NFL mock draft: Projecting the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft

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·16 min read
Abby Drey/
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The 2022 NFL Draft is set to begin April 28 in Las Vegas and it’s time for the mock drafts to start rolling in. We dipped our toes in the water with a three-round mock draft of our own.

Scroll below for projections for all 105 picks in the first three rounds of the draft.

First round

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Yes, I know the consensus here is that Aidan Hutchinson will go No. 1, but the best is yet to come with Walker. He was asked to play in coverage more than you’d expect for a pass rusher of his caliber at Georgia, limiting his sack production. Still, he should be a high-end pass rusher and Jacksonville needs cornerstone defenders.

2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Hutchinson not going No. 1 means he gets to stay in the state of Michigan to play professional football. The Lions, like the Jaguars, are in need of cornerstone talents on defense and Hutchinson is the type of high floor, high ceiling player that makes him attractive in this situation.

3. Houston Texans: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

This might be a surprise, but Gardner might legitimately be the best player in the class. He’s long, he’s athletic and he has unbelievable coverage skills. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t have success in the NFL and Houston needs help on both sides of the ball. Top talent should be the priority for the Texans. Of course, having the best nickname in the draft helps.

4. New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Thibodeaux has been projected by some to slide in the draft but it’s hard to figure out why. He has elite pass rush upside and the teams at the top of the draft should be salivating at what he can be in the NFL. The former top recruit in the 2019 class did nothing but produce when he was healthy at Oregon. The Jets can add him and know they’ll be able to get after quarterbacks as long as he’s there.

5. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Giants need to overhaul plenty of positions on their roster and offensive tackle is included in that group. Neal has enough athleticism to play on either side but should be best suited at right tackle. That would allow Andrew Thomas to stay at left tackle, where he improved mightily in 2021.

6. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

This isn’t the quarterback I would take, but Carolina head coach Matt Rhule has to be feeling the pressure to win right away. Pickett presents a baseline of competency that might not be there with other prospects, but he also lacks the upside of the rest of the best quarterbacks in the class. That being said, he should be a top 16 quarterback for most of his career.

7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The Giants having two first round picks in the top 10 should allow them to get two high end talents, and with where the board falls they can get one on each side of the ball in this scenario. Hamilton is a game-breaking talent at safety with the ability to defend the run and pass at an elite level. He’s the most versatile defensive back in the class.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Atlanta spent a top five pick on tight end Kyle Pitts in 2021 but still needs to add weapons on offense. Wilson is already a good receiver with the upside to be a true No. 1 WR in the NFL. There’s an argument to be made to take a quarterback here with the team trading Matt Ryan to Indianapolis, but this rebuild is still in its early stages so an early QB in a weak class isn’t a necessity.

9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos): Ikem Okwonu, OT, North Carolina State

The Seahawks are in a strange spot. They moved on from longtime — and Super Bowl-winning — quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason, along with former All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. Yet they haven’t moved on from some of their other notable veterans and haven’t fully committed to a rebuild. Regardless of the direction, this team desperately needs offensive line help.

10. New York Jets (from Seatte Seahawks): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

The Jets have this pick after trading Jamal Adams to the Seahawks prior to the 2020 season. They addressed the pass rush with their first pick in this mock, and now can turn to the offensive side of the ball with their second pick. Mekhi Becton has not taken the left tackle job as New York had hoped after going 11th in the 2020 draft and now Cross could give them another chance to get their franchise tackle.

11. Washington Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC

The Commanders are in dire need of weapons to go with Terry McLaurin on the outside, especially now that they’ve invested multiple draft picks in Carson Wentz at quarterback. London is a big-bodied physical receiver who can get downfield and beat corners at the point of the catch. That would be helpful considering Wentz’s propensity for taking deep shots.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Stingley was the best cornerback in the country as a freshman in 2019 but hasn’t always been healthy since that season. He has all of the tools to be one of the best defensive backs in the NFL and there’s reason to believe he’ll be under-drafted if he goes outside the top 10. The Vikings could use help on the back end of an aging secondary.

