While the 2022 NFL Draft is inching closer, it is still way too early to try and predict each team’s picks. So, I’m taking a different approach in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. I’m going to make each selection as if each player will instantly be added to that team’s roster … today. As a result, I will heavily favor prospects who are more NFL-ready, even if their proverbial “ceiling” is lower than others.
Please note that the draft order is set based on the completion of Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season. Be sure to check back on Tuesday morning (November 9) for our next mock draft, which will have the updated order following all of the action in Week 9.
2022 NFL Mock Draft | 1-16
In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the draft order reflects the current draft order after Week 8. For teams at the top of the draft, one rookie inserted into their roster midseason will not change their short-term outlook. Thus, we can look more to the future here.
1) Detroit Lions: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
An argument can be made that there isn’t a single quarterback worthy of the No. 1 overall pick currently. However, the Lions know Jared Goff is not the future. So why prolong their search for the face of the franchise? In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Matt Corral is the engine that will get Motor City humming.
His combination of athleticism, arm talent, and experience against top competition is unparalleled in this class. Corral has demonstrated a vast improvement in decision-making, throwing 2 interceptions thus far this season compared to 14 in 2020.
2) Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
While Houston also has a QB dilemma, their roster is in far worse shape than Detroit’s. Throwing a rookie signal-caller into this dumpster fire would do more to harm their career than jump-start it.
Thus, the Texans take one of the few blue-chip prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux would hit the ground running this season and be a cornerstone piece to build the defense around.
3) Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Eagles are second in the lowly NFC East, and even though they are 3-5, there is still a non-zero chance they make the playoffs. To boost those odds, they use the first of two top-10 picks to select Derek Stingley Jr. For the purposes of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, let’s turn the injury slider off and assume every player is fully healthy. In that case, Stingley slots right in next to Darius Slay and instantly forms one of the best CB duos in the NFL.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Urban Meyer isn’t the long-term answer at head coach for the Jaguars — that much is clear. Nevertheless, if we are just looking at the roster construction and assume good process in the other areas of the organization, Jacksonville needs a star in the secondary. Kyle Hamilton can be that and more for the Jags. His range, instincts, and disruption ability in the back end is the stuff of legend.
5) New York Jets: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Jets fans anoint Zach Wilson the second coming of Joe Namath after the franchise selects him No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. He injures his knee in Week 6, and backup QB Mike White steps up. In his first career NFL start, he throws for 405 yards and lands his jersey in Canton. The very next week, he is knocked out with an elbow injury early in the game.
Josh Johnson, whose name you will see as a synonym for “journeyman” in dictionaries, enters the lineup and throws for 317 yards, 3 TDs, and gives the Colts a run for their money. Did I get all that right? Anyway, New York is not a terrible football team. They have talent, and rookie head coach Robert Saleh dips into the defensive well here. Kaiir Elam has done nothing but produce for the Florida Gators. Just watch his tape against Alabama this year, and you will know why he is a top-10 pick.
6) New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Giants are 2-6 and only one game back from second place in the NFC East. But making the postseason shouldn’t be their No. 1 priority right now. That is reserved for assessing if Daniel Jones deserves the keys to the franchise for years to come. Unfortunately, with injuries to seemingly every wide receiver, tight end, and running back on the roster, that has been a bit difficult.
Even if New York’s weapons were at full strength, their offensive line is allowing pressure on seemingly every snap. To help correct that, the Giants select Alabama’s resident manimal Evan Neal. Neal immediately locks down the right tackle spot, with Andrew Thomas manning the blindside.
7) Washington Football Team: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Washington, as good of a story as Taylor Heinicke has been, he isn’t the one. But Malik Willis? He could be. The Football Team desperately needs a QB to pan out before their star-studded defense withers away.
Willis has received hype due to his rushing prowess and arm strength, but you can’t discount character and leadership. The Liberty QB seems to check those boxes with ease, and although he is far from a polished prospect, he is one I would bet the house on.
8) Philadelphia Eagles: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Sticking to the theme of building around QBs so you can properly evaluate them, Philadelphia needs support up front to protect Hurts. They get just that with Kenyon Green, a versatile lineman who can start at any guard or tackle spot required. Green can seek and destroy better than any weapon the government has spent trillions of dollars on.
9) New York Jets (from Seattle): Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
While we didn’t get to see Carl Lawson suit up for the Jets due to an offseason injury, John Franklin-Myers and Bryce Huff have generated off the edge. Yet, neither could keep Aidan Hutchinson off the field.
Hutchinson has excellent bend for a 6’5″ pass rusher, and his motor is relentless. The “coverage vs. pass rush” debate rages on, but New York doesn’t have to worry about it as they draft surefire prospects in both phases.
10) New York Giants (from Chicago): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
A center at No. 11 overall? You’re damn right. Tyler Linderbaum is one of the safest players in the draft. The former wrestler lives to put people in the dirt, something the G-Men’s offensive line has done a lot of this year — been put in the dirt, that is. Linderbaum will give Jones more time in the pocket and create gaping holes for Saquon Barkley to penetrate up the middle.
11) Atlanta Falcons: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
With Calvin Ridley out indefinitely, the Falcons really don’t have many options outside of rookie TE Kyle Pitts and do-it-all playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson. Their playoff aspirations are slim, but Chris Olave could be the catalyst they’ve been looking for on offense. Olave is the most consistent receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft and has one of the cleanest route trees.
12) Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Hope, in reality, is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.” He may have been speaking directly to Miami Dolphins fans. Miami is 1-7, last in the AFC East, and have rumors spewing out left and right. But we aren’t here for that. We are here to try our damndest to set this franchise back on track. What better way to do that than by affording Tua Tagovailoa more than two seconds in the pocket?
Last season, Charles Cross seemed like a project tackle, but he has improved by leaps and bounds in Year 3 at Mississippi State. Now, the smooth operator is shutting down every opponent across from him, even when facing the likes of Texas A&M and Alabama.
13) Minnesota Vikings: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
With Danielle Hunter done for the season, the Vikings have no pass rush other than a 33-yeard-old Everson Griffen. George Karlaftis fixes that problem right away and will form a devasting edge-rush combo when Hunter returns in 2022. PFN Draft Analyst Oli Hodgkinson calls Karlaftis “The Grecian Goliath,” and it fits perfectly as the Greece native stands at 6’4″ and 275 pounds.
14) Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
With their third and final pick of the first round, the Eagles continue to give Hurts weapons. DeVonta Smith has proven his Heisman-winning skill set could translate to the NFL — not that there should have been much doubt. Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins are solid speedsters, but Garrett Wilson can be the true No. 2 option to Smith.
In Wilson, Philadelphia gets a genuine three-level threat — he excels before the catch, at the catch point, and after the catch. The only reason Ohio State teammate Olave went off the board first is his game is a bit more refined at this moment. But Wilson may ultimately own the higher ceiling.
15) New England Patriots: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Who allowed Bill Belichick to get his hands on one of the most versatile defensive pieces in the entire draft? Well, I guess that would be me, but that’s beside the point. DeMarvin Leal can flow from edge rusher to nose tackle and still dominate. Although the biggest concern with his profile is finding the role he best fits, Belichick will have no issue maximizing Leal’s potential. That is a scary proposition for the rest of the league.
16) Denver Broncos: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
Exit Von Miller, enter Kingsley Enagbare. Enagbare is sudden, violent, and possesses inside/outside versatility. He has always flashed the traits, especially in 2020, but he has put it all together this season. The South Carolina star parlays a first-round name and skill set into a Round 1 selection in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.