Just a few days from the start of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, we take on another 2022 NFL Mock Draft with an eye on the first round. This time around, we let the free Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator (with trades!) do its thing. Here are the takeaways for each team with their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
2022 1-Round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
The 2022 NFL Mock Draft circuit is in good hands when you allow the PFN Mock Draft Simulator to run its course. Here is every pick from the first round with a couple of trades thrown in.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
A big man with a big mission: protecting Trevor Lawrence. There is no doubt that Evan Neal will be up to the task, as he stands 6’7″ and 350 pounds. The Jacksonville Jaguars need a left tackle, as priority No. 1 should be continuing their build around Lawrence. Though an edge defender is enticing, Neal presents the rare option to secure a decade-long starter at a position where there are fewer and fewer good options in today’s NFL.
2) Detroit Lions: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Depending on where you look, Kyle Hamilton is the top player available in this draft class. Two of PFN’s draft analysts have him as their No. 1 overall player. He has that kind of game-changing impact in his arsenal. Hamilton can close space in the passing game and lay the lumber downhill in the run game. He’s a complete player who transforms all facets of Detroit’s defense.
3) Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
A “consolation prize'” for selecting third overall will be one of the top players on the Houston Texans’ board. Kayvon Thibodeaux, the long-mocked top option, lands at No. 3 as the first edge defender off the board. Thibodeaux is an athletic freak and a monster in both aspects of defense. He’ll round out a completely different defensive unit in Houston for the next 10+ years.
4) New York Jets: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
There are plenty of options for the New York Jets here at pick No. 4. They decide to shore up their coverage with the selection of Andrew Booth Jr., a player with tremendous upside in today’s NFL thanks to his terrific ball skills. Booth is a smooth playmaker with the ability to play in a variety of defensive schemes, fitting nicely in head coach Robert Saleh’s system.
5) New York Giants: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The biggest need for the New York Giants could be listed as versatility. They need players with the capability of playing immediately and filling any number of needs on either side of the ball. Kenyon Green is just that: versatile. He can play any one of the five offensive line positions but should fit beautifully at either guard spot. Green has a quick get-off and mauls in both facets.
6) Carolina Panthers: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The first quarterback heads to the Carolina Panthers as Matt Rhule makes Matt Corral the team’s next franchise quarterback. Corral has immense arm talent and even better athleticism. He’ll maneuver the pocket better than most while maintaining his vision downfield. Corral makes every throw look effortless and has a bevy of platforms from which to throw.
7) New York Giants (from CHI): Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
A true power rusher slides to the Giants as Aidan Hutchinson is still available here. Hutchinson wins with his power but certainly doesn’t lack anywhere else. He’ll get home with pressure as fast as speed rushers, but he does so by smashing the tackles into the backfield with ease. Oh, and he’s no slouch against the run.
8) Atlanta Falcons: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The run on power rushers continues, and George Karlaftis also comes with versatility. The Atlanta Falcons could even kick Karlaftis inside a bit to play anywhere from 3-tech to standing off the edge. He’s that talented and that powerful. He’ll win with power by bullying the lineman in front of him but has no trouble swiping hands and bending the edge.
9) Denver Broncos: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The Denver Broncos grab the second quarterback in the top 10 and make Sam Howell the pick. Howell proved at the Senior Bowl this month that he has all the tools we thought he did. At the same time, he also proved that he may have some of the best anticipation and deep accuracy in this class. Howell has his flaws, but like Corral, he is more than capable as an athlete with the ball in his hands while maintaining vision downfield.
10) New York Jets (from SEA): David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The second Michigan edge rusher off the board also heads to the Big Apple, as David Ojabo joins Hutchinson in New York. Hutchinson goes to the Giants while Ojabo injects a bit of youth in what should be a feared Jets pass-rushing duo with the returning Carl Lawson. Ojabo has the class’ best spin move and wins with an incredible first step and hand-fighting combination.
11) Washington Commanders: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
A true lockdown cornerback, Ahmad Gardner is the pick for the Washington Commanders. Gardner didn’t allow more than 13 yards in a single game this past season. Even more impressive, he didn’t allow a single passing touchdown in his coverage during three years at Cincinnati. Gardner has that it factor and can be a lockdown option in the nation’s capital for years to come.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Banking on the highs that we saw in 2019, the Minnesota Vikings grab Derek Stingley Jr. at pick No. 12. Stingley has tremendous ball skills but fell off a bit over the past two seasons.
Still, if he returns to his 2019 form, the Vikings grab the steal of the draft, as his ability in that national championship season warranted at least a top-three pick. Stingley sticks in man coverage and plays the ball better than most cornerbacks in today’s NFL.
13) Cleveland Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Making an easy selection, the Cleveland Browns give Baker Mayfield a talented No. 1 wide receiver in Garrett Wilson. The shifty, elusive receiver from just down the road heads up I-71 for Cleveland. Wilson doesn’t do anything below-average and in fact, may have more than a few elite traits. He’s a Pro Bowl candidate in Year 1.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
There is a multitude of ways the Baltimore Ravens can go, but they grab a big need in Charles Cross here. Cross, though he plays left tackle, presents an interesting selection. He can potentially fill in for Ronnie Stanley as he recovers from injury or move to right tackle as he adjusts to the game. Cross is more of a pass protector but proved — on limited snaps — that he could maul in the run game.
15) Las Vegas Raiders (from MIA via PHI): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Trade: The Raiders send pick Nos. 22 and 53 to the Eagles for pick No. 15.
The Las Vegas Raiders need a playmaker on the outside, and they know it. Hence, they send first and second-round picks to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up for Jameson Williams. Although he’s coming off a torn ACL in the CFP National Championship Game, the former Crimson Tide receiver is a big-play threat every time he’s on the field. His deep-ball tracking is tremendous, but he’s also a valuable asset to all levels of the field with his consistency.
16) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND): Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
The Eagles make their first selection of three in the first round by grabbing the third Michigan defender of the top 16 picks. Daxton Hill heads to Philly, where he’ll play great football in space. He can move downhill in the run game with ease but closes more space in coverage than any safety in this class not named Kyle Hamilton.
Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast
List to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.