The 2021 draft has come to a close. Why wait for a few months to explore the NFL 2022 draft class? Exactly, there is no reason. This draft order is based on the most recent odds to win the 2022 Super Bowl, per BetOnline as of May 2nd, 2021. Which teams are projected to flop? Who will win the Super Bowl? Will these stars change their respective franchises? Let’s find out.
Related: You can find all of 2021’s NFL Draft content here.
1) Houston Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Everybody, just relax for a second. Most likely, Tyrod Taylor will start the year for the Texans, leaving them with a colder start. Then, Davis Mills may make an appearance and demonstrate flashes of his talent, but given his lack of experience, he most likely will not impress. Give him one more year: he was a third-round selection, after all! Thibodeaux is, like Chase Young, a generational edge talent. His dominance on the field has been consistent since his high school days, and it appears as if that trend will continue in the NFL. Thibodeaux is a guaranteed franchise changer.
2) Detroit Lions – Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Howell will demonstrate whether he is truly as talented as many think he is this year. He will lose his top four weapons: Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome, Javonte Williams, and Michael Carter. This pick is projecting that Howell can handle the losses and perform at a high level. He fits an offense that Jared Goff could run, but he offers more upside with his mobility. Let him sit for a year, and he will flourish more than other quarterbacks in this class.
3) New York Jets – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Although the cornerback spot is far from terrible for the Jets, Stingley is just too good to pass up. Everyone knew he would be a top-five pick since he stepped on the field for the Tigers. With Zach Wilson making his second-year jump, the defense will need to be ready to support him. Stingley may become the new Darrelle Revis of New York.
4) Cincinnati Bengals – DeMarvin Leal, IDL, Texas A&M
Geno Atkins is closing in on retirement. The Bengals stole Tyler Shelvin on day three of the 2021 NFL Draft, but he is solely built for the run. Leal is a dominant threat on the interior (Derrick Brown level). Atkins was the heart and soul of this defense for years, so why let that go away when he retires? Leal can develop for a year under him and become another Aaron Donald-like threat on the interior. Who would say no to that?
5) Philadelphia Eagles – Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
This pick will depend on why the Eagles are sitting at five. If Jalen Hurts was not good enough to win games, then this pick is a lock for a new signal-caller. If Hurts looked solid and either the defense or injuries got in the way, imagine this pick to be in the secondary. Let’s assume the former. Rattler has an extremely high ceiling: something the Eagles desperately need.
He has been competing with Howell since the Elite-11, and for the most part, he has been better. The Howell pick was solely for projecting him playing well after losing his top four weapons. Most likely, Rattler will be the first pick.
6) Jacksonville Jaguars – Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame
Safety was a surprising position to pass on for Urban Meyer. There still is a massive hole there that needs to be filled. Hamilton is a stud at 6’4’’ and over 220 pounds. There is no doubt that he may be one of the top two most talented players in the secondary in this class. Hamilton will drive fear into opposing players for years to come.
7) New York Giants – Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Daniel Jones has officially failed the Giants. Rather than mope around and feel bad for their busted selection, the Giants immediately replace him with an extremely boom-or-bust talent. Corral gets very hot or very cold. Many games consist of over 400 passing yards with less than two interceptions. In short, Corral lights it up. On the flip side, he tends to go in a downward spiral when things turn south. That is why he can put up six interceptions in a game.
8) Carolina Panthers – Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
The offensive line is the one piece that is not solidified for the Panthers. Some feel as if Linderbaum will have a Quenton Nelson-like year. If so, this pick would be perfect. Give Sam Darnold no excuses as he enters his fifth year. Even if Darnold is not the guy, no quarterback will complain about having a better offensive line.
9) Atlanta Falcons – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Quarterback could certainly be this pick. Most likely, that would be Kedon Slovis, but his play against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship was abysmal. Gardner is an elite lockdown cornerback. The one position that the Falcons keep trying to address (and mostly failing to do so) is the cornerback spot, so take one more shot at filling it. Matt Ryan is on contract for a few more years, so make the most of him and build a championship defense for his successor.
