Draft Day is finally upon us! After months of grinding through the tape to see who the best players in the draft are, tonight is the first day of the NFL Draft. The 2022 NFL Draft is different than most of the past few seasons, meaning that it is the most unpredictable draft since potentially the 2017 draft, if not the most unpredictable in the past decade. Right at the top of the draft, all the draftniks have tried deciphering what the Jaguars are doing with the first pick, with no for sure thought yet, and that’s just the first pick, not to mention the rest of the first round. This first-round mock is a predictive mock draft for the first round, featuring some trades along the way.
Make sure to check out all of our NFL Draft Scouting Reports.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The top pick in this draft has long been discussed. In the last week, there have been reports stating Jacksonville is between four players, likely being the top two tackles and pass-rushers in the class, according to their board. With the Jaguars extending Cam Robinson yesterday, it seems as though it is between the two pass-rushers, even with reports stating Doug Pederson wants Ickey Ekwonu. With the Jaguars taking Walker Little in the second round last year, it doesn’t necessarily make the most sense to take a tackle with the move to extend Robinson plus Walker developing.
The pick seems to be between Aidan Hutchinson and Walker. The Walker rumors have ramped up going into draft day, and it seems as though he will be the pick later tonight. Although it isn’t the move that many, including myself, would make, Trent Baalke doesn’t seem to care and doesn’t want to pick a Michigan player due to the coach currently there.
2) Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
With the Jaguars taking Walker, the Lions look to have an easy selection on their hands. There have been rumblings the past few months that Detroit could be taking Malik Willis here, but that seemed to be a smokescreen to try and get extra draft capital from a quarterback-needy team. With Hutchinson still on the board, it makes too much sense for the Lions to take the in-state hero to add to their defensive front that they spent a lot of capital on last year.
3) Houston Texans – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
This pick seems to be between Gardner and Ekwonu. With the Texans having Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard anchoring their tackle spots, they could potentially wait until Friday to take a tackle. Instead, Houston selects the top cornerback in the class in Gardner. The Cincinnati cornerback didn’t allow a single touchdown during his collegiate career. With Steven Nelson as the number one cornerback in Houston, it would be a wise decision for the Texans to add a bona fide superstar to the room that is a perfect scheme fit.
4) New York Jets – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Despite the recent rumblings of Jermaine Johnson potentially being the pick here, the slide of the former top recruit stops at the fourth spot. Robert Saleh seems like the perfect coach for the “troubled” character that is Thibodeaux, and the Jets desperately need a running mate for Carl Lawson from a pass-rushing standpoint. Saleh loved to build up the defensive line during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, and after not spending much capital on it last year, the Jets spend their first selection in the first round on a dynamic pass-rusher that can be one of the best for years to come.
5) New York Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
With Andrew Thomas at left tackle, the Giants have one cornerstone tackle. On the other side of the line, there is a massive concern at the right tackle spot, as Matt Peart hasn’t done the best. With Ekwonu and Neal on the board, New York can’t go wrong, but it seems as though they like Neal more. Whether it be because both Thomas and Neal can interchange between the left and the right side of the offensive line, or something else, it’s starting to feel that if Neal is on the board, that will be the Giants’ pick with the fifth pick.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Minnesota trades picks 12 and 46 to Carolina for Pick 6.
6) Minnesota Vikings (via Carolina) – Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
The Carolina Panthers are in a horrific position. They have glaring needs at quarterback and left tackle, and they only have one pick in the first 130 picks, which is this selection here. There have been rumors of Carolina trading down, and that’s exactly what they do here while picking up their first day two selection of the draft. Minnesota moves up ahead of the Giants to pick Stingley. Even with the re-signing of Patrick Peterson, the Vikings desperately need help in their cornerback room. Even with his injury concerns and down year in 2021, Stingley is well worth the selection for the Vikings.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Los Angeles Chargers trade picks 17, 123, and 2023 first-round pick to New York Giants for pick 7.
