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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0

By Justin Bales | 4/1/22 |

Editor's note: Predict the top ten picks of the NFL Draft for a chance to win FFToday prizes. Enter our NFL Draft Contest now.

Aidan Hutchinson

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

It looks as if Hutchinson’s separating himself to be the clear first overall pick in this draft. The Jaguars have options along the offensive line, leaving pass rushing as a clear hole in their roster. Hutchinson recorded 14 sacks with 16.5 tackles for a loss as a senior at Michigan. He’s also one of the safest prospects in this draft, giving Jacksonville’s defense a potential All-Pro player without adding much risk because of his motor.

Previous Pick - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

2. Detroit Lions - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

This is one of the most difficult picks of the entire draft. On one hand, this feels extremely aggressive for Detroit. On the other hand, it makes far too much sense. They stated that they’ll create their offense to the strength of their quarterback, which suggests the Lions are at least considering Willis. This would be an ideal landing spot, as he could start his career behind Jared Goff before taking over. Willis would give Detroit an elite quarterback prospect, and we’ve consistently seen the position overdrafted in the past. I do feel this is a bit aggressive, but he’s the type of player that could turn around a franchise if he hits his ceiling.

Previous Pick - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

3. Houston Texans - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

New head coach Lovie Smith heaped praise on Davis Mills, calling him their quarterback heading into the season. This is far too early in this particular draft to select his replacement, meaning they’ll have to shift their focus elsewhere. Although the Texans have several holes, they should be focused on giving Mills every opportunity to find success early in his career. Houston could look to further their rebuild by trading Laremy Tunsil, opening a massive hole at tackle. Ekwonu could immediately step in and fill that hole. He could be the top overall pick in this draft, and he’d be a top player for the Texans for years to come.

Previous Pick - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

4. New York Jets - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

The Jets could go a few different ways with this pick, although some of the prospects seem to be trending in different directions. Kyle Hamilton was a popular pick here, but he’s falling down the draft board a bit. They could also take Ahmad Gardner, who could go higher than most expect. I’m leaning toward Walker taking a massive leap from my first mock. He’s making waves in the draft community, and New York would benefit from a pass rusher as much as they would with help in the secondary. Walker could end up in the top-5, and the Jets could use the help along their defensive front.

Previous Pick - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

5. New York Giants - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Neal is losing a bit of momentum at this point in the process, but there’s very little reason to believe he falls too far. Head coach Brian Daboll already said he’s studying old film of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney to get the most out of them this season. With Neal being the clear best tackle at this point in the draft, they can help Daniel Jones out a bit more in what should be a make-or-break season for the quarterback. Regardless of his success, Neal with Andrew Thomas would set New York’s line for the future.

Previous Pick - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

6. Carolina Panthers - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

The Panthers are in an extremely interesting position. They need a quarterback, but there have been reports that they have made calls about Kirk Cousins. This is a bit too high to select another quarterback in this draft, so Carolina can either acquire a veteran or trade down if they want a QB. Since I’m not projecting trades here, I’m shifting my focus elsewhere. Instead of taking a quarterback, they can get an outstanding pass-blocking left tackle. Once Carolina gets their quarterback of the future, they’ll have his blindside protected for years to come with Cross.

Previous Pick - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

7. New York Giants - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

“The Giants could luck their way into an elite pass rusher with this pick. They struggled to consistently get pressure on the quarterback last season, ranking in the bottom third of the NFL in sacks, hurry rate, and pressure rate. Thibodeaux was seen as the clear favorite for the first overall pick before the season. He returned to form in 2021, posting 49 tackles, 12 for a loss, and 7 sacks for the Oregon Ducks. Thibodeaux comes with as much upside as any pass rusher in this draft class and he’ll pair well with Azeez Ojulari, who enjoyed a solid rookie season. Although there are some concerns with Thibodeaux’s overall ability, he’s going to be an elite pass rusher from early in his career, which is exactly what the Giants need.”
This was my initial analysis for New York taking Thibodeaux with their first pick in the draft in my last mock. Evan Neal fell in this one, though, and he was the clear pick in that situation. With that being said, it’s all still true, and the Giants could luck their way into Thibodeaux with the Panthers having more pressing issues than an edge rusher.

