With Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season officially in the books, fans are understanding what this season means for their franchise, for better or worse. In order to give hope to clubs that cannot catch a break, thrill teams on the verge of a Super Bowl that just need one more piece, and to entice the current standings leader of what may come with a championship draft spot, let’s draft! The order is based on the current NFL standings. Which teams will change their franchise forever, and which teams get their final piece? Let’s find out.
Check out all of PTST’s NFL Draft content for 2022 right here.
1) Detroit Lions, Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
With the quarterback position being weak in this draft, the number one pick will not be a quarterback for the first time since 2017 with Myles Garrett. Hutchinson has had an absolutely dominant year. His progression from previous years is baffling. Not only did the Michigan product lose weight and gain explosiveness, but he somehow added more strength! Trey Flowers has been a bust of a signing, so this may finally get the Lions on track. Detroit needs a change in the direction of their franchise. Hutchinson appears to be the answer.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars, Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Trevor Lawrence lacks some key pieces in the recipe for success: one being a high-end offensive tackle. It is obvious that getting a franchise left (or right) tackle would be the most valuable addition by a long shot. Neal is an athletic freak at 6’7’’ and 365 pounds. Just watch the box jump that he did into a split squat, and there will be no more need for an explanation. Walker Little will have a positive impact in the future, but Neal brings a generational-level talent to the table that no one on this team can compete with.
Some may say edge would be the right move here, but the value in round two (which is amazing) versus the value of tackle in round two (mediocre at best) has to be weighed here.
3) Houston Texans, Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Big riser alert! Hutchinson has had an absolutely dominant year. His progression from previous years is baffling. Not only did the Michigan product lose weight and gain explosiveness, but he somehow added more strength! The math may not add up there, but the tape proves it. The Texans are in desperate need of a difference-maker. This may be a bold claim, but Hutchinson may be the next J.J. Watt. While comparisons lead to the Bosa brothers, many in Houston will cherish seeing their old superstar come back to life in this new stud talent.
4) New York Jets, Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame
Kyle Hamilton is a unicorn at his position. The size, speed, football IQ all add up to make an unbelievable, cant-miss prospect. He has cemented his place in the top five in this draft since the first game this season where he dominated the field versus Florida State. Safety may not be the shiniest of positions to take, but sometimes the player is just worth it. Oh, and Marcus Maye is probably leaving, so that helps justify it, too.
5) New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks), Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
Like Hutchinson, Ikem Ekwonu is a huge riser this season. With Neal off the board, he becomes the stand-alone best tackle. Ekwonu will need to transition to right tackle, but it is too good to pass on at this point. Sure, George Fant has been playing well, but that should not be an excuse to not upgrade at one of the most valuable positions. Is this a pick for need? No. It is a pick for the future, for the health of Zach Wilson. If there is any question left in mind, imagine playing with Mekhi Becton and Ekwonu at tackle. Defenses will fear it, the offense will love it.
6) New York Giants (via Chicago Bears), George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Quarterback needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, this is far from the draft to pick one in the top ten. The best offensive tackles have been taken, so the next best position to fill is edge. Azeez Ojulari has been an outstanding pickup, but there is more to be desired on the interior. Karlaftis provides a level of talent New York has not seen in years. He is extremely polished and overly dominant each and every snap. His issue lies with season-ending injuries, which he has been free of this year.
7) New York Giants, Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
Linderbaum is the best center/guard prospect in years. The strength, speed, and blocking technique are traits that a depleted Giants line needs desperately. Watch any tape on him, and it will be obvious that this selection may be too low for Linderbaum. The Iowa product is just that good. His weight is the only problem at 290 pounds. The great thing is that Linderbaum plays as if he is 310 pounds while moving at his actual weight. There is too much to love about this stud prospect. Whoever the quarterback is will surely love having a new all-pro-level talent commanding his line.
8) New Orleans Saints, Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Pop the champagne! Thanks to the Giants not needing a corner as well as Stingley’s injury history, New Orleans has one of the most dominant corner duos in the league. The LSU product does not have to move far to continue making an impact at the next level. In a division with Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, being able to stop the air assault is the key to victory. New Orleans knows that. Begin the no-fly zone in Louisiana. Oh, and the Falcons are next, so the Saints can’t afford to face Stingley twice a year.
