- Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB
It’s time for the Bills to get serious about a CB2 upgrade opposite of Tre White. Booth Jr. is a great fit in Buffalo and a day-one starter.
- Tennessee Titans: Kenyon Green, IOL
The Titans are very fortunate that there’s a bit of a slide here for Green. Adding to the OL seems likely for Tennessee with this pick.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lewis Cine, SAF
Zion Johnson was very, very tempting here but Cine feels like such a great fit for Todd Bowles’ defense and I believe Tampa Bay likes Aaron Stinnie enough to not force the issue in Round 1.
- Green Bay Packers: Boye Mafe, EDGE
Boye Mafe is a great athlete who can help shore up Green Bay’s pass rush behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. I’m not sure he’ll fall this far and he should be in play for the Packers at No. 22, but at No. 28 he’s a steal.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Daxton Hill, SAF
Daxton Hill is a chesspiece the Chiefs can utilize on the back end as a safety or slot corner. He’ll help replace some of Tyrann Mathieu’s role and will make Kansas City’s secondary better in general.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE
There’s a lot of chatter about Arnold Ebiketie going in the back portion of the first round. Kansas City feels like a good landing spot. There are only good-to-great quarterbacks in the AFC West, so getting after the passer needs to be priority No. 1 on defense.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, IOL
The Bengals spent a lot of time this offseason upgrading their offensive line. They have one more move to make. Let’s upgrade the center position with OC1 and finally complete the offensive line rebuild.
32. Detroit Lions: Sam Howell, QB
This isn’t as crazy as you think! Just ask my colleague Kyle Crabbs.