2022 NFL Mock Draft: Could Kenny Pickett and Isaiah Spiller be first-round selections?

In our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we take a look at team needs for the 32 NFL squads and which player might be the one to fill them.

With the 2021 NFL standings beginning to take shape through seven weeks, let’s take a look at our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft of the first round. Which needs might teams fill in the NFL Draft in April, and who might be the best option to fill those needs?

If you think you can do better than our analysts, be sure to check out Pro Football Network’s free Mock Draft Simulator and see how your mock draft turns out.

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16

Who are the first 16 players off the board in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft?

1) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Selecting first overall will give the Lions the pick of which of their many needs they address. If a clear QB1 candidate emerges in the closing weeks of the college season, that may be the direction. However, with no clear option standing out, adding a pass rush difference-maker in Kayvon Thibodeaux is an opportunity they have to take.

2) Philadelphia Eagles (from Dolphins): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

This might be a touch high for Derek Stingley Jr., but when we start looking at needs, this is the direction for the Eagles at the top of the first round. The play of Jalen Hurts in the coming weeks may change that. Still, defense is the priority for now, especially with some intriguing offensive linemen likely to be available near the top of the second round.

3) Houston Texans: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi

The shape of Houston’s franchise is expected to change dramatically ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline. Regardless of whether Watson goes in the next week, he is not likely to suit up for the Texans again.

Therefore, with QB the biggest need, Houston needs to address it early in the 2022 NFL Draft. Right now, Matt Corral is the man in possession of the QB1 crown, but that might change in the coming weeks.

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

Despite his protests otherwise, it seems unfeasible that Marcus Maye will be a Jet after this offseason. With Jamal Adams and Maye having vacated the defensive backfield, the Jets need to add a potential difference-maker. That is exactly what Kyle Hamilton could be, playing in multiple roles on Robert Saleh’s defense.

5) Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Jaguars desperately need to address the offensive line this offseason. It’s rare to find a top-tier offensive tackle on the open market, so replacing Cam Robinson with another Alabama OT is the best way to go in the first round. Alabama OTs have had mixed success in the NFL, but right now, Evan Neal is the top option at the position in 2022.

6) Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

A few pass rushers could be in play for the Eagles with Derek Barnett potentially on the move this offseason. George Karlaftis has had a solid first half of the 2021 season with Purdue. He has 2.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss through seven games. However, he is in a major scrap right now to be the second pass rusher taken.

7) New York Giants: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

One of the fastest risers of this draft class is Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson. Coming into the year with 3.5 career sacks and 11 tackles for loss, Hutchinson has 5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in just seven games this season. The Giants need to address their outside pass rush, and Hutchinson would be a nice fit (assuming they don’t change coaching staffs between now and the draft).

8) Washington Football Team: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The shine has gone off the star of Malik Willis in the last couple of weeks. However, with no one else really taking the spot as the second QB in the 2022 NFL Draft, Willis could still be a top-10 selection. His athletic traits make him an intriguing prospect who could fit nicely in Washington, as Ron Rivera has schemed success with a mobile QB (Cam Newton).

9) New York Jets (from Seahawks): Drake Jackson, DE, USC

The Jets could go in several directions with this selection. A cornerback is in play and so is a defensive tackle. However, the highest impact could come from getting a pass rusher who matches their scheme well in Drake Jackson.

10) Miami Dolphins (from 49ers): Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

The Dolphins may not have a 2022 first-round pick when the trade deadline passes on November 1. However, if they do, the offensive line simply has to be the priority. There are a number of needs on the roster, but protecting their QB has to be one.

Sean Rhyan is not the sexy, upside selection that Austin Jackson was, but after seeing Jackson struggle, the somewhat safer option at left tackle might be preferable heading into 2022.

11) New England Patriots: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The departure of Stephon Gilmore has left a gaping hole in the Patriots’ defense opposite J.C. Jackson. Kaiir Elam could come in and start immediately for New England. A team that prides itself on the strength of its defense needs to re-establish that dominance in 2022.

12) Denver Broncos: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

The number of needs Denver has heading towards the 2022 offseason is terrifying. They could go anywhere on either side of the ball with their first-round pick — only RB would be a surprise. In Sam Howell, the Broncos would be taking another swing at finding their replacement for Peyton Manning. Hopefully, they don’t miss again.

13) Philadelphia Eagles (from Colts): Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

The Eagles spend their first three selections in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft on each of the three levels of their defense by adding Christian Harris at LB. The woes of the rest of the team have meant that the issues at linebacker have gone under the radar. However, they are very much there, and with three potential first-round selections, the Eagles have the luxury of using one on a slightly lower-leverage position.

14) Carolina Panthers: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Panthers have both Stephon Gilmore and Donte Jackson set to be free agents at the end of the year. It is highly unlikely they can retain both. Therefore, an option such as Andrew Booth Jr. in the middle of the first round would be a solid replacement for whoever they let walk.

15) New York Giants (from Bears): Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

The Giants need to address multiple needs on their offensive line. Unfortunately, there is a gap between the second and third offensive tackles currently available. Therefore, the Giants could instead turn their attention to the interior and add a foundational piece in Kenyon Green.

16) Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Chiefs have not found a replacement for Sammy Watkins and it shows on a weekly basis. They have other needs on both sides of the ball, but the aggressive move is to go and chase more firepower for Patrick Mahomes. A trio of Chris Olave, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce will have mouths watering in Kansas City.

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.