The Atlanta Falcons acquire picks 17, 44, and a 2022 2rd-round pick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for picks 9 and 111.
9) Miami Dolphins (via Atlanta Falcons) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Falcons were in a predicament: choose a high-end corner, or trade back and let another team take the tackle destined for Carolina at pick 10. This was definitely worth it. Miami needs an instant impact for their offensive line. Rookies may not be the answer, but Cross (at this point of the draft) is the best option they have. He put on weight to counter his poor anchor. It looked uncomfortable for the first week or two, but Cross finally got used to his frame. News flash: he is amazing at 315 pounds! With all of the tools needed, an anchor was the last piece to a star left tackle.
10) Carolina Panthers, Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
And so, the first quarterback is taken. Pickett is far from the best quarterback in this class, potential-wise; however, he is the most pro-ready. Carolina has an outstanding defense, and they have amazing weapons on their offense. Tackle would have been nice with a free-agent signing at quarterback, but that did not happen. Pickett offers this team a chance to really succeed, and the hype is building. With most quarterbacks being at least a year or two away from being able to compete, it is obvious that this choice had to be made to stay relevant.
11) Minnesota Vikings, Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Patrick Peterson signing perfectly explains the need for a cornerback as well as the fit for Elam. A long, rangy corner with press ability is everything Vikings fans could hope for. An edge prospect would not be out of the question here, but the value is too good. The Florida Gator has had some issues with consistent effort, but it is not hard to blame him when the team is exponentially worse than last year.
12) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins), Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Sauce Gardner is extremely underrated. He has Darrelle Revis potential. Watch any Bearcat game, and his impact will be felt on a snap-to-snap basis. There is no corner in college football that is as dominant as Gardner. The AAC competition will hurt his stock, as will his slightly above-average athleticism. That should not change how much of a steal this selection is, however. There is a real chance the Bearcat could be the best in the class.
13) Philadelphia Eagles, Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
With Fletcher Cox likely being on the move in the near future, the need for a new force on the interior is evident. There is no one close to the talent level of Davis in this class (at his position). His size alone should make this pick understandable, but the Georgia product also has a developed toolkit for pass rushing. It is awfully high to draft an interior defensive lineman, sure. The opportunity cost, however, of having to replace Cox with another prospect in this class is enormous. There isn’t much better than Davis in any draft on the interior. Once again, the Eagles have the upper hand in the trenches.
14) Denver Broncos, Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Teddy Bridgewater has commanded this team as expected: mediocre, low-end starting-caliber play. In short, he is not the answer long-term. Willis may not be the stat sheet king. His interceptions are high, he lacks polish, and he is only 6’1’’. There are many factors that lead to those poor plays, one being a very poor offensive line and a mediocre offensive scheme. What Willis does outside of his scheme is high-end NFL caliber. From an amazing scrambling ability to ‘Houdini’ plays with his arm and vision, the Liberty product makes NFL plays on a low-end FBS team.
Willis also has arguably the most arm strength of the past three classes. The ball zips out and gets to its target in a flash. The bottom line is this: all the tools are in place to be the best quarterback in this class in a year or two. With Bridgewater as a mentor, this is the perfect place to reach his potential.
15) Cleveland Browns, Demarvin Leal, IDL/EDGE, Texas A&M
Leal is an interesting one. At 290 pounds, it is hard to fit him as a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle. The crazy thing is that Leal usually plays on the outside of a 4-3. At his size, that seems unrealistic, but there is a chance for that to happen at the next level. The Texas A&M product moves well for his size, but the explosiveness has died off as the season progressed, which is a red flag.
He looks over 300 pounds, which might indicate his coaches want him to stick to the interior. Leal simply looks out of place right now, but his upside at a lower weight is way too good to pass on for a team that needs nothing. The Browns are stacked at almost every position, so, once again, they steal the best player available.
16) Las Vegas Raiders, Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
Alex Leatherwood has not been the acquisition the Raiders hoped for. Right tackle is certainly still a major vacancy, and Kinnard perfectly fits what they are looking for: he is massive, great at run blocking, and has solid work ethic. The Kentucky product’s athleticism for his size is amazing as well. Kinnard’s progression looked exponential this year in pass protection thanks to a balanced attack, focusing on increasing air yards. Unfortunately, the offseason progress was the only noticeable progress he made this year.
