We are less than a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft. There are handful of trades as well as a few picks to mimic the craziness we all know and love on draft day. Without further ado, here is my final mock draft of the season!
No. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Jaguars opt for a high ceiling player with unmatched physical potential to kick of this year’s mock draft. Though he wasn’t the most dominant pass rusher in college, Travon Walker’s physical upside is too much for the Jaguars to pass on and they get a difference maker on defense.
No. 2 Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Head coach Dan Campbell gets his tough, gritty defender in the Michigan native Aidan Hutchinson. The former Wolverine has all the tools to excel in the NFL, as he is solid in every facet of the game. His leadership ability makes him a big draw as well.
No 3. Houston Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Texans must lay a foundation for their franchise and Evan Neal can help them do that. Adept at playing both left and right tackle, the physically imposing Neal can be a franchise tackle in Houston for years to come.
No 4. New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
It wasn’t too long ago that Kayvon Thibodeaux was the conseus top player in this draft, but falls to fourth overall due to unfounded questions of his effort. Robert Saleh made a career off of a vaunted pass rush in San Francisco, and he grabs a dynamic EDGE here for his defense.
No 5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Giants need serious help along the offensive line in order to help protect quarterback Daniel Jones and open holes for running back Saquon Barkley. Ikem Ekwonu is a phenomenal run blocker who plays with a nasty streak that the Giants will certainly covet.
No. 6. *TRADE* (from Carolina) Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
(Panthers receive 20th overall selection, 52nd overall selection, 2024 first round pick)
Word on the street is the Steelers are enamored with Malik Willis, and it’s not hard to see why. A tremendous athlete with a cannon for an arm, Willis can bring to life a position that has been on the wayside in Pittsburgh the last few years. Though he’ll need time to develop, and he’ll get that behind Trubisky, Willis will be well worth the wait for the Steelers.
No 7. New York Giants: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale prioritizes defensive backs and coverage over pass rush, and hasn’t been shy about saying so. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has the size, speed, and swagger that Wink drools over, and would be a perfect fit in the Giants new look defense.
No. 8. Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
The first big shock of this mock draft goes to the Falcons, who stay close to home and are not above taking athletic marvels, even if the position isn’t a big need or matches the value of the spot. At 6’6, 340 lbs and running a 4.78, Jordan Davis is a freak of nature the NFL has never seen the likes of and he should have teams drooling.
The Falcons ranked last in sacks and were sixth against the run, but Davis can elevate those around him. Not to mention, Grady Jarrett is due over $16 million during his final year of his contract and Davis could help ease that eventual loss.
No. 9. Seattle Seahawks: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Illinois
The Seahawks have massive holes at both tackle spots, and it doesn’t matter much who is under center in Seattle until those spots are filled. Trevor Penning has been a fast riser in the draft process due to his athletic testing and his nasty style of play. This may be seen as a reach, but Pete Carroll’s draft board has always looked vastly different from most everyone else’s.
No. 10. New York Jets: Drake London, WR, USC
Getting quarterback Zach Wilson more help should be a high priority for the Jets. They go out and snag a big target for their second year quarterback here. Drake London may not have blazing speed, but he is a big-bodied target with a massive wingspan who makes contested catches look easy. The Jets get a much needed-number one wide-out in New York.
No. 11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The backend of Washington’s defense needs an upgrade, and Kyle Hamilton is one of the best upgrades a team can have. Seen as one of the top players in this draft, Hamilton has tremendous range, versatility, and overall talent, and fits in nicely with Ron Rivera’s defense.
No. 12. *TRADE* (from Minnesota) Kansas City Chiefs: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
(Vikings receive the 29th and 30th overall picks)
The Chiefs have shown that they are not afraid to go all-in to get players they feel will help Patrick Mahomes, as evidenced by their overhaul of the offensive line last year. Now, the Chiefs need weapons and they grab perhaps the best one in this year’s draft. Jameson Williams is an explosive pass catcher who can play all over the field and keeps the Kansas City offense dangerous.
No. 13. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Texans need help across the board and are in a prime position to take the best player available. Derek Stingley Jr. is far and away the best player on the board. There were talks of him being a potential first overall pick after a tremendous freshman year at LSU, and while his play has cooled off since then, there is no denying that Stingley possesses unreal talent.
No. 14. Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Despite owning a bevy of mid-round picks, the Ravens do the Ravens thing and stay put to let good players fall to them. Jermaine Johnson fills a massive need for Baltimore, as the team has no proven players beyond Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh, both of whom are coming off of injuries themselves. Johnson can rush the passer in a variety of ways on top of being a stout run defender.
No. 15. Philadelphia Eagles: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Eagles are in desperate need of secondary help, and Trent McDuffie offers just that. Though he doesn’t possess prototypical length, McDuffie is an outstanding athlete who has the ability to play both the slot and out on the perimeter.
