The 2022 NFL Draft will take place on Thursday. Get ready for the biggest weekend of the NFL offseason with Adam Beasley’s final 1-Round NFL Mock Draft of the cycle.
2022 1-Round NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
Three pass rushers in the first four picks isn’t surprising. But a quarterback going No. 2 overall? That should add some spice to what otherwise looks like a low-key Day 1.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Jaguars would have loved to have traded out of this pick but couldn’t find any takers. So instead, they take Travon Walker, whose profile would have been higher (and his stats likely better) if he hadn’t played on a loaded Bulldogs defensive line.
Walker still led Georgia with 36 quarterback hits. His position flexibility is just what the bad Jaguars defensive front needs.
2) Detroit Lions: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Malik Willis becomes the 10th quarterback taken in the first round in the Lions’ 93-year history. The Lions hope the raw but ridiculously talented Willis turns out to be more like Matthew Stafford than Joey Harrington.
3) Houston Texans: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
In taking Willis, the Lions pass on Aidan Hutchinson, the hometown kid. That’s just fine with the Texans, who were 22nd in pass-rush win rate (39%), 27th in yards per pass (7.1), and 25th in yards per play (5.6) in 2021.
4) New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Jets pass on all of the top tackles and cornerbacks to take Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is one of the most polarizing players in the draft. The natural ability is there, but is the desire? That’s unclear. The scrutiny will be intense in the Big Apple.
5) New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
The first four picks could not have fallen any better for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, who are determined to give Daniel Jones a fair shot in their first (and perhaps only) year together. Ikem Ekwonu will help Jones stay upright, which is a great first step.
6) Carolina Panthers: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo got ahead of the head coach in making some major news. When McAdoo named Sam Darnold Carolina’s starting quarterback in 2022, he may have signaled that the Panthers weren’t targeting a QB high in the draft. If so, that’s good. Because Evan Neal is way better than any QB left on the board.
7) New York Giants (from CHI): Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Another stroke of excellent luck for the Giants, who land the draft’s best tackle and the draft’s best cornerback in the span of a half-hour. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner adds to a solid pass defense that in 2022 ranked 11th in opponent passer rating (89.0) and 16th in EPA per dropback (46.4%).
8) Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
This pick at this spot has seemed a fait accompli since the day the draft order was set. The Falcons have one of the worst groups of wide receivers in recent memory. But Garrett Wilson and tight end Kyle Pitts could be a dynamic duo for years to come.
9) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
With Willis gone, there’s no other quarterback that makes sense for Seattle in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. So, Pete Carroll will have to go into the season with Geno Smith and Drew Lock. At least the pass protection should be improved with Charles Cross in the mix.
10) New York Jets (from SEA): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
There have been whispers for weeks that Jameson Williams wouldn’t get past the Jets at 10, even with his still-healing knee injury. The Jets need to give Zach Wilson help, and Williams — who was a first-team All-American as a junior at Bama — is special when healthy.
11) Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
A lackluster pro day cost Kyle Hamilton a significant chunk of change. But the tape doesn’t lie, and Hamilton plays faster than the stopwatch. The Commanders need playmakers on defense. They got one in Hamilton, who is the No. 2 player on the PFN Consensus Big Board.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Kevin O’Connell might have a background in offense, but he knows teams that can’t consistently get after the quarterback have little chance to win. The Vikings had the league’s fourth-worst pass-rush win rate in 2021 (34%). That number will improve with Jermaine Johnson II aboard.
13) Houston Texans (from CLE): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Lovie Smith dropped a major hint about his club’s draft plan earlier this month when he said bluntly on SportsRadio 610 that “we can’t play the type of football that we want to play until we get better at the cornerback position.” Drafting Derek Stingley Jr. — the former All-American — gets the Texans better at the cornerback position.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
This is a luxury pick. But it’s a smart pick. Zion Johnson is a natural guard but got some work in snapping the ball at the Senior Bowl. A plausible vision for Johnson — play him at center in 2022 and then have him replace either Kevin Zeitler or Ben Powers in 2022.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Trevor Penning‘s position flexibility makes him a tantalizing option for teams like the Eagles, who already have a good left tackle in Jordan Mailata. Philadelphia could play Penning at guard in 2022 and then shift him to right tackle in 2023 if they move on from Lane Johnson.
16) New Orleans Saints (from IND via PHI): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Saints acquired a second first-round pick for a reason. They want to find Drew Brees’ long-term replacement. Desmond Ridder, who is a two-way threat, needs some seasoning, but he’ll have the chance to ease his way into the NFL with Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton ahead of him on the depth chart.