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NFL Mock Draft: 2022

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Nate Yellin and Benji Beretz

1.01 Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

The runner up for the 2021 Heisman Award, Aidan Hutchinson had a fantastic 2021 campaign. He set Michigan’s single season sack record with 14.0 recorded sacks and slowly climbed up everyone’s draft boards. On Monday, Tony Pauline, an NFL draft analyst wrote an article about the Jaguars internal debate. It seems that general manager Trent Baalke would prefer to draft Travon Walker, but owner Shad Khan and the coaching staff would rather Aidan Hutchinson. At the end of the day, we think they take Hutchinson, who in many people’s eyes, is the best player in a weak draft class.

- Nate Yellin

1.02 Detroit Lions: QB Malik Willis

Malik Willis, former Liberty quarterback, jumped to the top of many experts’ quarterback rankings after an incredible pro day and draft combine, scoring a prospect grade of 6.41. Willis threw for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns in his last season at Liberty, and is widely seen as the most talented quarterback in the draft for his strong arm and top-notch athleticism. Although the Lions recently traded for former first overall pick, Jared Goff, they finished with a whopping 3-13-1 record and can afford to take an extremely talented quarterback who may need to sit a year before starting his NFL campaign. We think they will take Willis, to get a fresh start at quarterback and to build around a new (hopefully) star quarterback with a lot of potential to get them off to a good start in a rebuild.

- Benji Beretz

1.03 Houston Texans: EDGE Travon Walker

Travon Walker’s rise to the top of mock drafts is one of the most unexpected pre-draft movements in the history of the draft. Grinding the Mocks, a database tracking mock drafts (grindingthemocks), shows Walker’s movement from an average Mock Draft Pick of around 32 in January to 3.2 as of today. He is an intriguing prospect - one with a below average 2021 season, statistically - but his combine was one of the more impressive combines in the class. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at 272 pounds, and a 6.89 3-cone drill, scoring within the 90th percentile for all edge rushers. His upside is arguably too high to pass up for Houston, considering they need playmakers, on both sides of the ball. If Travon Walker does not get selected by the Jaguars at the first pick, expect him to go here. We do not anticipate Walker falling below the first five picks.

- Nate Yellin

1.04 New York Jets: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

Kayvon Thibodeaux is coming off a good season at Oregon, recording seven sacks, two forced fumbles, and 49 total tackles. Despite his drop off from his 2019 season, where he recorded nine sacks, he is still recognized as a top choice at pass rusher. Thibodeaux was thought to be the first overall pick coming into the season, prior to breakout seasons by some of the above players. We think they will select Thibodaux to bolster their defensive line, a huge priority to head coach Robert Saleh, former defensive coordinator of the 49ers. Although the Jets defensive line has shown to be strong and have Carl Lawson returning, a player of Thibodeaux’s caliber, at such an important position is a can’t-miss pick. And the worries of Carl Lawson coming off of a ruptured achilles that caused him to miss all of the 2021 season magnify these needs.

- Benji Beretz

1.05 New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu

This is the best possible scenario for the Giants. They are in need of a tackle to play opposite Andrew Thomas, the 2020 fourth overall pick. In 2021, the New York Giants PFF Pass protection rating was an abysmal 3(!) out of 100, which ranked 29th in the league. Daniel Jones struggled immensely, and new general manager Joe Schoen knows he needs to build up the offensive line. In this mock, we have the Giants selecting Ikem Ekwonu, out of NC State. Ekwonu is a big and versatile lineman, one who can play tackle or bump over to guard and is a home run pick for the New York Giants.

1.06 Carolina Panthers: OT Evan Neal

The strategy for the Carolina Panthers is to take what the board gives them. In this mock, a top-2 tackle in Evan Neal falls to them, and he addresses one of their biggest needs. As of right now, their starting tackles are Brady Christensen (PFF Grade of 61.6) and Cameron Erving (PFF Grade of 56.0). Enter Evan Neal: the 6’7, 350 lbs tackle from Alabama. He was fantastic in protecting Heisman winner Bryce Young, and we think he is a plug-and-play Day 1 starter.