N0. 16. New Orleans Saints: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Jameis Winston is firmly entrenched as the team’s starting quarterback, so the Saints look to upgrade the talent around him in this mock draft. There is a gaping hole at left tackle after the departure of Terron Armstead, but Charles Cross can help fill that. Seen as the best pass protector in the draft, Cross can step in from Day 1 and be the Saints blindside protector.
No. 17. Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Chargers are seriously invested in making a championship run while Justin Herbert is still on a rookie contract. The defense has been massively upgraded and now the Chargers look to upgrade Herbert’s weapons. Chris Olave has tremendous deep speed that complements the other receivers well, and he can immediately take advantage of Herbert’s big arm.
No. 18. Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Philly’s defensive line is in serious need of some youth and George Karlaftis provides just that. Perhaps the best power rusher in the draft, Karlaftis is a stout run defender with a non-stop motor to get to the opposing quarterback.
No. 19. New Orleans Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Whatever the Saints need from him, Garrett Wilson can provide. A smooth route runner with sticky hands who can create separation in an instant, Wilson provides a much needed complement to the returning Michael Thomas — himself a former Buckeye.
No. 20. (from Pittsburgh) Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
The Panthers have a massive need at quarterback and are in dire need of draft picks. The trade down with the Steelers in this mock draft nets Carolina solutions to both, as the Panthers snag a second round pick and the quarterback they were targeting all along.
While Kenny Pickett is far from a finished product, he has enough physical and technical ability to give the Panthers confidence that he is their franchise QB going forward.
No. 21. New England Patriots: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
Even if J.C. Jackson had returned, defensive back would still be high up on New England’s list of needs. But with Jackson’s departure to LA, the Patriots are in need of an influx of talent on their defensive back end. Though there are some medical concerns, Andrew Booth is an astounding athlete and a tough competitor who can play both in the slot and out on the perimeter.
No. 22. Green Bay Packers: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
George Pickens is a big-bodied receiver with deceptive speed who can make any catch thrown his way. Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons, and he will come to love Pickens in a hurry.
No. 23. Arizona Cardinals: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
Though there are more pressing needs for Arizona, the team’s top priority should be surrounding quarterback Kyler Murray with talent, assuming he comes back. Zion Johnson is an interior lineman who has it all and can instantly upgrade Murray’s protection, which has been suspect at times.
No. 24. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
For years, the strength of the Cowboys has been the offensive line. But age, injuries, and free agent departures have thinned out that line. Tyler Smith offers some much needed reinforcements. A violent run blocker with obscene strength and power, Smith can open up holes for Cowboys runners with ease.
No. 25. Buffalo Bills: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Wide receiver isn’t the biggest need for Buffalo but Treylon Burks is too enticing at this spot to pass up. Falling a bit due to disappointing 40 times, Burks is still a big-bodied receiver who complements Stefon Diggs and could quickly become a favorite target of Josh Allen.
No. 26. Tennessee Titans: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Titans have a noticeable hole in the middle of their defense at linebacker. Devin Lloyd can come in right away to remedy that. Ultra versatile with sideline-to-sideline speed, Lloyd can be a useful weapon head coach Mike Vrabel could deploy effectively.
No. 27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
Devonte Wyatt was productive while at Georgia and has all the tools teams want in a defensive lineman, but he’s one of the oldest prospects in the draft. That could cause him to fall. The Bucs need to inject some youth into their defensive line and Wyatt could be a Day 1 starter.
No. 28. Green Bay Packers: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
The Packers grab a versatile defensive back to strengthen their defensive backfield. Lewis Cine has great range and can play in multiple spots on the defense and would be a needed boost to Green Bay’s secondary.
No 29. (from Kansas City) Minnesota Vikings: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Vikings have had a revolving door at corner for a number of years, and it’s not for a lack of trying to upgrade the position. Kaiir Elam has the NFL pedigree and a great combination of size and athleticism to be a standout defensive back.
No. 30. (from Kansas City) Minnesota Vikings: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
There’s a new regime in Minnesota and that typically means a new quarterback. While Kirk Cousins is back for one more year, that doesn’t preclude the Vikings from taking a signal caller and getting that coveted fifth-year option. Desmond Ridder is an experienced player with the tools necessary to succeed at the next level.
No. 31. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Bengals made a surprising Super Bowl run last season and that is no thanks to the offensive line. The Bengals have made much needed additions to that unit and Tyler Linderbaum can be the cherry on top.
No. 32. Detroit Lions: Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan
The Lions close out this mock draft and go Michigan once again with their second first round pick, Daxton Hill. The former Wolverine can line up and virtually any spot in the secondary, which is a relief because the Lions need help in their secondary in a bad way.