Tyler Kirk’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft

By: Tyler Kirk

It’s finally draft day 2022. With this year’s class having more question marks than in other drafts, here’s a look at how tonight’s first round could shake out.

Photo Courtesy of Sporting News

1.  Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aiden Hutchinson – Michigan  

Although there has been talks of the Jaguars drafting Travon Walker lately, they can’t really afford to take the risk on a player’s potential with the 1st overall pick. They go with the safer option to help boost their atrocious defense.

2.  Detroit Lions: EDGE Travon Walker – Georgia

Despite the Lions’ record last season, the Dan Campbell era is off to a good start. Although Walker is not the most polished player in this draft, he could be the one with the biggest potential, and a nightmare for quarterbacks for years to come.

3.  Houston Texans: T Evan Neal – Alabama  

The Texans are in full rebuild mode. They have LT Laremy Tunsil, but need additional players to help protect QB Davis Mills. Neal is one of the most polished all-around players in this draft, and played at both tackle positions along with guard in college.

4.  New York Jets: T Ikem Ekwonu – North Carolina State

There’s been some buzz as of recently that LT Mekhi Becton may not play for the Jets again, and Ekwonu is looked at by many as the Tackle with the most upside in this draft. The Jets would like to make sure they keep their first-round QB from last year, Zach Wilson, protected.

5.  New York Giants: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux – Oregon

Some believe that Thibodeaux is the best all around prospect in this draft who will no doubt be a game-wrecker day one. The Giants have missed on their first-round picks in the last couple of years but go with the best available on the board at an area of need for them.

6.  Carolina Panthers: QB Malik Willis – Liberty

The Panthers took a swing on QB Sam Darnold last offseason and missed big. Because of that trade, they don’t pick again until the fourth round in this draft. With this draft class having the lowest-rated QB prospects in years, the Panthers once again take a swing on the highly talked-about Willis.

7.  New York Giants (from CHI): CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner – Cincinnati

According to reports, the Giants were looking to trade CB James Bradberry before the draft. With the Giants having very little cap space, don’t be shocked if the Giants take Gardner here and continue looking for a trade partner for Bradberry.

8.  Atlanta Falcons: S Kyle Hamilton – Notre Dame

Hamilton was regarded as the safest top-five pick in this class before he ran his 40-yard dash at the combine. Although his time scared off other teams, Atlanta looks past that and pairs him up with star CB A.J. Terrell in their secondary.

9.  Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): EDGE Jermaine Johnson II – Florida State

With the Seahawks trading Russell Wilson to the Broncos this offseason, they now have a huge need at QB. They did however receive Drew Lock in the Wilson trade and may have faith he will pan out. They address a big need on defense and look to fill other big holes later.

10.  San Francisco 49ers (from SEA): WR Jameson Williams – Alabama

*Hypothetical Trade* The Jets trade their 10th overall pick along with other picks for WR Deebo Samuel. 

With the 49ers on the clock, they select Samuel’s replacement in Jameson Williams. Williams is arguably the best WR in this draft, but his draft stock went down a little after his ACL injury in the title game. The 49ers overlook this as the future is more important than a couple missed games in the beginning of the season.

11.  Washington Commanders: WR Drake London – USC

The Commanders traded for QB Carson Wentz this offseason and are in desperate need of pairing another stud receiver alongside WR Terry McLaurin. Behind McLaurin and WR Curtis Samuel, who was hurt all last season, they have no depth. They take the pressure off McLaurin and give Wentz a big target to throw to.

12.  Minnesota Vikings: CB Derek Stingley Jr. – LSU

An injury history over the last two seasons causes a slide for Stingley, but it ends with the Vikings who are in dire need of a CB and are willing to take the risk. Stingley could prove to be the best corner in this draft; however, the Vikings have missed on their previous cornerback selections in the previous couple drafts, so history is not on their side.

13.  Houston Texans (from CLE): WR Garrett Wilson – Ohio State

The Texans go offense again, providing Davis Mills with a great weapon on the outside. With better quarterbacks coming in next year’s draft, they use this year to determine if Mills is the future or not.

14.  Baltimore Ravens: DL Jordan Davis – Georgia

The Ravens attempt to improve their interior defense by plugging in a monster of a human in Davis. He has that Baltimore defensive mentality that will fit in perfectly with their culture.

15.  Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): WR Chris Olave – Ohio State

As mentioned with the Texans, the Eagles give QB Jalen Hurts the chance to prove if he is their franchise quarterback with Olave, pairing him with last year’s first-round selection WR DeVonta Smith.

16.  New Orleans Saints (from IND): T Charles Cross – Mississippi State

The Saints just lost LT Terron Armstead to the Dolphins in free agency but replace him with Cross. Although Cross could go a lot higher than this, many teams are worried with how raw of a player he still is.

17.  Los Angeles Chargers: T Trevor Penning – Northern Iowa

The Chargers hit a homerun with last year’s first-round pick LT Rashawn Slater and look to do so again this year with Penning. QB Justin Herbert is without a doubt their future, and they want to do everything in their power to protect him.

