After a rollercoaster of an offseason, I have decided to release my first mock draft of the season. This one is pretty insane with many prospects going to unexpected teams. This mock draft is entirely based on what I personally believe teams will do. Where a player goes in the draft does not always determine their ranking! This year’s draft is as open as ever and will certainly be filled with surprises. Majority of these picks are based on visits, interest, and purely what I believe the teams need ahead of the 2022 season. Here it is, enjoy!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson)
In all of my mock drafts, former Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson will likely be my #1 overall pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars need upgrades at basically every position. When it comes to the draft, it is an absolute must to find your edge rusher of the future, especially since they do not get released often during free agency. Hutchinson’s leadership and dominance at Michigan makes him a clear cut #1 overall pick.
2. Detroit Lions (UGA EDGE Travon Walker)
Former EDGE rusher from Georgia, Travon Walker, will likely land in the Lions hands depending on the Jaguars pick at No. 1. With Michigan EDGE rusher Aiden Hutchinson going to Duval, I like the Lions to select Walker to add another piece to their puzzle. Lions HC Dan Campbell is in search of some serious defensive help in every aspect. Walker’s stock has skyrocketed and has proved to be a game changer at the edge position and will be a massive threat due to his unique versatility. The NFL is evolving and teams are searching for pure speed off the edge. I like Walker to go over Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux here at number two.
3. Houston Texans (NCSU OT Ikem Ekwonu)
The Houston Texans still have several options on the board despite 2/3 top edge rushers getting selected. The Texans have needs at every position. I believe selecting NCSU OT Ikem Ekwonu would be the best option here. Ekwonu’s versatility is unmatched compared to every offensive linemen in this draft. Houston can rely on Ekwonu to get the job done at guard and tackle. I expect Ekwonu to be a menace in the run game as Houston looks to continue their rebuild.
4. New York Jets (OREGON EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux)
Luckily for the New York Jets, Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has fallen right into their lap. Thibodeaux has been seriously overlooked and it is really just a toss up of where he goes now. I think the Jets would be foolish to let him pass here, as Thibodeaux will bring incredible value to the Jets defense. Thibodeaux’ athleticism will fit well alongside both Jets edge rushers Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Meyers.
5. New York Giants (BAMA OT Evan Neal)
The New York Giants have all the options possible at #5 and #7 overall. The Giants have had horrendous offensive linemen the past 3-4 seasons. With the 5th pick, I like the Giants to select Alabama OT Evan Neal. It is an absolute must to help their QBs and improve offensive production this upcoming season. New Giants HC Brian Daboll wants to start his first year with a bang and I believe Neal is the most reliable option here. Neal is a monster and is arguably the best OT in this draft class.
6. Carolina Panthers (ND S Kyle Hamilton)
Potentially an unpopular pick, but I have the Carolina Panthers going with Kyle Hamilton here. The Panthers have met with Hamilton multiple times and I believe he is too good to pass up here. Hamilton’s stock has declined, only due to an overwhelming amount of buzz surrounding four different edge rushers. If Hamilton does not go Top 2, he will certainly fall down the board to the Panthers at 6. Hamilton is a generational talent and is too valuable to pass up at No. 6. Many believe the Panthers will go QB here, but with just one short and underwhelming season for Sam Darnold, I believe they will give him another shot. If the Panthers do not have luck with Darnold this season, I can see them going after a QB in next year’s stacked QB class.
7. New York Giants (PITT QB Kenny Pickett)
Daniel Jones has been nothing but a disappointment. An offensive line can only do so much and I believe Daniel Jones’s time in New York has run out. Brian Daboll will still consider Jones an option, but to be safe I believe the Giants will take a shot at Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett. The Giants have met with Pickett multiple times and I can easily see them shocking the world by taking Pickett at No. 7. Pickett is a tremendous leader and will bring a great QB competition into New York, opening up multiple options for Brian Daboll.
