The draft is inching closer and closer and we’re back with another look at how things could potentially play out. This time, we’re looking at potential trades, as if predicting 64 picks wasn’t hard enough.
Here’s my second 2022 NFL Mock Draft, plus some additional draft resources we’ve compiled as well.
2022 NFL Mock Draft
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson
There’s been a lot of chatter about Jacksonville taking the more athletic but less productive Travon Walker at No. 1. That feels like something we’ll have a clearer sense of in the week leading up to the draft. Jaguars GM Trent Baalke does love his athletes. He loves job security, too, and taking Hutchinson probably won’t get him fired.
2. Detroit Lions: Georgia DE Travon Walker
Walker is a beastly athlete and by all accounts is a terrific kid with high football character. That’s a compelling package for a team like the Lions.
3. Houston Texans: Alabama OT Evan Neal
Neal played a variety of positions at Alabama which should make it easy for Houston to find a spot for him, possibly at right tackle to start. I lean Neal over N.C. State OT Ikem Ekwonu here because of Texans GM Nick Caserio‘s New England roots and the affiliations between that program and Alabama.
4. New York Jets: Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Where it gets interesting for the Jets is if the top three defensive ends all go off the board before they pick at No. 4. It’s a possibility for sure if Houston wants to juice the defensive line. Otherwise, this is an easy pick to mock.
5. New York Giants: N.C. State OT Ikem Ekwonu
Odds are pretty good at least one of the top tackle prospects will slip to New York here and you can pretty much put it in Sharpie that they’ll be the pick.
6. TRADE – Philadelphia Eagles: Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner
The first trade of the draft! In his first draft last year, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer made five deals on draft day. This year, Carolina doesn’t pick again after their first-round selection at No. 6 until No. 137 in the fourth round. I think it’s a lock Fitterer takes the best offer to move down once he’s on the clock.
In this case, that comes from the Eagles. Philadelphia has a need at corner and showed last year they’re willing to jump up for a player they like, especially if it means stealing them from a division rival. To move up, the Eagles give up their second-round selection this year at No. 51 and OT Andre Dillard to Carolina.
7. New York Giants: LSU CB Derek Stingley
New DC Don Martindale loves to play man coverage and blitz, making cornerback the most important position in his defense. They can pivot from Gardner to Stingley, who still has an enormous ceiling even if the past two seasons have been more uneven.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson
Atlanta’s receiving corps is threadbare, and Wilson is the consensus top receiving prospect in the draft. It’s an easy match, the only question is if the Falcons will prioritize needs elsewhere like at edge rusher, safety or even quarterback.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning
Penning is athletic and nasty, which are two traits the Seahawks love in their linemen. They have needs at cornerback and quarterback but their past draft history suggests they’ll wait to fill those until later.
10. New York Jets: Alabama WR Jameson Williams
A torn ACL in the national title game seemingly dropped Williams’ stock given the uncertainty about when he’d be able to play as a rookie. But teams will reach ahead of “consensus” for speed — we’ve seen it in the past two drafts with other Alabama receivers like Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle. The Jets were in on Tyreek Hill who went for a first-round pick and the NFL’s highest salary for a receiver. And it’s worth noting some schools have been more aggressive in rehabbing severe injuries like ACL’s and had success. Former Clemson WR Amari Rodgers is one notable example, he made it back in six months.
11. Washington Commanders: Ohio State WR Chris Olave
People who pay attention to this kind of thing have noted that Ron Rivera‘s presence at a pro day has been a big tell as far as eventual draft picks in the past. The Commanders’ head coach attended Ohio State’s pro day this year, which is notable considering they have two of the top receiving prospects in this class. Kyle Hamilton being available makes this interesting but I still think this pick will be an Ohio State receiver.
12. TRADE – New Orleans Saints: Mississippi State OT Charles Cross
The Saints have already been aggressive in acquiring an additional first-round pick in this draft. One more move up the board to secure a target won’t faze them, and in this case I think they want a left tackle to replace Terron Armstead. They surrender a fourth this year and a fourth next year to swap with the Vikings.
13. Houston Texans: Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson
The Texans need foundation pieces with these first-round picks as they basically rebuild their team from the ground up. Positional value plays a huge role here, which is why I could see them going for a pass rusher. Cornerback is also a need but one they could fill in the second round.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Georgia DT Jordan Davis
The Ravens need to get younger up front and Davis is one of the most imposing defensive linemen in this class. He’s got the size of a true space-eating nose tackle but the athletic ability to also play three technique. He needs to develop as a pass rusher and there are stamina questions but the potential would be compelling for the Ravens here.
