1-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Malik Willis, Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett headline four first-round QBs

The PFN Mock Draft Simulator goes at a first-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft after a flurry of moves in free agency before the new league year.

Ahead of the official opening of the NFL’s free agency period comes another run on the 2022 NFL Mock Draft circuit. Letting Pro Football Network’s free Mock Draft Simulator with trades run, here’s a full board of 32 first-round NFL Draft picks. Important to note here that the “with trades” part is a big takeaway from this first round.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16

With a plethora of trades already in the books ahead of free agency, this first round follows suit. With notable trades throughout each portion, here’s a full first-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft ahead of the new league year.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The Jacksonville Jaguars improve their pass-rush selection with the pick of Aidan Hutchinson to start this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Hutchinson rushes the passer with tremendous precision and speed despite being viewed as a power rusher. He also presents a challenge to face against on run plays to boot.

2) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

An athletic rusher with terrific instincts, Kayvon Thibodeaux is the second edge defender off the board in as many picks. The Detroit Lions needed to add a dynamic player on defense at the top of this draft, and Thibodeaux falls in their lap. He’s a three-down defender who can dominate when rushing the passer and becomes a stout run stopper off the edge.

3) Houston Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Houston Texans grab Evan Neal, securing the blindside for Davis Mills in 2022 and beyond. Neal is a big man with nimble feet who moves incredibly well in all facets. His versatility from playing multiple positions at Alabama will pay dividends immediately in the NFL, as he can slide in opposite Laremy Tunsil.

4) New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Perhaps the best overall player in the class, Kyle Hamilton lands with the New York Jets at pick No. 4, filling a large need. Hamilton closes space in coverage unlike any safety since Derwin James. He also lays the lumber against the run with impressive discipline and instincts.

5) New York Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Charles Cross becomes the second tackle off the board as he lands with the New York Giants. Cross is a natural in pass protection but showed flashes of brilliance in space. He has a great anchor and even better hands. Cross becomes the other half of a pair of bookend tackles with Andrew Thomas.

6) Carolina Panthers: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The first cornerback off the board is Ahmad Gardner — the lockdown defensive back helps transform the Carolina Panthers’ secondary immediately. Sauce didn’t allow a touchdown in three years at Cincinnati and proved he could hold his own against top-notch competition by limiting Alabama’s Jameson Williams in the College Football Playoff.

7) Seattle Seahawks (from CHI via NYG): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Trade: The Seahawks send two picks from the 2022 NFL Draft (pick Nos. 9 and 41) to New York in exchange for the Giants’ No. 7 overall pick.

The Seattle Seahawks sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, receiving the ninth overall selection. They’ve now used that pick to move up two spots and secure their future franchise quarterback: Malik Willis. With an exceptional arm, Willis is accurate, powerful, and athletic with a pass-first mentality. The Seahawks are a few players away from making a run in the stacked NFC West. But a fresh start at quarterback with the dynamic Willis could be the beginning.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Needing a receiver after the suspension of Calvin Ridley, the Atlanta Falcons take advantage of an impressive class of receivers that continues to ascend. Garrett Wilson blazed at the Combine, but his tape on the field at Ohio State is what gets him here at pick No. 8. Wilson doesn’t have an attribute that falls below the above-average mark as he excels in every facet.

9) New York Giants (from DEN via SEA): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Trade: The Giants received 2022 NFL Draft pick Nos. 9 and 41 in exchange for their No. 7 overall pick

Utilizing their multiple top-seven picks to acquire even more draft picks, the Giants get a big-play threat in Jameson Williams after trading back with Seattle. The Giants grab Williams despite his injury sustained in the CFP National Championship that may see him miss portions of training camp. He’s a rare talent that’s certainly worth a top-10 pick. He led the FBS in 50-yard plays a season ago.

10) Pittsburgh Steelers (from SEA via NYJ): Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Trade: The Steelers send picks No. 20 and 52 in the 2022 NFL Draft, as well as a 2023 third-round selection, in exchange for New York’s pick No. 10

After two tackles were taken in the top five, the Steelers make quick work to move up and secure the fate of the third tackle in the top 10. With Ikem Ekwonu still available, they move up and grab their next franchise left tackle. The Steelers have their projected starting quarterback in 2022 — Mitchell Trubisky — and now he has his blindside protected incredibly well.

11) Washington Commanders: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The Washington Commanders secured Carson Wentz via trade with the Indianapolis Colts, but that certainly didn’t mean they were done. Here, they grab Matt Corral, who projects as the long-term solution at the most important position in team sports. Corral can launch accurately placed throws from every platform and has a ton of athleticism if the play breaks down.

12) Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

After a big Combine, the big man Jordan Davis heads to the Minnesota Vikings. Davis moves like a much smaller man, yet somehow has the power of an even bigger one. He’ll move around the Vikings’ defensive line with ease, presenting a challenge to every offensive lineman in front of him in every facet.

13) Cleveland Browns: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

The Cleveland Browns certainly have a need at wide receiver after releasing Jarvis Landry. However, with two receivers gone, they choose to stop the slide of Travon Walker here. Walker is a versatile edge rusher with plenty of upside in the Browns’ defense. Utilized in a pure edge rushing role or all around the defense, Walker can make an impact from any position.

14) Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Needing to improve their offensive line, the Baltimore Ravens grab the class’ top interior prospect in Tyler Linderbaum. Using his wrestling background, Linderbaum understands leverage and how to contort his strength from any angle. He outmuscles most defenders or outwits them with his instincts and speed.

15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

With three picks inside the top 19 selections, the Philadelphia Eagles have the chance to completely rebuild and retool areas of need in the 2022 NFL Draft. Grabbing Derek Stingley Jr. is the first step — Stingley’s proverbial ceiling may be the highest in this class. Stingley hasn’t quite lived up to that 2019 season, but his ball skills are elite when he’s healthy.

16) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Eagles grab their second defender in as many picks, securing the best sideline-to-sideline linebacker the draft has seen in some time. Devin Lloyd can move with the best of them, and at his size, presents a challenge for any would-be blocker in space. His best attributes fall in coverage, where the Eagles need a bevy of help heading into the 2022 season.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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