18.  Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): CB Trent McDuffie – Washington

The Eagles have a big need at corner outside of CB Darius Slay. Although McDuffie isn’t talked about as much due to Gardner and Stingley being rated so high, he will come in on day one and dramatically improve their defense.

19.  New Orleans Saints (from PHI): QB Desmond Ridder – Cincinnati

Remember back in the 2018 draft when the Saints traded up on draft night and everyone thought they were going to take QB Lamar Jackson with their pick but didn’t? While questions with Jameis Winston remain, they don’t want to make the same mistake twice and pull the trigger on Ridder.

20.  Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Kenny Pickett – Pittsburgh

The Steelers have been heavily associated with QB Malik Willis during this draft process, but what if he is gone? Pickett is the most experienced quarterback in this draft, and the Steelers are ready to win now.

21.  New England Patriots: LB Devin Lloyd – Utah

While it is also possible that the Patriots trade back from this pick, it will be very hard for them to pass on Lloyd if he is there. He is arguably the best LB in this draft and would be a perfect fit in the Belichick system.

22.  Green Bay Packers (from LV): WR Treylon Burks – Arkansas

For the first time in two decades, the Packers finally draft a WR in the first round. With Devante Adams traded to the Raiders, Aaron Rodgers needs a new #1 to throw to. Treylon Burks provides that for Rodgers and the Packers.

23.  Arizona Cardinals: G Zion Johnson – Boston College

Kyler Murray has gotten beaten up in the second half of the last two seasons, and the Cardinals would like to prevent that as much as possible. Johnson provides them with a big body that can play both tackle and guard.

24.  Dallas Cowboys: WR George Pickens – Georgia

Although offensive and defensive line are probably bigger areas of need for the Cowboys, Jerry Jones loves his wide receivers. Don’t be shocked if the Cowboys try to replace WR Amari Cooper early with Pickens or try to trade up and draft one of the top four receivers.

25.  Buffalo Bills: DL Devonte Wyatt – Georgia

Although there has been speculation that the Bills may go RB at this pick, Wyatt is just too good to pass up at 25, especially with it being one of their biggest needs. The Bills will easily be able to draft a high-quality RB on day two.

26.  Tennessee Titans: EDGE George Karlaftis – Purdue

The Titans go with an area of need on defense with Karlaftis. Although it may be more vital for them to go offensive line with this pick, Karlaftis can lift their defense and make them a serious contender come playoff time.

27.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: G Kenyon Green – Texas A&M

The Bucs lost both of their starting guards this offseason, so this pick feels like a no brainer. QB Tom Brady is nearing retirement (we think?), and they want to preserve him for as long as possible.

28.  Green Bay Packers: LB Nakobe Dean – Georgia

The Packers lost Za’Darius Smith this offseason, and Dean is an absolute stud and defensive leader that would be picked a lot higher if he was taller. Although he doesn’t rush the passer as much as Smith does, pairing Dean next to Rashan Gary could be a nightmare for opposing offenses.

29.  Kansas City Chiefs (from SF): WR Jahan Dotson – Penn State

The Chiefs find their replacement for Tyreek Hill with their first of back-to-back picks. Dotson is an electric player who would fit perfectly in the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes system.

30.  Kansas City Chiefs: DB Daxton Hill – Michigan  

Daxton Hill lined up all over the place for Michigan and would be the same utility tool on defense for the Chiefs. With Tyrann Matthieu gone, the Chiefs find their new leader on the back end of their defense.

31.  Cincinnati Bengals: CB Andrew Booth Jr. – Clemson

The Bengals grab an absolute steal in Booth Jr. Just like McDuffie, Booth Jr. hasn’t been talked about nearly enough because of the other higher prospects. Although CB isn’t a big need for the Bengals, he will drastically improve the back end of their defense day one.

32.  Detroit Lions (from LAR): QB Sam Howell – North Carolina

The Lions already have the “bridge QB” in place with Jared Goff until 2024. Although Howell is raw, he has plenty of time to sit and learn behind Goff until he is ready to take the helm.

Predictions for Other Notable Draft Prospects:

QB Matt Corral – Atlanta Falcons

WR Skyy Moore – Chicago Bears

WR Christian Watson – San Francisco 49ers

WR Justyn Ross – Jacksonville Jaguars

TE Trey McBride – Denver Broncos

RB Kenneth Walker III – Atlanta Falcons

RB Breece Hall – Buffalo Bills

RB James Cook – Detroit Lions

T Tyler Smith – Pittsburgh Steelers

T Bernhard Raimann – Seattle Seahawks

C Tyler Linderbaum – Chicago Bears

CB Kaiir Elam – Baltimore Ravens

CB Jalen Pitre – Cleveland Browns

CB Kyler Gordon – New England Patriots

S Lewis Cine – Jacksonville Jaguars

S Jaquan Brisker – Houston Texans

DI Travis Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DI Logan Hall – New York Giants

EDGE Arnold Ebiketie – Minnesota Vikings

LB Leo Chenal – New York Giants

LB Quay Walker – Philadelphia Eagles

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