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Mock Draft Monday: 2022 NFL Draft (1.0)



(Image credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

By: Nathan Subelka


Draft Season is upon us with most of the draft order set, deadlines for players to declare passed, and College All-Star games taking place. This is version 1.0 of my NFL mock Draft which was conducted prior to the Divisional Round of the playoffs being played. There were no trades in doing this mock but as we get closer to the draft and more things are clear (coaching vacancies filled, full order set, free agency, etc.), future versions will likely contain trades. This was done purely based on what I think is the best move for each team. Let’s go ahead and kick off the first 2022 NFL Mock Draft.


1.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Kayvon Thibodeaux

EDGE, Oregon


The Jaguars are on the clock with the 1st overall pick for the second straight year. They selected their QB of the future in last year’s draft. Obviously having the first pick, there are many holes that need to be filled and the Jaguars have a few options at premium positions with the first pick. The Jags could opt to choose from a deep OT class and provide Lawrence with some security, but I see them helping a pass rush that finished in the bottom five of the league. Thibodeaux, who has been projected as the top pick since basically last year’s draft, fends off Hutchinson and gets paired with former top 10 pick Josh Allen to create a formidable front for Jacksonville


2.


Detroit Lions

Aidan Hutchinson

EDGE, Michigan


For Detroit, this should be a no-brainer. The Lions have a HUGE need on the edge and a hometown kid is the best edge player on the board. They finished in the bottom three in sacks, QB hits, and QB knockdowns in the league and were also bottom five in rushing defense. Hutchinson made many believe he deserved to be the top overall pick with a stellar year for the Wolverines. Instead, he gets to stay home and is selected second.


3.


Houston Texans

Kyle Hamilton

S, Notre Dame


In a little bit of a surprise move, the Texans go with the Safety from Notre Dame. Hamilton could well end up as the best player in the entire draft. He is a game-changing defender that can play multiple alignments, cover sideline to sideline and the back end, and come up in the box to stuff the run. With the two top edge defenders off the board, Houston selects the next best player available.


4.


New York Jets

Evan Neal

OT, Alabama


The Jets need to provide NY’s top pick last year, QB Zach Wilson, some help after giving up the fourth-most sacks. There is also some speculation that former top pick Mekhi Becton will be moved in the offseason creating additional need along the offensive line. If the Jets believe they can reconcile with Becton they may decide to draft another need position here, such as edge or CB, or attempt to trade down


5.


New York Giants

Ikem Ekwonu

OT, NC State


The Giants have the luxury of having two picks in the top ten. They need to upgrade the offensive line to give Daniel Jones (or whoever the new regime goes with at QB) and Saquon Barkley a better chance to succeed. Ekwonu played himself into a position to be one of the top three tackles selected in a deep class. He will be a day one starter on the Giants line and has the versatility to line up wherever they need him.


6.


Carolina Panthers

Charles Cross

OT, Mississippi State


The Panthers desperately need better play from the offensive line. They could go with an upgrade to the interior, but I believe they will choose Cross here to bookend with Taylor Moton. Cross is an athletic tackle who will greatly help out in the Panthers’ run game. He is very sound in pass blocking as well.


7.


New York Giants

David Ojabo

EDGE, Michigan


Back on the clock and the Giants choose to stick with upgrading the trenches. Michigan made it into the CFP mostly on the strength of their defense. Ojabo was one of the biggest reasons alongside Hutchinson. He is fast on the edge with a variety of pass rush moves in his arsenal.


8.


Atlanta Falcons

Jordan Davis

IDL, Georgia


The Falcons had one of the league’s worst defenses. They do have some bright spots on the defense but need to continue to add talent. They could go with a CB here to pair with Terrell, but I think the Falcons go with the best interior defensive lineman in the draft. Davis is crazy athletic for a man of his immense stature and will solidify the defensive front with Grady Jarrett.


9.


Denver Broncos

George Karlaftis

EDGE, Purdue


The Broncos new coach could push to select a QB. I believe they will replenish the defensive side and draft a replacement for Von Miller. Karlaftis possesses the size and speed to man the edge opposite Bradley Chubb.


10.


New York Jets

Derek Stingley Jr.

CB, LSU


The Jets look to upgrade their defense with the second of their two top ten picks. Stingley Jr has long been considered the top CB in this draft class. Injuries and some inconsistent play have brought that into question, however, there is no questioning his athleticism and elite ball skills.


11.


Washington FT

Matt Corral

QB, Ole Miss


Washington takes the first QB off the board. None of the QBs in the class really separated themselves from the pack during the season so the choice here is between a handful of guys. Corral has plenty of solid traits and gives the Football Team a QB who can be a threat to make plays on the run as well. I believe he has the best chance to step in and start for a team on day one if necessary and Washington has some decent weapons already to help him out.


12.


Minnesota Vikings

DeMarvin Leal

IDL, Texas A&M


The Vikings may be needing to retool their defensive front this offseason. They start here by selecting one of the most versatile linemen in the draft. Leal can be a rusher on the edge, provide pressure on the interior, and be stout against the run.


13.


Cleveland Browns

Garrett Wilson

WR, Ohio State


Cleveland is going to roll with Baker at QB for one more year at least. They don’t have a ton of needs but one area they need to restock is at WR. After trading OBJ mid-season and rumors of not retaining Jarvis Landry, the Browns will need to provide Baker with some weapons. Wilson has exceptional route running and the athletic ability to be a big threat after the catch.


14.


Baltimore Ravens

Travon Walker

EDGE, Georgia


The Ravens could select an offensive tackle with this pick but there may be a greater need with free agency likely depleting their front. Walker possesses rare athleticism for a defensive end and would fit perfectly in the Ravens scheme.


15.


Philadelphia Eagles

Andrew Booth Jr.

CB, Clemson


Even though the Eagles made the playoffs, they still have a number of holes to fill in order to take the next step. They do have three first-round picks to help fill them. Here they take one of the top DBs in the class to pair alongside Slay. Booth has the ability to be a lockdown corner.


16.


Philadelphia Eagles

Kenyon Green

IOL, Texas A&M


The Eagles offensive line was surprisingly good this past season, but they are losing key pieces from that squad on the interior. Luckily, the top interior lineman in the draft falls to them at 16. Green is an athletic guard who is a mauler in the run game and solid in pass protection.


17.


Los Angeles Chargers

Nicholas Petit-Frere

OT, Ohio State


The Chargers just missed out on the playoffs so don’t have many glaring holes. One thing for sure is that they need to protect their star QB Justin Herbert at all costs. Petit-Frere has the length, athletic frame, and quick feet teams look for in a tackle. He has high upside but a couple of awful games may give some pause. Petit-Frere can also play either right or left side if the Chargers need.


18.

New Orleans Saints

Chris Olave

WR, Ohio State


The Saints offense struggled for several reasons this past year. Even if Michael Thomas ends up returning to the team next season, the Saints could use another weapon. Olave will bring the speed and playmaking ability the Saints were missing on the outside.


19.


Philadelphia Eagles

Jaquan Brisker

S, Penn State


Back on the clock for the third time, the Eagles go back to helping out their secondary. Brisker is an explosive athlete who can patrol the entire field. He is a playmaking safety that can erase a lot of mistakes on the backend.


20.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Desmond Ridder

QB, Cincinnati


Big Ben hasn’t made it official yet, but it sure seems like he has played his last game as a Steeler. Pittsburgh will need to find a new QB to come in and compete. Coach Tomlin is on record as wanting someone who is mobile. Ridder fits the profile to replace Big Ben with a big arm and the ability to be a threat on the move. The Steelers could go offensive line here also and see if either Haskins or Rudolph can step up.


21.


New England Patriots

Devin Lloyd

LB, Utah


Lloyd falls into what could be a perfect situation for him in a Belichick defense. He is a long, athletic linebacker who is fantastic against the run and can also cover Tight Ends and backs out of the backfield.

22.


Las Vegas Raiders

Tyler Linderbaum

IOL, Iowa


The Raiders could easily take a WR here. They also need some help along the offensive line and select the best center in the class. Linderbaum can anchor the line and is a mauler in the run game


23.


Arizona Cardinals

Roger McCreary

CB, Auburn


The Cardinals have had a need at DB for some time now and finally address it early in the draft. McCreary has the potential to lock down his side of the field. He is a physical, athletic corner with great awareness and experience in any coverage.


24.


Dallas Cowboys

Jermaine Johnson

EDGE, Florida State


The Cowboys could have a hole at defensive end with Randy Gregory set for offseason surgery and free agency and Demarcus Lawrence's future with the team in question. Johnson has the versatility to play either side of the line, stand up and rush, or put his hand in the dirt. He should pair well with rookie DPOY Micah Parsons.


25.


Cincinnati Bengals

Trevor Penning

OT, Northern Iowa


The Bengals surprised by taking the division crown on the back of their explosive offense. They really need to protect their young star QB Joe Burrow as they let him get sacked more than any other single QB. Penning plays with a physicality that the Bengals offensive line unit is lacking.


26.


Miami Dolphins

Jameson Williams

WR, Alabama


The Dolphins appear to be set on sticking it out with Tua so they need to provide some more weapons to put him in a position to be successful. Williams would have likely gone much earlier in the draft if it wasn’t for the injury in the National Championship Game. He has excellent speed and great route running. Williams and Waddle would be a great young WR duo.


27.


Buffalo Bills

Treylon Burks

WR, Arkansas


The Bills are one of the most complete football teams in the league and don’t have any real needs. They look to load up more firepower to compete with the other explosive offenses in the AFC and select Burks. He is a big, athletic target who is a playmaker with the ball in his hands.


28.


Detroit Lions

Malik Willis

QB, Liberty


The Lions are back on the clock and look to bring in some competition for the QB spot. Willis might have the biggest arm and best physical traits of the entire class. He played against much lesser competition than he will see in the NFL so it may take some development before he is ready to take over.


29.


Kansas City Chiefs

Ahmad Gardner

CB, Cincinnati


The Chiefs would sprint the card up to the podium if Sauce fell to them. Gardner possesses the length and lockdown man coverage ability that the Chiefs love. The Chiefs also have a need at WR and on the edge but they may not retain Charvarius Ward and can’t pass up on the potential of Gardner.


30.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kaiir Elam

CB, Florida


The Bucs struggled with depth especially in the secondary this past season. Elam has good size for a corner and plays the game physically. He has excellent ball skills and a lot of experience with speed to stick with defenders downfield.


31.


Tennessee Titans

Nakobe Dean

LB, Georgia


The Titans could look to upgrade their front seven. They have one of the best defensive lines in the league but could improve the linebacker corps especially since free agency may deplete them. Dean projects to be a day one starter at linebacker. He is an impressive downhill defender who can also cover sideline to sideline.


32.


Green Bay Packers

Jahan Dotson

WR, Penn State


The Packers will probably need to draft offensive weapons if they hope to keep Aaron Rodgers happy and playing in Green Bay. Dotson is the speedy playmaker that Rodgers loves to have around.


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