7) Los Angeles Chargers (via Chicago thru NY Giants ) – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
With the Giants getting sniped for Stingley, they look to move down and add more capital in 2023. The Los Angeles Chargers see Ekwonu slide outside of the top five and make a massive leap up the board to seal one of their biggest needs on the roster. The NC State tackle would immediately start at right tackle and make a monstrous tackle duo with Rashawn Slater. The Giants get an extra pick on day three while adding a first-round selection in the 2023 draft, where the new front office may want to take a new quarterback.
8) Atlanta Falcons – Drake London, WR, USC
The first receiver off the board happens with the team that has perhaps the biggest need for one. While it would be beneficial for the Falcons to trade down and gather more draft capital, Atlanta gets their top receiver that can pair with Kyle Pitts to form a huge receiving duo for whoever is playing quarterback for the Falcons.
9) Seattle Seahawks (via Denver) – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Seahawks are known for making peculiar selections in the first round. Even with a more prominent tackle on the board Seattle selects Penning. The mauling run blocker would slot in immediately as one of the starting tackles for the Seahawks, who are currently slated to start Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan at their tackle spots. The draft community seems to be split on the Northern Iowa tackle, and the Seahawks shock the NFL by taking him in the top ten.
10) New York Jets (via Seattle) – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Despite rumors of the Jets making offer after offer for Deebo Samuel, they opt to take Wilson in the first round. New York needs to see what Zach Wilson can do in his second season, and adding a top-flight receiver like Wilson is a perfect addition to an offense that already has Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. The trio would give the second-year quarterback plenty of options to throw to.
11) Washington Commanders – Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame
Washington stops the slide for the potential top prospect in the class with the 11th pick. After being a consensus top-three pick for most of the process, the combine performance drastically changed his draft stock, and as a result, he is still available for the Commanders after the top ten. Kamren Curl has been a surprise as a late-round pick, and adding a player like Hamilton will help the competition on the roster with Curl and Bobby McCain. There is no reason Hamilton should be here, and Washington does the correct thing by selecting him with this pick.
12) Carolina Panthers (via Minnesota) – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
After moving down six spots and picking up a pick on day two, Carolina still gets the player they would’ve selected if they were to stand pat with the sixth pick. Even though the Panthers have a gaping hole on their offensive line, the front office needs to figure out the quarterback position. They have done their due diligence on Pickett throughout the offseason, including getting up close and personal with his hand size. While there will be an abundance of controversy with this selection, the Panthers desperately need to figure out their quarterback situation.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Pittsburgh trades picks 20, 84, and a 2023 first-round pick to Houston for pick 13.
13) Pittsburgh Steelers (via Cleveland thru Houston) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Pittsburgh Steelers are see-through when it comes to the first round. It was the same way last year when they selected Najee Harris in the first round, and they have clearly done a ton of digging surrounding, Willis. Enough so that they trade up and surrender their first-round choice in the 2023 draft to move up and select their quarterback of the future as he sits behind Mitchell Trubisky during the 2022 season.
For Houston, they move down and secure their third first-round selection of the 2023 draft while adding another day two selection in a loaded class filled with depth. Nick Caserio has said he feels there is a pretty good chance that he will do some sort of trade from the 13th pick in the draft, so this seems to be as good of a situation for both teams as any.
14) Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Johnson is said to go as high as the fourth overall selection of the draft to the Jets, so seeing him still here with the 14th pick is a bright scene for the Ravens. After selecting Odafe Oweh in the first round last year, they opt to take Johnson to pair up with him for years to come. Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson are decent depth pieces, but adding a player like Johnson, who only has room to grow, is a great addition to a defense that will be scary during the 2022 season.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
For the third year in a row, Philadelphia takes a receiver in the first round. Even though there are needs on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the second level, Howie Roseman opts to take another receiver to pair up with DeVonta Smith. Philadelphia already has two selections in the first round of the 2023 draft, so it isn’t too likely that they move down this year to try and capture another first. There are rumors they move up to take a receiver or Hamilton if he slides far enough for Roseman to pull the trigger on a trade.
16) New Orleans Saints (via Indianapolis thru Philadelphia) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
After the trade with the Eagles, the Saints have two selections in the top 20 picks of the draft, with two or three major needs on the roster, including an offensive tackle. With Cross slipping, the Saints stand pat, and Cross falls right to them. After letting Terron Armstead walk, New Orleans doesn’t have a tackle worthy of starting at their left tackle spot. Cross would immediately come in and start for the Saints, and while there will be growing pains, he could potentially become one of the top tackles in the game with proper coaching.
17) New York Giants (via LA Chargers) – Lewis Cine, SAF, Georgia
After moving down ten spots, the Giants pull a shocker by taking a safety. Joe Schoen comes from the Buffalo Bills, who have potentially the best safety duo in the game in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Xavier McKinney and Julian Love are young players who have done decent at their safety spots, and the team seems to have high hopes for McKinney heading into the 2023 season. The New York staff also attended the Georgia pro day, and while this may be a bit surprising, Cine is well worth this selection.
18) Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Eagles desperately need a cornerback opposite Darius Slay. Nelson signed with the Texans during the offseason, which now thrusts Zech McPhearson and Tay Gowan into potential starting roles in a division with top-notch receivers such as Terry McLaurin, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. McDuffie has short arms, but the Eagles would be more than wise to select him at this spot, which is most certainly a steal.
19) New Orleans Saints (via Philadelphia) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Another massive need for the Saints outside of a left tackle is adding another receiving option for Jameis Winston or whoever is playing quarterback for New Orleans. Olave is a perfect fit in the second receiving role in the New Orleans offense. While many don’t expect the Ohio State receiver to become a number one receiver in the big leagues, the Saints get a steal at the 19th selection. Pairing Olave with Michael Thomas is an outstanding receiver duo.
20) Houston Texans (via Pittsburgh) – Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
After moving down seven spots and picking up a first-round choice during the 2023 season, the Texans get a massive help in their run game, literally. Davis looks like a mammoth in the middle of the Georgia defense that featured numerous draft picks in this year’s and next year’s classes. The Texans’ run defense was horrendous last year, ranking 31st in the league, and adding a player like Davis to a defense that needs work is an excellent pick for a Houston team looking to make big steps in the right direction this year.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Tampa Bay trades picks 27 and 133 to New England for picks 21 and 200.
21) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via New England) – Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
With plenty of offensive line-needy teams in the mid-20s, Tampa Bay moves up six spots into the 21st slot. While there are needs in the secondary due to the surplus of players needing a new contract following the 2022 season, the interior of the offensive line could still use work following the Ali Marpet retirement. Johnson is debatably one of the best prospects in the draft regardless of position and would offer the Bucs a plethora of versatility along the offensive line. Keeping Tom Brady upright is still a major priority heading into the 2022 season to get Tampa Bay back to the Super Bowl.
22) Green Bay Packers (via Las Vegas) – Daxton Hill, SAF, Michigan
Despite the need for a receiver or three, the Packers opt to go on the defensive side of the ball. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage need new contracts from Green Bay, and a player like Hill is a perfect fit to keep the Packers secondary as good as it has been. Hill is an uber-versatile prospect that can align as a single-high safety, nickel cornerback, or boundary cornerback. With the impending contract situations and the lack of a viable third safety on the roster, Brian Gutekunst shocks the media by selecting a defensive back instead of a receiver with their first selection.
23) Arizona Cardinals – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
On paper, the Cardinals roster is a bit rough right now. They could use another receiver, help on the offensive line, and the secondary. Maybe they take another linebacker again. Never mind that, but the pick here is Karlaftis, who will be an immediate contributor for the Arizona defense opposite J.J. Watt. Karlaftis is a bit similar to Watt in terms of playstyle and even the conference they played. Markus Golden and Dennis Gardeck are fine rotational pass-rushers but after losing Chandler Jones, the Cardinals desperately need help in the pass-rushing department and get some with the Purdue product.
