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If you’re picking at the top of the NFL draft, chances are you either need a franchise quarterback, or you’re still waiting for one you recently picked early to fully develop.
If you don’t have a franchise quarterback of the present or future, passing on the best options at the top of the board is risky business.
That’s what happens in the latest 2022 NFL mock draft from Sports Illustrated, which has both the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions opting for defensive line help over the top quarterbacks with the first two selections.
At No. 1 overall, this projection has the Texans picking Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is widely regarded as the best overall prospect in next year’s draft class. At No. 2 overall, the Detroit Lions also add to the defensive front, taking Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal.
For Houston, the future of Deshaun Watson is still a huge question mark, but they did just spend a third-round pick on Davis Mills in the 2021 NFL draft. The Lions just traded for Jared Goff, but if they end up picking second next year, it’s hard to imagine them being happy enough with his performance to pass up the top quarterback prospects in next year’s draft class.
The first quarterback doesn’t come off the board in this projection until No. 7 overall, where the Las Vegas Raiders end the Derek Carr era by taking Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler. The next passer off the board is a surprise, as Nevada’s Carson Strong heads to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 10 overall. North Carolina’s Sam Howell (No. 19 overall, New Orleans Saints) and USC’s Kedon Slovis (No. 22 overall, Denver Broncos) are the only other passers who crack this top-32 projection, leaving the likes of Liberty’s Malik Willis and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder on the outside looking in.
To check out the full first-round mock at Sports Illustrated, click here.