2022 NFL mock draft: Billy Riccette’s final 1st-round predictive mock

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After a host of Cincinnati Bengals-specific mocks, let’s take at least one crack at predicting the first round and the first 32 of the draft on Thursday. And with how up in the air this draft is going to be, this mock is sure to blow up very early. But that’s what makes this exercise fun. So here is my final (also my one and only) first-round mock draft. You’ll also be able to compare this mock to many other mocks over at The Huddle Report.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

He’s become the odds-on favorite and the buzz feels real. Jaguars GM Trent Baalke seems in love with Walker.

2) Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Had Aidan Hutchinson here for a while, then starting seeing some buzz, especially with some that closely follow the Lions, that Thibs looks to be their guy.

3) Houston Texans – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Sounds like the Texans have been locked on to Stingley for a while now and will be more than happy to run to the podium to grab him at 3. Houston needs just about everything they can get at this point.

4) New York Jets – Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

The Jets are wide open here, but with Walker and Thibs off the board and the Jets really needing edge help, they go ahead and grab the man that was seemingly going No. 1 up until about this past weekend.

5) New York Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Giants need to protect Daniel Jones in what is a make-or-break year. They add their bookend tackle pairing with 2020 first-rounder Andrew Thomas.

6) Pittsburgh Steelers (proj. trade with CAR) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The Panthers probably would love to trade down. They have no picks in the second or third round. The Steelers send No. 52 this year and their first next year to come up from 20 and get the guy everyone feels they’ve been in love with since the Senior Bowl.

7) New York Giants – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The Giants could go edge here, but Gardner is an incredible player and the Giants will be replacing James Bradberry at some point. Might as well be Sauce.

8) Atlanta Falcons – Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

The Falcons need just about everything, but especially pass rush. They were dead last in the NFL in sacks by a considerable margin, with just 18 sacks as a team last season.

9) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

The Seahawks will need a quarterback at some point, but they decide to start building the line in front of whomever that quarterback will be. Of course, after they trade Russell Wilson.

10) New York Jets (from SEA) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

After securing pass-rush help, the Jets get some security for QB Zach Wilson, especially with the uncertain future of Mekhi Becton.

11) Washington Commanders – Drake London, WR, USC

The Commanders take the first wide receiver off the board and go with the big size of Drake London to compliment Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.

12) Minnesota Vikings – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Once upon a time, Kyle Hamilton was considered the top prospect in the class and a surefire top-five pick. He slides here to 12 and the Vikings find their eventual replacement for Harrison Smith.

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

Davis Mills is going to get a chance to lead this Texans team, but he needs people to throw to that aren’t named Brandin Cooks. Garrett Wilson fits that billing.

14) Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Jordan Davis can be a huge space-eater and dominator up front for the Ravens, who just always find a way to get great interior players.

15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Three straight first-round wide receivers for the Eagles, as they try to rid the stench of Jalen Raegor over Justin Jefferson.

16) New Orleans Saints (from IND via PHI) – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Saints were potentially in play for Malik Willis, but the Panthers are unlikely to trade within the division. So they sit and start the process of replacing Terron Armstead with the mean-streaked Penning.

17) Los Angeles Chargers – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Will Devin Lloyd be what the Chargers hoped Kenneth Murray would be? Lloyd’s incredible range and smart should vastly improve their run defense.

18) Green Bay Packers (from NO via proj. trade with PHI) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Packers want to ensure getting a top wide receiver and the Eagles are always in the mood to trade, so this pairing makes sense. Olave would look good catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.

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

Ridder in New Orleans would be quite interesting and he would get time to develop behind Jameis Winston. OC Pete Carmichael can work a little magic.

20) Carolina Panthers (proj. trade with PIT) – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The Panthers trade back 14 spots, gain a first-rounder next year and get the quarterback they’ve arguably been most connected to (reminder: HC Matt Rhule recruited Pickett to Temple before he committed to Pittsburgh).

21) New England Patriots – Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

After losing interior help over the past few offseasons, the Patriots regroup with one of the beasts of this class, Zion Johnson.

22) Philadelphia Eagles (from LV via proj. trade with GB) – George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

The Eagles need to start getting some youth on the edge and along the defensive line as a whole. Karlaftis is intriguing but has incredible lower-body explosion. The Eagles were the second-worst team at sacking the quarterback in 2021.

23) Arizona Cardinals – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Cardinals picked up Kyler Murray’s fifth-year option and want to do all they can to make him happy. Plus, they lost Christian Kirk who got the bag from the Jaguars.