13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns): Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Houston’s decision to take Sauce with the third pick pays off when one of the better pass rushers in the class falls to the 13th pick. Johnson was a riser early in the draft process and has held steady as a top 15 pick since then. He’ll be a cornerstone defender alongside Gardner for the Texans.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

There hasn’t been a player like Jordan Davis in NFL history. He’s 6-foot-6, weighs 341 pounds and ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the combine. He was a dominant run stuffer at Georgia but is a good enough athlete to contribute as an interior pass rusher. He can be a true nose tackle with the Ravens early and be a dominant force along their defensive front.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The Eagles seem ready to move on from Jalen Reagor at wide receiver after quickly proving he wasn’t the player they thought they took in the first round in 2020. Williams can provide much of what they thought they were getting as a downfield threat. Despite the torn ACL he’s recovering from, Williams should go early in the draft thanks to his game-breaking speed.

16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts through Philadelphia Eagles): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Is it likely that Willis falls to No. 16? Not really, but there are no trades in this mock draft. Willis has the most upside in the class. He’s got an electric arm, great athleticism and the type of leadership franchises want in a quarterback. New Orleans needs a long-term answer at QB, and having Jameis Winston would allow Willis to sit for a year.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Chargers have been trying to solve their offensive line issues for a while, and finally solved left tackle by taking Rashawn Slater last year in the first round. This year they turn their attention to the right side, where Penning should excel in the NFL. He isn’t the best athlete, but has the power and length to play right tackle at a high level.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints): Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Eagles stay focused on the passing game after taking WIlliams at 15, but this time flipping to the other side of the ball. Darius Slay isn’t getting any younger at cornerback and they still need a starter opposite him for the 2022 season. Booth is a good athlete who has the physical tools to start in the NFL.

19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

New Orleans is overly dependent on Michael Thomas in the passing game and getting him some help to alleviate pressure should be a priority. Olave can stretch the field with his speed but also has the polished route running to find space in the middle of the field. He’s an immediate NFL starter with the upside to be more.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

There’s little doubt that McDuffie can start in the NFL. His biggest fault is his height at 5-foot-11, but he doesn’t play small on the field. He’s as solid as they come in coverage with the ability to stay with wide receivers of most heights and speed. McDuffie’s athleticism alone makes up for most of the size issues.

21. New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

It’s usually not advisable to spend an early pick on a linebacker, but the case can be made that there’s value when the player can help in the passing game. Lloyd is one of the exceptions who can play off the ball and have success dropping into coverage, whether it’s zone or man. He should be able to provide enough value to make the pick worthwhile for New England.

22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Green Bay is in desperate need of wide receiver help after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders earlier in the offseason. Dotson could help fill that void as an NFL-ready receiver who can be a downfield threat while also providing a threat in the middle of the field. He could quickly become Aaron Rodgers’ top target.

23. Arizona Cardinals: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

Arizona could be in the middle of a crisis with the constant discussion publicly about star quarterback Kyler Murray and his status with the team moving forward. That being said, they need help defensively, especially when it comes to chasing opposing quarterbacks. Mafe is a great athlete who can help immediately in that regard.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Hill has a nose for the ball and should help the back end of a Dallas defense that needs it. Trevon Diggs broke out with his ball skills at cornerback last season for the Cowboys, but occasionally he took risks and got burned for it. Hill should help cover up for some of those mistakes on the back end and prevent a few big plays in the process.

25. Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane said he wouldn’t be opposed to taking a running back in the first round. Hall is the best back on the board and would greatly improve Buffalo’s running game and open up the field even more for star QB Josh Allen. A wide receiver might be ideal, and it’s hard to justify an early running back, but Beane seems willing to take that risk.

26. Tennessee Titans: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Dean is another linebacker, like Lloyd, who could justify taking him in the first round. He’s capable of providing value in the passing game thanks to his athleticism in man coverage and his instincts and awareness when dropping into a zone. Dean should be valuable as a leader and contribute right away in Tennessee.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

The Buccaneers are in need of a starting guard after Ali Marpet retired unexpectedly this offseason. Johnson should be able to step in right away and while the positional value might not always be there when taking a guard, Tampa Bay has to try to maximize the present now that Tom Brady came out of retirement for at least one more year.