Previous Pick - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

8. Atlanta Falcons - Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

The Falcons featured arguably the worst pass rush in the NFL last season. They ranked last in pressure rate while also ranking in the bottom five in hurry and knockdown rate. Johnson at this pick would be a reach at this point in the process, but he’s the best remaining edge rusher. Atlanta could go with a cornerback, which would make more sense in terms of most big boards. The emphasis should fully be on adding a pass rusher here, though. Johnson recorded 70 tackles, 17.5 for a loss, and 11.5 sacks for Florida State last season. He also looked outstanding at the Senior Bowl, and Johnson could continue to climb as the offseason continues.

Previous Pick - Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

9. Seattle Seahawks - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The Denver Broncos traded Seattle this pick in the deal for Russell Wilson. Oddly enough, the pick stays the same. The Seahawks have several holes throughout their roster, and they have the ability to take the best player available here. They could opt for a wide receiver if they are trading DK Metcalf, but Gardner is the clear CB1 in this draft, and he can immediately help their secondary.

Previous Pick - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati (Denver Broncos)

10. New York Jets - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

We have a similar situation to the New York Giants #7 pick earlier. I had the Jets selecting Hamilton fourth overall in my first mock, but his value has slid a bit. Still, everything I said previously stands, and he would be a steal at this point.
“The Jets could go with several players here, and a safety could be a bit of a reach (at four, not 10). With that being said, Hamilton comes with elite versatility and has the potential to become one of the best play-making safeties in the NFL. He boasts plenty of range, tremendous ball skills, and can play around the line of scrimmage. In only seven games at Notre Dame last season, Hamilton recorded 34 tackles, including 2 for a loss, with 3 interceptions and 4 pass deflections. Generally, safeties aren’t selected this high in the draft, but there are very few players at the position that can change the game the way Hamilton can.”
Previous Pick - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

11. Washington Commanders - Drake London, WR, USC

For whatever reason, Washington was willing to trade for Carson Wentz, solidifying their quarterback for this season. It’s a bit too early to take a shot on anyone left, specifically after giving up picks for Wentz. Instead, they can add another great receiving option to pair with Terry McLaurin. London boasts elite range as a receiver, and he’d be an outstanding complement to the way McLaurin plays. He’d add a new dimension to the Washington offense that they didn’t have last season.

Previous Pick - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

12. Minnesota Vikings - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

The Vikings are in dire need of a high-end cornerback after consistently missing on them in recent years. Stingley looked like an elite talent throughout his freshman season, and he was touted as the next elite cornerback prospect. Stingley’s success tailed off over his last two seasons, although it’s only been 10 total games. He flashed enough as a freshman to be considered in the top half of the draft, and he could be the difference-maker Minnesota’s been looking for on the backend of their defense. The question is whether the Vikings are willing to take the risk on him or if they’d rather select a safer prospect who doesn’t boast as much upside.

Previous Pick - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

13. Houston Texans - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Texans get this pick as a part of the Deshaun Watson trade with the Cleveland Browns. There are a few different ways they could go here, although they desperately need help at cornerback. McDuffie hasn’t given up any touchdowns over his last 15 games at Washington, and he has the potential to become a difference-maker in the NFL. He’s seen as one of the safer prospects in this draft, and he’ll immediately add talent to the Houston secondary.

Previous Pick - Drake London, WR, USC (Cleveland Browns)

14. Baltimore Ravens - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

The Ravens are a team that generally drafts the best player available, although they separately need help on the interior offensive line. Luckily, Linderbaum is one of the best center prospects in recent memory, and he is arguably the best player available at this point in the draft. He can immediately step in for the departing Bradley Bozeman as an upgrade at the position. Linderbaum is athletic enough to handle any style of play Baltimore needs from him, and he would make the offense with Lamar Jackson that much more dangerous.

