How did we get this far into the season? The College Football Playoff is here, and the NFL playoffs aren’t too far behind. Every week that goes by means we’re closer to 2022 NFL Mock Drafts becoming the actual NFL Draft. The sadness of a season ending will quickly turn into excitement for the future before we know it.
You’re about to read a completely enthralling 2022 NFL Mock Draft courtesy of PFN’s Draft Team. Want to go beyond reading and do one of your own? Take a spin on PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator.
2022 NFL Mock Draft | 1-16
Only one trade in the first half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but the fluctuation continues in a draft with not a ton of undisputed elite talent.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux won’t play in the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma, and the Sooners should be thanking him. Thibodeaux consistently winds up in the top three in nearly every 2022 NFL Mock Draft, and for good reason. A great mix of speed, power, and length, the Ducks edge rusher will elevate the Jaguars’ defense that currently sits 28th in sacks.
2. Detroit Lions: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Detroit needs some assistance stopping the pass, and adding Andrew Booth Jr. to their secondary would be a great start. Booth has dominated nearly every matchup he’s faced, but Clemson’s offensive struggles this year overshadowed what turned out to be an impressive season from the defense.
3. Houston Texans: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Texans have quite a few areas to address but only get to pick one with the third pick. Adding Aidan Hutchinson to their defensive line is a great way to increase their disruptiveness. There aren’t many that elevated their draft stock quite as much as Hutchinson did.
Any questions about his ceiling were quickly erased when he produced his best games against the Wolverines’ toughest opponents. Taking him third is about as easy as it gets.
4. New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The state of New York begins their 50% of the first eight picks by seeing the Jets select a special talent at safety. Kyle Hamilton‘s size (6’4″, 219 pounds) gets brought up a lot, but it’s something you have to discuss because he knows how to use it in his favor.
Stopping the pass has been a struggle for the Jets all season. Actually, stopping offenses in general has been a struggle. Adding a player in Hamilton who can improve both facets of the defense is the perfect way to get their 2022 NFL Mock Draft started.
5. New York Giants: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
One way to help a struggling rushing attack is adding an elite player who can maul anyone. Kenyon Green knows how to put people on their back, and he also brings a versatility that gives the Giants depth on the line.
New York currently averages 95.5 yards per game on the ground. Saquon Barkley went from one of the best running backs in the league to second-best on his team (for various reasons). Thus, adding an elite talent up front could help get him back to the top tier.
6. New York Jets (from Seattle): Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Jets aren’t messing around in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. They address their biggest concern by taking two defensive backs. First, they added Hamilton to their secondary. Now, they add Kaiir Elam.
For anyone that watched Elam in the Gasparilla Bowl against UCF, you saw why he’s a first-round talent. One thing that stood out was his speed. I don’t care what this man runs in the 40-yard dash. If it’s fast, it justifies what you see on tape. If it’s slow, throw it out. Elam can fly on a football field, and a number on a stopwatch won’t change that.
7. Carolina Panthers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
There’s been more debate about who the better edge player is between Hutchinson and George Karlaftis. Hutchinson saw more of the spotlight because Michigan played on a national stage more often. Don’t count that as a negative thing for Karlaftis, though.
Purdue doesn’t get a ton of attention in the college football world, but they’ve produced several NFL players under Jeff Brohm. Karlaftis demanded double teams frequently the last few years, and it’s no surprise to see him this high.
8. New York Giants (from Chicago): Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Whichever team selects Evan Neal is making a smart pick. That’s the easiest way to put it. Many expect him to put up some eye-popping numbers at the NFL Combine, and the Giants will love adding him to their squad.
Just like the Jets, the Giants are addressing a big-time need by adding two players to the same position group. They took Green with their first selection, and now they add Neal to join him. That’s 680 pounds they’re adding to the offensive line. The offense can only go up if this mock draft becomes a reality.
9. Washington Football Team: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Our first quarterback comes off the board with Washington’s pick. Lately, Matt Corral has been considered the top quarterback in the draft, but another noticeable trend is the lack of quarterbacks taken in these 2022 NFL Mock Drafts.
Will the actual teams do the same? It seems unlikely, but Corral appears to be separating himself from the pack quickly as the season winds down.
10. Detroit Lions (from Atlanta): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Detroit receives: 2022 first-round (10 overall) and 2023 third-round picks
Atlanta receives: 2022 first-round (28 overall), 2022 second-round, and 2023 third-round picks
Chris Olave is one of the best receivers in this draft class. I don’t believe he’s the best, but he’s really good. Detroit fans might cringe at the thought of taking another wide receiver in the top 10, but picking Olave would make them feel better. The offensive skill positions have potential, and Olave is another piece that can help create explosive plays.
11. Denver Broncos: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
Outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, no one knew David Ojabo‘s name. Yet, his elevation helped Michigan win the Big Ten and get into the College Football Playoff. Taking an edge player that is essentially a linebacker will give Broncos fans flashbacks to Von Miller.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Mike Zimmer is a sucker for a good defensive back. So if you’re going to dangle Derek Stingley Jr. in front of him (assuming he’s still the coach) and expect him not to bite, you’re mistaken.
Minnesota would be overjoyed if Stingley fell to them at 12. Normally, they like to try and move back, but you’d have a hard time convincing fans that they didn’t need to take Stingley if he was available.
13. New Orleans Saints: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The definition of explosive, Jameson Williams averages 21.25 yards per catch for the Tide. Williams has been the go-to receiver for Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, and many of his big plays come in clutch moments. He’s one of the sharpest risers in this draft after transferring from Ohio State, and he gives his new offense a bump in speed.
14. Cleveland Browns: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Jordan Davis is the reason you can’t solely rely on box scores. His impact goes beyond that. If you had the opportunity to add him to a defensive line with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, you’d take it in a heartbeat. Oh, and you have Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah behind them.
The Browns have a ton of great players on their defense. The 6’6″, 340-pound Davis would be the latest great addition to that side of the ball.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Charles Cross saw plenty of pass-blocking reps under Mike Leach. The question will turn towards his ability to run block. Mississippi State ran the ball just 266 times this year (compared to 702 pass attempts).
The Steelers have already run the ball 350 times this season compared to 371 attempts through the air. There’s a reason why Cross is a first-round talent, so Pittsburgh fans shouldn’t worry too much about his ability.
16. Los Angeles Chargers: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Chargers drafted Rashawn Slater last year and saw immediate dividends. Adding another Big Ten lineman would be yet another smart decision.
Tyler Linderbaum is the definition of “play to the whistle,” and protecting Justin Herbert is the top priority. So anyone trying to attack his quarterback better come prepared for a fight to the end.