Cam Mellor’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett, Sam Howell land in intriguing spots

Three quarterbacks land in Round 1 of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft -- which has the more favorable landing spot for their future?

With Sam Howell, Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett, and others vying for the top spot at QB1, the 2022 NFL Draft is set to be an intriguing draft to mock. As there is no consensus No. 1 quarterback, the odds of projecting quarterbacks in their actual landing spots are nothing more than a guessing game. With that in mind, we let our free Mock Draft Simulator take the first round for a ride again.

Note: This mock draft was updated with the most current 2022 NFL Draft Order after Monday Night Football.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16

How many quarterbacks go in the top half of Round 1? Where does the other blue-chip talent go?

1) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

A common pick, the Detroit Lions grab Kayvon Thibodeaux yet again. Long thought of as the best overall player in college football this season, Thibodeaux proved time and time again that he was a game-changer. While we’re running low on superlatives for Thibodeaux at this time, the Lions don’t go wrong with adding a proven playmaker who transcends the EDGE position.

2) Houston Texans: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Houston Texans should have a conundrum on their hands next April. With the projected second overall pick, they have their choice over the top player at many positions. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they grab the top cornerback on their board: Andrew Booth Jr. A player with seemingly unlimited potential, Booth finally caught steam towards the end of Clemson’s season this past year. He has great ball skills and can fit into any scheme. Houston needs help at a bevy of places, but cornerback wouldn’t be one after this pick.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The 2022 NFL Draft’s biggest riser to date, Aidan Hutchinson lands in Jacksonville at No. 3. Hutchinson wins with power and has great hands to battle against all sorts of offensive tackles. With all the proverbial traits in his arsenal, his strength is unmatched. He’ll win over a locker room before he wins on the field. He’s a slam dunk, a home run, a knockout punch. Hutchinson is the total package.

4) New York Jets: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

With their first of two picks in the top seven selections, the New York Jets hit the cornerback market with Kaiir Elam. Though he’s the second cornerback drafted here, he very well could be the No. 1 cornerback on a bevy of team’s draft boards, including New York’s. Elam has some of the best ball skills in the class and has proven to be a lockdown man-coverage cornerback. He’ll help transform the Jets’ defense immediately.

5) New York Giants: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

With back-to-back picks, the New York Giants battle through the trenches to improve their roster. George Karlaftis is first up as the Giants grab a big, powerful rusher off the edge. Karlaftis fights through undersized tackles with no problem. He can also skirt to the inside to dominate interior linemen all the same.

6) New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Speaking of big, powerful players in the trenches, there are few bigger than Evan Neal. With their second pick in as many selections, New York takes the top tackle on the board. Protecting the blindside of Daniel Jones (or whoever is the quarterback in 2022) should be of the utmost importance. The selection of Neal ensures that it is.

7) New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

After grabbing a cornerback with their first pick, the Jets go back to the secondary to grab the consensus top safety. Kyle Hamilton is as rangy as they come, and he has even better size. He’ll plug into a variety of secondary roles. Hamilton can cover receivers in the slot and close space in the blink of an eye as a free safety. He’s the total package and the clear-cut best safety prospect. Landing him with Elam in the top seven picks would be an amazing haul for the Jets’ defense.

8) Carolina Panthers: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

A versatile interior offensive lineman, Kenyon Green heads to the Carolina Panthers, who need just what Green offers. He’s a nimble man with great strength. Green projects inside at a variety of positions (either guard spot or center). He can shore up one spot or play across the line. A plug-and-play lineman being used like a chess piece is terrific for a line in need.

9) Atlanta Falcons: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

The top defensive tackle heads to the Atlanta Falcons as DeMarvin Leal is the second Texas A&M Aggie to be selected in as many picks. Leal has great upside and terrific athleticism for a man his size. He’ll utilize his burst to get off the ball quicker than offensive linemen, but he also has enough strength in his arsenal to push guards back into the play. If Leal can step up in run defense, he’ll be an elite three-down defensive tackle.

10) Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The first quarterback off the board, Matt Corral heads to the Philadelphia Eagles as the top 10 comes to a close. Corral offers incredible athleticism and even better arm talent. His down-for-down accuracy is there, as is his ability to hit throws to all levels of the field. This move signifies the end of Minshew Mania and the Jalen Hurts era — Corral is ready to lead an NFL franchise.

11) Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

With back-to-back picks, the Eagles grab a new weapon for their new quarterback. Chris Olave lands as WR1 as he possesses elite skills at every single desirable trait for a receiver in today’s NFL. He has tremendous catch-point skills and crisp routes. Olave is as fast as he is athletic and will quickly become Corral’s favorite target.

12) Minnesota Vikings: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Daxton Hill lands in Minnesota after realizing his full potential in 2021. Hill closes space in the run game and thumps receivers over the middle in coverage. He’s a talented free safety with great positional versatility. Add in the fact that he gets to learn from Harrison Smith in Minnesota, and this pick looks even better.

13) New Orleans Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Penciling in the New Orleans Saints and an Ohio State receiver seems like a match made in … well, history. Garrett Wilson takes up the Michael Thomas mantle — he’s a productive receiver who can win all over the field. Wilson stretches the field with versatility and speed while separating from the draft class with perhaps the best mixture of body control and contested-catch skills.

14) Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Derek Stingley Jr.‘s career didn’t quite pan out like many thought it would after his fabulous 2019 season. But then again, when you’re crowned as the best cornerback in the nation after a few games, it’s hard to surpass that hype. He finished his career at LSU with an injury and never fully realized that potential, but the proverbial floor for Stingley when he’s on the field is as high as anyone else.

15) Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

The Pittsburgh Steelers need to rework their offensive line. A patchwork unit in 2021 gets a stalwart protector in 2022 as Charles Cross enters the fold. Cross is a dynamic athlete with terrific skills in the passing game. He’ll keep clean sheet after clean sheet in pass protection while honing in on his run-blocking skills.

16) Denver Broncos: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The third receiver of the top half of Round 1, Jameson Williams‘ ascension continues. After transferring from Ohio State to Alabama, this gives that terrific 2020 Ohio State receiving corps their third receiver in the top 16 as well. Williams is perhaps one of the better athletes in the class and has tremendous top speed. He’ll utilize that to his advantage in the NFL as he also possesses just about every other skill needed to be a WR1 on Sunday.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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