10) Washington Football Team – Kedon Slovis, QB, USC
This team is too good to be up at this spot. If they are, the quarterback position is the reason for it. Another candidate to fill that role would be Malik Willis, but the NFL will most likely be higher on Slovis. He is a talented starter with some major upside. If Taylor Heinecke could compete for the starting role, maybe Slovis would push himself to reach that potential. If he does so, this team is a Super Bowl contender.
11) Las Vegas Raiders – Evan Neal, OT/OG, Alabama
Alex Leatherwood was a head-scratching pick for the Raiders. They address the final gaps in their line with another star lineman from Alabama. Neal can play either guard or tackle (sound familiar? Oh, right, that is Leatherwood). At 6’7’’ 360 pounds, he is a beast and should definitely go this high if he continues his high level of play.
12) New York Giants – Mike Jones Jr., LB, LSU
The Giants have only Blake Martinez to fill the inside linebacker role after this year. While Jones is only 220 pounds, he can cover better than almost any linebacker in recent memory. He has a PFF coverage grade of 90.2. Martinez is excellent in the run game, but the coverage threat in the linebacking corps is not present. Jones will fill it amazingly.
13) Los Angeles Chargers – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Chargers desperately need a boundary cornerback. Asante Samuel Jr. fills the slot role perfectly. In fact, the only reason he fell to the Chargers is that the NFL thinks he is solely a nickel or slot cornerback. Elam has amazing ball skills and fits what this defense is looking for. He will be a lockdown starter for years to come.
14) Minnesota Vikings – Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
The Vikings had some solid picks to fill offensive needs in last year’s draft. Now, they need to focus on repairing a worn-down defense. With Danielle Hunter potentially leaving due to contract concerns, and with an NFL worst defense, sack-wise, a pass rush is desperately needed. Harrison is a dominant threat for the Buckeyes. He should take the first-round leap this year without a doubt.
15) Arizona Cardinals – Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
The Cardinals addressed their biggest need later than most of their smaller ones. Although Tay Gowan and Marco Wilson have potential, Banks has real Pro Bowl potential. He moves very smoothly and can fit in as a potential option at safety if one of the 2021 draft choices pans out. The versatility will be something the Cardinals will definitely like.
16) Tennessee Titans – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The slot option for the Titans is one of the most valuable. Ryan Tannehill is known for never pushing the ball deep, so having an elite option in the slot is a must. Also, without Jonnu Smith, a man of Burks’s stature (6’3’’ 230 pounds) would be a major weapon. Most cornerbacks (including Kaiir Elam) have had their worst games randomly against Arkansas. Jonathan Adams was certainly a part of that, but Burks definitely had a role, too. Tannehill will enjoy his new toy.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Steelers obviously missed the playoffs if this is their pick. That means Ben Roethlisberger is gone for good. Willis will provide a new dimension to this offense. The Steelers brought on Dan Moore Jr. in the draft to play left tackle, but he played in a much different offense than what Pittsburgh usually runs. He played in a mobile offense. Willis may be the option that the Steelers are looking to move towards.
18) New York Jets – Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
Jackson will be an excellent addition next to Carl Lawson. Their explosiveness will overpower many of the lines in their division. There is still much room to grow, but surely Robert Saleh will give him his best shot at reaching his potential. In other words, why not take a chance on a high ceiling prospect?
19) New Orleans Saints – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Saints are doomed cap-wise. Both of their starting tackles are up for extensions after this year, and New Orleans has nothing to pay them with. Cross is an absolutely amazing lineman with the versatility to even play inside. A wide receiver is certainly an option, but without a single starting tackle, it is hard to say that it is worth more than taking a lineman here.
20) Philadelphia Eagles – Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
The Eagles have addressed most of their needs thanks to Howie Roseman finally stepping up to the plate for once. The one weak spot is still inside linebacker. It would be great to think that Jacoby Stevens will fill it perfectly, but the chances are slim. Harris is a dominant run-stuffing linebacker in a division with Ezekiel Eliott, Saquon Barkley, and Antonio Gibson. This is a great pick both need-wise and talent-wise.
21) New England Patriots – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
This pick just makes so much sense. Olave should have come out in 2021, but he decided to return to Ohio State. Given the lack of talent at the quarterback position, it is hard to believe his draft stock will rise much. Olave will provide an excellent option for Mac Jones to throw to. Separation is key in the NFL. He certainly can separate at an elite level.
