There is only one game left in the 2021-22 NFL season, as the Los Angeles Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56. While the two battle it out for NFL supremacy, 30 other squads have turned their attention to the offseason. So, let’s take the PFN Mock Draft Simulator for a spin and see how the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft could shake out.
2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
With the NFL Draft Order set outside of the remaining two teams (the Detroit Lions own the Rams’ first-rounder this year), who does the MDS have your favorite team taking in Round 1?
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Jaguars just witnessed the Bengals go from the worst (first overall pick in 2020) to possibly the best (if they knock off the Rams in the Super Bowl) in the span of three years. The key to that awe-inspiring turnaround was finding the right signal-caller in Joe Burrow. If Jacksonville believes in Trevor Lawrence is the guy, they can have a rebound as well — likely not to the big game, though.
Adding Aidan Hutchinson with the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft would go a long way towards their defensive rebuild. Josh Allen is already an electric edge rusher on one side, so pairing Hutchinson’s explosiveness and power with the veteran could be deadly for opposing offenses.
2) Detroit Lions: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Kyle Hamilton is 6’4″ and 220 pounds with insane range on the back end. He can cover tight ends, running backs, and even the occasional receiver from the slot or in the box. Additionally, he thumps ball carriers in the open field and instinctually fills rushing lanes.
3) Houston Texans: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Purdue’s George Karlaftis is not as far from Hutchinson as many believe, and the MDS actually has Karlaftis going ahead of the Oregon star in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. He is a powerful edge rusher with some bend as well. The Texans need blue-chip players, and the “Grecian Goliath” fits the bill.
4) New York Jets: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
There are a plethora of impressive cornerbacks in the class, but Andrew Booth Jr. may offer the most potential. He is a smooth mover in the secondary and can mirror nearly every man across from him. Booth instantly becomes the CB1 for the Jets and allows head coach Robert Saleh to get more creative defensively.
5) New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
At 6’7″ and 350 pounds, Evan Neal is an imposing force on the offensive line. He played right tackle in 2020 and will likely move back there to keep Andrew Thomas at left tackle. The two would provide Daniel Jones, or whoever is the future of the franchise under center, ample time to move the chains through the air.
6) Carolina Panthers: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Sam Darnold experiment crashed and burned for the Panthers. Cam Newton returned, and ex-XFL star P.J. Walker flashed at times, but Matt Rhule needs a difference-maker at QB if he wants to stay in town following the 2022 season. Enter Matt Corral. The Ole Miss product possesses the personality you want leading your team, and his physical traits aren’t lacking either.
7) New York Giants (from CHI): Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux‘s slide finally ends, with the Giants using their second of two top-10 picks in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft on the prized edge defender. His blend of physicality and athleticism is tailor-made for immense production off the edge. Thibodeaux’s bend is second to none in the class, and he already has a diverse pass-rush repertoire at his disposal.
8) Atlanta Falcons: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Although DeMarvin Leal has seemingly fallen down draft boards following his 2022 campaign, he still owns impressive physical tools. He can play up and down the defensive line, offering Atlanta valuable versatility.
The Falcons have had trouble producing pressure outside of Grady Jarrett for years. A.J. Terrell can continue his resurgence next season with Jarrett and Leal forcing QBs to get the ball out quickly.
9) Denver Broncos: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
He may be the second Michigan edge rusher off the board, but David Ojabo‘s ascent from last year to now is remarkable and deserving of a top-10 selection. Much like Odafe Oweh in last year’s class, Ojabo’s raw tools propel him into the upper echelon of the draft, and he generated far more production (11 sacks) than the Ravens’ first-round pick (0 sacks) in their final collegiate seasons.
10) New York Jets (from SEA): Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Kenyon Green primarily played guard at Texas A&M, but he has also spent time at tackle. Similar to Alijah Vera-Tucker last year (the Jets’ second first-round pick), Green comes with inside-outside versatility on the offensive line. That is good news for QB Zach Wilson, who could use some stability on offense.
11) Washington Football Team: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Arguably the second-best offensive tackle in the class, Charles Cross is fluid in pass protection. His run-blocking chops aren’t far behind, thanks to his physical nature. Washington will reveal their new name and design on February 2, but Cross can bring a new demeanor to the field.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Mike Zimmer is out as the Vikings’ head coach, and a new general manager is in place. Does that mean Kirk Cousins is on his way out the door as well? It is possible, and honestly, it would be the right move. Having an expensive and aging QB does no good for a retooling team. Thus, the new regime’s first action is to find Cousins’ successor.
Sam Howell entered the preseason in a battle for the QB1 mantle in all of college football with now-South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler. What a time that was. Regardless, what Howell was able to do with a neutered supporting cast this season (outside of Josh Downs) was exceptional.
13) Cleveland Browns: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Browns were one of the most talented teams to not make the playoffs this season. Their defense was stout, but Baker Mayfield and his injuries weighed down the offense. If Mayfield remains the starter next year, which seems to be the case, Cleveland could do worse than bolster their already-elite defense. Jordan Davis is a two-gap-filling, bulldozing defensive tackle that can maneuver from the A (between tackle and guard) and B (between guard and center) gaps.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. only falls this far due to injuries over the last two years. As a true freshman in 2019, he played like a No. 1 overall pick. That was two seasons ago now, but the Ravens are banking on tapping into that potential. If Stingley can stay healthy, he could thrive alongside Marlon Humphrey in Baltimore.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Owning one of the best nicknames in the class, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has an argument to be the CB1 of the class. The definition of a shutdown corner, he didn’t allow a single touchdown in his three years at Cincinnati. Zero, nada, zilch. He is long and physical and would benefit under the tutelage of Darius Slay.
16) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Eagles made the playoffs against the odds this year, but they could easily return in 2022 by hitting on each of their three picks in Round 1. After nabbing a star to their cornerback room, Philly dips back into the defensive pool. Devin Lloyd is an explosive athlete that can rush the passer, defend the run, and drop back in coverage all the same. He was a menace in the Pac-12 and should translate well to the NFL.
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