Previous Pick - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

15. Philadelphia Eagles - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

The Eagles struggled to get pressure on opponents throughout last season. They ranked in the bottom-11 of the NFL in pressure percentage. They also ranked second-last in sacks. Karlaftis only recorded 4.5 sacks last season, although he also had 10 tackles for a loss and 2 forced fumbles. The key here is that Karlaftis consistently got pressure on his opponents, suggesting the sacks should follow in the NFL. He’ll immediately be an upgrade for Philadelphia, as they’ll need to find new ways to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks if they are going to continue to blitz at one of the lowest rates in the NFL.

Previous Pick - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

16. Philadelphia Eagles - Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

This draft class has several outstanding cornerback options with only Ahmad Gardner separating himself from the rest of the options. With Derek Stingley Jr. and Trent McDuffie already off the board, the Eagles can slide to the next best at the position. Booth can immediately slide into a big role for Philadelphia, as he’s a high-IQ option in the secondary. He’s one of many cornerbacks in this class that boasts Pro Bowl potential.

Previous Pick - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

17. Los Angeles Chargers - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Chargers are in a position where they could select an offensive tackle, edge rusher, linebacker, or defensive tackle. Luckily at this point, all of those positions have high-end talent available. It’s a great problem to have, although I’m penciling in Lloyd, who has the potential to be taken in the top-10 depending on how the draft shakes out. He’s a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with the ability to rush the passer. Lloyd will add tremendous versatility to the Chargers defense, making them that much more dangerous.

Previous Pick - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

18. New Orleans Saints - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Saints have a few key holes they could plug here, but they re-signed Jameis Winston and Tre’Quan Smith in free agency. They’ll also be getting Michael Thomas back for this season. New Orleans lost Terron Armstead to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, though, and they have a massive hole at offensive tackle now. If they want any chance of success, they’ll need to keep Winston upright, and Penning gives them the best chance of that with this pick.

Previous Pick - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

19. Philadelphia Eagles - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Eagles added two key defensive pieces earlier in this draft, meaning they can shift to the offensive side of the ball here. They could add Kenyon Green to help fix their offensive line, but it could be more important to get Jalen Hurts more weapons. Garrett Wilson is coming off of an outstanding season at Ohio State, posting 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns over 11 games. He flashed game-changing potential throughout his collegiate career, and Wilson would be an elite option to pair with DeVonta Smith in their offense.

Previous Pick - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

With Malik Willis off the board, the Steelers could select Kenny Pickett. With that being said, he isn’t a can’t miss prospect, and they added Mitchell Trubisky in free agency. Although that likely doesn’t get many fans excited, there is some potential there and it’s likely enough for them to pass on a quarterback here. Instead, they can add the best defensive tackle in the draft and continue to lean on their defense for their success. Davis is massive and can take on multiple blockers. He’ll help everyone around him and giving TJ Watt more opportunities to make game-changing plays is something Pittsburgh could fall in love with.

Previous Pick - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

21. New England Patriots - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

The Patriots took a surprising step forward with Mac Jones at quarterback last season. They still rely heavily on their defense, though, and J.C. Jackson could leave in free agency. The Patriots could use their first-round pick to select his replacement, allowing the team to continue to rely on their defense while the young quarterback continues to progress. Gordon recorded 2 interceptions and 7 pass deflections over 12 games for Washington last season. He’s a player that boasts the ability to cover WR1s in the NFL once he finds his footing, and that’s the type of player New England would love to select here.

Previous Pick - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

22. Green Bay Packers - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Packers received this pick from the Las Vegas Raiders in the Davante Adams trade. It only makes sense that they use it on his replacement. Granted, Green Bay doesn’t draft wide receivers in the first, but they may not have a choice this season. Burks has game-changing potential that he flashed at Arkansas, and Aaron Rodgers could potentially mold him into a high-end wide receiver in the NFL. The Packers could look for a safer player here, but they need to replace arguably the best receiver in the league. Upside is one of the only ways to do that.

Previous Pick - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia (Las Vegas Raiders)

23. Arizona Cardinals - Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

The Cardinals were able to get plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season, but they also blitzed at one of the highest rates in the NFL. I initially slated David Ojabo into this pick, but he recently tore his Achilles, which will likely slide him out of the first round. Instead, the Cardinals can shift their focus to Mafe, who is another high upside edge rusher. He consistently improved at Minnesota, recording 34 tackles, 10 for a loss, and 7 sacks during his senior season. He could potentially take some of the pressure off of the Arizona defense.

