Final 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Long First Round Streak Ends For Philadelphia
Today is the day.
Finally, after many months of waiting, draft day is here.
While you count down the hours to 8:00, here's my final first round mock draft. Keep in mind, I think there is potential for many trades to happen but there will be no trades made in this mock.
Also quick disclaimer, I've seen all the Travon Walker #1 rumors but I still find it hard to believe they don't stick with Hutchinson in the end. Then once we get past Walker at 1, I don't think the teams below them have the same opinion on him. Hence why I don't have him at #2 or #3.
#1: Jaguars- EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Although Hutchinson is not an 100% lock to be the #1 pick like in past years, it seems like this is definitely the way things are going to go. The Jaguars have a big need at edge rusher and Hutchinson is probably the most sure thing prospect in this draft. I've heard rumors about the Jaguars listening to trade offers for this pick, but Jacksonville would benefit most from not overthinking things and making Hutchinson the first pick of the Doug Pederson era.
#2: Lions- CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Cincinnati
Maybe this will come as a surprise to some more casual draft fans, but Gardner has been flying up draft boards in recent weeks and has the potential to go much higher then originally expected. This also plays hand in hand with a couple of other draft rumors: Kayvon Thibodeaux taking a slide and the concerns about Derek Stingley Jr.'s injury history. Gardner allowed 0 touchdowns in coverage last season and would replenish a Lions secondary who needs playmakers ASAP.
#3: Texans- EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Even though I said that there was a chance that Kayvon would start dropping down draft boards, I still find it hard to believe he drops out of the top 5. The Texans will take whoever they think is the best player available at this pick, and I'd bank on them buying high on the potential of the Oregon defensive end. There's been concerns about Thibodeaux missing most of last season but I still think he might be the best edge rusher in this draft. Houston gets a premium prospect and gears up for their next first round pick.
#4: Jets- CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Yeah, I know, after saying that both Thibodeaux and Stingley have been falling down draft boards I still have them both going top 4. The Jets still have a massive need in the secondary, and I still believe in the potential of Stingley. Considering New York has another pick at #10, they can afford to be risky with at least one of their first round picks.
#5: Giants- T Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
There's been buzz about Ekwonu going as high as 1 in this draft, so I'll buy into that and say that he'll be the first tackle off the board. New York has had their fair share of tackle busts in recent years but Ekwonu is more of a sure thing then any of the guys they have taken.
#6: Panthers- QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Guys like Evan Neal and Charles Cross are definitely still in play for this pick, but I think that Carolina will end up being too tempted to take the upside on Willis. I'm really not impressed with any of the quarterbacks in this draft but I can see the potential that Willis might be able to reach some day. This is obviously a position of need since Sam Darnold is not cutting it as their starter right now.
#7: Giants- EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
Walker is another guy who has had buzz towards Jacksonville at #1, so I guess New York would have to be pretty happy about getting him all the way at 7. I've expressed many times that I've never really bought into the hype surrounding Walker but I can absolutely see the upside on him. I still have my concerns about some of his measurements however, and it should be interesting to see what kind of player he develops into in the NFL. The Giants come away from this draft thrilled, addressing two major needs at tackle and edge rusher with their two first rounders.
#8: Falcons- WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
Maybe most of you would consider this the first surprise of this mock, but I really don't think it's that farfetched. The Falcons have a glaring need at receiver after Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season, and Williams has been climbing up draft boards in recent weeks. Although the torn ACL is still a huge concern, I just have a feeling a team will take the upside and worry about the recovery time later. Who knows who will be throwing to him whenever he does reach the field.
#9: Seahawks- T Evan Neal, Alabama
At first glance, I thought to myself: there is no way Neal makes it all the way to 9, right? But I feel like the way the first 8 picks turned out is perfectly realistic, so Seattle just ends up getting a massive steal with the pick they acquired in the Russel Wilson trade. Neal was #1 in my mock draft from a couple months ago and honestly I'm not sure myself why his stock has dropped in NFL circles since then. Regardless, he'll be an instant impact on a Seattle team that has plenty of needs right now.
#10: Jets- WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
The Jets probably wish they had their choice of all the top wideouts at this pick, but there's a chance that they had Wilson ranked higher on their draft board anyway. After addressing the secondary at 4, New York now heads to the offensive side of the ball to get a playmaker for Zach Wilson. Wilson is probably my favorite from this year’s crop of wideouts and should fit in nicely alongside Elijah Moore.