22) Dallas Cowboys – Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
The Cowboys lost out on the Kyle Pitts hype train. Tight end is the one weak position on the offense, and now they fill it. Wydermeyer is a very solid tight end. His size and production make him an extremely desirable target for Dallas. Also, he is in Texas, so Cowboys scouts most likely watched more of him in person than most other first-round prospects in this class.
23) Philadelphia Eagles – Drake London, WR, USC
This pick assumes that Carson Wentz will play the full season for the Indianapolis Colts (which seems to be more likely than not). While there are better talents like Garrett Wilson on the board, they do not fill the bigger, heavier receiver role left once Travis Fulgham leaves. London is a dominant threat for USC. At 6’5’’ and 210 pounds, he certainly could be what J.J. Arcega-Whiteside could never be. Expect Rattler to enjoy his new bail-out option.
24) Green Bay Packers – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Finally, the Packers select a receiver in the first. It may be too late to keep Aaron Rodgers, but it is never too late to boost the receiving corps with amazing talent. Wilson will have a major impact. He will now face off against his former quarterback, Justin Fields, twice a year. He certainly could work with Davante Adams to be the best receiving duo in the NFL.
25) Cleveland Browns – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Karlaftis at 270 pounds fits perfectly as the successor to Jadeveon Clowney. The Browns really lack many more holes on the entire team. Given the injuries that held him back to only three games in the 2020 season, he may fall this far. The talent is undeniable, though: 17 tackles for loss as a true freshman. If there is any can keep that dominance going, it will be through the guidance of Myles Garrett.
26) Denver Broncos – Brandon Joseph, SAF, Northwestern
The Broncos have addressed many of their positions of need besides quarterback. Unfortunately, there is not much to drool over at this point in the draft, so why not select one of the most dominant safeties left on the board? Kareem Jackson will not last forever. Joseph made an amazing one-handed interception against Fields in the BIG-10 Championship. Reactivate the no-fly zone.
27) Miami Dolphins – Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
Kyle Van Noy’s vacancy is still there. Bonitto has ungodly talent. Honestly, he should have gone before this pick. He is just too good to pass on. The only issue is his size at 238 pounds. He only has one role, and many teams do not use edge players of this size like the Dolphins do. Watch out for the stellar pass rusher to make an enormous impact on this roster.
28) Detroit Lions – Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
Amon-Ra St. Brown has secured the slot for years to come. Without a true boundary threat (Tyrell Williams does not have number one receiver potential), one is needed. Ross has unbelievable talent. The only issue is the health concerns that held him out of the 2020 season (spinal surgery). Certainly, the Lions would be willing to take a chance on a prospect with the potential that Ross has.
29) Buffalo Bills – Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
Spiller has a mean streak to him. Since the Bills lost out on Najee Harris, he can certainly offer some upside with his aggressiveness. Watch out for a major boost in the run attack for Buffalo if this is the route they take. Certainly, Spiller can take some heat off Josh Allen and improve the offensive efficiency even more. That is hard to imagine, but fun to think about.
30) Baltimore Ravens – Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
The Ravens lost Orlando Brown to the Chiefs and are looking for a long-term replacement. Walker needs to increase his consistency, but the talent is there. Expect for him to start immediately on a run-heavy offense. Luckily for him, Penn State’s Sean Clifford has some run-centric moments as well, so Walker will be used to this.
31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Jason Pierre-Paul will not play for too many more years. Hutchinson will be able to start day one if he departs, giving the Buccaneers another Super Bowl chance. With Joe Tryon playing any role that he wants, there still will be a starting role for Hutchinson to play. Will Gholston will also need to be replaced. He may start there if need be, too. Championships are won in the trenches, after all.
32) Kansas City Chiefs – George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Sammy Watkins’s role is still open for the taking. Cornell Powell will try to fill the role, but he will be 25 years old. There is not much more to be had from him in terms of development. Pickens had an ACL tear that may limit his availability for the 2021 season. That will be the sole reason he is still available. At 6’3’’ and a great catch radius, Pickens will be a new favorite for Patrick Mahomes to target.