As more teams get knocked out of the NFL playoffs, the NFL Draft gets a little closer. Quarterbacks are typically the talk, but in our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, it’s all about the offensive and defensive lines.
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2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
Edge rushers dominate the top five picks in our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Here’s how the rest of the first round plays out.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves picking first overall for the second consecutive year. Last year, they took the top quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. In 2022, they take the top edge rusher in Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux.
The Jaguars were a bottom-five team in terms of sacks and gave up the third-most rushing touchdowns throughout the NFL in 2021. Thibodeaux, opposite Josh Allen, gives the Jaguars another threat to get the defense off the field and back in Lawrences’ hands.
2) Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Detroit Lions made a big splash in 2019, signing Trey Flowers to a five-year, $90 million contract. He hasn’t lived up to the expectations in the Motor City, and a post-June 1 cut could save the Lions $16 million in cap space.
Aidan Hutchinson would take Flowers’ spot if that’s the case. For a team that has the third-fewest sacks last year, Detroit may be better off keeping Flowers another year and adding Hutchinson to the mix.
3) Houston Texans: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
You wouldn’t think a team drafting third overall played above expectations, but the Houston Texans did exactly that. With Davis Mills showing a glimmer of hope as, if not the very least, a serviceable quarterback of the future, the Texans can address a different position here as opposed to reaching for a QB.
Many see Andrew Booth Jr. as the top cornerback in the draft, including Pro Football Network’s own Oliver Hodgkinson, who has Booth as CB1 on his NFL Draft big board. In a division currently not known for their elite WR play, he should have no issues being a lock-down corner right away as a rookie.
4) New York Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
There weren’t many offensive lines worse in 2021 than the New York Jets’. It doesn’t help Mekhi Becton, who was drafted in Round 1 just two seasons ago to be the cornerstone tackle for the Jets, could be on the outs in New York.
Zach Wilson needs help up front, evident by the 53 sacks the Jets gave up this past season. As the top offensive tackle option in the 2022 NFL Draft, Evan Neal would be a stepping stone to rebuilding the offensive line.
5) New York Giants: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The New York Giants have the luxury of owning two of the first seven picks this year. In our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they — behind the leadership of a new soon-to-be-named general manager — attack the defensive and offensive lines.
Arguably one of the best edge rushers in 2022 is Purdue’s George Karlaftis. He had the ability to shut down his side of the line at times in games. His style of play would transition well to New York.
6) Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
If not for the few games Christian McCaffrey played this season, you could arguably say there wasn’t a worse offense across the NFL than the one in Carolina. The offensive line was in shambles, as was the quarterback position.
Head coach Matt Rhule and company doubled down on Sam Darnold by picking up his fifth-year option, meaning they need to address the line to help protect their investment. That’s where Mississippi State’s Charles Cross comes in, shoring up the tackle position on the left side opposite Taylor Moton.
7) New York Giants (from Chicago): Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Fifteen minutes later, the Giants are on the clock again. They should have the card ready to go to take Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green. Daniel Jones, if that is who new management chooses to roll with, along with Saquon Barkley, desperately needs an athletic guard up front to help the offense move down the field.
8) Atlanta Falcons: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Like the Texans, the Atlanta Falcons exceeded many expectations this past season. And they did so without their top offensive weapon in WR Calvin Ridley for most of the year. While the offense needs more assets, teaming up PFN’s first-team All-Pro cornerback A.J. Terrell with an elite talent like Ahmad Gardner is a dream come true.
How good is Gardner? The 6’2″ cornerback out of Cincinnati gave up zero touchdowns throughout his collegiate career. Additionally, he gave up just 1 catch for -2 yards against Alabama in the 2021 College Football Playoff.
9) Denver Broncos: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Michigan Wolverines had one of the top defenses in the nation this past season, riding it all the way to a trip to the College Football Playoff. Hutchinson had a lot to do with that. However, some think David Ojabo, who played opposite Hutchinson, was just as important to the Wolverines’ defense last year.
Outside of quarterback, the Denver Broncos don’t have many pressing needs. Instead of potentially reaching, they can take the best player available and find their replacement for Broncos’ great Von Miller in Ojabo.
10) New York Jets (from Seattle): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Jets acquired this selection from the Seahawks by trading safety Jamal Adams. Now, they replace him with a new safety in Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton.
At 6’2″, 220 pounds, Hamilton — whose 2021 season was cut short due to a knee injury — has the versatility to play multiple spots in the defense. Following a league-worst 29.6 points per game allowed, Hamilton will be the safety the Jets’ defense needs.
11) Washington Football Team: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The lack of star power at the quarterback position in the 2022 NFL Draft is well documented. However, the Washington Football Team needs a quarterback like they need a new name. In 2022, they’ll get both.
Sam Howell had Heisman aspirations entering the season, but it never came to fruition for him and the Tar Heels. Howell’s the type of prospect who needs the tools around him to be successful. With Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and hopefully a healthy Curtis Samuel in Washington, he could be the piece head coach Ron Rivera needs to right the ship.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. showed elite traits as a true freshman in 2019. However, he struggled to build off that campaign, failing to create a turnover over the past two seasons.
The Minnesota Vikings are getting a cornerback with quite possibly the highest ceiling at the position in the 2022 NFL Draft. Getting Stingley there will be the challenge of whoever the Vikings choose as their new head coach.
13) Cleveland Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The stars looked aligned for the Cleveland Browns to finally take the next step and be a legitimate NFL contender in 2021. Five months later, they’ve released their star receiver, and their future franchise QB looks more like a future journeyman in the NFL.
The Browns’ offense finished in the bottom half in nearly every passing category this season. If Baker Mayfield truly is the future, he needs a new weapon. And the Browns don’t need to reach far for Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Baltimore Ravens, even with all the injuries on offense, were competitive most weeks this past season. Yet, they traded away left tackle Orlando Brown last year, and it proved to be costly — giving up 57 sacks, which were second-most in the NFL.
Ikem Ekwonu ascended during the 2021 college football season into a first-round tackle prospect. Ekwonu has speed and power you don’t see from many OL prospects, with positional versatility along the offensive line.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Once pick 15 hits, it’s the Philadelphia Eagles’ show. With three picks in the first round, they have an opportunity to build off a solid season that unfortunately ended in a Wild Card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The first prospect to be named an Eagle in our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft is linebacker Devin Lloyd. With an ability to both execute in the box against the run or in pass coverage, he’s undoubtedly a Day 1 starter in Philadelphia.
16) Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis): DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
I hope you like defense, Eagles fans. This past season, the Eagles had the second-fewest sacks with just 29. DeMarvin Leal is arguably one of the most versatile defensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft class. With Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan potentially hitting free agency, general manager Howie Roseman not only has to replace them but improve on the lackluster pass rush.