#11: Commanders- WR Drake London, USC
Now we get a run on wideouts, but Washington could go a couple ways here. Cornerback, safety and edge rusher were all in contention with the way the board played out. Instead, they’ll opt to get a weapon for Carson Wentz. London is a bit of a risk due to his injury history, but if he reaches his potential then he’ll be a big hit anywhere he goes.
#12: Vikings- EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State
Johnson was originally seen as a potential late first round pick before his outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl that caught the eye of scouts everywhere. I honestly believe he can go as high as the Giants at 5, but it’s more realistic that he’s the 4th edge rusher off the board to Minnesota at 12.
#13: Texans- T Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Houston addressed edge rusher at #3, so lets shift to the other side of the line with Cross being the next best option. The Texans should probably consider themselves lucky to get him this late, since like a lot of these guys he has a chance to go as high as 5.
#14: Ravens- DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
My fellow writer LJ Nessler will tell you that I'm lower on Davis then most people, but it's obvious that he probably wont make it out of the top 15 picks. He was a lock to go in the first round before his unbelievable combine performance which has only made his stock skyrocket in the weeks leading up to the draft. The Ravens could target a couple positions with this pick, but they'll take the upside to fill the need at defensive tackle.
#15: Eagles- S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Let me just start this by saying that I would be absolutely thrilled if this was the way the board played out for the Eagles. Hamilton was once viewed as a top 5 pick by some, so getting him with your first rounder without trading up is a steal in my eyes. The Notre Dame product just feels like a perfect fit for this defense, an athletic safety who is good in coverage due to his length and size. Even though the Eagles brought back Anthony Harris, they let Rodney McLeod walk and are looking very weak at safety right now. No disrespect to K'Von Wallace or Marcus Epps, but I don't think they can be your starting safety on a team who has playoff aspirations. Hamilton will start from Day 1 and hopefully be the cornerstone of this defense for the next decade. FYI, Hamilton is #4 on my big board for the Eagles.
#16: Saints- T Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
When New Orleans first traded up for this pick, I think everyone had the idea of them taking a QB on their mind. However, the more I've thought about it, the Saints will probably just end up addressing one of their more pressing needs with this pick. Jameis was pretty good before his injury last year, so let's bank on that and grab them a tackle to block for him. Penning is next off the board for me, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them snag a receiver here as well.
#17: Chargers- DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
I could be off on this, but I think if Wyatt and/or Davis are available for LA's pick there is no way they don't take one of them. In this mock, Davis went 3 picks earlier but Wyatt is still there so that's probably the direction they'd go. Wyatt has been overshadowed after sharing a defense with a guy who had one of the best combine performances of all time, but he is still a great player who fills a massive need for the Chargers.
#18: Eagles- CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
I'm not sure everyone realizes how unproven the Eagles are at the cornerback position right now. Darius Slay is great and the clear CB1, but past him you have plenty of young guns who have barely played in the NFL. I'm probably higher on Zech McPhearson then anyone else but you cannot go into the 2022 season with him as your CB2. McDuffie can come right in to replace Steven Nelson; who signed with the Texans after being the Eagles second outside corner for all of last season. A lot has been made about how the Washington product is a much smaller corner then most in the NFL, but it didn't seem to make a difference against a lot of NFL-ready wideouts in Pac-12 play so I'm not too worried on that front. There's a chance that a team like Minnesota takes McDuffie higher then he is projected but I find it hard to believe he won't be available at 15 and 18. It should be no problem taking two players in the secondary, since CB and S are probably the Eagles two biggest needs heading into the draft. McDuffie is #8 on my big board for the Eagles.
#19: Saints- WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
New Orleans will definitely be grateful that the Eagles didn't take a receiver with ether of their first rounders, since now they get their pick of the bunch of the next tier of wideouts. I considered Treylon Burks here as well, but Olave is probably a bit more proven so the front office will go that way instead.
#20: Steelers- QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
I just feel like this pick makes way too much sense for it not to happen. Sure, the Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky but that isn't going to prevent them from taking a QB in the first round. I know they like Willis, but with him off the board they can take the local product and have him duke it out with Trubisky in camp. A QB battle of Trubisky vs. Pickett sounds fun and definitely won't cause any rifts in the Steelers fan base.
#21: Patriots- LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Honestly this is probably the floor for Lloyd. Unless some crazy player drops down from the Top 20 picks, it's hard to see New England passing on a player like him. I've preached for months about how good a fit Lloyd would be in any defense, but the Patriots would almost be too good to be true. I've probably talked enough about Devin Lloyd throughout this draft season, but the kid is a unbelievable football player and an even better human being.
