It’s so hard to do a mock draft this year. Without a clear first pick, everything else becomes even more difficult. One player going in a different spot has a cascading effect on the rest of the draft. I tried to balance the best player available and team needs in the draft, and I project 4 trades in the first round which is consistent with previous years. Teams looking to jump ahead of divisional opponents was a theme I kept coming back to, as well as waiting vs. reaching when a team misses out on their target guy.
2022 NFL Mock Draft
|1||Jacksonville Jaguars||Travon Walker||Edge||Georgia|
Jacksonville goes with the latest buzz prospect over the established Aidan Hutchinson. In a year where there isn’t a real stand-out first overall pick, the Jags take the guy they like the most that will probably shock most average people.
|2||Detroit Lions||Aidan Hutchinson||Edge||Michigan|
It’s hard to pass on Hutchinson here having played just down the road in Ann Arbor. He also grew up on the outskirts of Detroit; a Michigan man through and through. It’s a great pick to energize the fan base on top of getting one of the best pass rushers in the draft.
|3||Houston Texans||Evan Neal||OL||Alabama|
The Texans sure up their offensive line with Neal. He will be able to protect Davis Mills and hopefully help that offense get off the ground. It’s not the sexy pick that Texans fans want but will be the pick they need in the long run. I think they would love to trade back from this spot but finding a buyer at the right price seems unlikely.
|4||New York Jets||Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner||CB||Cincinnati|
The Jets need help on the offensive line but they signed Laken Tomlinson in the offseason. I think getting a corner like Gardner here will help stop other teams from putting points on the board which in turn helps the offense to not be under so much pressure.
|5||Atlanta Falcons via NYG||Malik Willis||QB||Liberty|
The Falcons jump up here to get ahead of Carolina at the 6 spot, who project to be targeting a quarterback. They get their guy at QB who can learn from Marcus Mariota who had a similar skill set coming out of college. It sets them up for the future more than a win-now pick like Ikem Ekwonu would have.
|6||Carolina Panthers||Ikem Ekwonu||OL||NC State|
After missing out on Willis, the Panthers just bolster their OL for Sam Darnold or a future move instead of reaching for one of the other quarterbacks. This pick helps them run the ball more which takes the pressure off the quarterback position.
|7||New York Giants||Kayvon Thibodeaux||Edge||Oregon|
|8||New York Giants||Kyle Hamilton||S||Notre Dame|
With trading back and getting back-to-back picks the Giants could do a lot. I don’t think there is anyone jumping to move up here. I’m sure fantasy managers would prefer something on the offensive side of the ball but it’s a smart move for the team who will give the offense one year with Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones before it gets overhauled if needed.
|9||Seattle Seahawks||Derek Stingley Jr||CB||LSU|
Yes, the Seahawks probably need a quarterback but there is no need to reach for one here. They focus on defense which has a staple under coach Pete Carroll. They will address quarterback later.
|10||Philadelphia Eagles via NYJ||Treylon Burks||WR||Arkansas|
The Eagles jump ahead of division rival, the Commanders, to get the wide receiver they believe is the best in the class. The Eagles haven’t had the best luck with drafting wide-outs but hoping that recent early success with DeVonta Smith will repeat itself with Burks. It gives them two young talented wideouts so this will truly be a make or break year for QB Jalen Hurts.
|11||Washington Commanders||Tyler Linderbaum||C||Iowa|
The Commanders went out and got Carson Wentz this offseason. They could have made plenty of other quarterback moves but choose Wentz so they will go out and protect him. The Eagles moved up assuming wide receiver was a possibility and it could be but I think they know keeping Wentz protected will cut down on the bad plays and will open room for star running back Antonio Gibson.
|12||Minnesota Vikings||Kenyon Green||OL||Texas A&M|
The Vikings are in a tough spot. They could move back and still get their guy in green but it’s an awkward spot in the draft where there isn’t much demand to move up. They solidify the offensive line which was pretty weak. It’s a pick that should give Dalvin Cook more room to run and Kirk Cousins time to pass.
|13||Houston Texans||Chris Olave||WR||Ohio State|
The Texans make the move that fantasy owners want. A fast wide receiver to fill the Will Fuller type role. He give Davis Mills another weapon on a re-tooled offense.
|14||Baltimore Ravens||Trent McDuffie||CB||Washington|
While corner isn’t a real need for the Raven, safety is. When you are facing teams like the Bengals who can spread it out 3 wide you need depth at corner. Its a solid pick that gives them a skilled player in the secondary.
|15||New York Jets||Drake London||WR||USC|
After passing on a wideout at 4th overall the Jets get London at 15. He’s a big wide receiver at 6’4” which will help Zach Wilson develop. He should be the red zone threat.
|16||New Orleans Saints||Charles Cross||OL||Mississippi State|
The Saints need a lot of help and this pick gives them a solid offensive lineman who can sure up the running game for Alvin Kamara and give Jameis Winston time to chuck the deep ball which seems to be what he wants to do every play.
|17||Los Angles Chargers||George Karlaftis||Edge||Purdue|
When you are in a division with so many high powered offense like the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders, getting after the quarterback is key. The Chargers were second to last in team sacks in 2021. This pick is to up that stat.
|18||Philadelphia Eagles||Nakobe Dean||LB||Georgia|
The Eagles addressed the offense earlier and now turn to the defense. They get a linebacker who can do it all and should be an instant contributor. He has speed and range to pass rush and drop in coverage.
|19||New Orleans Saints||Jameson Williams||WR||Alabama|
The Saints had the picks to move up to get a quarterback but with them falling they can wait. They instead add a great wide receiver who can be a weapon for whoever is under center in 2022.
|20||Pittsburgh Steelers||Bernhard Raimann||OL||Central Michigan|
The Steelers got their QB for 2022 in free agency with Mitch Trubisky. They now look to protect him by taking a large man who has only played lineman for a few years yet still rated really high. He previously played tight end so don’t be surprised if he gets some trick plays on the goal line.
|21||Kansas City Chiefs via NE||Garrett Wilson||WR||Ohio State|
The Chiefs use their picks to move up to grab their Tyreek Hill replacement. They moved up to get ahead of the Packers and other team who might be targeting a wide receiver.
|22||Green Bay Packers||Christian Watson||WR||North Dakota State|
The Packers get their guy who they hope can fill the void left by Davante Adams. He’s a big target that plays on the outside and will help keep Allen Lazard inside.
|23||Arizona Cardinals||Jordan Davis||DL||Georgia|
The Cards need help on defense. They upgrade on that front, which should help put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It’s the best player available for their needs type pick.
|24||Dallas Cowboys||Devin Lloyd||LB||Utah|
The Cowboys could go offensive line here. They need more help there but this seems to be too good of a player to pass up. It allows Micah Parsons to move around more.
|25||Buffalo Bills||Devonte Wyatt||DL||Georgia|
The rumors of the Bills drafting a running back may still happen just later in the draft. Wyatt secures the one weak spot on the Bills defensive front. His addition really makes the Bills defense just as scary as the offense.
|26||Tennessee Titans||Zion Johnson||OL||Boston College|
The Titans seem to be going for it on this window with this team. This is a pick to keep holes open for Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill upright.
|27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jermaine Johnson II||Edge||Florida State|
With Tom Brady returning the Bucs don’t need to think QB just yet. They can focus on more of a win-now player in Johnson, who gives them pass rushing ability on top of their already stout run defense.
|28||Green Bay Packers||Andrew Booth Jr||CB||Clemson|
They got their wide receiver now they look to bolster a weak spot. Booth should give them a second corner who can match up against most number two wide receivers in the league.
|29||New England Patriots via KC||George Pickens||WR||Georgia|
The patriots need a wide receiver and get one that was on the cusp of the top tier for most experts. Pickens gives them youth to grow with Mac Jones.
|30||Seattle Seahawks via KC||Desmond Ridder||QB||Cincinnati|
The Seahawks move back into the 1st to grab Ridder. They could have waited till the 2nd round but get the 5th year option by selecting him in the 1st. He should compete with Drew Lock for the starting job.
|31||Cincinnati Bengals||Tyler Smith||OL||Tulsa|
The Bengals continue to bolster their offensive line, which was a weak point in 2021.
|32||Detroit Lions||Sam Howell||QB||North Carolina|
Much like the Seahawks, the Lions take their QB in the 1st to get the extra option year. Howell can sit and learn from Jared Goff and the coaches for a year before taking over in Detroit.
A final note here; I think at the top of the second round we start seeing more skill positions go off the board. I would be surprised if by round 3 if there haven’t been 3 running backs taken, 2 more quarterbacks, 2 tight ends, and probably 4 more wide receivers taken. It’s a deep but not top-heavy class for the skill positions. It will be interesting to see landing spots for all of them and what that does for their fantasy outlook.
Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)