NFL Draft Season is here! Get ready with LINEUPS’ first 2022 NFL Mock Draft from Jacob Wayne. See how the entire 1st round of this NFL 2022 Draft could shake out. The Draft will held on April 28th-30th in Las Vegas Nevada. Find tons of Draft coverage here on LINEUPS.
NFL 2022 Mock Draft 1.0
#1: Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
From the first day he steps foot in their building, Aidan Hutchinson will be the best defensive player on the Jaguars from the first day he steps foot in their building. The on-field product is outstanding, but his work ethic and leadership qualities make me believe he will be a longtime defensive captain and All-Pro type player at the defensive end. He returned for his senior season to lead Michigan to a win over Ohio State while being a unanimous All-American and a Heisman finalist.
#2: Detroit Lions – DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Last year, it would have been inconceivable to take Hutchinson over Thibodeaux, and I don’t buy into the reports that he could fall past this point just yet. Thibodeaux didn’t have as impressive a season as Hutchinson, but he will test incredibly well in all of the combine events, and scouts will fall in love with his elite physical traits. He will be an incredible difference-maker when he gets into a pro program and refines his technique and timing.
#3: Houston Texans – OT Evan Neal, Alabama
There are plenty of directions the Texans could go with this pick, but Davis Mills looked great in Year One, and finding him a franchise left tackle has to be a top priority. At 6’7”, 300 lbs, Neal is a mountain of a man with explosiveness you wouldn’t expect from his size. With the flexibility to play across the offensive line, Neal has been a top product for quite a while now and is a long-term solution for any team upfront.
#4: New York Jets – CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Stingley and Hamilton will be compared all offseason with plenty of debates set to take place, and you can’t go wrong with either. Here, I have the Jets taking Stingley due to his electrifying speed and incredible press-man skills. He has all of the traits you could want out of a cornerback prospect at the next level. His extensive injury history is a genuine concern, but it likely won’t cause him to fall in the draft due to how impactful he can be if he stays healthy.
#5: New York Giants – S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
The Giants will be linked to plenty of quarterbacks at this spot, but I believe Brian Daboll will want to give it at least one season to see what he can do with Daniel Jones. Instead, I’m giving the Giants perhaps my favorite prospect in this class in Kyle Hamilton. At 6’4”, 220 lbs, he’s built more like a linebacker, but his sideline-to-sideline speed is unreal for his frame. With excellent ball production and coverage skills, there isn’t much he can’t do on the football field with excellent ball production and coverage skills with excellent ball production and coverage skills.
#6: Carolina Panthers – QB Malik Willis, Liberty
There’s a lot of early buzz around Malik Willis, and it makes sense with his tremendous arm strength and rushing ability. His technique needs a ton of work, which is expected for a non-Power Five quarterback, and the increase in the level of competition will create a huge uphill battle in Year One. However, the Panthers are in desparate need of a long-term solution at quarterback, and Willis is the highest-upside option available here.
#7: New York Giants – OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
While the Giants missed out on Evan Neal at #5, Charles Cross is the next-best thing at offensive tackle. In 66 pass-blocking snaps against Alabama this year, he didn’t allow a single pressure on his QB. Cross moves incredibly well for his size and has improved considerably throughout the course of his college career. With Andrew Thomas making huge strides in Year Two, the Giants can build their foundation of the offensive line for years to come with him and Cross.
#8: Atlanta Falcons – DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
The Falcons found a gem in cornerback A.J. Terrell, and his season was even more impressive when you consider that Atlanta generated just 18 sacks, the fewest in the NFL by a massive margin. Karlaftis won’t make them an elite pass-rushing team overnight, but he’d be an excellent start in that department with his versatility and power up-front. He nearly single-handedly wrecked the Iowa offense in Purdue’s big upset win earlier this year.
#9: Denver Broncos – LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Denver will be linked to plenty of top quarterbacks in this spot, but general manager George Paton has shown that he won’t rush to fill that position if the value isn’t good. Instead, the Broncos take a linebacker who is a playmaker in the truest sense of the word. Dean wrecked many an opposing team’s game plan this season, and the aggression and speed he plays with is awe-inspiring, and he’s a potential future defensive captain in the NFL.
#10: New York Jets – CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
Yes, the Jets already took a secondary player in this draft, but their secondary needs a ton of help, and they have the rare opportunity to add two high-level starters here. Gardner only allowed 14 yards on four targets in his toughest test of the season against Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semi-Final, which considerably boosted his draft stock. Gardner’s wingspan and physicality give him a great foundation to build a more refined skill set.