- Nate Yellin

1.07 New York Giants: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

The New York Giants are a team that is in serious need of any help they can get. One of the many holes the Giants have includes cornerback, especially as they are expected to move on from cornerback James Bradberry. After selecting OT Ikem Ekwonu with pick 5, the Giants will most likely address their secondary and draft the widely regarded #1 overall CB in Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Gardner finished his college career at the University of Cincinnati with 9 total INT’s, 3 each of the three seasons he played. Sauce Gardner hasn’t let up a single touchdown in his entire college career, and while this is an impressive statistic, his level of competition was much worse than SEC and ACC corners like Derek Stingley, Kaiir Elam, and Andrew Booth. With the help of Gardner, and a bit of luck, the Giants will likely be able to improve from last season’s disappointments.

- Jack Gewanter and Benji Beretz

1.08 Atlanta Falcons: WR Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is coming off a season where he posted 1,058 yards, 70 Rec, and 12 TD’s. He has been getting better and better in every season of his Ohio State career.

The Atlanta Falcons are in such an interesting situation at this pick. They could take any position that they want in this spot, but after losing Calvin Ridley for this upcoming season due to gambling the Falcons are in need of a new number 1 wide receiver. Wilson is a do-it-all receiver. He has the speed, running a 4.38 40 yard dash, the route running, and the hands. Get him the ball in open space and he will get it done. This is perfect for the Falcons, needing almost every position on both sides of the ball. After selecting Kyle Pitts with the 4th pick last draft, adding another elite playmaker will start to round out this new offense. They are hoping for Ridley to come back next season and have other weapons with him, including Pitts and now Garrett Wilson. The Falcons are going to need good weapons if they want newly signed Marcus Mariota or another quarterback that they draft in an upcoming draft to thrive. Sneak peek towards next year, maybe they should take Ohio State quarterback , C.J. Stroud, to keep the connection between him and Wilson.

- Benji Beretz

1.09 Seattle Seahawks: CB Derek Stingley Jr.

With the 9th overall pick they acquired from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade, we have the Seattle Seahawks selecting Derek Stingley. In 2019, as a true freshman at LSU, Derek Stingley had one of the most impressive freshman CB seasons ever. He was first-team All American with six interceptions (6th in NCAAF) and 15 pass breakups. In the last two years, Stingley has struggled to stay on the field, playing only 10 games in two years. The two major concerns surrounding Stingley are his injury history and effort at times. If the Seahawks can get the 2019 version of Derek Stingley, they just found a franchise CB to rebuild the defense around (along with Jamal Adams). Stingley’s potential is too much to pass up on for Seattle here.

- Nate Yellin

1.10 New York Jets: WR Drake London

Drake London has shown to be an elite jump ball receiver standing at 6”4 and having a vertical of 31.9. London did not partake in the draft combine due to a late ankle injury. London is coming off a season at USC with 1,084 yards, 7 TD’s and 88 Rec’s. His average yards per reception in college was 13.4 yards. Throw up the ball and he will come down with it. This is exactly what the Jets need. They have their do it all slot receiver in Elijah Moore, and they like Corey Davis. Adding another receiver to this group will help second year quarterback, Zach Wilson. After the Jets failed to build around Sam Darnold, they can’t make the same mistake with Zach Wilson. They need to get as many weapons as possible and adding London would be huge. As we saw last year Zach Wilson showed that he can escape the pocket and that he loves to throw the ball deep, and what’s better than adding a Jump Ball receiver to a receiver core of Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Braxton Berrios. Drake London will add a lot to this progressing Jets offense coming off a struggling season with a struggling, but promising rookie quarterback.

- Benji Beretz

1.11 Washington Commanders:

S Kyle Hamilton

The first thing to understand about Kyle Hamilton is that he is not a typical free safety; he plays his best in the box, is a smart player and great run pursuer. At 6’4, Hamilton has great range and is one of the best safety prospects in years. Even though there are some concerns about Hamilton’s 40 yard dash time of 4.59, he plays much faster on film. Safety is one of their major needs as Kam Curl has struggled to stay healthy and Bobby McCain is average at the position. He fits in perfectly in Ron Rivera’s defense, and if Hamilton can be used correctly, he will shine.

- Nate Yellin

1.12 Minnesota Vikings: CB Trent McDuffie

The Vikings secondary was one of the worst in all of football last year. The Vikings allowed TDs on 32.4% of opponent drives in the final 4 minutes before halftime or the end of the game. For reference, the NFL average was 12%. This placed #686 out of 686 teams since 2000. New GM Kwesi Adofo Mensah made some notable defensive signings including CB Patrick Peterson, DL Harrison Phillips, LB Jordan Hicks, and EDGE Za’Darius Smith. Even though this is an improvement, the Vikings need to address their secondary with this pick, and because Kyle Hamilton is not available, the next best option is CB Trent McDuffie. He is a smart and instinctive CB who plays physically and is a great press man corner.

