NFL mock drafts: Big Ten players in the first round
We are just one day away from the 2022 NFL draft, and the majority of the sites have finalized their respective mock draft.
We have done four articles in which we show where different Michigan Wolverines are being mocked to go from various mock drafts. It’s going to be intriguing to see if Aidan Hutchinson goes to the Jaguars with the first overall pick, or if he slides to the Lions at the No. 2 pick in the draft.
Michigan fans are hoping to see three first-round draft picks in this year’s draft, in hopes that both Daxton Hill and David Ojabo get selected in round one. Michigan fans will need to tune into all three days to see which Wolverines get selected in the later rounds — there should be multiple players going in rounds four-thru-seven.
On Wednesday, the day before the draft, we are going to show where all the Big Ten players are mocked to go in the first round.
Where Michigan football players are in NFL mock drafts 4.0
Ryan Wilson with CBS Sports has six Big Ten players being selected in the first round. Wilson has three Wolverines going in round one — while he has Hutchinson going to the Lions.
Round 1 – Pick 2
MICHIGAN • SR • 6’7″ / 260 LBS
Hutchinson starred at Michigan and now he moves a few miles down the road to join the Lions. He’s the best player in this class and talk that he has already reached his ceiling is just that. He’s 21 and he’s only going to get better.
Round 1 – Pick 8
OHIO STATE • JR • 6’0″ / 183 LBS
This team is bereft of offensive talent beyond Kyle Pitts and while QB is a need, you could argue that wide receiver is an even bigger one. And Garrett Wilson is special.
Round 1 – Pick 20
IOWA • JR • 6’2″ / 296 LBS
The Steelers could go defensive line or wide receiver here but instead take a center, one of their weakest positions a season ago. Yes, the team signed Mason Cole in free agency but he’s not guaranteed to win the job and Linderbaum brings some much-needed stability to the middle of the offensive line.
Round 1 – Pick 23
MICHIGAN • JR • 6’4″ / 250 LBS
Ojabo tore his Achilles at his pro day in March and that will undoubtedly affect his draft stock. But he is a terror off the edge and he’s only been playing football for five years. He’s a high-upside prospect who could see the field late in his rookie campaign.
Round 1 – Pick 25
MICHIGAN • JR • 6’0″ / 191 LBS
This has been a popular pick for us over the months because of Hill’s versatility. He’s underrated nationally but watch him play and it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s in the running for one of the best defensive backs in this class. He’s listed as a safety but he can line up anywhere.
Round 1 – Pick 29
Chris Olave WR
OHIO STATE • SR • 6’0″ / 187 LBS
Olave is probably the best route runner in this class but he alone won’t be able to account for all of Tyreek Hill’s offense. But he’ll help, and more importantly, have a great chance to flourish with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Bucky Brooks with NFL.com has seven Big Ten players going in his mock during the first round. The Buckeyes and Wolverines both have two players going in the first round.
Michigan · Edge · Senior
Dan Campbell gets a blue-collar pass rusher with outstanding athleticism and technical skills.
Ohio State · WR · Junior
The Falcons are in desperate need of a WR1 after losing Calvin Ridley (suspension) and Russell Gage (free agency) this offseason.
Ohio State · WR · Senior
Yes, this would be the third consecutive receiver drafted in Round 1 by the Eagles, but the bottom line is, Olave’s big-play ability should make life easier for Jalen Hurts in the pocket.
Purdue · Edge · Junior
The high-motor pass rusher could fill the void created by Chandler Jones‘ departure.
(from SF through MIA)
Michigan · S · Junior
Hill is a prototypical nickel defender with “hit, run and cover” skills that make him a hot commodity for a team that loves to attack with pressure.
Minnesota · Edge · Senior (RS)
An athletic edge rusher with the speed, quickness and burst to create havoc off the edges, Mafe will add some juice to the Chiefs’ front.
Penn State · Edge · Senior (RS)
The Lions need more athletic defenders on the field to have a chance to close the gap on their rivals. Ebiketie flashes impressive first-step quickness and closing speed as a “bend-and-burst” rusher off the edge.
Mike Florio with NBC Sports also has seven Big Ten players going in the first round. Just like Bucky Brooks, Florio has two Wolverines and Buckeyes headlining round one for the Big Ten.
2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, defensive end, Michigan.
He fills a need, and his Michigan connection is great for business. If he’s there, it’s a no-brainer
11. Commanders: Garrett Wilson, receiver, Ohio State.
A new Buckeye receiver could replace a current Buckeye receiver to whom they may not want to give big money.
