1-Round NFL Mock Draft: Ahmad Gardner in, Kayvon Thibodeaux out of the top 5

Trades and free agency have changed so much, so let's take a look at the new order of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

If you’ve followed the NFL lately, there’s been a lot going on around the league. Trades have reshaped every 2022 NFL Mock Draft, mostly because team needs change with each new transaction. The latest? Deshaun Watson to the Browns, Davante Adams to Las Vegas, and more. Let’s dive into how those trades affect the 2022 NFL Draft and how their former teams move on from them.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16

The first round has changed quite a bit since my last mock draft. Let’s change things up a little with the picks in the top 10. All selections were made using PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

It’s tough to see the Jags take someone other than Evan Neal at this spot. There’s been some talk about Aidan Hutchinson being the first player selected, but it feels like Neal would be better for them at this point. Protecting Trevor Lawrence is a huge priority, and letting Hutchinson manhandle the current tackles wouldn’t solve much.

2) Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

If Jacksonville doesn’t buy the hype, Aidan Hutchinson shouldn’t be on the board much longer anyway. The Lions need an impact player on the edge, and the Wolverines star brings their defense an incredible tenacity. Liberty quarterback Malik Willis is apparently high on their board and could be their selection. Still, passing on Hutchinson would be extremely difficult to do.

3) Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Now that the Texans have two first-round picks, they can keep building towards the future. Drafting Kyle Hamilton seems like a perfect way to get this 2022 NFL Mock Draft started for them. Hamilton is a do-it-all safety who can play all over the field. Houston’s secondary needs some work, so this would help elevate that group’s play.

4) New York Jets: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

New York addressed the secondary in free agency, and they do need to add a good EDGE player. However, that position remains incredibly deep, and the Jets have another first-round pick. Adding a 6’3″ corner in Ahmad Gardner, who’s been getting compared to Richard Sherman, isn’t something that will be available at 10th overall.

5) New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Regardless of how fans feel about Daniel Jones, the Giants must do a better job of protecting him. They got that process started in free agency, but they’ll add arguably the nastiest player in the draft in Ikem Ekwonu. The Wolfpack tackle elevated his draft stock with a strong Combine performance and now finds himself as a top-five pick.

6) Carolina Panthers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

With Watson not waiving his no-trade clause to join the Panthers, Carolina looks to add their quarterback of the future. Sure, they could wait until next year, but they just signed star receiver DJ Moore to a new contract. Given how the Adams’ situation unfolded, you don’t want to upset your top guy. Adding Malik Willis would bring excitement to the position and still gives him time to learn from Sam Darnold if he’s not ready right away.

7) New York Giants (from CHI): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

After finding a player to protect Jones, the Giants look to add someone who can catch passes from him. If New York adds both Ekwonu and Wilson, there aren’t many more excuses for Jones. Either he’s the quarterback of the future, or the Giants will be looking toward next year’s class. Garret Wilson‘s athleticism, at a minimum, will help Jones’ accuracy.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux falling this far would be one of the biggest surprises of the draft, but it’s not completely unfathomable. Some analysts say he needs to be in the right system, but it could also be that teams have other needs than EDGE. Atlanta would be elated to see Thibodeaux drop, and they’d get a player who has one of the highest ceilings in this draft class.

9) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Let’s be honest, Seahawks fans aren’t exactly pumping the Drew Lock stock. Even if he’s their quarterback for now, they’re still going to look toward the future. Matt Corral‘s pro day performance could determine how much his draft stock changes, but seeing him selected in the top 10 wouldn’t be surprising.

10) New York Jets (from SEA): Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Like I said, the EDGE position is extremely deep in this draft. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, only one player was taken from that group since the Jets’ first pick. Travon Walker is a physical nightmare for anyone facing him. New York’s adding great versatility in the Bulldogs star, who played everywhere on Kirby Smart’s defense.

11) Washington Commanders: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Now that the drama subsided surrounding Kenny Pickett‘s hand size, we can get back to the idea that he’s going to be taken in the first round. Even though the Commanders traded for Carson Wentz, they need a quarterback. At best, it’s tough to see Wentz leading Washington far. However, it also feels like his floor isn’t super low. So waiting to take a quarterback next year seems unlikely, and they must pounce in 2022.

12) Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

It’s tough to pick a position other than corner for the Vikings in the draft, but adding Jordan Davis helps their defense too. Shoot, he might be athletic enough to drop back in coverage, so it’s almost like they’re helping the secondary indirectly. Davis’ athleticism and great size make him a menace up the middle. Thus, the Vikings aren’t losing out much by adding him to their roster.

13) Houston Texans (from CLE): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Maybe the Texans are satisfied with Davis Mills playing quarterback. With the state of the organization, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they’re thinking long term with this draft. Taking a quarterback in Round 1 seems unnecessary to many, and maybe Houston thinks that way. With the talent coming up next year, they might as well wait. Adding Jameson Williams‘ speed would make Mills look a lot better this year.

14) Baltimore Ravens: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Charles Cross is one of the biggest risers as of late, which says a lot about his game. Some analysts have him going top 10, which is crazy given Ekwonu and Neal are both in this draft. Baltimore needs to protect Lamar Jackson better, and adding Cross addresses that need.

15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The optimist in me loves that the Eagles have multiple first-round picks. Same goes for the other teams that are in the same boat. The pessimist says that they’re going to trade them away to move. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad choice. I just like seeing teams keep their picks.

The Eagles start their defensive rebuild by adding Andrew Booth Jr. The Clemson corner was a game-changer for them, and he can do the same for the Eagles in the NFL.

16) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Yes, it’s tough to see the Eagles pass on a linebacker that they desperately need. However, they also need some help at wide receiver. The Jalen Reagor experiment appears to be ending, and Chris Olave would give the Eagles another fast receiver who can stretch the field. Jalen Hurts’ stock would also increase, given he’d have Smith, Olave, and Dallas Goedert in 2022.

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