8. Atlanta Falcons (LIB QB Malik Willis)
After the departure of veteran QB Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons opted for former Raiders QB Marcus Mariota. Mariota has spent several years as a backup and I believe the move to select Mariota was just to be safe. At No. 8 is where I could see Liberty QB Malik Willis fly off the board. Similarly to the Giants, I believe Willis is the safest pick here despite having the need to fill the wide receiver position, along with many others. Willis is arguably the best QB in this class and has a cannon of an arm. His maturity and football IQ is off the charts and I expect Willis to be the new fan favorite in Atlanta.
9. Seattle Seahawks (FSU EDGE Jermaine Johnson)
A roller coaster of an offseason inevitably led to the departure of former Seahawks franchise QB Russell Wilson and star veteran LB Bobby Wagner. At No. 9, I have the Seahawks opting for Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. Teams have to address defensive ends in the draft, as they rarely come around in the offseason. Johnson is an experienced rusher that brings energy that HC Pete Carroll will love. Johnson’s stock shot up this offseason after an incredible senior bowl and great interviews, so I can easily see him taken off the board at No. 9.
10. New York Jets (UC CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner)
The New York Jets remain in full rebuild mode after an up and down season in 2021. Zach Wilson elevated his leadership and solidified his place in the Jets offense. The Jets will continue to find form on offense, but in the 2022 Draft I expect them to look towards adding more pieces on defense. New York is in serious need of a game changer on defense. At No. 10 I believe the Jets select arguably the best cornerback in this draft, Cincinnati CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Gardner made noise all throughout his career by locking down every receiver he went up against. Gardner would be a great pairing alongside Jets starting CB Bryce Hall.
11. Washington Commanders (OSU WR Garrett Wilson)
With question marks surrounding Terry McLaurin and no sure WR2, I expect Washington to select OSU WR Garrett Wilson. The Commanders have met with WRs more than any other position and I think they believe it is a must to grab one here, especially due to how stacked this class is. Wilson is one of my favorite receivers in the past 3-5 years. His agility, speed, and route running is arguably the best in this entire draft class. Wilson and McLaurin would be one of the deadliest WR duos in the league.
12. Minnesota Vikings (LSU CB Derek Stingley)
With star CB Patrick Peterson coming to an end in his career, the Vikings are in desperate need of youth/depth at the position. Star LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. would be an absolute home run for Minnesota. There has been a lot of buzz around Stingley and many believe he will not fall outside the Top 10. If Stingley falls, Minnesota is grabbing him. Stingley has great length and his patience is incredible. He makes play after play on defense and would be a fan favorite in Minnesota.
13. Houston Texans (ARK WR Treylon Burks)
The Houston Texans are currently a lost cause and need improvements at every position. With this stacked WR class, I like Arkansas WR Treylon Burks to be selected at No. 13. Houston has met with Burks several times and I believe they would love to add depth at the position. Houston will have several options, but Burks is a freakish athlete that can make plays with Davis Mills at QB. With not the greatest QB in the back field, I still expect Burks to have an incredible season and make a case for OROY.
14. Baltimore Ravens (UGA DL Jordan Davis)
The Baltimore Ravens love their defensive linemen. Known for their defense year after year, the Ravens continuously stack their defense with elite defenders. At No. 14, I expect the #1 DL to fall in their lap. UGA DL Jordan Davis would be an elite pick here and would be an incredible combination alongside veteran pro bowler Calais Campbell. Davis is a tank at 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds. His lateral quickness is unmatched across the line and is what makes him such a deadly threat defensively.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (CLEM CB Andrew Booth Jr)
With the 15th and 18th pick overall, the Philadelphia Eagles are left with several options to address their defensive needs. Veteran cornerback Darius Slay is now 31 years old and the Eagles have very little depth at the position. Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. would be an excellent pick here and would bolster the secondary in Philadelphia. Booth is a former 5-star recruit and is an outstanding athlete with great length. He provides consistent coverage no matter the scheme and will be great on the opposite side of Slay.
