2022 NFL mock draft: Updated 3-round projections for the new year

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  • Detroit Lions
    Detroit Lions
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  • Houston Texans
    Houston Texans
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  • Jacksonville Jaguars
    Jacksonville Jaguars
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  • New York Giants
    New York Giants
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  • New York Jets
    New York Jets
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  • Kenny Pickett
    American football quarterback
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux
    American football defensive end
  • Aidan Hutchinson
    American football player

The 2021 NFL regular season is wrapping up, which means the top half of next year’s draft order is about to be set for the time being.

While 14 fortunate teams move on to the postseason, the rest of the league will begin offseason preparations, hoping to turn things around and make a playoff run of their own next year.

As the calendar turns to a new year, let’s take an updated look at how the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL draft could shake out, using the latest updated order following Week 17 results:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars | Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

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One game should never define any prospect, so if Hutchinson was worthy of this spot before a fairly a quiet performance against Georgia, he should still be here right now. It’ll be a tough call between him and Kayvon Thibodeaux, and it won’t be surprising if the Jags go either way.

2. Detroit Lions | Pitt QB Kenny Pickett

(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Start getting comfortable with the idea of Pickett going higher than you might expect. He’s got many of the same traits that sent Joe Burrow flying up the board not too long ago, and a strong predraft process could easily convince a QB-needy team like the Lions that he can have the same kind of impact Burrow is having right now in Cincinnati.

3. Houston Texans | Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

If Pickett’s still on the board, he probably goes here. If not, the Texans will get to steal whichever edge defender doesn’t go No. 1, either Hutchinson or Thibodeaux. Either would be a huge win for Houston, and in this scenario, they land a high-upside player who was the consensus top pick for most of the last two seasons.

4. New York Jets | LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Jets will have a pair of top-10 picks to play with, and they need impact players on both sides of the ball. Their best bet with the first of those selections is to get a shutdown corner in Stingley, who is worthy of a top-five pick despite missing most of this season due to injury.

5. New York Giants | Alabama OT Evan Neal

(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Another team with multiple top-10 picks, the Giants have plenty of needs to fill, but they have to start up front on offense. Andrew Thomas has been better this year than he was as a rookie, but that improvement shouldn’t stop New York from spending this pick on an elite prospect in Neal, should he fall to this spot.

6. Carolina Panthers | Ole Miss QB Matt Corral

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Taking nothing away from Jaycee Horn, the Panthers missed a golden opportunity in the 2021 draft when Justin Fields fell to them at No. 8 overall. Now, they’re left still searching for a franchise quarterback after trading this year’s second-round pick for a Sam Darnold experiment that has already failed. Corral will need some development, but he’s got all the tools to be a difference-maker at the game’s most important position.

7. New York Jets (from SEA) | North Carolina State OL Ikem Ekwonu

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

After getting a stud corner with their first pick, the Jets have to address their needs along the offensive line in order to protect their investment in Zach Wilson, last year’s No. 2 overall pick. Ekwonu is a massive, athletic blocker who earned all-conference honors at both guard and tackle, giving the Jets much needed quality and versatility up front.

8. New York Giants (from CHI) | Cincinnati CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

There may be bigger needs elsewhere, but corner might be a more significant one than many realize for the Giants. After landing a cornerstone offensive lineman earlier, New York opts for one of the nation’s most dominant corners in Gardner, who has a rare blend of physical and mental traits, and didn’t allow a single touchdown catch in his entire college career.

9. Washington Football Team | Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Quarterback is obviously the biggest need here, but there’s just not a prospect on the board worthy of passing up one of the top overall talents in this year’s class. Despite missing much of this season due to injury, Hamilton’s well-rounded skill set and limitless potential make him the rare safety worth taking in the top 10.

10. Atlanta Falcons | Purdue EDGE George Karlaftis

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

This team needs help all over the place, but they have to start in the trenches on either side of the ball. In this scenario, the best value comes on defense, where they land one of this year’s most complete edge players in Karlaftis. He’s a powerful, technically sound defender who can set the edge against the run and collapse the pocket as a pass rusher.

11. Denver Broncos | Utah LB Devin Lloyd

(AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

The Broncos have multiple needs along the front seven, so this pick will about finding the best overall talent in that department. This scenario gives them plenty of strong options, but Lloyd should stand out among them. His rare combination of size, athleticism and instincts have made him one of the nation’s most impactful defenders.

12. Minnesota Vikings | Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr.

(AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

Despite investing plenty of resources recently in the position, the Vikings still have a need at corner. Mike Zimmer loves the kind of size, length and athleticism combo that Booth would bring to the table, making him a perfect fit here.

13. Cleveland Browns | Alabama WR Jameson Williams

(Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images )

Cleveland’s quarterback situation will obviously be the team’s biggest offseason storyline, but whoever ends up throwing passes for them next year, that guy will need a big-play pass-catcher like Williams. He quickly established himself as one of the most explosive threats in the nation this season, and should be the first receiver off the board.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA) | Iowa OL Tyler Linderbaum

(AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

The first of three first-rounders for the Eagles this year, Linderbaum is the perfect blend of need and value. Jason Kelce’s career is coming to a close, and what better way to transition from one stud to another, grabbing this year’s best interior blocker who could easily fetch a top-10 selection.