- Nate Yellin

1.13 Houston Texans: T Charles Cross

After selecting Travon Walker with the 3rd overall pick, we think the Houston Texans take the best play available on the other side of the ball. At 6’5 and 307 lbs, Cross has below average athleticism, but makes up for it with strong hands and footwork. Cross is very good against power rush moves and is, in my opinion, the best pass protecting tackle in this draft. Cross can protect Davis Mills, and be a day 1 starter in a long rebuild for the Texans.

- Nate Yellin

1.14 Baltimore Ravens: DT Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis is one of the more freakish players in this draft. He ran a 4.78 40 yard dash at 6”6, 341 lbs. He is just a crazy athletic player for his weight at his position. He is the second highest graded defensive lineman of all time, and in the 90th percentile or better in every combine drill . We think they take Davis because the Ravens could really use any help on the defensive side of the ball, and to add someone with this much athletic ability is just amazing. He will be a great replacement for Calais Cambpell when his 1 year deal comes to an end after this upcoming season. The Baltimore Ravens have been a consistent playoff roster since drafting Lamar Jackson, but their defense had its struggles this past season, mostly due to injuries, but what is better than to add one of the best defensive players in this draft class.

- Benji Beretz

1.15 Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jameson Williams

Prior to his ACL tear, the Alabama receiver put college football on notice with 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was a finalist for the Biletnikoff award for Best Wide Receiver and was a pivotal piece in Alabama’s success this year. In the National Championship, Williams suffered an ACL tear, but he is ahead of schedule in recovery and in a good position to play Week 1. The Eagles could use another weapon for Jalen Hurts, and Williams’ elite speed and deep threat ability makes him a perfect fit.

- Nate Yellin

1.16 New Orleans Saints: WR Chris Olave

Chris Olave had shared the number 1 WR duties with Garrett Wilson, selected by the Falcons at pick 8, during their time at Ohio State. In Olave’s most recent season he put up 936 yards, 65 catches, and 13 TD’s. Looking back at his 2019 season, where he was almost as productive putting up 849 yards and 12 TD’s. The Saints need help at WR, and after trading up with the Eagles to acquire two first round picks, it is almost perfect in this deep WR class for them to take one here. After Michael Thomas has missed about two full seasons it is almost impossible to pass up on a WR in the first round of this draft. Even if Michael Thomas is healthy, they almost certainly will need a better number 2 WR than Tre'Quan Smith if they want Jameis Winston to have a productive season. Chris Olave will be the perfect Robin to the saints Batman, in Michael Thomas. Olave adds very good route running, hands, and deep threat ability to this Saints offense.

- Benji Beretz

1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: OG Zion Johnson

The Chargers have built a strong foundation with Justin Herbert, star WRs in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and some defensive superstars like Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and the addition of J.C Jackson and Khalil Mack. Their biggest needs are defensive tackle (the Chargers run defense gave up an average of 138.8 rushing yards per game) and offensive lineman (they released Brian Bulaga who struggled to stay healthy). In this mock, we think that they will select Zion Johnson from Boston College, the 2021 AP First Team All American Left Guard. Johnson can step in and play alongside Rashawn Slater, the Chargers’ first round pick last year, who posted an impressive PFF Player Grade of 83.6 at Left Tackle.

- Nate Yellin

1.18 Philadelphia Eagles: LB Devin Lloyd

Devin Lloyd is coming off of a season at Utah where he had 111 total tackles, 66 solo tackles, 8 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 4 INT’s. Lloyd is a tackle machine. Devin Lloyd was one of the captains on the Utah defense, showing off not just his talents, but also his leadership. With the Eagles selecting stud WR Jameson Williams with their earlier first round pick it would only make sense to address the defensive side of the ball as well, adding a very good player in Devin Lloyd. Lloyd’s talent along with his great leadership is all you could ask for, for a defense. Lloyd ran a 4.66 40 yard dash, and had a vertical jump of 35. His great skill also comes along with great athleticism. For an Eagles team that truly believes they can win their division, selecting a good leader and player for their defense only helps them make a step in the right direction towards the ultimate goal of receiving the Lombardi Trophy.