16. New Orleans Saints (OLE MISS QB Matt Corral)
New Saints HC Dennis Allen has been left with several questions, specifically at the quarterback position. If the Saints want to succeed in a division including Tampa Bay and Tom Brady, I believe they will have to add reliable depth and competition in the quarterback room. Current Saints QB Jameis Winston can do enough to help the Saints, but not to succeed and win the division. After a trade with the Eagles and acquiring two first round picks, the Saints will be looking to use one of them on Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. Corral is elusive and brings great accuracy, as well as valuable experience in the RPO game. I expect a great QB battle between Corral and Winston, opening up safe and reliable options for Dennis Allen.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (MISS St. OT Charles Cross)
Charges QB Justin Herbert has been a beast with a very mediocre offensive line. In this draft, I believe the Chargers will make the right move to finally solidify their offensive line. Mississippi State OT Charles Cross is the right move here. His patience and feet are one of the best in this class. According to PFF, Cross gave up just 2 sacks in 719 pass blocking attempts. The consistency and reliability is there for Cross.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (PURDUE EDGE George Karlaftis)
With an unstable defense, I expect Philadelphia to continue to bolster their defense with their second first round pick. At 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds, Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis showcases incredible agility and traits that allow him to gain significant ground off the ball. His speed and competitive nature jumps off the charts, showing he wants to attack the quarterback every play. As a junior, in his final season, Karlaftis racked up 41 tackles, 5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Karlaftis is the ideal high motor edge rusher Philadelphia is looking for.
19. New Orleans Saints (BAMA WR Jameson Williams)
The question marks surrounding the New Orleans Saints wide receiver core and star WR Michael Thomas are not good. Too much inconsistency and injury issues has caused way too many problems for the Saints offense. Alabama WR Jameson Williams can easily fix them all for New Orleans. Williams, arguably the best receiver in this year’s class, tore his ACL in the national championship game vs Georgia. His athletic ability and production just can not be overlooked, that is why I believe the Saints will use this pick to select Williams. The ACL recovery has been going well and Williams should perform great when he returns.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (UC QB Desmond Ridder)
Former Bears and Bills QB Mitchell Tribusky has found himself in Pittsburgh for the next two years. Tribusky has been extremely inconsistent and has found himself on the bench periodically the past two years. At No. 20 overall, I believe the Steelers will continue the pattern of selecting a QB and creating a QB competition. Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder is intriguing and has multiple assets that will force a team to select him earlier than expected. Pittsburgh has met multiple times with each QB, so they are clearly looking to select one.
21. New England Patriots (WU CB Trent McDuffie)
Former Patriots pro bowler JC Jackson left this past offseason and is now with the Chargers. The Patriots secondary has always been extremely consistent and I expect Bill Belichick to select a cornerback in the first round to continue that consistency. Washington CB Trent McDuffie is a T3 corner in this draft class with a desired skill-set that the Patriots will love. In the 2021 season, McDuffie allowed just 16 catches. He is a lockdown defender who can play in both man and zone coverage.
22. Green Bay Packers (OSU WR Chris Olave)
Year after year, the Packers are mocked to draft a wide receiver in the first round. I believe this year is the final straw and an absolute must for Green Bay to select an elite rookie receiver. After losing star WR Devante Adams and acquiring another first round pick, the Packers virtually have no choice. If Ohio State WR Chris Olave falls to No. 22, the Packers have to take him. Green Bay has met with many receivers and should be fully comfortable with selecting any of the top studs. Olave could have left last year for the draft, but instead stayed and gained valuable experience. Olave is a natural route runner with one of the best releases in this draft class.
23. Arizona Cardinals (TA&M OT Kenyon Green)
The Cardinals incredible offense was seen making flashy plays every week. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray performed poorly in a select few games, mainly due to an overwhelming amount of pressure getting to the back field. Texas A&M OT/OG Kenyon Green could help Murray tremendously. The Cardinals will have the option of putting Green anywhere they see fit, as Green played both tackle and guard in the 2021 season. Green shows great patience when pass blocking and is fearless run blocking, making him one of the best offensive linemen in this draft class.
24. Dallas Cowboys (UTAH LB Devin Lloyd)
Cowboys LB Micah Parsons had an unreal season, winning defensive rookie of the year this past season. Parsons was used in so many ways and I believe he will likely find himself as an edge rusher more than anything this next season. The Cowboys love their linebackers and I would not be surprised if they go back to back years selecting one. Utah LB Devin Lloyd would be an excellent signal caller alongside Parsons, making a deadly duo on the front seven. Lloyd, similarly to Parsons, is versatile and has played both inside and outside linebacker.