Previous Picks - David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

24. Dallas Cowboys - Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

The Cowboys need help along their offensive line, specifically in the interior. Green is expected to play guard in the NFL, and he could be a day one starter for Dallas. With that being said, he boasts the upside to move out to tackle if need be. Green played four different positions throughout his college career, and we’ve seen versatile linemen be drafted at a premium in the past. I expect that to be the case once again for Green during the draft.

Previous Pick - Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

25. Buffalo Bills - Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

The Bills are a relatively complete roster, which will allow them to go a number of ways with this pick. They could select a wide receiver or cornerback, but I’m expecting them to add to their offensive line. They should be competing for the Super Bowl this season, and Johnson has the potential to start immediately, although Buffalo could use him as a depth piece, which is always useful for a deep run.

Previous Pick - Deonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

26. Tennessee Titans - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Titans have several holes they can fill, but they desperately need more wide receiver depth. Julio Jones was recently released, and the group as a whole struggled without A.J. Brown last season. Dez Fitzpatrick could continue to progress, but there are several elite options in this draft, specifically available at this pick. Olave’s found success in each of his last three seasons for Ohio State. He posted 65 receptions for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns over 11 games as a senior last season. Olave can immediately help Tennessee’s passing game, and he’ll add another great young receiver to pair with Brown when Jones leaves.

Previous Pick - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

Tampa Bay quietly has plenty of holes to fill, and they could look to add to their defensive front with this pick. Wyatt comes with elite size, and he can immediately take the pressure off of the other pass rushers. Last season, Wyatt posted 39 tackles, 7 for a loss, and 2.5 sacks for Georgia. He could immediately help Tampa Bay’s defensive line impact games in the way they could need this season.

Previous Pick - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

28. Green Bay Packers - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Oddly enough, it feels as if the Packers could take two first-round wide receivers in this draft. They already grabbed one with their first pick, and I don’t believe they go that deep into the position at this point, though. Instead, they need help along their offensive line, specifically right tackle. Raimann is an athletic tackle that has the potential to start from day one.

Previous Pick - Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

29. Kansas City Chiefs - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Kansas City traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, and they received this pick as part of the deal. They signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency, although neither of those players are likely to completely take over the offense. Instead, they can draft Williams, who some believed was the best wide receiver prospect in this draft prior to suffering a major injury. This would be another win for the Chiefs.

Previous Pick - Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia (Miami Dolphins)

30. Kansas City Chiefs - Dax Hill, S, Michigan

The Chiefs are going to need help at safety, specifically if Tyrann Mathieu leaves in free agency. Even if Mathieu stays, there will be holes in the Kansas City defense that Hill can contribute. Hill ended last season with 69 tackles including 4.5 for a loss and 0.5 sacks. He also ended last season with 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery over 14 games. Hill can fill the void at safety or he can shift over to their slot corner position. His versatility can help Kansas City’s defense immediately.

Previous Pick - Dax Hill, S, Michigan

31. Cincinnati Bengals - Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

The Bengals added to their offensive line in free agency, and that isn’t a major point of concern anymore. There also aren’t any linemen available at this point that would make sense. Instead, they can shift to their secondary. McCreary’s only available at this point because of the depth of cornerback in this draft. He comes with plenty of upside with the ability to play man or zone coverages.

Previous Pick - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

32. Detroit Lions - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Lions have several holes they need to fill, and they drafted an edge rusher earlier in this draft. They can shift their focus to their offense with their second pick. Amon-Ra St. Brown broke out as a rookie last season, and he looks to have an outstanding future in Detroit. Although D.J. Chark signed with Detroit, it was a one-year deal, and I don’t expect that to shift their focus off of Dotson here. Dotson isn’t the biggest receiver, but he comes with plenty of explosion, great hands, and tremendous route-running skills. He posted 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games for Penn State last season. Dotson would make an outstanding pairing with St. Brown for years to come.

Previous Pick - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State