15. New Orleans Saints | Arkansas WR Treylon Burks

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Even if Michael Thomas returns to the player he once was, the Saints will still need a big-play receiver to pair with him who can stretch the field. Burks is a big, athletic pass-catcher who plays with a punishing style, both at the line of scrimmage and after the catch, drawing worthy comparisons to A.J. Brown.

16. Baltimore Ravens | Mississippi State OT Charles Cross

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

After trading away Orlando Brown Jr. and dealing with another season-ending injury to Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens would be wise to invest their top pick in an offensive tackle. Cross has been battle-tested against some of the nation’s top competition in the SEC, and could quickly develop into a dominant blocker at the next level.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers | Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green

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The biggest need here is obviously at quarterback, but there’s nobody on the board worth this pick. Instead, the Steelers should bolster their offensive line with a versatile blocker in Green, who could play either guard or tackle at a high level.

18. Las Vegas Raiders | Georgia DL Jordan Davis

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Raiders could go in any number of directions here, so it’s all about maximizing value and finding a prospect who can make a big, immediate impact. That leads them to Davis, the anchor of the nation’s most dominant defense, who would immediately transform the interior of this front.

19. Philadelphia Eagles | Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

The Eagles move to the defense for this pick after addressing the offensive line earlier, taking a page out of the Raiders’ book and adding a dynamic playmaker from the Bulldogs’ elite unit. Dean is a fiery, three-down defender who can take over games with his combination of athleticism and physicality.

20. Los Angeles Chargers | Michigan EDGE David Ojabo

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Chargers could go offensive line or even wide receiver here, but the value in this scenario points to the other side of the ball. Grabbing an explosive edge rusher to pair with Joey Bosa should be a high priority, and that’s exactly what they get here with Ojabo, one of the fastest-rising prospects in this class.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (from IND) | Florida CB Kaiir Elam

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Eagles finish off their trio of first-round picks by adding a long, athletic corner to pair with Darius Slay. Elam lined up against some of the nation’s top talent in the SEC, and was a shutdown artist, especially in press-man coverage. Getting him outside of the top 20 would be a bargain.

22. Miami Dolphins (from SF) | Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

Despite investing premium resources over the past few years, the Dolphins are still struggling along the offensive line. They need to keep trying to find the right guys, though, which means spending this pick on a fast-rising tackle prospect in Petit-Frere, who had a stellar 2021 campaign for the Buckeyes.

23. New England Patriots | Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson

(Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Another team that could go in one of many different directions with their first-round pick, the Pats should prioritize surrounding their young quarterback with as many weapons as possible. This year’s receiver class is loaded, which could give them a steal like Wilson this late in the first round.

24. Arizona Cardinals | San Diego State EDGE Cameron Thomas

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Chandler Jones is still one of the NFL’s premier edge rushers, but the Cards could use a long-term upgrade on the other side. Thomas is one of the more underrated prospects in this class at the moment, and his well-rounded skill set should make him an instant-impact player at the next level.

25. Buffalo Bills | Kentucky OL Darian Kinnard

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

This offensive line needs help in a big way, and this situation lands them a massive blocker who can fill multiple spots. Kinnard was one of the nation’s most consistent and effective performers this season, while lining up against some of the nation’s best defenders.

26. Cincinnati Bengals | Auburn CB Roger McCreary

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The offensive line still needs help, but the biggest need for Cincy is at corner, where they desperately miss William Jackson III. McCreary was dominant for the Tigers this season, shutting down some of the nation’s most talented pass-catchers all year long.

27. Dallas Cowboys | Ohio State WR Chris Olave

(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

There are bigger needs on defense, but replacing Michael Gallup (assuming he leaves for more money and opportunities in free agency) should be a high priority. Olave is one of the most polished, pro-ready receivers in this year’s deep class, and would be a perfect fit.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Texas A&M DL DeMarvin Leal

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The Bucs are one of the league’s most complete teams, but there are depth needs lurking under the surface on both sides of the ball. The defensive line isn’t getting any younger around star nose tackle Vita Vea, which could lead them to target a versatile defender like Leal, who would fit perfectly in Todd Bowles’ scheme.

29. Kansas City Chiefs | USC WR Drake London

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Patrick Mahomes already has a terrifying tandem in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but adding another playmaker to the offense shouldn’t be out of the question. London’s combination of size, length and athleticism would make him the perfect addition to an already dangerous aerial attack.

30. Detroit Lions (from LAR) | Purdue WR David Bell

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

After landing their quarterback of the future, the Lions need to upgrade the weapons around him. Free agency decimated this unit last offseason, and while the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a pleasant surprise, the Lions would do well to pair him with a big, athletic target like Bell.