13. Texans: Chris Olave, receiver Ohio State.
They don’t have a franchise quarterback any longer. A great receiver could make their non-franchise player look a lot better.
21. Patriots: George Karlaftis, edge rusher, Purdue.
Best available player, an assessment informed by their struggles when it comes to drafting and developing receivers.
26. Titans: Jahan Dotson, receiver, Penn State.
Julio Jones didn’t work out. They need a solid No. 2.
30. Chiefs: Daxton Hill, safety, Michigan.
Combined with the signing of Justin Reid, taking Hill could beef up the last line of defense, considerably.
31. Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, center, Iowa.
Talented but undersized, the Bengals need to be looking for guys who can protect Joe Burrow.
Nate Davis with USA Today has eight players going in round one during the 2022 NFL draft. Davis has three Wolverines going in round one to headline the Big Ten.
2. Detroit Lions – DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan: The Wolverines star and Plymouth, Michigan, native seems like a perfect match for his local NFL team … though you wonder if the Jags might try to pry a pick out of the Lions to do a 1-2 flip first. But Hutchinson could be the needed face of a franchise that lacks one while juicing up a pass rush that produced just 30 sacks in 2021 and no longer has DE Trey Flowers.
8. Atlanta Falcons – WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State: Given the myriad holes on his roster and dearth of cap space this year, GM Terry Fontenot should want to deal out of this spot to begin collecting assets for an overdue rebuild. But if Willis is gone, might be a lot tougher to vacate this slot given the quality depth available at most other positions. If Fontenot sticks and picks, the 2021 trade of Julio Jones, 2022 suspension of Calvin Ridley and free agent departure of Russell Gage may move wideout right to the top of his wish list. After laying down a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine, the 6-foot, 183-pound Wilson bolstered the argument he might be the top pass-catching prospect in a very extensive class of them. He’s effective both outside and from the slot and is especially dangerous after the catch, scoring 13 TDs last season (one as a rusher). He would pair very nicely in the pass game – in whatever form it takes – with last year’s first-rounder, TE Kyle Pitts.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – WR Chris Olave, Ohio State: A tantalizing team that seems content to sling it on offense behind budding superstar QB Justin Herbert may as well take a polished playmaker like Olave given there really isn’t a glaring deficiency to address. With sub-4.4 speed, he has the juice and smooth route running to beautifully supplement rebounding WR Mike Williams and technician counterpart Keenan Allen. Olave is also adept at putting the ball in the paint, that occurring 32 times in his last 33 games for the Buckeyes.
19. Saints (from Eagles) – WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State: The 5-11, 178-pounder with 4.4 speed and supple hands might be an ideal complement to big-bodied possession WR Michael Thomas and do-it-all RB Alvin Kamara. Dotson, who could also add pop as a returner, would definitely – in conjunction with Thomas’ return – elevate what was the league’s worst passing attack in Year 1 post-Brees.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DB Daxton Hill, Michigan: The Bucs are suddenly thin at safety and slot corner. Hill can kill two birds with one stone. His 4.38-second 40-yard-dash speed is an asset at nickel, the box or center field and would create more options for newly promoted head coach Todd Bowles, who will remain intimately involved with the defense.
28. Packers – DE George Karlaftis, Purdue: He might not be that twitchy or nuanced as a pass rusher but is strong and relentless. He could do a lot of damage breaking in on passing downs and augmenting a rush led by OLBs Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. In two full seasons (2019, 2021) for the Boilermakers, Karlaftis compiled 13 sacks, 32 QB hits and 64 hurries.
30. Chiefs – DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State: After transferring from Temple last season, he burst onto the scene in Happy Valley by posting 9½ sacks and 18 TFLs. He’s not the stoutest guy (6-2, 250) and might benefit by focusing early on what he does best – hunt quarterbacks – as a sub package stud alongside DE Frank Clark and DT Chris Jones. Maybe in a year, Ebiketie is ready to replace Clark and his $21 million salary for 2023.
32. Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) – DE/OLB David Ojabo, Michigan:What could be better than one Wolverines pass rusher in Detroit? Two, naturally. Ojabo and Hutchinson combined for 25 sacks in 2021, the former exploding for 11 while seeing significant snaps for the first time. A native of Nigeria who grew up in Scotland, he had one tackle as a sophomore in 2020, so a bit of an understatement to deem Ojabo raw. The 6-4, 250-pounder, who once seemed headed for the top half of Round 1, is also coming back from an Achilles injury suffered at his March pro day. But given he might have benefited from a limited role as a rookie anyway, why not invest in Ojabo here – ensuring you potentially have him for at least five seasons with the option year – and hope he and Hutchinson can recreate their Ann Arbor magic in Motown?
