2022 NFL Mock Draft: A quarterback doesn’t go first overall

With the PFN Mock Draft Simulator taking the reigns, how many trades and surprise picks are made in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft?

Rage Against the Machine was formed after using various mock draft simulators that had features locked behind paywalls. The group may as well disband as the free PFN Mock Draft Simulator is here to save the day. With one round and 32 picks in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, what does the MDS have occurring in Las Vegas for the 2022 NFL Draft?

2022 NFL Mock Draft | 1-16

Despite question marks at the most important position in sports, the Houston Texans go a different direction.

1. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

The Mock Draft Simulator must believe Deshaun Watson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If that is the case, who should the Texans pick first overall? Why not use the pick on a defensive building block in cornerback Derek Stingley?

Although Kayvon Thibodeaux and Kyle Hamilton are receiving most of the talk in the “best defender in the 2022 NFL Draft class” conversation, Stingley deserves a seat at the table, especially when considering positional value.

2. Detroit Lions: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

The Lions need a quarterback who can perform out of structure, hit nearly every throw on the field, and set the tone on offense. Does that describe Jared Goff? No, but it sure does describe Sam Howell. The Tar Heels’ signal-caller has the motor to drive Motor City into relevancy once again.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Josh Allen enjoyed an excellent rookie season before playing just two games last year. K’Lavon Chaisson struggled to rush the passer in Year 1 but has the tools to do so at a high level. So, why would the Jaguars select yet another edge rusher in the first round? Because Kayvon Thibodeaux is a freak of nature, who would instantly make this pass-rush trio the best in the NFL.

4. New York Jets: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

While many outlets have Christian Harris as the top linebacker in the 2022 class — including PFN — he isn’t worthy of a top-five selection. The Jets desperately need to attack their secondary. And with the likes of Kaiir Elam and Kyle Hamilton still on the board, the talent is ripe for the picking.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Many believe taking Ja’Marr Chase in the first round this year over Penei Sewell was the wrong decision. And if the Bengals are selecting this high, they may have had a point. Nevertheless, Cincinnati aims to right the ship by drafting Evan Neal to be their anchor on the offensive line.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

This is a dream scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles. Arguably the top QB in the draft falls right into their laps. Jalen Hurts could be the answer, but picking sixth overall does not exactly scream success. Thus, Philly swings for the fences and hits a home run with Spencer Rattler in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

7. New York Giants: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

The Giants have needed pass-rush help off the edge for years. Drake Jackson offers that, and then some, as the USC defender has played as an outside linebacker and defensive end. That versatility will earn him brownie points in the NFL, and he has the physical tools to be a force against the run.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

A safety in the top 10 may raise some eyebrows from the analytics crowd, but Kyle Hamilton is the exception. His instincts, length, and play speed make him scheme-independent at the next level.

9. Carolina Panthers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Although a quarterback could be in the running, the Panthers picked up Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option, so he will be around for at least two years in Carolina. As a result, the Panthers opt to give him an additional weapon to pair with Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and rookie Terrace Marshall. Chris Olave won’t “wow” in many aspects of his game, but he is excellent in each one.

10. New York Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

After going defense with their first top-10 pick, the Giants decide it’s time to attack the offensive line. Left tackle Andrew Thomas struggled mightily in 2020 but showed some strides toward the end of the year. If his turmoils continue, Charles Cross could slot in at left tackle. Yet, if Thomas gets it together, Cross could start on the right side and form franchise-setting bookends for the G-Men.

11. Denver Broncos: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

John Elway loves himself some QBs with rocket arms. Even so, Malik Willis‘ cannon would make Elway blush. Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater are currently in a QB battle, but neither inspires confidence. So, the Broncos select the Liberty QB to bring justice for all receivers on the team.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Raiders are a mess — there is no getting around it. Derek Carr is playing the best ball of his career, and Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are throwing it away. Nevertheless, if they truly care about turning the franchise around, they need to spend draft capital on the defensive side of the ball. With holes all over the place, the Raiders patch up the most important one.

Las Vegas bets on Kaiir Elam becoming their CB1 with the 12th pick. And if I were them, I would push all the chips in.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Speaking of cornerbacks, the Cardinals don’t have any. Well, Byron Murphy and Tay Gowan have potential, but neither strikes fear into offenses. Consequently, Arizona takes the uber-athletic Andrew Booth Jr. in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Booth’s highlight reel-type playmaking is extraordinary; he just needs to be consistent for an entire season.

14. Washington Football Team: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Olave’s teammate didn’t have to wait long to hear his name as Garrett Wilson goes off the board five picks later. Washington dips back into the Ohio State well to snag a receiver to line up opposite Terry McLaurin. Wilson is smooth like butter on the field and not the “I can’t believe it’s not butter” kind.

15. Los Angeles Chargers (from Minnesota): Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

The Chargers swap picks with the Vikings, shipping a fourth-rounder to Minnesota. After taking LT Christian Darrisaw in the 2021 NFL Draft, LA double dips along the offensive line and snatches Texas A&M OT Kenyon Green. Green is a bit raw hand usage and footwork-wise at tackle, but he shouldn’t be allowed to move the way he does at 325 pounds.

16. Minnesota Vikings (from Los Angeles Chargers): DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

Iron sharpens iron, and Green has been battling with the only defensive tackle worthy of a first-round pick at practice the past few years. DeMarvin Leal is truly in his own tier among defensive tackles in the 2022 class. He owns the requisite size, strength, and explosiveness to be a menace as a pass rusher and a run defender from Day 1.

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