NFL mock draft 2022: Complete first round projection

The NFL regular season is in the books, college football has crowned its National Champion. Now it’s time to turn out sights to the NFL Draft. Right now this is a very, very early look before the combine and pro days, which can also sometimes lead to the most accurate examination of the draft.

It comes at a time before we fall in love with the measurables and dream of possibility, instead focusing purely on who produced, and who didn’t during their college careers. It’s perhaps the best time to look at the class.

2022 NFL Mock Draft

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchoolTop Needs
PickTeamPlayerPositionSchoolTop Needs
1Jacksonville JaguarsEvan NealOTAlabamaOL, WR
2Detroit LionsAidan HuchinsonDEMichiganWR, EDGE
3Houston TexansKyle HamiltonSNotre DameDB, DL
4New York JetsDerek Stingley Jr.CBLSUWR, CB
5New York GiantsGeorge KarlaftisDEPurdueOL, EDGE
6Carolina PanthersCharles CrossOTMiss. StateOL, QB
7New York Giants 1Kenny PickettQBPittsburghOL, EDGE
8Atlanta FalconsMalik WillisQBLibertyEDGE, OL
9Denver BroncosKayvon ThibodeauxDEOregonQB, LB
10New York Jets 2Garrett WilsonWROhio StateWR, DB
11Washington Football TeamTyler LinderbaumCIowaQB, OL
12Minnesota VikingsAndrew Booth Jr.CBClemsonCB, EDGE
13Cleveland BrownsDeMarvin LealDLTexas A&MDT, WR
14Baltimore RavensIkem EkwonuOTNC StateOL, DT
15Philadelphia Eagles 3David OjaboDLMichiganEDGE, S
16Philadelphia Eagles 4Devin LloydLBUtahEDGE, S
17Los Angeles ChargersJameson WilliamsWRAlabamaDT, WR
18New Orleans SaintsChris OlaveWROhio StateQB, WR
19Philadelphia EaglesAhmad GardnerCBCincinnatiEDGE, S
20Pittsburgh SteelersMatt CorralQBOle MissQB, OL
21New England PatriotsRoger McCrearyCBAuburnDB, WR
22Miami Dolphins 5Kenyon GreenOLTexas A&MOL, RB
23Las Vegas RaidersJahan DotsonWRPenn StateWR, DT
24Arizona CardinalsKaiir ElamCBFloridaDB, DL
25Cincinnati BengalsDaxton HillCBMichiganDB, OL
26Buffalo BillsJaxson KirklandOLWashingtonOL, DL
27Detroit Lions 6Carson StrongQBNevadaWR, EDGE
28Dallas CowboysTrent McDuffieCBWashingtonDB, DL
29Kansas City ChiefsTreylon BurksWRArkansasDB, OL
30Tampa Bay BuccaneersDerion KendrickCBGeorgiaOL, CB
31Tennessee TitansZion JohnsonOLBoston CollegeOL, TE
32Green Bay PackersDrake LondonWRUSCWR, EDGE
1 From Chicago in draft trade to select Justin Fields
1 From Seattle in Jamal Adams trade
3 From Miami in trade to select Jaylen Waddle
4 From Colts in trade for Carson Wentz
5 From 49ers in trade to select Trey Lance
6 From Rams in trade for Matthew Stafford

Jaguars understand what’s needed

The top of this draft is very defense heavy, but as intoxicating as a top pass rusher might be, Jacksonville has to support Trevor Lawrence better. Evan Neal is an athletic freak who can provide a literal mountain of protection at 6’7, 341 pounds, but Neal moves like a man 70 pounds lighter than his weight.

This is a move I think makes a lot of sense, and the Jaguars could trade down a little and still take Neal — but this is a trade-free mock, so I’m calling it like I see it.

What happens with the QBs?

The 2021 QB class is wild. We’re sandwiched between a year with some amazing college QBs who didn’t really blow anyone away in their rookie seasons, and before 2023 when C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young enter the draft.

It makes picking a QB this year a risky proposition, but I still think we see a few teams roll the dice on the position. Keep in mind that Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford are just two guys who came out during supposed “weak” QB drafts.

I still have four QBs going in the first round because there are a lot of QB needy teams I could see pulling the trigger. It’s just the nature of the position: Keep drafting until you find one.

Kayvon Thibodeaux where?

I know this will cause some angst. If you look at most mocks Thibodeaux goes in the top three. Here’s my thinking: He’s brilliant, and he’s raw. Thibaodeaux relies on raw athleticism and not technique to generate his pressure. We’ve seen this work in the past, we’ve also seen in blow up in the faces of drafting teams.

It’s for this reason I have him sliding a little lower. Certainly not out of the top 10, but to Denver where I think he can become a natural replacement for Von Miller and his ability is too good to pass up.

The passing league

While the top of the draft is line heavy, we’re going to see more of a movement towards shutting down the pass. I have nine players from the secondary going in the first round, which seems ridiculous — but this was always a deep class for defensive backs, and everyone in the NFL knows the direction the league is headed.

Keep an eye on Carson Strong

The Nevada QB I have going deep to the Lions as a low-risk investment in the future. It’s also a case where I could see him flying up the boards and into the top 10 by the time this whole thing is over.

Scouts are going to fall in love with Strong’s frame, accuracy and decision making. He’s got a big arm, and while he’s a traditional pocket passer with no running threat to speak of, Strong had a lot of responsibility pre-snap to read coverage and do work.

I think Dan Campbell is an old school guy. Strong is an old-school QB. I could also see a lot of teams liking him enough to move him high up the board following workouts.

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