25. Buffalo Bills (UGA S Lewis Cine)
Buffalo’s defense continues to impress every season. Bills safeties Jordan Pryor and Micah Hyde are both getting older and getting closer to their contracts ending. Selecting Georgia safety Lewis Cine at No. 25 would be ideal for Buffalo. Cine is the second best safety in this class and would bring great depth to Buffalo’s secondary. Both Pryor and Hyde would provide great insight to Cine, helping him develop and ultimately take over for one of them at the safety position.
26. Tennessee Titans (BC IOL Zion Johnson)
After losing LG Roger Saffold and right tackle David Quessenberry, the Tennessee Titans are now in the market for an offensive lineman. The Titans have met with several of the top offensive linemen and at No. 26 I expect them to select Boston College IOL Zion Johnson. Johnson is a hard worker and strives everyday to perfect his patience at the guard position. In the run game he uses great pad level and showcases a strong frame, allowing him to bulldoze anyone in his path. Johnson is the ideal replacement at the left guard position in Tennessee.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OU DL Perrion Winfrey)
Veteran defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon are edging closer to the end of their careers. Their free agency status remains in question, which will inevitably affect Tampa Bay’s decisions in this year’s draft. The Buccaneers have met with defensive linemen more than any other position and have met with Oklahoma DL Perrion Winfrey several times. Winfrey proved to be one of the top defensive linemen this offseason at the Senior Bowl. Taking Winfrey at No. 27 may be considered a little early, but Winfrey’s high energy and maturity this offseason has bolstered his value. Winfrey’s build is exactly what Tampa Bay is looking for in a defensive linemen.
28. Green Bay Packers (IOWA IOL Tyler Linderbaum)
Iowa IOL Tyler Linderbaum would be too good to pass up at No. 28 for the Packers. Injuries and free agency have mixed the Packers offensive line several times. Green Bay had some of the best depth in the league at the position, but this past offseason they let go of three different OLs. Linderbaum is an athletic IOL with an interesting skill set. Adding Linderbaum would help build depth and address empty starting holes for the Packers.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (UGA WR George Pickens)
The departure of pro bowl WR Tyreek Hill has left Kansas City with no choice but to be in the market for a wide receiver. Their depth is very minimal and would not be enough to make it through a brutal AFC West division, even with Patrick Mahomes in the back field. At No. 29 is where I expect Georgia WR George Pickens to fly off the board, as Kansas City has met with Pickens multiple times. Pickens is another elite receiver who has suffered a torn ACL within the past two years. His talent and production makes him too valuable and will certainly make up for a potential worrisome injury history.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (UGA DL Devonte Wyatt)
This offseason we have seen increased interest from all teams in Georgia DL Devonte Wyatt. The Chiefs have met with Wyatt multiple times and if they choose not to trade away one of their first round picks, I believe Wyatt is the correct decision. Wyatt displayed freakish speed this offseason at the combine and has shown that he is one of the fastest DLs in this draft class. His ability to get off the block one-on-one is unmatched and sometimes it seems straight up unfair for offensive linemen to block him. The Chiefs would be adding a monumental addition in Wyatt at No. 30.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (UF CB Kaiir Elam)
The Cincinnati Bengals, led by a stellar offense, came up short in last season’s Super Bowl. The Bengals secondary got torched and were one of the main reasons why the Bengals lost games last year. To help support the secondary, I am projected Florida CB Kaiir Elam to head to Cincinnati. Elam’s terrific length and athletic ability at the cornerback position will help replace some struggling errors in the Cincinnati secondary.
32. Detroit Lions (UGA LB Nakobe Dean)
The Detroit Lions need basically everything on defense. Adding Georgia linebacker alongside Travon Walker would be incredible for Detroit. Dean, similarly to Walker, is a fearless player with some of the best speed you will ever see for a linebacker. Dean is a hard hitter and is known as one of the most effective blizters in the entire draft class. His athleticism makes up for his size and allows him to be a lockdown defender in coverage. Dean and Walker are the ideal Dan Campbell prospects.