#22: Packers- WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
It's pretty crazy that out of all the picks I've seen in various mock drafts the past few months, Burks to Green Bay is up there in terms of popularity. It makes complete sense, as Burks has been viewed as the next Deebo Samuel by most and he'll need to go to an offense that knows how to utilize him. The hole of Davante Adams still remains and Burks can at least be a step forward replacing him. I also wouldnt be shocked if the Packers package some picks to move up for one of the pass catchers taken in the teens.
#23: Cardinals- CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
I find it really hard to believe that Arizona doesn't go somewhere on the defense with his pick. I know that they have a decent need at WR, but did you see that defense in the wild card game last year? I did, because I remember Matt Stafford picking them apart for lunch and dinner on the way to a blowout win. No offense to Marco Wilson but I think he showed on a national stage why Arizona needs to add to this position. Booth may be recovering from an injury but I'm still a huge fan of him and hope the Cardinals would start him from Day 1 in this scenario.
#24: Cowboys- EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
It's crazy to me that not that long ago we were talking about Karlaftis as a consensus top 10 pick. So what happened? Well, I'm honestly not sure. I still like him as the 5th best edge rusher in this class, which is nothing to be ashamed of considering 4 of those are projected to go very high in this draft. Dallas needs help all over the line so going edge rusher is a safe bet. I also considered Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum here.
#25: Bills- DL Travis Jones, Uconn
Jones may not be a household name but I'm pretty surprised he hasn't been getting more first round love by fellow makers of mock drafts. Some people view him as more of a run stopper then an edge rusher, which is honestly fine by me. The Bills drafted A.J Epenesa early last year anyway, so taking a more inside lineman here makes sense.
#26: Titans- G Zion Johnson, Boston College
Maybe I'm crazy, but I kind of thought quarterback here? Not that Ryan Tannehill isn't the QB1 for Tennessee but he's not getting any younger and has not really led them to anything beyond the AFC Championship a couple years ago. But I'll pass on that and instead get someone to block for Derrick Henry. Wether he'll be a center or guard long term, Johnson is the best interior lineman in the class so this was an easy decision.
#27: Buccaneers- C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Tampa Bay lost their starting center to Free Agency and Tom Brady is always looking for young lineman to develop into stars. It wasn't long ago that people thought Linderbaum could be a top 15 pick, which I guess is still possible but I havent really seen it at all by draft analysts. This is really good value for me all the way down at 27.
#28: Packers- G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
The only positional run in this first round being interior offensive lineman is definitely not something I'd bet on for tonight. But that makes 3 straight, with Green Bay heading to the offensive line after attempting to patch up the WR position at 22. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if Green Bay is active on the trade market with this pick potentially being the centerpiece.
#29: Chiefs: WR George Pickens, Georgia
Pickens is the literal definition of a risky pick with immense upside. Although we've seen flashes in his college career, he's struggled to stay on the field enough to prove very much. But alas, I just have a feeling some team is going to buy into all the upside and take him in the late 1st to early 2nd round. The Chiefs need a wideout after the Tyreek Hill trade, so let's give them Pickens to potentially set up an explosive tandem with Patrick Mahomes.
#30: Chiefs- DB Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Hey look, the Chiefs are up again! Maybe I'm crazy to think that Pitre will be a first round pick, but I think some team will take a flyer on his versatility. Notice how I said "DB" and not safety or cornerback because I've seen him listed and projected as both positions while researching on him. It really just depends on what team he goes to, but I'd probably think safety is more likely if he lands in KC due to the likely departure of Tyrann Mathieu.
#31: Bengals- T Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
Even after the Bengals added many pieces to their line this offseason, I still think they should go right back to adding there in the first round. Opinions on Raimann are pretty mixed by draft analysts but I still see him as a late first round pick. Just because he played at Central Michigan does not mean he can't make a big impact on any team he goes to.
#32: Lions- LB Nakobe Dean
I obviously considered QB here, but I still think the Lions are going to stick with Jared Goff for one more season. At this point they'll just go with whoever is #1 on their draft board, which in this case I'll say is Dean. He's been taking a bit of a slide on draft boards due to a variety of factors but I think he'll sneak into the 1st round.
That's it! Enjoy the draft and I cannot wait to see how I got about 5% of these picks right.