We’re just over three weeks away from the 2022 NFL Draft and the draft order just changed again. In case you missed it, the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles swapped plenty of draft capital and now both teams have two picks in the first round of this year’s draft.
The trade for the Saints is an odd one since all signs are pointing to them landing a quarterback but do they still have enough draft capital to move into the top five to make that happen? Only time will tell.
With that, we shift our focus to my 2022 NFL Draft Guide that drops next Monday! It’ll be free to download and will have over 100 player profiles that are in-depth and give you a great look at where a player fits at the next level. For now, we put our focus on a 2022 NFL Mock Draft! This one is only my second one of the year but it’s put in perspective of what I would do rather than what I think each team will do! This will be based off the free-agent decisions each team made and how their rosters are currently constructed. Let’s get after it!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
While the Jaguars recently added Arden Key, I still believe they could find a replacement for Chaisson off the edge. His career has been underwhelming to start with only two career sacks. By selecting Hutchinson, it’s a huge upgrade for their defense and what they need to accomplish. He’s got great speed-to-power and his motor is relentless.
2. Detroit Lions — Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Talk about overthinking it. Kayvon is one of the best players in this draft and has been one of the best players on a football field since he first stepped foot on one. He’s flexible and has one of the more explosive first steps of any edge rusher in this class. The Lions could consider a quarterback here with two other picks in the top-35 but Kayvon just makes too much sense for a team that needs good football players.
3. Houston Texans — Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
While it’ll be hard to pass on talented defenders with Lovie Smith as my head coach, I need to focus on the offense. If we’re going “all-in” on Davis Mills for this season, I might as well put weapons around him to be successful or set the table up for the next quarterback to be even better. With that, I take the best offensive tackle in the class as Neal is explosive, versatile, and is a complete tackle prospect. This gives the Texans flexibility between Neal and Tunsil at either tackle spot.
4. New York Jets — Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Passing on Kyle Hamilton might shock some but I can’t help myself from getting lost in the Sauce. He’s the best cornerback in this draft and despite being a boundary corner, he’s got the length, athleticism, and ball skills desired to be a lock-down defender at the next level.
5. New York Giants — Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame
Despite having McKinney and Love, the Giants lost Jabrill Peppers and should still look at finding another safety for their defense. Hamilton is versatile with great range and should provide the Giants an immediate impact in whatever role he plays. I’d look at him to play down in the box with overhang responsibilities while rotating him over the top of my defense.
6. Carolina Panthers — Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
It’s been evident that the Panthers have been looking at upgrading their quarterback position. They haven’t been able to add one this off-season but that’ll change on the night of the draft. By adding Pickett, he should provide consistency for an offense that lacks it at the quarterback position. He reminds me of Derek Carr with how he moves in and out of the pocket and he’s able to make some impressive throws while on the run. Putting him in an offense that has weapons such as CMC and DJ Moore makes too much sense.
7. New York Giants — Ikem Ekwenou, OT, NC State
Nothing against Matt Peart but if I’m the Giants, I’m trying to find ways to upgrade the right tackle position. Ekwenou plays with great flexibility and is one of the best finishers in this class. The chip on his shoulder could provide a spark for an offense that has been near the bottom of the league for the last few years.
8. Atlanta Falcons — Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Who’s he going to throw the ball to? I’ll let Marcus Mariota figure that out for much of the first season. I’m drafting Willis off the chances of him becoming a stud at the next level and as some people have compared him to Michael Vick, this would be a fitting spot to land. Willis needs time to throw with more touch and anticipation but his mobility and big arm are legit. This pick also prevents Kyle Pitts from tweeting about quarterbacks for a few more off-seasons.
9. Seattle Seahawks — Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
While I considered taking a quarterback like Ridder or Howell, I’m playing it safe by giving this offense a starting left tackle. Cross plays with great patience and he could very well be the best pure pass protector in this group. He’s got great length and lower body flexibility to start at left tackle for a team such as Seattle which has a need at the position.
10. New York Jets — Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Passing on an offensive player is tough to do in this spot but Johnson is one of my favorite players in this draft. There’s some uncertainty on how Carl Lawson will perform coming back from a torn Achilles but there’s also always a need for more pass rushers. Johnson can translate speed-to-power and has a strong enough frame to play against the run and pass. He went from being a rotational player to ACC Defensive Player of the Year — his best football is still ahead of him.