24) Dallas Cowboys – Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

The Cowboys have lost a ton of offensive linemen in recent years and the main guys they have left are getting on the older side. The Cowboys refuel the interior with Green.

25) Buffalo Bills – Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Jordan Poyer is 31, unhappy with his contract and is set to enter free agency next offseason. Micah Hyde is a free agent the year after. The Bills look ahead to the future as well as add the ability to get creative with three-safety looks in 2022.

26) Tennessee Titans – Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Titans find a new running mate for A.J. Brown after the Julio Jones trade didn’t exactly work out in their favor due to injuries.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

With the top interior guys off the board, the Bucs look at cornerback, which is quietly a need as both Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are both free agents after the season, so the Bucs stay in state and grab the Gator.

28) Green Bay Packers – Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

The Packers get their wide receiver and also get a force in the middle of their defensive line to help what was a pretty bad run defense in 2021 (28th in Rush DVOA).

29) Kansas City Chiefs (from SF via MIA) – Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

A very physical corner and the Chiefs need bodies at the position. Match made in heaven.

30) Kansas City Chiefs – Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

After grabbing Booth, the Chiefs address their pass-rush and get the rising Gopher in Mafe. The AFC West is loaded with quarterbacks, so edge rushers will be extremely key for these teams and Mafe can get after it.

31) Cincinnati Bengals – Logan Hall, Edge, Houston

Obviously, the pick everyone here was waiting for (or likely immediately scrolled down to). And while a guy like Tyler Linderbaum is still on the board, defensive coordinator Lou Anuramo will likely be enamored with the possibility of having such a versatile player like Hall on his defensive line. There will be interior guys on day two. There won’t be too many players like Hall.

32) Detroit Lions (from LAR) – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

In his “What I Would Do” mock for the Lions, LionsWire editor Jeff Risdon took Kyle Hamilton at No. 2. That’s not only a testament to Hamilton and how much Risdon loves him, but it’s also a testament to how bad the Lions can use a safety. In this mock, they take Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 2 but get a quality safety anyway at No. 32 in Lewis Cine, a guy that can do it all and was a huge key to Georgia’s national championship run.

As a bonus, also as part of The Huddle Report’s contest, here’s my crack at the players that will be taken with the first 100 picks. This isn’t necessarily a ranking or a big board, just which players will be among the top 100 picks.

  1. Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

  2. Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

  3. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

  4. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

  5. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

  6. Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

  7. Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

  8. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

  9. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

  10. Drake London, WR, USC

  11. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

  12. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

  13. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

  14. Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

  15. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

  16. Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

  17. Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

  18. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

  19. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

  20. George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

  21. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

  22. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

  23. Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

  24. Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

  25. Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

  26. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

  27. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

  28. Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

  29. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

  30. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

  31. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

  32. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

  33. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

  34. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

  35. Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

  36. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

  37. David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

  38. Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

  39. Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

  40. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

  41. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

  42. Tyler Smith, IOL, Tulsa

  43. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

  44. Travis Jones, DT, UConn

  45. Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

  46. Arnold Ebikete, Edge, Penn State

  47. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

  48. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

  49. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

  50. Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

  51. Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA

  52. Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

  53. George Pickens, WR, Georgia

  54. Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

  55. Sean Rhyan, IOL, UCLA

  56. DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

  57. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

  58. Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

  59. Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

  60. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

  61. Jamaree Salyer, IOL, Georgia

  62. Dylan Parham, IOL, Memphis

  63. Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

  64. Logan Hall, Edge, Houston

  65. Josh Paschal, Edge, Kentucky

  66. Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma

  67. Nik Bonitto, Edge, Oklahoma

  68. Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

  69. Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

  70. Cole Strange, IOL, Chattanooga

  71. Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina

  72. Sam Williams, Edge, Ole Miss

  73. Ed Ingram, IOL, LSU

  74. Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee

  75. Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

  76. Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA

  77. Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati

  78. Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

  79. Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska

  80. Cam Jurgens, IOL, Nebraska

  81. Troy Anderson, LB, Montana State

  82. Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

  83. John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

  84. Darian Kinnard, IOL, Kentucky

  85. Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

  86. Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati

  87. Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

  88. Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA

  89. Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia

  90. Drake Jackson, Edge, USC

  91. Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State

  92. Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis

  93. Tyreke Smith, Edge, Ohio State

  94. Nick Cross, S, Maryland

  95. Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois

  96. Josh Williams, CB, Fayetteville State

  97. Cade Otton, TE, Washington

  98. Zachary Carter, DT, Florida

  99. Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

  100. Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee