We have finally made it to the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Weeks of speculation are now over and teams will make selections that could change the future of their franchise for better or for worse. However, our Denver Broncos have already made their “first-round selection” last month when they sent their 9th overall selection (and more) to Seattle for quarterback Russell Wilson. So, we will have to wait until Friday to see our Broncos to make a pick.
With that said, I am still going to do my best to mock the first round of this likely very unpredictable first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville, you’re on the clock.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson was long rumored to be the selection here, but it appears the Jaguars are leaning towards the high potential Walker. He’s going to need some work, but the high upside here is hard to pass up and his elite athleticism and size make him a very intriguing prospect.
2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Lions are ecstatic to select the hometown boy and someone who fits perfectly into the culture that Head Coach Dan Campbell has brought to the team. He’s NFL-ready right now and should have an instant impact on a Lions defense that is lacking true playmakers on that side of the ball.
3. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr, Cornerback, LSU
This is where the draft really gets going here with the Texans. They could go a number of different ways but the latest rumors have them targeting LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. He is considered the top cornerback in the draft according to some and would really help the Texans secondary moving forward.
4. New York Jets: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
The Jets make the first (of many) big surprises in the first round when they select Florida State edge rusher, Jermaine Johnson. The latest rumors have the NFL being higher on Johnson than the media and have him potentially inside the top 5 of the draft. If true, the Jets make the most sense and I have him joining their defense with this pick.
5. New York Giants: Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Evan Neal is a big and athletic tackle who can slide over to right tackle and give the team two very good and young tackles to protect Daniel Jones (or whoever they draft next year). This is an excellent pick and the Giants get arguable one of the top prospects in the entire draft here at 5th overall
6. Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Tackle, NC State
The Panthers could go quarterback here, but they need all kinds of help along their offensive line and Ekwonu can help there. He has inside or outside versatility(I have him playing tackle here) and will start day one for the Panthers
7. New York Giants: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati
After selecting OT Evan Neal at 5th overall, the Giants select the lanky cornerback Sauce Gardner here at 7th overall. He’s an excellent press-man cornerback and would fit well into Wink Martindale’s defense.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC
The Falcons have needs everywhere but their receiver room is by far the worst in the NFL. So adding London who is getting Mike Evans comparisons makes a lot of sense here for the Falcons. This pick could go a number of ways though.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Seahawks who are known for making wild picks or trading back cannot resist taking Thibodeaux with their 9th overall selection. They obtained this pick by trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Thibodeaux is an elite edge-rushing talent and could become a top pass rusher in the league.
10. New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State
The Jets need wide receiving help for Zach Wilson and add the explosive Garrett Wilson to their offense with this pick. The dynamic wide receiver should make impact plays right away for the Jets as they continue to build up their offense.
11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame
With Carson Wentz on the roster, the team doesn’t need to panic select one of the quarterbacks here so they decide to select the safety Kyle Hamilton. He’s one of my favorite prospects in the draft and will be a damn good player in the NFL.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, Washington
The Vikings need help at the back end of their defense, especially playing in a division that faces Aaron Rodgers twice a year. McDuffie is the best corner on the board currently and would step in right away as a starter for their defense
13. Houston Texans: Quay Walker, Linebacker, Georgia
The Texans could a number of ways here and Walker has been getting top 20 buzz so this could be the fit? Lovie Smith has always loved athletic and rangy linebackers and Walker is an athletic freak. So, it makes sense!
14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle, Georgia
This pick makes too much sense. The Ravens are known to select top defensive prospects who fall into their laps and an athletic 350+ pound defensive lineman just did that. Davis will clog running lanes and has the athletic ability to rush the passer.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Williams is recovering from an ACL injury but when healthy, he has elite speed and is an instant home run threat whenever he’s on the field. This would give the Eagles' offense even more “juice” if they decide to go this route.
16. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Penning, Offensive Tackle, Northern Iowa
The Saints lost Terron Armstead to the Miami Dolphins in free agency so they select Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning to replace him. He has a nasty streak to his game and would step in right away as the team's starting left tackle
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Charles Cross, Mississippi State
The Chargers added Rashawn Slater last year to be their left tackle and this year they add Charles Cross to be their right tackle. I hate this pick because I like Cross, but it makes a ton of sense for the slipping Cross.
18. Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Booth, Cornerback, Clemson
The Eagles add Booth to help bolster their secondary and give them a cornerback to pair with the veteran Darius Slay. The Eagles have three first-round picks and already used one on a receiver, but the outcomes of these three picks will be tough to predict.
19. New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State
The Saints addressed the tackle position with their first pick in the first round and now give themselves a playmaking wide receiver who can pair with the veteran Michael Thomas. This is a team hurting for weapons so Olave should be able to come in and start right away.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty
The first quarterback is off the board! I have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. He doesn’t have to start right away with Mitchell Tribusky on the roster, but it shouldn’t take too long for the high upside Willis to eventually take over.
21. New England Patriots: Zion Johnson, Guard, Boston College
This pick makes way too much sense. The run-heavy Patriots traded away Shaq Mason and have not really replaced him on the roster, so in steps in Zion Johnson. Plug and play, versatile, smart, and just feels like a Patriots selection.
22. Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Arkansas
The Packers have two chances to finally select a first-round wide receiver and they HAVE to select one this year, right? Burks would give the Packers a big run after the catch threat for Aaron Rodgers.
23. Arizona Cardinals: George Karlafits, EDGE, Purdue
After losing Chandler Jones to the Vegas Raiders, they select Purdue pass rusher George Karlafitis to help replace him in this defense. He was previously viewed as a top 10 selection early on in the draft process, but in this mock, he falls into the late first round.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, Interior Offensive Lineman, Texas A&M
The Cowboys' offensive line used to be an elite unit but those days are now over. Injuries, retirements, releases, and age has caught up to this unit. So, adding a talent like Green to this team makes a lot of sense. Wouldn’t be shocked if they went wide receiver here as well.
25. Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, Running Back, Iowa State
The Bills leading rusher has been quarterback Josh Allen. That’s not the wear and tear you want to see on your high-paid Franchise Quarterback. So, adding a plug-and-play talent in Breece Hall who can push for 1,000 yards or more his rookie season makes a ton of sense. This would add an extra element to the explosive Bills offense.
26. Tennessee Titans: Tyler Smith, Offensive Lineman, Tulsa
The Titans need offensive line help and the versatile Smith who could play tackle or guard makes a lot of sense here. He’s a bit raw and might be best suited for guard, but his nasty play and high-upside make him an intriguing pick here.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, Florida
The Bucs don’t have many glaring holes on their roster so adding another cover corner to their secondary would make a lot of sense. You can never have enough cornerbacks in today’s NFL.
28. Green Bay Packers: Logan Hall, Interior Defensive Line, Houston
After going receiver with their earlier first-round pick, they address their pass rush by adding Logan Hall. He can play on the edge, hand in the dirt, or shift inside. Either way, you’re getting an explosive pass rusher.
29 Kansas City Chiefs: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
I hope I am wrong here, but the explosive pass-rushing threat Boye Mafe makes a ton of sense here for the Kansas City Chiefs. He would pair with Frank Clark on the edge and join Chris Jones to get after the passer in the tough AFC West.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Penn State
The Chiefs traded away Tyreek Hill and will look to try to replace some of his production by adding the deep threat specialist, Jahan Dotson. Pairing any talented receiver with Patrick Mahomes could lead to big-time results, so this would be a great landing spot for the former Penn State receiver.
TRADE ALERT: The Seattle Seahawks trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for the 31st overall selection
31. Seattle Seahawks: Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pittsburgh
The Seahawks use the extra second-rounder they got from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade to move up and select their next quarterback. Pickett fits the mold of the type of quarterback that Pete Carroll likes. Pickett should push Drew Lock for the starting job in 2022.
TRADE ALERT: The New Orleans Saints trade with the Detroit Lions for the 32nd overall selection
32. New Orleans Saints: Desmond Riddler, Quarterback, Desmond Riddler, Cincinnati
The Saints are in search of their Franchise quarterback and trade back into the first round to select Riddler to hopefully be that guy. He will likely sit behind Jameis Winston early on, but this gives the Saints the right to his ever-important fifth-year option. Meanwhile, the Lions continue to collect draft capital