11. Washington Commanders — Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
While the Commanders have Kendall Fuller, William Jackson, and Benjamin St. Juste, they could use another defender on the back end of their defense. Stingley would be the perfect fit regardless of the injury concerns. As a true freshman, he showed tremendous ball skills and with this pick, there’s hope that he gets back to playing at that high level once again.
12. Minnesota Vikings — Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Always tough with a new regime but Anthony Barr is only playing on a one-year deal and it feels like he’s destined to play for a new team after this season. With that, the Vikings can find the perfect replacement with Devin Lloyd. He’s versatile, explosive, and flashes the range needed to make plays anywhere on the field.
13. Houston Texans — Drake London, WR, USC
While grabbing the offensive tackle with the third pick could indicate going defense with this pick, I still think going with one of the top wide receivers is the best route. The Texans have three other picks after this in the top-100 of the draft and could focus on defense with those selections. Here, they get my top-ranked wide receiver in Drake London. He’s got a great catch radius and is a better route runner than given credit for. He’s bailed out bad quarterback play throughout much of his career and it shows with every acrobatic 50-50 ball that he catches. Pairing him in an offense with Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins would be an interesting trio of weapons for Mills and the Texans.
14. Baltimore Ravens — Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
This just screams Ravens type of pick. Linderbaum might lack ideal length for the position and his ability to anchor will get tested at only 296 pounds but he’s a terrific athlete and one heck of a blocker. He’s a dominant reach blocker, can move in space and his snap-to-step quickness is elite. While limited with his size, he finds other ways to win with his overall technique and athleticism.
15. Philadelphia Eagles — Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Having Devonta Smith should lead to success for Hurts and the Eagles but Olave is one of the best route runners in this class. His lower body is fluid and he’s got one of the more skilled release packages of any receiver in the group. Pairing him with Smith could make life a living nightmare for defenders, especially with how well Hurts can move and extend plays.
16. New Orleans Saints — Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Saints recently traded for this pick so it wouldn’t be surprising if they had their eyes on a quarterback. With that, there’s going to be a need for another wide receiver in this offense. The days of Michael Thomas in New Orleans seem to be over and Wilson would provide immediate starter ability for this offense. He’s a much better route runner than given credit for as he treats his routes like playing point guard in basketball and crossing over defenders. He plays with great body control and it would be beneficial to have him win some back shoulder throws in the red zone.
17. Los Angeles Chargers — Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
In real life, there’s a chance that Williams is the first wide receiver selected. He truly is that good and if he does fall, it’ll be due to concerns over his knee. If he falls to the Chargers, it’s that run to the podium moment for this organization. Pairing an elite play-maker with insane burst and explosiveness just makes too much sense in an offense that already features Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
18. Philadelphia Eagles –Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
It feels like the Eagles have needed a linebacker for decades. I know there are some people that don’t like Dean as a player because they have concerns over his size and not testing during this draft process. I put on the tape and see a stud defender playing without hesitation and the desired aggression for the position. There might be shades of Patrick Queen to his game and that’s okay for a defense that needs a king to man the middle of their defense.
19. New Orleans Saints — Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
It wasn’t surprising to see the Saints lose Terron Armstead in free agency but it opens an obvious need at left tackle. If Penning is available, he’s a no-brainer. He’s got great size for the position and plays with the physical aggression to punish defenders after each snap. He’s still rough around the edges and reminds me of Garrett Bolles but there’s potential for him to be a solid left tackle for a decade-plus.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
You couldn’t sell me on Trubisky being the future QB of this team if you paid me. The Steelers might not take a QB this high but this one just makes sense. Ridder has the tools to be a solid quarterback in the NFL, he’ll just need the right fit. This might be his best fit. His ability to run would give the Steelers a new dynamic offensively but this also gives him time to work on his timing and ball placement. In another year, this could be a potential steal.
21. New England Patriots — Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
There’s certainly a chance that Walker goes in the top five in the draft but personally, I don’t see a top five player when watching his tape. His versatility, size, and athletic ability jump off the screen but he’s still raw as a pass rusher. With that, he falls to a great spot here for the Patriots and I like the thought of pairing him up with Matthew Judon.
22. Green Bay Packers — Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
In a perfect world, the Packers would love Chris Olave. He’s off the board so they get the most sure-handed receiver in the draft. Dotson wins inside and outside and is very fluid with his routes. Having Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback only makes him that much better. Look for that pairing to have instant success, especially in the short and intermediate areas of the field.