#11: Washington Commanders – QB Sam Howell, UNC
While Washington may look to bring in a veteran quarterback this offseason, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will pass on the opportunity to take one here. Howell may not have put together the season most expected last year, but the traits are there for him to develop into a high-level starter in the NFL with his deep-ball accuracy and pocket mechanics. His ability to make pro-level reads and play from under center more often will be the question marks.
#12: Minnesota Vikings – C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Tyler Linderbaum’s movement is impressive for any offensive lineman, and you can tell he’s a former wrestler when you watch his play strength at the line of scrimmage. Garrett Bradbury, the Vikings’ former first-round center, looks like a bust, and there are rumors surrounding a trade for him. Linderbaum’s frame likely prohibits him from playing anything other than center, but he can be a long-term anchor for an offensive line that’s needed one for a while.
#13: Cleveland Browns – WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Baker Mayfield’s NFL future is a question mark, but it would certainly help his ability to return to his impressive 2020 form if the Browns add some quality to the team’s receiving corps, which is currently one of the league’s worst. Garrett Wilson has an absurd catch radius, incredible acceleration, and change of direction ability that make him a perfect fit for Kevin Stefanski’s offense. It’s another plus that Mayfield has reportedly already thrown with Wilson in the past as they both went to Lake Travis in Austin, Texas.
#14: Baltimore Ravens – OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
The Ravens will be in Best Player Available mode at this spot, and there are plenty of great options to choose from. Offensive tackle isn’t a massive need, with Ronnie Stanley hopefully returning to total health, but Stanley has only played seven games over the past two seasons. Ekwonu would be an elite insurance policy as an incredibly powerful tackle who constantly bullied opponents at NC State. With plenty of offensive line depth on the roster, Ekwonu would have the opportunity to polish his game. He has tremendous long-term upside.
#15: Philadelphia Eagles – LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
There’s no guarantee the Eagles will be picking here as they’re sure to be linked to every veteran quarterback who becomes available, but if they do, Devin Lloyd would be a terrific player to add. Pro Football Focus’s draft guide likens him to Fred Warner, which is high praise from them. Lloyd dominated the Pac-12 last year and is a modern linebacker with his ability to play in space. While he may not jump off the page in terms of athletic traits, he makes up for it with heart and hustle.
#16: Philadelphia Eagles – DE David Ojabo, Michigan
The only team that generated fewer sacks than the Eagles last year was the Falcons, and their pass-rush could get a massive boost here. Ojabo has rocketed up draft boards over the past year with his 11 sacks in 2021, and he flashed excellent pass-rushing traits to build on at the next level. He grew up as a soccer player in Scotland, and he’s only been playing football for five years, so he has plenty to work on, but scouts will fall in love with his traits and the production he flashed across from Hutchinson last year.
#17: Los Angeles Chargers – DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
Some could call this a reach at this spot, but Jordan Davis is the top defensive tackle prospect in this class and would significantly boost the Chargers’ horrendous run defense from last season. Davis is massive at 6’6”, 340 lbs, but he moves incredibly well and combines his elite power with solid range and explosiveness. His pass-rushing skill set is limited, but Davis is a Day One impact run defender in the NFL.
#18: New Orleans Saints – QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
The Saints are yet another team that could be in play if one of the big-name veteran QBs is on the move, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see them opt for a low-cost rookie they can mold in their top-notch organizational structure. Corral is an undersized quarterback who has had some injury issues, but his mobility and accuracy are positive traits. If he can improve at making reads and working through progressions, in addition to staying healthy, he has excellent long-term potential.
#19: Philadelphia Eagles – WR Drake London, USC
Jalen Reagor is a bust, and while DeVonta Smith had an excellent rookie season, the Eagles could use another top pass-catcher no matter who their quarterback is. Drake London is a contested-catch freak in the mold of another recent USC product in Michael Pittman Jr., who has a phenomenal catch radius. He may not be the fastest receiver or the best route-runner, but he can break tackles with his physicality and would complement Smith’s skill set.
#20: Pittsburgh Steelers – QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Scouts will be tasked with figuring out if Pickett’s massive jump was sustainable or a mirage, but he has skills that can translate to the next level. His arm talent, especially on the move, is unique, and he made some pinpoint highlight throws from outside the pocket last season. That video-game skill set will be tantalizing. He may end up being a great fit with the Steelers given that ability to maneuver outside the pocket with how poor their offensive line was last year.
#21: New England Patriots – WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
A former teammate of Patriots’ quarterback Mac Jones, Williams is an unbelievable athlete at the wide receiver position. He has elite change-of-direction ability, ankle-breaking acceleration, and remarkable shiftiness at the line of scrimmage. Williams would shift Jakobi Meyers from a serviceable WR1 to a high-level WR2, and the only reason I don’t have him inside the top ten in this draft is his torn ACL suffered in the National Championship Game.