15. TRADE – Carolina Panthers: Liberty QB Malik Willis
With the acquisition of Dillard lessening their need at tackle, the Panthers can focus on finding a quarterback. Willis has the most physical talent of any passer in this draft and a ceiling that is tantalizingly high. He needs a lot of work to get there, but he appears to have the character that will convince teams he can reach his potential. There are also some veteran options the Panthers could explore to start until Willis is ready.
16. Minnesota Vikings: Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton
Hamilton followed up a 4.65 40-yard dash at the Combine with an even worse time at his pro day. That combined with the questionable positional value of using a high pick on a safety means that all signs are pointing to a bit of a draft day slide. Still, Hamilton is a fantastic player on tape and fills a big need for the Vikings.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Washington CB Trent McDuffie
McDuffie isn’t very long which could knock him down the boards at a position like cornerback which is heavily predicated on athletic traits. Still, he just knows how to cover receivers and that has a lot of value. The Chargers need some help at corner.
18. Philadelphia Eagles: USC WR Drake London
For the third time in as many years, the Eagles go back to the well at receiver in the first round. The hope is this pick works out better than Jalen Reagor whose struggles have made receiver a need. London is a big-bodied threat who helps diversify Philadelphia’s pass-catching group.
19. New Orleans Saints: Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett
The Saints paid a premium to get back into the first round this year, which suggests they have a premium position in mind. Tackle and wide receiver are their big needs but they also don’t have a long-term quarterback answer as things stand today. Pickett is widely viewed as the safest quarterback in this class and could fit with the defense-first approach New Orleans seems to be shifting toward.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder
The Saints trade shifts the calculus for the Steelers in the first round a little, as it indicates more competition for a quarterback if that’s the position Pittsburgh is eyeing. They might have to trade up, which is something they’ve only done on rare, rare occasions, if they really like either Willis or Pickett in particular. But Ridder would be another option if they sit and pick.
21. TRADE – Kansas City Chiefs: Arkansas WR Treylon Burks
There’s always a good chance Patriots HC Bill Belichick trades back and I think he’ll have a decent market for this pick from teams wanting to move up to snatch a receiver that falls out of the top 20. The Chiefs have six picks in the first three rounds and give up a third to leapfrog the Packers for a wideout.
22. Green Bay Packers: Purdue DE George Karlaftis
With the top receivers off the board, the Packers still have options to fill needs. Karlaftis helps keep their pass rush deep and gives them a long-term successor to Preston Smith.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt
The Cardinals bolster the interior of their defensive line, which doesn’t have a lot of impact players aside from the aging J.J. Watt.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green
Dallas is looking at some receivers and linebackers but it feels like they’re prepping to go the “boring” route and bolster the offensive line, which hasn’t been the overwhelming strength it’s supposed to be recently. Green can slot in right away at left guard and has the flexibility to play tackle as well if injuries strike again.
25. Buffalo Bills: Clemson CB Andrew Booth
This Bills roster is pretty ironclad, with the exception of No. 2 cornerback which is a glaring weakness right now. It’s one that could also be magnified if Tre’Davious White has any hiccups in his ACL rehab, so spending this pick on a corner makes a lot of sense for Buffalo.
26. Tennessee Titans: Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum
The Titans could look to the future at a number of positions here depending on how the board falls. They do need help on the offensive line and that lines up well with the names here. Linderbaum is a terrific player and might be the cleanest OL prospect in this class but the positional value of taking a center drives him down the board. He could take over for incumbent starting C Ben Jones after this season.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Houston DL Logan Hall
The Buccaneers need an infusion of youth along their defensive front and Hall is a strong scheme fit who has received some late first-round buzz.
28. Green Bay Packers: Georgia S Lewis Cine
There are some receivers the Packers could consider here but they might be considered a bit of a reach. They haven’t reached on receivers in the first round in 20 years so why start now? Safety is an under-the-radar need, as Adrian Amos‘ deal voids after the 2022 season and 2023 will be Darnell Savage‘s fifth-year option season.
29. TRADE – New England Patriots: Boston College G Zion Johnson
Just feels like the kind of player the Patriots love, and fills a big need as well.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Florida CB Kaair Elam
The Chiefs need some help in the secondary and Elam has terrific physical tools for the position at 6-2. He’s flashed a ceiling that could make him one of the top corners in this draft five years down the line but the trick will be playing to that consistently.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Washington CB Kyler Gordon
The Bengals have a history of taking corners in the first round and Gordon has first-round caliber athletic traits.
32. Detroit Lions: Utah LB Devin Lloyd
This would qualify as a huge fall for Lloyd, who seems to be the consensus top linebacker in this class. Still, there aren’t a lot of obvious fits for Lloyd once you get into the back half of the first round. The exception is Detroit.