31. Tennessee Titans | Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders

Syndication: The Enquirer

Harold Landry is a stud, but the Titans need a long-term plan on the other edge outside of Bud Dupree. Sanders proved in the Alabama game that he can have a huge impact even when faced with top competition, and his athletic traits are off the charts.

32. Green Bay Packers | Georgia EDGE Travon Walker

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If the Packers are forced to move on from either of their top edge rushers this offseason due to salary cap issues, they will need to target a replacement here. Walker hasn’t gotten enough buzz as a potential first-rounder, despite being an impact player for the nation’s most dominant defense.

33. Jacksonville Jaguars | Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

34. Detroit Lions | Michigan S Daxton Hill

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35. New York Jets | South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare

(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

36. New York Giants | Alabama LB Christian Harris

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37. Houston Texans | USC EDGE Drake Jackson

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

38. New York Jets (from CAR) | Alabama S Jordan Battle

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

39. Chicago Bears | Minnesota OT Daniel Faalele

(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

40. Washington Football Team | Liberty QB Malik Willis

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

41. Seattle Seahawks | Washington OT Jaxson Kirkland

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

42. Denver Broncos | North Carolina QB Sam Howell

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

43. Minnesota Vikings | Florida State EDGE Jermaine Johnson II

(AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

44. Cleveland Browns | Oklahoma EDGE Nik Bonitto

Syndication: The Oklahoman

45. Atlanta Falcons | Georgia WR George Pickens

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46. New Orleans Saints | Nevada QB Carson Strong

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47. Baltimore Ravens | Washington DB Trent McDuffie

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

48. Miami Dolphins | Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller

(AP Photo/Sam Craft)

49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder

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50. Las Vegas Raiders | Georgia CB Derion Kendrick

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51. Los Angeles Chargers | Boston College OL Zion Johnson

(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

52. Indianapolis Colts | Penn State WR Jahan Dotson

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

53. San Francisco 49ers | Washington CB Kyler Gordon

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

54. Philadelphia Eagles | Penn State S Jaquan Brisker

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55. New England Patriots | Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant

(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

56. Arizona Cardinals | Colorado State TE Trey McBride

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57. Cincinnati Bengals | Central Michigan OT Bernhard Raimann

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

58. Buffalo Bills | Iowa State RB Breece Hall

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59. Dallas Cowboys | Georgia S Lewis Cine

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Mississippi State CB Martin Emerson Jr.

(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

61. Kansas City Chiefs | Houston EDGE Logan Hall

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

62. Denver Broncos (from LAR) | Oklahoma DL Perrion Winfrey

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63. Atlanta Falcons (from TEN) | Georgia OL Jamaree Salyer

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64. Green Bay Packers | Kentucky WR Wan'Dale Robinson

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

65. Jacksonville Jaguars | Texas A&M TE Jalen Wydermyer

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66. Detroit Lions | Alabama CB Josh Jobe

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

67. New York Giants | Auburn EDGE Derick Hall

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

68. Houston Texans | Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

69. New York Jets | Penn State LB Brandon Smith

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

70. Jacksonville Jaguars (from CAR) | Baylor S Jalen Pitre

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

71. Washington Football Team | Miami (FL) OT Zion Nelson

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

72. Seattle Seahawks | Ohio State EDGE Zach Harrison

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73. Chicago Bears | Clemson WR Justyn Ross

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

74. Minnesota Vikings | Ohio State DL Haskell Garrett

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

75. Cleveland Browns | Oregon CB Mykael Wright

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76. Atlanta Falcons | Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams

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77. Denver Broncos | UCLA OT Sean Rhyan

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78. Baltimore Ravens | Notre Dame OL Jarrett Patterson

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79. New York Giants (from MIA) | Nevada WR Romeo Doubs

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80. Houston Texans (from NO) | Ohio State CB Sevyn Banks

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81. Pittsburgh Steelers | Penn State EDGE Arnold Ebiketie

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

82. Las Vegas Raiders | South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert

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83. Indianapolis Colts | Missouri CB Akayleb Evans

(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

84. San Francisco 49ers | Auburn S Smoke Monday

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

85. Philadelphia Eagles | Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith

(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

86. Los Angeles Chargers | Boise State WR Khalil Shakir

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

87. New England Patriots | Wyoming LB Chad Muma

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88. Arizona Cardinals | Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr.

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

89. Buffalo Bills | Georgia DL Devonte Wyatt

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90. Cincinnati Bengals | Boston College OL Alec Lindstrom

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91. Dallas Cowboys | Clemson DL Tyler Davis

(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

92. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Georgia RB James Cook

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

93. Kansas City Chiefs | Iowa DB Riley Moss

Syndication: HawkCentral

94. Denver Broncos (from LAR) | Ole Miss EDGE Sam Williams

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95. Tennessee Titans | Iowa State TE Charlie Kolar

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96. Green Bay Packers | Washington State OT Abraham Lucas

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