2022 Mock Draft - ROUND 1

Updated 1/21/22
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1) Jaguars - Kayvon Thibodeaux | DE | Oregon

The Jaguars used three of their first four picks to address the offensive side of the ball last draft. They'll seemingly leverage one of those selections, Walker Little, to fill the upcoming void at LT with Cam Robinson leaving. While the team looks solid on paper when it comes to their defense, they ranked 27th in sack production, 28th in QBR allowed. Thib seems like the type of selection Shahid Kahn would elect for his team to make. 

 

2) Lions - Aidan Hutchinson | DE | Michigan

Some clamor that the Lions will flirt with a QB here. If so, I'm calling out a smokescreen. While Goff may not be the answer, the offense was far less of an issue than their defense was. After finishing 30th in sack production, 30th in QBR allowed, and 28th in run defense, Hutchinson is a near lock.

He's the best player in the nation as far as I'm concerned, so keeping this local product in the great state of Michigan almost makes too much sense. 

3) Texans - Evan Neal | OT | Alabama

The Texans rank worst in the NFL when it comes to collective trench play, evaluating both their offensive and defensive lines. They can't move the ball on the ground and struggle to provide a clean passing pocket. On defense, they don't produce sacks and get gouged against the run. Evan Neal helps to address one of their issues. He's a mammoth-sized human who grades out incredible well at LT. Tunsil goes elsewhere. 

4) Jets - Derek Stingley Jr. | CB | LSU

Much to Robert Saleh's disdain, The Jets are statistically one of the very worst NFL teams when it comes to defensive rankings. They have holes, or at the very least positions that could be upgraded. One could argue that no position fits the bill more so than that of CB. While Stingley is coming off of an injury, he'll have the time and options to prove himself to be every bit of the five star player we saw a couple years back. 


5) Giants - Ikem Ekwonu | OG/OT | NC State

While Danny Dimes is not the answer at QB, I'm not sure they pull the trigger on a QB here. Nate Solder should be out at RT, while Billy Price and Will Hernandez along the interior are free agents as well. Opinions vary as to whether Icky can/should remain at OT or not. Regardless of the target spot for him, he's the nation's best run blocker. 

6) Panthers - Charles Cross | OT | Mississippi State

The Panthers have to be zoned in on going O-line or QB here. They exercised the option on Sam Darnold, an $18+MM play, so I could see them letting that ride and going O-line. At the same token, grabbing a QB here and letting him sit a year could make sense as well. Regardless of what they do at QB, they need to bolster their O-line play for that position to thrive. Cross is a gifted player who progressed quite well this year. The keg of quality OTs will run dry fast, so they pull the trigger on one. 

7) Giants (via Bears) -  Matt Coral | QB | Ole Miss 

Given how the board has shaken out thus far, I do think the Giants pull the trigger on a QB here if the right guy falls to them. Whether it is Coral or Pickett, they bring in a new rookie to challenge for the starting gig. After finishing 31st in both passing yards and 20+ yard pass plays, they recognize the need to get better at QB.

8) Falcons - George Karlaftis | DE | Purdue

The Falcons ranked dead last in sacks, accumulating only 18 the entire season. One can't underestimate just how pathetic that is. Karlaftis doesn't receive much national praise compared to other defensive standouts, but he's a great player in his own right. Grabbing him here is the first step in Atlanta getting their defense more pass-rush stability. 

9) Broncos - Kenny Pickett | QB | Pittsburgh

There's a reason the Broncos dropped over $11MM for the services of Teddy Bridgewater. When he got injured, they had to rely on Drew Lock. In reserve duty, Lock played in six games, amassing 2 TDs, 2 INTs. If Pickett or Coral are still available at this juncture, I think they swing for the fences to hopefully get their new franchise signal caller.  