Wide receiver was certainly an option at this spot, and it was heavily considered. The Henry Ruggs III incident will force the Raiders to acquire a receiver this offseason, but selecting one in the first might show fans the desperation to fill a void. Fix the offensive line, get a receiver in the second or in free agency, and that will fix the holes the best.
17) Atlanta Falcons (via Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers), Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Lloyd has been phenomenal this year. In every aspect of the game, from pass coverage to run-stuffing to blitzing, he has been consistent and lethal. Lloyd’s performance in the Pac-12 championship was jaw-dropping. His interception return for a touchdown oozed NFL talent, as he recognized a curl route before it developed, baited the quarterback into throwing, and had an outstanding burst to jump in front and snatch the ball. Lloyd is a can’t-miss prospect at his position.
18) Washington Football Team, Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Everything is in place for Washington to succeed besides a solid quarterback. Taylor Heinicke has some flashes, but the veteran quarterback lacks any upside. Corral has the team-first mentality of an NFL quarterback. His size and processing do raise questions, but his ability to reduce interceptions must be commended. If Corral wants to make it at the next level, however, he needs to get back to his 2020 form where he took more chances fitting passes into smaller windows. Combine both this year’s interception avoidance and last year’s confidence, and Corral will be the quarterback the Steelers need for a playoff run.
The Philadelphia Eagles acquire pick 23 and a 2022 3rd-round pick from the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for pick 19 and a 2022 5th-round pick.
19) Los Angeles Chargers, Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The Chargers have center and left tackle figured out for the foreseeable future. Green has the ability to slot in as a day-one starter at guard with the upside to play tackle. The value was simply too good to not trade up and acquire him. With the Steelers looming at the next pick, this was a necessity. Building the line is the key to victory. With Justin Herbert at the helm, it makes perfect sense to invest in him and to give him a chance at making a deep playoff run.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers, Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
Ben Roethlisberger has made it aware that he is leaving the Steelers this offseason. Choosing a quarterback might be the best move here, but the options in round two are quite enticing with Carson Strong and Desmond Ridder. The right tackle spot is far from properly filled. All Steelers fans know how solid the offensive line was every single year that the Steelers were competitive. Najee Harris has been incredible so far, so investing in him might be a great move. The worst-case scenario is that Steelers fans must wait a year to be competitive again with a quarterback in next year’s class. If somehow Pittsburgh is at the top spot of next year’s draft, Bryce Young would not be too shabby. Fix the line, then get the final pieces: that is the strategy for victory.
21) Buffalo Bills, Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Booth is an outstanding prospect. He has the size, speed, and maneuverability to make scouts excited. Booth has been picked on quite a bit, however, showing some holes in his game. Luckily for the Bills, Tre’Davious White is not too shabby of a mentor. This might be the biggest steal of the draft so far if Booth pans out. In a division with Tua Tagovailoa and Zach Wilson, having a secondary that can get interceptions is the key to running the division. Wide receiver was also looked at for this spot, but the value was simply too good to pass on.
22) Cincinnati Bengals, Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
McDuffie is perfect for this pick. The secondary is patchwork for the Bengals, so getting a long-term answer could very well fill one of the last pieces before a championship run. Tackle could certainly be a focus at this pick, but there is not a player available that is worth it (that can move to right tackle and play immediately). McDuffie is all-around an amazing cornerback. He may be short, but his playstyle is excellent for the NFL. Slot the Washington product in and forget about your woes at cornerback.
23) Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts, Chargers), Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Jalen Reagor project seems to have come to a halt. Even with a career resurgence, there still is a vacancy next to DeVonta Smith. Wilson is heads above any other receiver in this class. His body control, hands, athleticism, and ability to make defenders miss are all elite. This defensive class gifted the Eagles with a prospect that should go in the top 15 picks of this draft. Linebacker was a position looked at for this pick, but getting Brandon Smith via a trade-up in the next round seems logical given the acquired 2022 third-round pick from the Chargers. Although defense is the best option for all three first-round picks, can Eagles fans really trust Howie Roseman to commit to that?
24) Detroit Lions, Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Well, this was a steal. Olave is a perfect fit for this offense and is exactly what they were hoping for when they originally signed Breshad Perriman to the roster. His ability to stretch the field and run crisp routes are exactly what this team desperately needs. Great players fall in drafts all the time. Luckily for Detroit, they were the beneficiaries this time.
25) Kansas City Chiefs, Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, Michigan
Note: given David Ojabo’s desire to go back for another year, he is being excluded in this draft.
The Chiefs desperately need help with their pass rush. It is far from a secret that the days of dominance were left behind in Justin Houston’s prime. As sad as that may be, that does not mean that it must stay that way. Enagbare is a perfect fit for what this defense is looking for. He has size, speed, and a solid toolkit to come in and make a day-one impact. With the Chargers and Raiders bolstering their offensive lines in this draft, Kansas City must respond with firepower on the other side.
26) Dallas Cowboys, Jordan Battle, SAF, Alabama
The Cowboys have been searching for an answer at safety for a while. Battle is everything a team could be looking for: size, speed, tackling, ball tracking. He has everything. The offense, besides left guard and maybe a wide receiver spot, is complete, and the defense is almost there. Adding one or two pieces to the secondary may very well lock this team in as a legitimate perennial Super Bowl threat. Offensive tackle was also considered at this spot.
27) Baltimore Ravens, Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Tackle is still a major vacancy. Even if it were filled with a slightly above-par player, this pick should still be made. Penning is unbelievable. He has incredible size, power, and anchor. Some may say he should be a chef with how many pancakes he makes every game. Jokes aside, there is too much to like about what Penning could be. His run blocking is phenomenal, and that alone should sell the Ravens on him. It will be a shock to see Penning drop past this point on draft day.
The Tennessee Titans acquire pick 52 and a 2022 1st-round pick from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for pick 28 and a 2023 3rd-round pick.
28) Pittsburgh Steelers, Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
So much for the ending to the last Steeler’s pick. Mike Tomlin knows that Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph are not the answer. In fairness, Howell was not supposed to fall to this spot, so cheers! To remain relevant, the Steelers made a pricy trade with the Titans to secure their commander of the future. It is hard to believe that Pittsburgh would be the worst team in the league without Big Ben, so the dream of snagging Young seems to only be a dream.
Next year’s class seems barren for now, so secure an excellent talent now. Howell was dominant when he had receiving weapons and a run game. With Harris, Pat Freiermuth, and Chase Claypool, he is in great shape to return to his old form. Also, the UNC product’s offensive line will be exponentially better now than in college, giving him more time to process.
29) New England Patriots, Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Dotson is an unbelievable talent. His work ethic is through the roof, he carries his entire offense on his back, and he is forced to play much larger than his size suggests, compensating for poor quarterback play. In short, Dotson can do it all. Bill Belichick certainly loves players who come to compete on a down-to-down basis. Other wide receivers could be selected here, but few bring something to the table that they don’t already have schematically.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquire picks 33 and 98 from the Detroit Lions in exchange for picks 30 and 132.
30) Detroit Lions, Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Dean should not be on the board. His coverage skills are second to none, and he is an unbelievable blitzer. The Lions have yet to answer their linebacker problems, and the perfect prospect fell right into their laps here. Pop the champagne, Detroit. This is one of the biggest steals of the draft so far, and the Lions paid almost nothing to acquire him. Dean will haunt the weak offensive lines and developing offensive minds of the NFC North for many years.
31) Green Bay Packers, Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Finally, Green Bay gets a first-round receiver. Williams can stretch the field, stop on a dime, and make people miss. What more can a team that’s desperate for receivers ask for? Jordan Love will most likely be taking the reins this offseason. Giving him a weapon that can keep safeties deep and corners off the line may be the best gift the Packers could give him. After neglecting the position for so long, it is time to give the offense attention in the first.
32) Arizona Cardinals, Drake London, WR, USC
Juggling edge, corner, and receiver for this pick, the Cardinals cannot choose poorly. Thanks to a season-ending injury, Arizona snags the former best-performing receiver in FBS this year. London brings a combination of height and after-the-catch ability that is currently not present. A.J. Green is not who he used to be. It is time for the Cardinals to slot in someone to fill the role correctly. London could be the final piece to complete this offense.
Follow Alex Barbour on Twitter @alexxbarbour
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