23. Arizona Cardinals — Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
It was hard for me to pass on Zion Johnson in this spot but putting Davis in the middle of the Cardinals defense to eat up blockers sounds perfect. It would allow Simmons and Collins to roam free at the second level. The size and athletic ability call for double teams but he’s got a great motor and should be a force on first and second downs. He might be limited as a pass-rusher but he’d be a great fit to anchor the middle of this defense.
24. Dallas Cowboys — Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
As I label Johnson, he’s “Mr.Consistent” on the interior. He’s stout against powerful defenders and shows good lateral agility in pass protection. Consistently shooting his hands on the chest plate of defenders, Johnson can dominate at the point-of-attack. With his five-position versatility, he’s got plug-and-play ability for a Cowboys offensive line that desperately needs help.
25. Buffalo Bills — Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
I’ve been on the cornerback bandwagon for the Bills over the last few seasons. They need to find an adequate starter to play opposite of Tre White and McDuffie could be that and more. He’s a terrific athlete with great change of direction skills. In the process of doing that, he shows rare range to get in the hip pocket of receivers and run across the field to make a play on the football. Pairing him up with White could lead to multiple years of success and could be the defender they’ve been missing to hang onto a lead that punches their ticket to the Super Bowl.
26. Tennessee Titans — George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
While the Titans have Landry and Dupree to stand up and play off the edge, they could look at Karlaftis to play and learn from Denico Autry. For Autry, he’s still playing at a high level (nine sacks last season) but is on the wrong side of 30 (will be 32-years old in July). He’s also got a potential out after this season where he’d only count as $2 million against the cap. For Karlaftis, he’s not exactly the same player we saw back in 2019 but he’s still a talented player. He tends to go more to a power rush over anything else as a pass rusher but he plays with heavy hands and is disruptive enough to justify being a first-round pick.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
Fallen under the radar in this draft cycle has been Kenyon Green. He’s got 35 starts at every position other than center for the Aggies. He seems like a plug-and-play left guard for the Buccaneers who lost Alex Cappa in free agency. Green has great length for the position but he’s got a flexible lower half and has strong hands to maul defenders. This one seems like an easy choice for the Bucs.
28. New York Jets (Mock Trade with Green Bay) — Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
I wasn’t going to do a trade-in this mock draft but I could really see the Packers move out of the first round to take advantage of a talented group on the second day of the draft. With that, the Jets make a lot of sense to move up. They have the draft capital and put themselves in position here to take a position that they passed twice on with previous picks. Burks is a height, weight, and speed type of player but he shows the versatility to be a chess piece in an NFL offense. Putting him with an offense that has Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and C.J. Uzomah could do wonders for Zach Wilson.
NYJ Trades: 35th overall pick (2022 2nd Round Pick) and 69th overall pick (2022 3rd Round Pick)
GB Trades: 28th overall pick (2022 1st Round Pick) and 92nd overall pick (2022 3rd Round Pick)
29. Kansas City Chiefs — Daxton Hill, SAF, Michigan
Sure the Chiefs signed Justin Reid but Daxton Hill is versatile enough to play in a variety of spots for the Chiefs defense. He can play in the slot or even outside, if needed. With his athletic ability, coverage skills, and hip fluidity, he’s got the chance to be a really good player. Landing with the Chiefs could help this defense a ton in a super competitive AFC West.
30. Kansas City Chiefs — Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
This move isn’t to replace Chris Jones, it’s to help Jones. Wyatt has terrific lateral movement as an interior defender and he could have plug-and-play potential. Pairing him with Jones allows plenty of one-on-one match-ups on the interior where both players should find plenty of success.
31. Cincinnati Bengals — Tyler Smith, IOL, Tulsa
It’s no secret that the Bengals need to continue to upgrade their offensive line. With that, they should strongly consider a player like Smith. He does need to clean up where he places his hands but he just mauls defenders constantly. There are moments where you see him taking players out of the frame on your screen and throwing them into the dirt.
32. Detroit Lions — Jaquan Brisker, SAF, Penn State
While the Lions re-signed Tracy Walker, they could use another safety for their defense. Brisker is versatile and physical enough to play in the box but he can also play over the top with Walker. The way he plays would fit what this coaching staff is looking for on the back end of their defense.