#22: Las Vegas Raiders – WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
While Hunter Renfrow is coming off an excellent season, the Raiders need a downfield receiving threat after the Henry Ruggs incident last season resulted in him being off the team. Burks isn’t quite as fast as Ruggs, but he’s no slouch in the speed department despite his monstrous frame at 6’3”, 225 lbs. Detractors will cite his lack of consistency in several areas, but he’s a physical freak who could make some draft evaluators look silly in a hurry if it all goes well for him.
#23: Arizona Cardinals – OT/OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
Kyler Murray struggled under pressure down the stretch last season, and with his small stature, the Cardinals need to emphasize protecting him as much as possible. A cornerback would make sense here, and there are plenty to choose from, but Green would be an excellent choice. Green has played every position except center at a high level, and he would be a quality Day One starter for a team whose offensive line could be in transition this year.
#24: Dallas Cowboys – CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
The Trevon Diggs conundrum remains a real debate for the Cowboys. Diggs had 11 interceptions, the third-most since the NFL merger, but was chastised by analytics-driven analysts for the yardage he surrendered in coverage. The Cowboys don’t have many needs, but adding another capable coverage corner could take some of the pressure off Diggs to take big gambles. McCreary is a savvy, fluid corner who works well at the catch point and had four pass break-ups against Alabama.
#25: Buffalo Bills – OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Trevor Penning made opposing pass-rushers look silly last season, and he plays with absurd physicality to match his ridiculous 6’7”, 321-lb frame. Of course, the low competition level at Northern Iowa will be a question mark, which is why he falls to the back of the first round. The Bills have had success drafting non-Power Five players recently, and it could be great for both Penning and his former teammate Spencer Brown to reunite them in the NFL.
#26: Tennessee Titans – CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
The Titans hoped they had solved their secondary woes by signing Janoris Jenkins and drafting Caleb Farley. However, Farley’s early torn ACL sidelined him after Week 6, and Jenkins was far too inconsistent. At 33 years old, Jenkins is likely not the long-term answer for Tennesse. Booth is a strong, explosive cornerback who is very technically sound in his coverage. If Farley can stay healthy, he and Booth would form a formidable cornerback duo for years to come.
#27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
While Cincinnati had an excellent defense, Ridder shouldn’t be overlooked as a massive part of his team’s success last season. Ridder already processes the game at an NFL level, and his decision-making is worth praising. NFL teams will covet his work ethic and leadership qualities. The questions surround his thin frame and lack of technical refinement, but it’s hard to imagine a better landing spot for him to work on those things.
#28: Green Bay Packers – WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
This certainly feels too low for Olave, but there are so many talented receivers in this class that it’s almost an eventuality that some will be drafted later than they should. Olave is a refined route-runner with excellent ball skills, but his lack of after-the-catch ability is a significant limitation. He’s best-suited as a WR2 in a high-level offense, so he would be a perfect fit for the Packers, assuming they bring back Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.
#29: Miami Dolphins – OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
Much was made of Tua Tagovailoa’s low average depth of target, but that was necessary with how poor the Dolphins’ offensive line was. Raimann didn’t face elite competition at Central Michigan, but the former tight end has incredible athleticism and hand skills that will translate. He could stand to add some weight, and his lack of refinement will push him down draft boards a bit, but he’s a Day One starting left tackle, and the Dolphins desperately need one.
#30: Kansas City Chiefs – WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
I haven’t been impressed with Mecole Hardman thus far in his career, and the Chiefs could use another quality wide receiver to push their offense over the top. Jahan Dotson is an excellent route-runner whose excellent vision and shiftiness make him a tailor-made slot receiver for Andy Reid’s West Coast offense. If Dotson can add some muscle to be a more competitive player at the line of scrimmage, it would take him to the next level in terms of production.
#31: Cincinnati Bengals – OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
Much was made of the Bengals’ poor offensive line down the stretch, and they played their way out of range to take one of the top prospects in this class. However, Daniel Faalele would be an excellent offensive tackle project for the team to work with. At 6’9”, 380 lbs, Faalele is one of the largest players in this draft class who won’t be moved off his spot. Faalele isn’t a Day One starter, but if he refines his technique, he could develop into a high-quality starter in a couple of years like Jordan Mailata has for the Eagles.
#32: Detroit Lions – CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
McDuffie would arguably be a steal in this spot for the Lions, and he could be one of the biggest movers for me in my next mock draft. With incredible acceleration, he’s built to cover fast wideouts downfield, and he plays much stronger than his 5’11”, 195 lb frame would indicate. His versatile skill set would allow him to fill several roles for a young Lions defense that could benefit from more quality talent in the secondary.