Natalie Miller with DraftWire has six Big Ten players going in round one. Miller has two Wolverines and Buckeyes going in the first round.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars | Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Considering their recent history, the Jags can hardly allow a boom-or-bust prospect tempt them away from one of the most polished, complete prospects in this year’s class.
Jacksonville will be able to slot Hutchinson across from Josh Allen, and immediately have one of the best pass rush duos in the AFC, helping to accelerate their rebuild.
12. Minnesota Vikings | Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson
(Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Pairing Justin Jefferson with Wilson might just be too tempting for the Vikings to pass up here. This pick would give them perhaps the most dangerous young receiver tandem in the NFL.
Wilson is a dangerous deep threat, and a slick route runner who will force teams into deciding who to double team, which will also take pressure off Dalvin Cook and the ground game
19. Green Bay Packers (from NO via PHI)* | Ohio State WR Chris Olave
(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
The Packers end up being aggressive to assure they get one of the top wide receivers in the class in Olave.
He would fill a prime Randall Cobb-like role for them, and give Aaron Rodgers a first-round receiver for the first time in his career. Olave is a speedy route technician who will happily catch passes from one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.
24. Dallas Cowboys | Iowa IOL Tyler Linderbaum
(AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Fixing the offensive line has to be the top priority for Dallas. They take a strong step in that direction here, with the highest-rated center in this draft, and one that comes from a proven program when it comes to churning out elite blockers.
Linderbaum can fill in right away at any of the interior spots, and will be an immediate upgrade for a Cowboys squad that needs to protect their franchise quarterback.
28. Green Bay Packers | Michigan EDGE David Ojabo
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
With the recent loss of Za’Darius Smith in free agency, the Packers need to reload at edge rusher and make sure they get it right. Ojabo is one of the most talented players in this class, and the Packers have the luxury of being competitive without him, and letting him heal from his injury until he’s ready to go.
He will be a star pass rusher for years to come, and the Packers get extreme value late in the first round.
32. Detroit Lions (from LAR) | Penn State WR Jahan Dotson
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
With their additional first-round pick, the Lions grab another weapon for Jared Goff to solidify their receiving corps. Dotson dealt with poor quarterback play during his college career, but still managed to make ridiculous plays and remain productive.
If he’s still on the board at this point, he would be the perfect match of need at value for Detroit.
Pro Football Focus
Michael Renner with PFF predicts seven Big Ten players going in round one of the 2022 NFL draft. Renner thinks two Wolverines and Buckeyes will go in the first round.
2. DETROIT LIONS: EDGE AIDAN HUTCHINSON, MICHIGAN
The dream scenario for the Lions. Edge isn’t necessarily a need, but you won’t find a more of a Dan Campbell disciple in the draft class. Hutch was the highest-graded defender in college football last year at 94.5.
12. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: WR GARRETT WILSON, OHIO STATE
Wilson may be the single most dynamic receiver in the draft class, and that’s something the McVay offensive tree is built to take advantage of. The Ohio State receiver broke 15 tackles after the catch last season.
18. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (FROM NO): EDGE GEORGE KARLAFTIS, PURDUE
The Eagles have a “type” along the edge, and Karlaftis fits that to a T. He’s a powerful bull-rusher who has been producing ever since he racked up 55 pressures as a true freshman in 2019.
19. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (FROM PHI): WR CHRIS OLAVE, OHIO STATE
With Michael Thomas as the underneath threat, Olave can provide the much-needed field-stretching in the Saints offense. His “NFL readiness” will be coveted by the Saints, as well.
27. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: S DAXTON HILL, MICHIGAN
Hill is the best pure man slot corner in the draft class. That’s a skill set Todd Bowles’ defense will no doubt covet. He could even be seen as a corner by some with his absurd 6-foot-7 wingspan.
30. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: EDGE BOYE MAFE, MINNESOTA
Mafe is an ascending edge rusher with an elite physical profile. The Chiefs may very well buy into the show he put on at the Senior Bowl, where he earned a 92.6 pass-rushing grade over the week.