10) Jets (via Seahawks) - Kyle Hamilton | SAF | Notre Dame

Early this season, Hamilton was a near lock to be a top-5 selection on many draft boards. While he's expected to be 100% healthy after sustaining a season-ending injury, his stock may have taken a slight hit. The Jets are in dire need of some safety help, as the could be decimated by free agency moves. Regardless, Hamilton bolsters their secondary in a major way. 

11) WFT - Andrew Booth | CB | Clemson 

Here's where the draft could get real interesting. Heinicke has been decent, but is he good enough for this team to ignore the QB position? There is some QB talent available, but any remaining guy taken here is a reach. On defense, they ranked 29th in passing yards allowed, and surrendered a QBR to opposing QBs over 100. Booth is an excellent CB who'd help shore up their pass defense.

12) Vikings - Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner | CB | Cincinnati

The Vikings were equally bad at defending the pass and stopping the run, so a player to help in either regard makes sense. Patrick Peterson was a sexy signing, but one could argue that he shouldn't be retained. Mackensie Alexander is also on an expiring contract, so at least one CB is needed. Gardner is an excellent option here, a player who'd start right out the gate.

13) Browns - Garrett Wilson | WR | Ohio State

The Browns' running game has kept them afloat, but they're receiving game has dropped off. While the Baker Mayfield situation is turning into a borderline fiasco, I think he gets one remaining year to turn things around. Wilson is an electric WR who'll improve the WR corps.

14) Ravens - Kair Elam | CB | Florida

The Ravens ranked dead last in passing yards allowed, 26th in INTs, and 27th in opposing QBR allowed. To say that they need help in their secondary is an understatement. Kair Elam is a gift if available here. He's an excellent cover man who would immediately help the  back half of their defense. To note, Calais Campbell, now a shell of himself, and Brandon Williams are both UFAs. Grabbing a D-lineman could certainly be in play here.

15) Eagles (Via Dolphins) - Tyler Linderbaum | C | Iowa

Jason Kelce has been a great pivot man for Philly. He'll also be at the 36-year old mark and an impending FA in 2023. Linderbaum is a great center, a guy who could easily kick over to OG until his time comes to succeed the aforementioned veteran. 

16) Eagles (Via Colts) - David Ojabo | EDGE | Michigan

The Eagles ranked 31st in regular season sack production. Meanwhile Ryan Kerrigan (34 years old) and Derek Barnett are both UFAs. Regardless of their retention strategies, they absolutely have to get more defensive fire power on the outside. Ojabo is coming off of a great year and should test very well. 

17) Chargers - Jordan Davis | DT | Georgia

The Chargers were an offensive juggernaut throwing the ball, finishing 2nd in the NFL behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, they were anemic in run defense, finishing 30th in that regard. Davis is the nation's best pure NT, but is well adept at playing in 2-man interior fronts. With Linval Joseph also set to leave, Davis provides immediate depth. 

18) Saints - Jameson Williams | WR | Alabama

The Saints finished dead last in passing yards. I have zero idea what their thoughts and overarching commitments are at QB right now. They threw $10MM a year at Hill, and are reportedly very high on Ian Book. Given as much, I see them targeting a high caliber WR. While Jameson is a bit risky as he just came off of a torn ACL, he's insanely dynamic when healthy. 

19) Eagles - Devin Lloyd | LB | Utah

While Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards have been mighty productive at their LB spots, their high tackle count belies the fact that more talent is needed within their LB corps. Lloyd is an excellent player who at worst would work along side of them as the third guy. 

20) Steelers - Sam Howell | QB | North Carolina

The Steelers ranked 29th in rushing yards this season, and their inability to move the ball on the ground crushed them against the Chiefs in the Wild Card game. Grabbing an O-linemen would make sense. However, their biggest void is at QB. Howell is a gritty, gutsy kid who'd fit in quite well with this ball club.

21) Patriots - Nakobe Dean | LB | Georgia

Going into their Wild Card matchup against the Bills, the Patriots carried very good statistical rankings on both sides of the ball. Said rankings materialized very little, as this team was decimated. The Bills ran the ball at will and picked the Pats apart at every level. Given their 2-year free agency outlook within their LB corps, coupled with porous play, I could see them drafting a new stud to man their defense. Insert Nakobe Dean.

