How is the college football regular season halfway done? It feels like we were just arguing about preseason polls, and Oklahoma fans were mad at me for saying Caleb Williams might dethrone Spencer Rattler (see, I do know what I’m talking about). Now it’s time for another 2022 NFL Mock Draft — the NFL Draft will be here before we know it.
There’s been a ton of fluctuation in the draft rankings, but some players held their value. There’s less volatility in each mock that I see, but there’s still plenty of room for players to rise and fall, especially at quarterback.
2022 NFL Mock Draft | 1-16
In this mock draft, trades were kept to a minimum. Sometimes it’s nice to see what happens when no one wants to trade their picks.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
No matter who’s coaching Jacksonville by the time the draft rolls around, it’s tough to see them passing up the chance to pick first given the number of team needs they possess. Protecting Trevor Lawrence seems like a good place to start.
Evan Neal is as close to a no-brainer as there is in the draft. At 6’7″, 360 pounds, the Alabama tackle will be an instant starter in any offense he joins. He’s been that way for a while now, and we’ve just been waiting for him to be draft-eligible.
2) Detroit Lions: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
If Detroit wants a quarterback, they have a chance to trade back and still get their guy (they also have another pick later in the first round). With the QB1 discussion up in the air, the Lions can focus on the other side of the ball with this pick.
Kyle Hamilton brings a unique athletic profile to a position that doesn’t see many players with his size and ability. At 6’4″, 219 pounds, he’s a versatile weapon for Marcus Freeman and the Fighting Irish defense. If the Lions want to further evaluate what they’re getting in Hamilton, Freeman should be the first call.
3) Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The only big concern in Derek Stingley‘s game right now is his health. A season-ending injury knocked him out, but many felt he was ready to turn pro after one season. Even without much tape to watch from 2021, he’s put out enough for teams to feel comfortable drafting him this high. Houston needs some youth on their team to build for the future, even if they’re surprising people with their play right now.
4) New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
If Kayvon Thibodeaux falls to the fourth spot, Jets fans will be elated. With their franchise quarterback on the roster, New York can turn towards other positions of need. While protecting Zach Wilson is a priority, lucking into Thibodeaux is an excellent reason not to draft a tackle at this spot.
5) Philadelphia Eagles: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
If you want versatility in your edge rusher, you better draft Drake Jackson. While the USC Trojans aren’t having a year to remember, Jackson continues dominating his competition.
He gives USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando flexibility in his calls, and the Eagles will love the packages they’ll be able to install thanks to his skill set. Jackson’s athleticism allows him to not only rush the passer but drop back in coverage with equal success.
6) Indianapolis Colts: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Colts are a team that would consider trading up for Jackson, but they’ll stay put for now. With the option to sit and take Kaiir Elam, there’s no losing in this spot. Elam’s been a projected first-round pick since his freshman season, so it’s just been a waiting game for him to be eligible. He’s a Day 1 starter for the Colts.
7) New York Giants: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
While everyone knows what Purdue’s offense can do, George Karlaftis continues making a name for himself on the other side of the ball. After missing nearly the entire 2020 season, he’s back and better than ever. New York inherits a tough and physical player who still has room to get even better. He’ll be a guy that can start right away and also improve the attitude of the Giants’ defense.
8) Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
It feels like anytime I watch the Falcons draft, they pick a pass catcher. From Julio Jones to Calvin Ridley to Kyle Pitts, the Falcons know how to pick good ones, and they continue that trend in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
While many believe Chris Olave is the best wide receiver on Ohio State, I’m a big fan of Garrett Wilson. His athleticism is unmatched by anyone in college football right now, and he’ll give the Falcons yet another threat downfield for anyone playing quarterback.
9) New England Patriots: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Just because I’m high on Garrett Wilson doesn’t mean I’m fading Chris Olave. Simply put, Mac Jones needs a reliable deep threat who can open up the field for the rest of the offense. Olave gives him that.
We’ve seen what Jones can do when given elite pass catchers, and the Patriots would be wise to give him one at the NFL level, too. Jones to Olave has a nice ring to it, and the New England offense is ready for it to come to fruition.
10) Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Andrew Booth Jr. enters new territory, as does the entire Clemson team. While the defense continues playing at a high level, Clemson’s offense and overall team have struggled mightily in 2021. So the spotlight hasn’t been as bright as we expected.
Booth continues to be one of the best prospects in the country despite his team’s struggles, and NFL teams will still covet his size and length. If Philadelphia takes Booth in this draft along with Drake Jackson earlier, it means they’re either satisfied with letting Jalen Hurts develop or they want someone later. Either way, they’re making improvements on defense, especially with Booth.
11) Miami Dolphins: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Kenyon Green moved back to his former guard position this past weekend and made several nice blocks to spring Isaiah Spiller loose. Miami’s in need of an interior offensive lineman, and Green falling to them would be more than ideal. Protecting Tua Tagovailoa (or any quarterback) will be a priority, and Green gives them a blocker with a nasty streak.
12) Minnesota Vikings (from NYJ): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
There are two things I’ve seen from the Vikings in the draft — trading back and drafting defensive backs. In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they ignore one of those things and do the other. I had Kyle Hamilton falling to the Vikings in my previous mock, but we all know that’s not happening anymore.
If Ahmad Gardner is available at No. 12, Minnesota would be foolish not to try to snag him. With how the Cincinnati corner has been playing, he might even climb into the top 10. A long, rangy player, Gardner is an instant upgrade for any team that takes him.
He’s also hoping his Bearcats can make a College Football Playoff run so he can put out some more film against elite competition.
13) Washington Football Team: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Make no mistake, Malik Willis has and continues to be my QB1 for this year’s NFL Draft. Possessing a cannon for an arm, Willis continues adding touch passes to his arsenal as well. He also brings great athleticism that Washington will love.
There isn’t a throw that Willis can’t make, and while his team struggled this past weekend against UL Monroe, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s still the best quarterback in this draft.
14) New York Jets (from Minnesota): Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA
New York’s hand was forced earlier in this draft — passing on Kayvon Thibodeaux would only create more memes. Now that they made that pick, they can give their new defensive end someone to go against in practice (someone he’s familiar with from college).
Sean Rhyan doesn’t get talked about enough as a prospect, mostly because he doesn’t make flashy plays. He’s someone who gets the job done and dominates with consistency. Throwing him on the opposite side of Mekhi Becton (when he’s back healthy) creates a terrifying combination.
15) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
If you ask me, Jordan Davis isn’t getting the recognition he deserves as a prospect yet. He doesn’t fill out the box score, but Davis continues making great plays for a loaded Georgia defense. He added another blocked kick to his résumé this weekend against Kentucky, and teams still haven’t found a way to block him effectively.
We might have to wait for the NFL Combine to see teams move him up their draft boards. At 6’6″, 340 pounds, he has size teams will love. They just need to see the athleticism, and they’ll fall in love the second they see him perform at the Combine.
16) Kansas City Chiefs: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Giving Patrick Mahomes yet another offensive weapon doesn’t seem fair, but how can you pass on Treylon Burks? At 6’3″, 225 pounds, he gives the Chiefs a big deep-field threat instead of just a fast one.
Make no mistake about it, Burks can fly — maybe not as fast as Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman, but this dude can move. The current observation on Burks from many analysts is that there’s no way a guy at 225 pounds should move as fast as he does, and that makes him a perfect fit in Kansas City’s offense.
You thought they were scary now, but wait until they add Burks.