31. CINCINNATI BENGALS: C TYLER LINDERBAUM, IOWA
Linderbaum isn’t a scheme fit for everyone, meaning there’s not a clear fit prior to this. The Bengals sure aren’t upset about it because he’s perfect for their wide-zone-heavy attack.
Matt Miller with ESPN.com has seven Big Ten players going in round one — headlined by Michigan and Ohio State with two each.
2. Detroit Lions
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
The Lions are in a great position to simply draft whichever top defensive end the Jaguars don’t take. They just so happen to get lucky enough — much like last year when offensive tackle Penei Sewell fell to them at No. 7 — that the player falling is their likely top target. Hutchinson’s production, top-tier testing numbers during the pre-draft process, relentless pass-rushing style, and local roots make him an ideal pick for coach Dan Campbell’s team.
15. Philadelphia Eagles(via MIA)
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The run on wide receivers gets going with the Eagles’ selection of Wilson. Jalen Reagor has not lived up to his first-round status, and the team desperately needs an option opposite DeVonta Smith.
Some might argue that Smith and Wilson are similar, but what quarterback Jalen Hurts needs are two receivers who can consistently get open and create after the catch. Wilson would bring that ability from Day 1.
16. New Orleans Saints (via PHI/IND)
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Have you heard Ohio State is pretty good at developing wide receivers? Olave joins former Buckeye Michael Thomas to give the Saints a dynamic duo at the position. Olave’s blazing vertical speed is an ideal match opposite the physical, underneath route running of Thomas.
With Jameis Winston‘s arm strength a huge plus, the Saints could stretch the field with Olave’s deep speed.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Linebacker was a consideration here, but the Eagles’ secondary also needs attention. Michigan’s Daxton Hill has the instincts and physical ability to potentially play cornerback, nickel safety or free safety depending on the need. His 4.3-second speed and coverage skills shown on tape are a perfect match for a leaky Philadelphia secondary.
23. Arizona Cardinals
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
The Cardinals have drafted defensive players in back-to-back years, and they could do so again with Green off the board. Karlaftis has the power needed to hold up at the point of attack in the run game and the savvy tools to get to the backfield as a pass-rusher.
While many have compared Karlaftis to J.J. Watt (at Wisconsin), he’ll now have the chance to learn from Watt in Arizona.
29. Houston Texans (via mock trade with KC, through MIA/SF)
Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
In our projected trade, the Texans slide back 16 picks in Round 1 but get key draft capital for what’s close to a total rebuild. Quarterback Davis Mills has intrigued the front office there, and for good reason, but the decision-makers must protect him.
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum has been sliding as of late because of his relatively short arms, but his agility makes up for it on tape. He’s the type of building block the Texans’ interior offensive line needs.
32. Detroit Lions (via LAR)
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
One of the weakest wide receiver rooms in the league would get a major upgrade with the shifty, speedy Dotson joining the fold.
While the Lions might be tempted by a quarterback here, that has felt more like media speculation than team-driven information. With two first-rounders in 2023, the Lions are in good shape to roll with veteran Jared Goff and an improved receiver corps this season.
Albert Breer with SI has the fewest Big Ten players going in round one with five. Breer has two Wolverines and Buckeyes slated to go in the first round.
2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
No need for the Lions to get cute here. Last year, they got a war daddy for the offensive line in Penei Sewell. This time, they’ll get one for the defensive front, who’ll likely be a team captain in short order, joining a line that Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell have already sunk significant resources into. The wild card here? I’ve heard they like Detroit native Sauce Gardner.
11. Washington Commanders: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
If the Falcons take Wilson, and London somehow slips, I think that’d be the ideal scenario for Washington. In this one, Ron Rivera takes home a very solid, do-everything program fit who happens to be very close with the veteran receiver he’s trying to re-sign.
13. Houston Texans (via Browns): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Wilson goes home to Texas and gives Nick Caserio a true No. 1 for his offense—and Davis Mills a guy he can really grow with in Year Two. This particular receiver, a polished route runner who can play every receiver spot, should be able to hit the ground running.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Dotson is the perfect speedy slot replacement for Christian Kirk. And with Kirk gone, and Andy Isabella probably out too, the Cardinals could use another receiver who can roll to play alongside DeAndre Hopkins.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (via 49ers): David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
The Chiefs can afford to draft and stash with one of these picks, and if Ojabo can get right again after popping his Achilles at his pro day, he has the potential to be one of the top 15 or so players in this draft. The downside is the injury may cost him his entire rookie year.