The 2022 NFL Draft is tantalizingly close. But before the next crop of players enters the league, I wanted to present one final mock draft — one last attempt at projecting how the picks in Round 1 will play out.
He occupied the top spot in each of my previous mock draft exercises, and at the time they were posted, it felt like a bit of a surprise. But now this picks feels real. Jags general manager Trent Baalke sees the gifts, traits and all-out effort of this former Bulldog and brings him to Jacksonville. DUUUUUVAL!
This selection was brought to you by the good people of Central Casting: Michigan Branch. Hutchinson, the most acclaimed top draft player, continues to build the franchise the way GM Blood Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell want by adding great players who feel responsible in every way. That’s exactly what the Lions organization is looking for. Hutchinson is expected to hit a double-digit sack each season.
Houston GM Nick Caserio makes a big decision to give the Texans‘ quarterback (at this point, second-year pro Davis Mills) help with this pick — and he makes an even bigger decision to go with the road-grader from N.C. State over Alabama OT Evan Neal.
Head coach Robert Saleh‘s “all-gas, no-brake” mantra gets a new promise with Gardner, who is getting better and better throughout his college career. Now he is ready to become CB1 for the defense of the building.
New GM Joe Schoen will love that this youngster is the best pass protector of the OT prospects in this class — and Schoen will also expect Cross to surprise people with his run-game blocking.
I’ve been stuck on the Panthers taking a QB in this spot (namely, Malik Willis of Liberty). I’m officially unstuck. Here, an all-star from Alabama brings his talent, versatility and winning ways to Charlotte. Running back Christian McCaffrey is surely smiling.
The Giants are getting better with two top 10 picks on each side. This ex-Oregon star, talented enough to be the first overall pick, is moving to the New York metro area like a duck … sorry, my bad. In any case, more than 10 bags are expected in the first year.
The receiver is an urgent need for Falcons after Calvin Ridley has been shut down indefinitely. But Atlanta has been struggling to confuse the opposite QB for years, so Pass Rush can help. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year could eventually become AllPro and is also good for runs.
For me, Stingley is the most talented CB in this draft. When he showed the league on Professional Day earlier this month, he underwent Lisfranc surgery last September and showed that he was healed and ready after losing most of the 2021 season. I returned to. The Seahawks are serious about improving their defenses, and this choice has helped speed up the process.
The Jets got faster on the perimeter last year with the selection of Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss (No. 34 overall). Now, they add more big-play potential with the former Trojan who knows how to operate both outside the numbers and from the slot. Zach Wilson will appreciate the wider strike zone that London provides.
This choice could certainly be made with the blessing of — or because the end result of begging by? — modern Commanders WR1 Terry McLaurin. These former Buckeyes in tandem could actually supply new QB Carson Wentz an terrific risk at recapturing his former glory. It changed into very hard to now no longer ink Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton here, but “Scary Terry” has earned the proper to a few big-time (and familiar) assistance.
The Vikings could use help on the back end as they continue to seek ways to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC North, and they get it here with this smooth, tough CB who will accept all challenges that come his way. Having veteran star Patrick Peterson back in the fold to show McDuffie the ropes will certainly help, too.
It is now clear that this impressive young man (in addition to his athletic ability, he is a member of Mensa International) is my favorite player in the draft. He will have a complete plate in Houston as the Texas people use him in different ways in their plans.
Yes, I still strongly considered Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum (the top center) here. I also considered a CB in this spot. But with the All-American DT from Georgia still available, I couldn’t pass up on him. Davis gets a year to learn from Calais Campbell and improve his conditioning so that he becomes the true three-down terror he’s capable of being.
It’s never a bad idea to add receivers from Alabama! DeVonta Smith was a marvel as a rookie after the Eagles took him 10th overall out of ‘Bama last year. Williams would be another tremendous target who creates splash plays downfield and stretches defenses vertically. QB Jalen Hurts will have a chance to cement his position as the Eagles‘ leader for years to come.
Left tackle Terron Armstead was defeated by a free agent, spurring his choice. As a starter for the first day, Penning is likely to fit into an already good line of attack. Penning is certainly aiming at the Chargers who choose the next. If he falls to them on Thursday night, Bolt can put an evil tackle directly across from the Pro Bowl LT Rashon Slater.
The Chargers added some good D-linemen in the free agency period — but that doesn’t mean they’ll stand pat here when a game-wrecker with some pass-rush juice becomes available. Wyatt should provide excellent interior play from Day 1. A receiver could be considered here, as well.
The Eagles got the receiver on the first pick of the round. Now they have someone to play against their coveted CB, Darius Slay. In the movie, the booth looks comfortable on any system. He will adapt well to Philadelphia’s Zone Heavy scheme.
Sometimes the board falls to you. In this scenario, the Saints get their new LT at No. 16, then add blazing speed here to back up opposing secondaries. With Olave in the mix, former All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas will get more room to operate, and that’s bad news for the DBs on other teams.
The Steelers have done as many visible QB jobs as the other teams in the draft. Here, they make the first choice of signal senders in 2022. With veteran Mitch Trubisky already in Pittsburgh and likely to be a starter in 2022, Willis has a chance to adapt to the pro game. In the future, we could see Willis, Najee Harris and Dionte Johnson form a truly dynamic trio. Kevin Colbert sets the course for the future in QB in his final draft as general manager.