28. Green Bay Packers: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

Green Bay got their No. 1 receiver with the 22nd pick and now can focus on protecting Rodgers to give him time to find receivers on the outside. Green can play multiple positions on the offensive line, but his best spot is at guard where his size and length play best. He should be able to step in quickly to help the Packers.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Kansas City needs to replace Tyreek Hill — who was traded to Miami — at wide receiver and many assume that means finding a player who can run as fast as the former Chief. Instead, I’ll give them Burks. Like Hill, he’s the type of player you manufacture touches for, getting him the ball in space and letting him go to work, while also having the size to produce downfield even without elite speed.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

The Chiefs could use some pass rushing help with their second pick and fortunately for them one of the higher tier EDGE players is still available. Karlaftis doesn’t have the upside of many of the pass rushers taken before him, but he should produce as a high end athlete with a good motor despite his lack of length.

31. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Few picks feel as safe as Linderbaum, but positional value should knock him down draft boards. Teams are able to find starting centers later in drafts, but he’s about as reliable as they come inside. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him be an All-Pro within a couple years, which is a good sign for Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow, who was mauled in the Super Bowl.

32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams): Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Detroit is in position to take a quarterback with the last pick of the first round and secure a fifth-year option on the QB’s contract that only first rounders get. Corral is a wild card in some sense because he plays recklessly at times. Still, he’s a true playmaker with the arm talent to make any throw he needs to. He could push Jared Goff for the starting job or sit for a year behind him.

Second round

33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

34. Detroit Lions: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

35. New York Jets: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

36. New York Giants: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

37. Houston Texans: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

38. New York Jets (from Carolina Panthers): Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

39. Chicago Bears: George Pickens, WR, Georgia

40. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

41. Seattle Seahawks: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

42. Indianapolis Colts (from Washington Commanders): Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

43. Atlanta Falcons: Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

44. Cleveland Browns: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

45. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Smith, OG, Tulsa

46. Minnesota Vikings: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

47. Washington Commanders (from Indianapolis Colts): Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

48. Chicago Bears (from Los Angeles Chargers): Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

49. New Orleans Saints: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

50. Kansas City Chiefs (from Miami Dolphins): Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA

51. Philadelphia Eagles: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

53. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders): Travis Jones, DT, UConn

54. New England Patriots: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis

55. Arizona Cardinals: David Bell, WR, Purdue

56. Dallas Cowboys: Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State

57. Buffalo Bills: Jamaree Salyer, OG, Georgia

58. Atlanta Falcons (from Tennessee Titans): Logan Hall, EDGE, Houston

59. Green Bay Packers: Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky

60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

61. San Francisco 49ers: Sean Rhyan, OG, UCLA

62. Kansas City Chiefs: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

63. Cincinnati Bengals: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

64. Denver Broncos (from Los Angeles Rams): Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

Third round

65. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dylan Parham, OG, Memphis

66. Detroit Lions: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

67. New York Giants: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina

68. Houston Texans: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

69. New York Jets: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

70. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Carolina Panthers): Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska

71. Chicago Bears: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina

72. Seattle Seahawks: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

73. Indianapolis Colts (from Washington Commanders): Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

74. Atlanta Falcons: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

75. Denver Broncos: Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma

76. Baltimore Ravens: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston

77. Minnesota Vikings: Brian Asamoah, LB, Ohio State

78. Cleveland Browns: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

79. Los Angeles Chargers: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

80. Houston Texans (from New Orleans Saints): Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

81. New York Giants (from Miami Dolphins): Darian Kinnard, OG, Kentucky

82. Atlanta Falcons (from Indianapolis Colts): Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State

83. Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Cross, S, Maryland

84. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ed Ingram, OG, LSU

85. New England Patriots: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee

86. Las Vegas Raiders: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

87. Arizona Cardinals: Cole Strange, OG, Chattanooga

88. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

89. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

90. Tennessee Titans: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

91. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois

92. Green Bay Packers: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

93. San Francisco 49ers: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State

94. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati

95. Cincinnati Bengals: Damarri Mathis, S, Pittsburgh

96. Denver Broncos (from Los Angeles Rams): Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama

97. Detroit Lions: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

98. New Orleans Saints: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA

99. Cleveland Browns: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss

100. Baltimore Ravens: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State

101. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints): Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati

102. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco 49ers): JoJo Domann, LB, Nebraska

103. Kansas City Chiefs: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

104. Los Angeles Rams: Jesse Luketa, EDGE, Penn State

105. San Francisco 49ers: Velus Jones, WR, Tennessee