As the 2022 NFL Draft approaches, the selections in the early rounds are slowly coming into focus. Here’s the latest look at what might happen within the first 64 picks, with a brand new 2-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
Which players lead off this 2-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft?
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
It’s likely either edge rusher or offensive tackle for the Jaguars in Round 1. I don’t think their additions to the offensive line necessarily preclude them from taking Evan Neal. Nevertheless, Aidan Hutchinson is slowly looking like the favorite here. He’s a great athlete with a never-ending motor and violent hands.
2) Detroit Lions: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
I don’t have any sources. I just have a gut feeling that Hutchinson is a heavy favorite on the Lions’ board. It also feels like Hutchinson is the only player who’d keep Detroit from picking Malik Willis at No. 2. Willis is an uncertain QB prospect, but his physical potential is unmatched in this class. And for the Lions, who have a bridge in Jared Goff to help ease Willis in, this could be a wise investment with great returns in future years.
3) Houston Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
It appears as though the Houston Texans will roll with Davis Mills at QB for the foreseeable future. It’s a smart move after the 2021 third-round pick turned in a promising rookie season. But now that they’ve made this decision, they have to give him the best support they can buy. At third overall, Evan Neal qualifies. He’s a legitimate bouncer at left tackle, with the strength and athleticism to lock down his side.
4) New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Phantom character concerns may end up causing Kayvon Thibodeaux to fall down the draft board. As of now, I’m of the mind that he’s too talented to fall out of the top five — top 10 at the most. For the Jets at fourth overall, Thibodeaux would be an excellent add. He’s supremely explosive, with great length and power capacity. Beyond that, he flashes great hand usage and has some flexibility as well.
5) New York Giants: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Travon Walker is the trendy top-five pick, which I get. He’s an incredible talent with unreal upside. But Jermaine Johnson II is far and away the more polished prospect at this point. And Johnson tested well in his own right, earning a 4.58 40-yard dash and a 124″ broad jump at 6’4 5/8″, 254 pounds, with 34″ arms. He’s a great athlete, with strong, brutish hands and enough ankle flexion to pinch the corner. He can be a star defender for a decade-plus.
6) Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Do I think it’s optimal for the Panthers to throw a rookie quarterback into a disastrous situation? No. But I also don’t think the Panthers can stomach rolling into another season with Sam Darnold as their starter. At the very least, Kenny Pickett has the tools to withstand adversity for the Panthers early on. He’s experienced, athletic, has a good arm, and is very proficient off-platform.
7) New York Giants (from CHI): Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Zion Johnson is a stud. I think this is a bit too high for him, but the Giants need an upgrade at offensive guard. They also need a right tackle, but there aren’t any natural right tackles available this high.
Protecting Daniel Jones is of the utmost importance, so there’s a chance the Giants could take on a slight reach to grab a quality player like Johnson. And in truth, Johnson could go on to rationalize this pick. He’s a great athletic talent, with a strong frame and a mauler gene.
8) Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
After signing Marcus Mariota, a quarterback familiar with Arthur Smith’s system, the Falcons don’t have to force the issue at quarterback at eighth overall. They can simply take the best available player and kickstart their rebuild. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, that player is easily Kyle Hamilton. He’s a rangy, instinctive defensive back who stands at a massive 6’4″, 220 pounds.
9) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
I was relatively high on Drew Lock when he came onto the draft scene in 2019. His raw talent, combined with a weak QB class, provided the perfect storm for overestimation. As much as I want to be optimistic, the Seahawks can’t rely on him as a long-term starter. They’d be well-served to take a swing in the 2022 NFL Draft. After a smooth pro day showing, Matt Corral‘s dynamic ability could earn him the pick.
10) New York Jets (from SEA): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Zach Wilson needs a wide receiver who can make him comfortable. And with Garrett Wilson, there’s a lot of comfort to offer beyond having the same surname. Wilson is an explosive, twitchy receiving threat with great catching instincts and run-after-catch ability. He can be more efficient as a route runner at times, but his suddenness and throttle control provide him unmatched upside. At his peak, he’s Stefon Diggs.
11) Washington Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC
Wilson is my top choice for the Commanders if he’s there. If he’s not, then I like Drake London. I’m a fan of Chris Olave as well, but London is higher on my board. London gets billed as a mere contested-catch threat at 6’4″, 219 pounds. But he’s so much more than that. He has the agility and explosiveness to separate, and he’s a bull after the catch. Do you need an X? Here he is.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
After signing Za’Darius Smith, the Vikings have some breathing room on the edge. They should still address the position in a strong EDGE class, but they can at least push it to Round 2 or 3. In Round 1, take the best available player at a position of need. Here, one could argue that Ahmad Gardner is that player. He fits best in zone schemes, but his physicality, instincts, and playmaking ability translate anywhere.
13) Houston Texans (from CLE): George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Teams build up from the trenches. The Texans have a lot of building left to do, so the trenches should be high on their to-do list. After adding Neal, the Texans turn to the defensive side of the ball with their second first-round pick in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, acquiring George Karlaftis. Karlaftis has underrated athleticism, which he complements with powerful hands and ankle flexion around the edge.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Ravens have a fairly strong roster after free agency. They got their nose tackle in Michael Pierce and their rangy free safety in Marcus Williams. The needs are slowly dwindling for Baltimore, but an underrated one is tackle. Ronnie Stanley is great when he’s healthy — but that’s becoming less and less often. With Ikem Ekwonu, they can either have a strong succession plan in place or shift Ekwonu between tackle and guard if needed.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
It’s anyone’s guess who CB1 is this year. There are as many as four or five contenders, depending on who you speak to. Gardner is emerging as the favorite, but I wouldn’t count Kaiir Elam out. Elam’s tape is woefully underrated, and while he has a few things to clean up, he has the explosiveness, physicality, and ball skills to be a venerable playmaker. On top of that, he has outrageous fluidity for his 6’1 1/2″ frame.
16) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
I’m not going to act like the signing of Zach Pascal is a league-changing move. But Pascal is a solid, underrated receiver familiar with Nick Sirianni’s scheme. Pascal’s presence, at the very least, allows the Eagles some flexibility. With that flexibility, they can invest a first-round pick in Jameson Williams. Williams won’t be ready right away, but he’ll make this pick worth it when he is, with his rare speed and explosiveness.