- Benji Beretz

1.19 New Orleans Saints: OT Trevor Penning

After the Saints address WR with Chris Olave, we think they select the best offensive lineman on the board in Trevor Penning. Penning is a big and strong tackle, and his power was on display in the Senior Bowl, where he earned “Offensive Line of the Week”. The Saints lost star tackle Terron Armstead in free agency to Miami, and we think the Saints use this pick to draft his replacement.

- Nate Yellin

1.20 Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett has been in the discussion for the first quarterback selected in this draft. Pickett threw for 4,319 yards, 42 TD’s, and had a QB rating of 81.2. This ranked him 6th in passing yards and 4th in touchdowns. This was a huge jump from his 2020 season where he threw for only 2,408 yards and 12 TD’s. The long-time Steelers hall of fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, played his last season for the Steelers this past season. The Steelers did sign former NVP (Nickelodeon Valuable Player)and former number 2 overall pick, Mitchel Trubisky. Trubisky has had a very poor start to his NFL career and was a full time backup for Josh Allen last season. Pickett could be the quarterback they need to replace Big Ben.

- Benji Beretz

1.21 New England Patriots: CB Andrew Booth Jr.

With the 21th pick, we think the Patriots draft J.C Jackson’s replacement in Andrew Booth. Both Jackson and the Clemson junior play with fluidity, agility and good press man skills. Booth doesn’t have the most college experience as he has only played 25 career college games. Adjusting to the NFL, especially Belichek’s complex defensive system, might take some time at first, but we think the Patriots buy in on his talent and take him with the 21th pick.

- Nate Yellin

1.22 Green Bay Packers: WR Treylon Burks

The Green Bay Packers are in need of a new wide receiver core, after losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling to the Chiefs in free agency and trading a top 2 WR in the NFL in Davante Adams to the Raiders. The way the board has fallen, Treylon Burks is the top WR available. Treylon Burks is a freak of nature, and he ran a 4.55 40 yard dash, at 6”2 and 225 lbs. The last offensive weapon the Packers have added for Aarong Rodgers is running back AJ Dillon. They are in need of adding a WR and Treylon Burks could be their new number 1 guy.

- Benji Beretz

1.23 Arizona Cardinals: EDGE George Karlaftis

The Arizona Cardinals are in a position here to draft their replacement for Chandler Jones. Jones left in free agency, signing with the Raiders. Jones last season had 10.5 sacks, second on the team behind Markus Golden who finished with 11. George Karlaftis is going to have to come in with a big impact to fill in for Chandler Jones. He likely won’t be that good right away, but that is the hope for the Cardinals. Karlaftis gets a lot of pressure on the quarterback which is a big need for the Cardinals. Karlaftis only had 4.5 sacks this past season, but had 7.5 sacks in his Freshman year at Purdue. Karlaftis was born in Athens, Greece. He could be the second coming of the nickname “ The Greek Freak”. For the Cardinals in the NFC West, they are going to need a very good defense to beat out the Super Bowl champs and the very well rounded 49ers team for the division.

- Benji Beretz

1.24 Dallas Cowboys: DT Devonte Wyatt

The Dallas Cowboys are in a good spot to draft either the best WR available after trading away Amari Cooper, or just drafting the best defensive player available. With most of the top WR’s off the board, we think they will draft Devonte Wyatt because he is almost a perfect fit here in Dallas. Wyatt ran a 4.77 40 yard dash at 304 lbs. The Cowboys offense has a lot of firepower and their defense has some big holes. The Dallas Cowboys defense was very inconsistent last season. After adding Micah Parson to their defense, adding a stud defensive tackle like Devonte Wyatt will give their defense a huge boost. He will help clog the middle of the D-line, and create a lot of ruckus for opposing team quarterbacks, being added to a defense with Demarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, and league leader in INT’s, Trevon Diggs.

- Benji Beretz

1.25 Buffalo Bills: RB Breece Hall

The Buffalo Bills don't have many holes on their roster. The Bills won the AFC East with ease this past season being led by superstar quarterback Josh Allen. One big hole they have had for a while has been their starting RB’s. After losing to Chiefs in the playoffs in back to back years, the Bills are hungry to get over the hump and adding a good running back to their star studded offense would be great. Over his last two seasons at Iowa State, Hall ran for a total of 3,044 yards and had 41 total rushing touchdowns. Along with his rushing abilities he also added on 482 receiving yards and 5 receiving TD’s. The Bills offense will be complete after adding Hall to this offense.

