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2022 NFL Mock Draft: How high do Aidan Hutchinson and Chris Olave rise?

Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson is set to rise up draft boards after a dominant 2021. Just how high does he go in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft is officially on the horizon. With one last weekend of college football left before bowl season, it has officially become draft season. As we switch focus from college football to the NFL Draft, the analysis of players changes as well. With that comes our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, with the most up-to-date draft order following Week 12 in the NFL.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | 1-16

With the draft order set and players nearly done with their college seasons, here is what the Pro Football Network free Mock Draft Simulator did with the most recent iteration of Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

1) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux is the de facto No. 1 player right now. He has been for some time. It’s not without warrant either, as the big man from Eugene is dominating the action in 2021. Thibodeaux is far from perfect, but he arguably offers the most upside at the current moment. When he’s healthy and at his best, there are few better edge-rushing prospects in recent memory.

2) Houston Texans: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Houston Texans will need a large influx of talent this offseason. They start that off by selecting Ohio State WR Chris Olave. A master of his craft, Olave does everything at near-elite levels as a wide receiver. From body control to catch-point skills and sharp routes to amazing footwork, Olave is the complete package. He may not have dominated in 2021 from a pure statistical standpoint, but put on the tape. The talent is there in spades.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

A mountain of a man, NFL Draft fans will hear a ton about Evan Neal in the coming months. That’s because he weighs close to a ton. Well, not literally, but Neal tips the scales at 6’7″, 351 pounds, and moves around like a bear hunting his prey.

Neal is a dominant force at left tackle with innate moving skills and terrific hands. He pencils in at starting left tackle in Jacksonville immediately and for at least a decade.

4) New York Jets: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

The best pure cover prospect in some time, Derek Stingley Jr. hasn’t quite lived up to the hype he brought on himself back in 2019. Still, Stingley’s ball skills are the best we’ve seen in perhaps a decade. He possesses elite skills at the catch point and could even see time as a return specialist. Stingley is a special talent, and his selection starts the overhauling of the Jets’ defensive unit.

5) New York Jets: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The Jets continue to overhaul the defensive side of the ball with their second defender in as many picks. Aidan Hutchinson has rocketed up draft boards like he rockets towards quarterbacks. Hutchinson has demanded the nation’s attention like he commands offensive coordinators’ attention in practice.

He wins with speed, just the same as he wins with power. Hutchinson will push tackles back from the jump and dominate through to the quarterback. He’s a complete package, and the Jets get themselves a true game-wrecker.

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

The New York Giants continue the run on defensive players with their back-to-back selections. Both New York franchises need help on the defensive side of the ball as the Giants also hit the edge defender pool.

George Karlaftis continues to hone in on his craft as a pass rusher but possesses several elite traits. He’ll blow by smaller offensive linemen while getting stonewalled by bigger tackles at times. His true ceiling will come in time, but Karlaftis arguably holds the highest floor among the edge prospects.

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

Another safe prospect off the board, Kyle Hamilton possesses all the skills to be a lockdown, free-roaming safety for years to come. The Giants continue to overhaul their defense like the Jets do with their top two picks with Karlaftis and now Hamilton.

The former Notre Dame safety covers more ground faster than anyone else in the class. He also brings the hammer down with him at his massive 6’4″, 220-pound frame. Hamilton is a ball hawk in coverage and a true run-stopper in the box. He’s a can’t miss player.

8) Philadelphia Eagles: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

The Philadelphia Eagles are up with their run of back-to-back selections. Philly also goes to the defensive side of the ball with USC edge defender Drake Jackson.

The USC program was kept quiet this year, but Jackson did his damage nonetheless. Jackson has the class’ best bend off the edge, routinely dipping his hips below offensive tackles. But he also possesses power in both facets. Jackson continues the Eagles’ trend of having incredible athletes rushing the passer off the edge of their defensive line.

9) Philadelphia Eagles: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Eagles, like both New York franchises ahead of them, hit the defensive well again. With six consecutive picks between the Jets, Giants, and Eagles, each selection comes from the defensive side of the ball as the Eagles grab Florida CB Kaiir Elam.

A pure cover corner, Elam has terrific hips and can stick with all types of receivers in man coverage. He’ll grab a bit and lacks pure straight-line speed, but he has more than enough of a burst to close gaps quickly. He’ll lock down one side of the field in Philly.

10) Carolina Panthers: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

The Carolina Panthers shake the defensive run on players with their selection of Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green. A versatile offensive lineman, Green has lined up basically everywhere on the Aggies’ offensive line throughout his career. He projects inside at the NFL level and gives Carolina a perfect plug-and-play player at guard or even center. Carolina needs help on the interior, and Green is a perfect addition.

11) Atlanta Falcons: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

And there he goes, this 2022 NFL Mock Draft’s first quarterback. Matt Corral heads southeast a bit from Mississippi, becoming the heir apparent to Matt Ryan. There are two more years on Ryan’s contract, but the team also has a potential out following this season.

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Corral slides in to either take over or learn from one of the all-time greats for two seasons. With great upside, Corral needs to showcase he can hit all levels of the field and make NFL throws to not project as a system QB who will fizzle out.

12) Minnesota Vikings: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The third cornerback selected in the first 12 picks, Andrew Booth Jr., has emerged as a potential candidate to be CB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has incredible ball skills and is as rangy as they come. As he got more acclimated with the game in 2021, his game began to shine.

Booth is a tremendous athlete and should test through the roof. If the Minnesota Vikings were to grab Booth with the 12th pick, consider that a win for years to come in Minnesota.

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

An Ohio State receiver and the New Orleans Saints. Seems like a match made in … well, a match already made. The Saints grab Garrett Wilson from Columbus, who projects to likely be a starter on the outside immediately.

Wilson, like his teammate Olave, has all the tools necessary to be a complete receiver. There is positional versatility with Wilson as he can line up everywhere on the field. Then, there are also his elite hands and routes. Wilson can separate from defenders both at the line of scrimmage and at the catch point. He’s an immediate candidate for rookie of the year.

14) Philadelphia Eagles: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Like a few other Michigan Wolverines this season, Daxton Hill has seen his draft stock soar. Hill is a fabulous player in space and closes gaps in a hurry. He’ll thump runners in the ground game while also possessing enough skill in coverage to stick with a variety of pass catchers. The Eagles grab their third defensive player in the top 14 picks, overhauling their unit with Hill at safety, Elam at cornerback, and Jackson along the edge.

15) Cleveland Browns: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Cleveland Browns went to the linebacker pool a year ago with their selection of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. JOK will lock down the weak side while Devin Lloyd comes in to play the role of a complete, sideline-to-sideline linebacker. A role he was destined to play.

Lloyd is the 2022 NFL Draft class’ best mover at LB. He’ll make highlight-reel plays look routine in coverage and rock ball carriers’ worlds in the run game. There is nothing Lloyd does that couldn’t be considered elite.

16) Pittsburgh Steelers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Pittsburgh Steelers spurn their potential quarterback of the future for someone who is arguably the best “go” ball receiver of the class. Treylon Burks may have a limited route tree, but the best route he runs is better than any other receiver’s best route in this class.

At 6’3″, 223 pounds, Burks shouldn’t be able to move as fast as he does. He utilizes his speed on straight-line routes and should be able to blow by any defender in coverage. Give him a few years to hone his receiving prowess, and the Steelers have just that: a steal of a pick.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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