22) Raiders - DeMarvin Leal | DT | Texas A&M

The Raiders finished 19th against the run in the regular season, which isn't really of any consequence. However, Hankins, Thomas and Jefferson are all impending FAs, and the likelihood of all being retained is very slim. Leal has great versatility, showing that he can be an asset operating along the interior or out on the perimeter. 

23) Cardinals - Chris Olave | WR | Ohio State

Despite not boasting much at the CB spot, the Cardinals have more than held their own given as much. If a top-rated CB is available here, they could go in that direction. However, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green are both UFAs. Each surpassed the 90 reception target mark and accumulated 800+ yards. Insurance is needed. Olave is a great receiver, could be sought after regardless of WR retention efforts.

24) Cowboys - Trevor Penning | OT | Northern Iowa

The Cowboys' O-line had been respectable if not good throughout the balance of the season. However, it was victimized in their Wild Card loss to the 49ers. They allowed 5 sacks and struggled to get any push up front. Their RBs were limited to just 45 yards in total. Penning is a mauler of a blocker, equally adept at hemming up defenders in both pass pro and in the run game. 

25) Bengals - Kenyon Green | OG/OT | Texas A&M

After finishing 30th in sacks allowed in the regular season, one has to think that the Bengals will look to add more security for Joe Burrow. Green is a very good player, but may be seen as a tweener which causes him to fall a bit. The Bengals take advantage of it, and get what could be a steal here. 

26) Dolphins (via 49ers) - Drake London | WR | USC

The Dolphins could opt to address their lacking O-line, but the draft simply hasn't been friendly to them in terms of acquiring bona fide talent there. Instead, they address another position of need in WR. Aside from Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins' cupboard is bare. With five of their existing WRs sitting as impending FAs, the need for quality depth is alarmingly high. London is a tall, pass-catching machine. He's expected to be back to 100% after suffering an injury late last year. 

27) Bills - Jahan Dotson | WR | Penn State

The Bills are completely loaded, but they may look to land some depth at the WR position. Sanders and McKenzie are each UFA, and given the former's age they could let him walk with no retention in mind. Dotson is an electric WR who might be the best slot replacement this draft has to offer. He gets the nod here.

28) Lions (via Rams) - Treylon Burks | WR | Arkansas

The jury is still out on Jared Goff. While the lean is that he'll need to be replaced, the Lions have him on contract through 2025. Meanwhile, they also have a big need more at the WR position. Burks is an excellent option here, a big guy who can move...and produce.

29) Titans - Roger McCreary | CB | Auburn

The Titans are a very complete team. Aside from them needing to beef up their O-line and add depth in a few spots, they have a lot to work with as is. Speaking of depth, they'd be wise to add some at the CB position. Jenkins is an UFA in 2023, yet will also be 35 years old. McCreary is coming off of a very good year, one where he showed he can hang with most any WR out there. 

30) Buccaneers - Jaquan Brisker | SAF | Penn State

The Bucs are a very good team right now, but age and impending free agency is not on their side. Given as much, they could go in one of many different directions here. Grabbing a RB makes a ton of sense, as do other plays. Brisker is a very good Safety, well adept at playing the pass and the run. The Bucs finished 21st against the pass, so the added help is welcomed. 

31) Chiefs - Jermaine Johnson | DE | Florida State

The Chiefs are an absolute machine on offense, but their defense is statistically one of the worst in the league. They ranked 27th in passing yards allowed, 29th in sack production. DT Chris Jones paced the team with 9 sacks, while no one else had more than 4.5. Johnson is coming offg of a great year and would seemingly be a welcomed addition in KC.

32) Packers - Trent McDuffie | CB | Washington

The Packers have a few needs, one of which is CB. With so many great CBs off the board already, they secure one here. McDuffie is an ultra aggressive defender who let's little get by him. He's an immediate depth play here.