- Benji Beretz

1.26 Tennessee Titans: EDGE Jermaine Johnson II

Not much needs to be said here. The Titans need a playmaker on defense, and with Jermaine Johnson on the board, they can’t pass on him. He is one of the best talents in the draft and is being projected to go anywhere between pick 4 and on. He will give a huge boost to this Titans defense. Joshnosn ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, and has a prospect grade of 6.49. Jermaine Johnson finished last season with 12 sacks, ranking him 7th in sacks. This will be a big addition to the Titans defense to help them make a push for the playoffs and on.

- Benji Beretz

1.27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OG Kenyon Green

Kenyon Green is an example of a prospect who has fallen – due to a poor combine and some issues against pass rush schemes. We think the Buccaneers select him with the 27th pick because, in all honesty, you can never have enough offensive lineman. He is a good run blocker and succeeded in Texas A&M’s run offense and he will eventually get the chance to do the same for Tampa.

- Nate Yellin

1.28 Green Bay Packers: OT Bernhard Raimann

One of the Packers biggest needs alongside WR, is O-line (mainly tackle). After addressing wide receiver with pick 22 by selecting Treylon Burks, we believe they will try to improve their Offensive line. During last season, Both Guard, Elgton Jenkins, and Tackle, David Bakhtiari, missed time with injuries. The Packers don’t have a good Tackle on the opposite side of Bakhtiari, and adding Raimann would fill that hole. Raimann could also slide to guard if necessary. This first round outcome for the Packers will be huge additions to the Packers offense, and the Packers are finally drafting help for Hall Of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Adding WR Treylon Burks and OT Bernhard Raimann, will help the Packers greatly, and give Rodgers another chance at winning the league MVP.

- Benji Beretz

1.29 Kansas City Chiefs: WR George Pickens

This off-season, the Chiefs lost superstar Tyreek Hill, and even though they signed JuJu Smith Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR is their number one need. With the 29th pick, we think they opt for George Pickens out of Georgia. At 6 foot three, Pickens is a long and length WR. He had an ACL tear this spring, but he came back near the end of the season and posted impressive numbers. The Chiefs would thrive with a jump ball receiver like Pickens and he will be another weapon for Patrick Mahomes.

- Nate Yellin

1.30 Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE David Ojabo

Prior to his gruesome Achilles tear during a pass coverage drill at Michigan’s pro day, Ojabo was widely considered a top 15 pick. In 2021, Ojabo broke out for Michigan, with 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles (a Michigan record). Ojabo has great pass rush moves and speed, especially in pursuit. He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash and his quickness really shows on tape. He struggles in run defense, but that is something that the Chiefs can work on. The Chiefs take two ‘projects’ in George Pickens and David Ojabo who, with time, can both contribute on an already dominant team.

- Nate Yellin

1.31 Cincinnati Bengals: C Tyler Linderbaum

Not much is needed to be said about this selection. The Bengals made it all the way to the SuperBowl only one season after having the number 1 overall pick. The Bengals biggest struggle was protecting Joe Burrow. They have added a few guys to their O-line this offseason and we think they will continue to do so by adding Tyler Linderbaum. Linderbaum is a great prospect and if he were to fall here to the Bengals don’t be surprised when you see his name called at this pick. Only just a month ago Linderbaum was being projected to be a top 10 pick and getting him at 31 would be great. Linderbaum will be the heart and soul of the Bengals O-line and will help the Bengals do what they need to do most, which is protect young Star quarterback, Joe Burrow.

- Benji Beretz

1.32 Detroit Lions: EDGE Arnold Ebiketie

While the Lions’ Offense last year was abysmal, their defense also sucked. There were no true playmakers on the 2021 defense, and therefore we think they select the best edge on the board. To us, the best pass rusher on the board is Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State’s premier rusher. In 2021, Ebiketie had 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, both were team best. He has the potential to develop his game as a project who will get reps for a rebuilding franchise.

- Nate Yellin

Top Available Players after Round 1:

Boye Mafe, EDGE Minnesota

Nakobe Dean, LB Georgia

Tyler Smith, OT Tulsa

Jahan Dotson, WR Penn State

Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

Desmond Ridder, QB Cincinnati

Sam Howell, QB UNC

Kaiir Elam, CB Florida

Lewis Cine, S Georgia

Kyler Gordon, CB Washington

Jaquan Brisker, S Penn State

Kenneth Walker III, RB Michigan State

If you got this far, thank you so much for reading Field General Analytics’ 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Let us know what you think, which picks you agree with, disagree with and more in the comment section below.

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