24) Dallas Cowboys – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Cowboys have been rumored to be moving up in the draft all week. Unfortunately, they can’t get the job done in this scenario. Instead, they get their fallback option in Burks, which Jerry Jones will love thanks to the ticket sales. From Amari Cooper to Burks, the Cowboys will again have a tremendous trio of receivers. Burks could go much higher than this, and Dallas seems like they’ll love a player like Burks.
25) Buffalo Bills – Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson
It seems as though there is plenty of smoke behind this selection, being Breece Hall from Iowa State. Like many other draftniks, there should be no reason why Buffalo takes a running back in round one with more pressing needs on the roster, including the cornerback position. Booth has slipped this far due to medical concerns, but there are plenty of teams that may have him as their top cornerback even with those concerns. Buffalo has searched for a cornerback opposite Tre’Davious White for a few years now and finally get a viable option with the Clemson cornerback.
26) Tennessee Titans – Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
It is becoming more common to see a quarterback go in this spot over recent weeks. The Titans have more pressing needs on the roster and recently re-signed Ryan Tannehill to a large contract. Tennessee has needs across their offensive lines along with their secondary. While these are all true, the Titans have done their research on Ridder. With the struggles of Tannehill at the end of the 2021 season, the Titans could opt to go in a different direction and add a young quarterback like Ridder to push Tannehill for the starting job.
27) New England Patriots (via Tampa Bay) – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
After moving down and moving up almost 70 spots on day three of the draft, the Patriots grab the best cornerback still on the board with Elam. With the departure of J.C. Jackson, the Patriots desperately need help in their cornerback room, even with the return of Malcolm Butler. Elam has family ties in the NFL, and it is worth noting for a team like the Patriots that love to do their digging in the draft. The Florida cornerback would immediately fill a starting spot on the New England defense.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Seattle trades picks 40 and 72 to Green Bay for picks 28 and 171.
28) Seattle Seahawks (via Green Bay) – Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Packers end the first round without a receiver, and the sound you’re currently hearing is the state of Wisconsin in a state of anarchy. Instead, Green Bay moves down with a familiar friend, as the Seahawks and Packers have routinely been trading partners on the first day of the draft. Green Bay adds a third second-round selection to the fold while adding a second third-round selection, giving them five total selections on Friday.
For Seattle, the move up is a result of Corral slipping into the bottom of the first round. Detroit and a few other quarterback-needy teams are ahead of them, and as a result, Seattle jumps back up into the first round to get the fifth-year option on the Ole Miss quarterback. After taking Penning in the top ten, the Seahawks end the first round with their quarterback of the future.
29) Kansas City Chiefs (via San Francisco thru Miami) – Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
Commonly, at the end of the first round, there are some players that are taken that raise some eyebrows. The first player in that scenario is Moore, who is a perfect fit for the Kansas City offense. The Chiefs added Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency, but adding a player like Moore, who can play in the slot or on the outside, is a perfect fit for the Andy Reid offense. While it may be a surprise, the Chiefs add another weapon for Patrick Mahomes.
30) Kansas City Chiefs – David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
With back-to-back selections, the Chiefs get a steal with the second, as they add a player who would’ve likely gone within the first 15 picks had he not suffered an Achilles injury at his Pro Day at Michigan. Ojabo is a fantastic physical specimen who is still learning the technical aspects of the game and how to be impactful against the run. While he may not play during his rookie season, Kansas City adding a player of Ojabo’s caliber this late is such a Kansas City move.
31) Cincinnati Bengals – Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
Even after spending a boatload of money along the offensive line in free agency, the Bengals still add Linderbaum late in the first round to stop his slide. The Iowa center is perhaps one of the ten best players in the class regardless of positional value, and getting him with the 31st pick is a steal for the Bengals as they look to turn around their offensive line woes.
32) Detroit Lions (via LA Rams) – Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
To cap off the first round, Detroit takes the first linebacker off the board. Surprisingly, it is Wisconsin’s Chenal. Chenal is making a lot of noise as the potential top selection from the linebacker group in the class. While it isn’t a player that was expected to be in the first round, the Lions take the Wisconsin product and immediately fill their linebacker woes to cap off the first round.