2022 NFL Mock Draft Version 1: Jags Give Lawrence Protection at the Top

The NFL Draft betting market is still in its early stages but we're still taking a comprehensive look at the 2022 NFL Draft's first round. Covers' Andrew Caley brings you Version 1 of his 2022 NFL mock draft, with pass rushers and protectors going early.

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2022 2:08 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Evan Neal Alabama Crimson Tide college football
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The Super Bowl is in the books and that means it’s NFL Draft season. Besides the Bengals picking an offensive lineman in the first round, there’s a lot up in the air heading into this year’s draft.

For starters, there is no clear-cut No. 1 pick and while there are some high-ceiling quarterbacks like Malik Willis and Matt Corral, there is no Andrew Luck or Joe Burrow to be found in this class. 

With limited NFL Draft betting options at this point, version 1.0 of my 2022 NFL Mock Draft will be pretty vanilla. But don't worry, bets are on the way with NFL Draft odds already on the board.





2022 NFL Mock Draft

1. Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Protecting Trevor Lawrence should be priority No. 1, 2, and 3 for the Jaguars and new head coach Doug Pederson. Building a team strong in the trenches was one of Pederson’s trademarks in Philly and drafting Neal would be the first step in that direction. The Alabama tackle is an athletic freak who will immediately make life easier for Lawrence. However, don't count out a trade down with a QB-hungry team.

2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

The pick has Dan Campbell written all over it. A Michigan native with a high floor and a high motor, Hutchinson would immediately become the Lions’ best edge rusher. Hutchinson might not have the same ceiling as Kayvon Thibodeaux but Campbell should have him biting off kneecaps before you know it. He’s a great fit for this Lions team. 

3. Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

The Texans have a lot of needs so they can’t get picky here. Thibodeaux’s potential is through the roof. His explosiveness and athleticism are elite and if he is on the board at No. 3, it becomes a fairly easy choice for Lovie Smith, who would love nothing more than to get a stud on that defensive line.

4. Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

It may seem like a stretch to take a safety this high but Hamilton has the potential to be the best player taken in this draft and the Jets’ secondary is in desperate need of assistance. Hamilton is as dynamic as anyone in this draft and it’s tantalizing to think of what he can do in Robert Saleh’s defense.

5. Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

It sounds like Daniel Jones will get the first kick at the can in the Brian Daboll era in New York, and the Giants’ new head coach has already stated they want to get the QB some more stability. What better way to do that than by drafting a physically imposing offensive lineman like Ekwonu. While still a little raw, he has the ability to be a star on the inside before moving to tackle.

6. Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The Sam Darnold experiment in Carolina failed in spectacular fashion and Matt Rhule is probably kicking himself for passing on a couple of the quarterbacks in last year’s draft. Pickett isn’t my No. 1 quarterback on the board, but he may be the most NFL-ready heading into this draft and Rhule seems to prefer pocket passers. Plus, he recruited Pickett to Temple back in the day.

7. Giants (via CHI): George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

This could be another spot a team tries to trade up to grab a quarterback but if the Giants keep the pick, don’t be surprised if they stick to the trenches. This time on the defensive side of the ball with Karlaftis. In a draft full of great edge rushers, Karlaftis can be overlooked, but he does it all. Karlaftis is a great athlete with tremendous power and a high motor. 

8. Falcons: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

This is one of the hardest picks to nail down in the first round. The Falcons could go in a multitude of directions, whether it's a Matt Ryan replacement, another weapon for Ryan, or a corner to pair with A.J. Terrell. But, with a bunch of edge talent going early, we’re slotting Ojabo in here. He’s got elite speed and length, and the scary thing is he’s still learning the game. Is it blasphemous to say that I like Ojabo’s ceiling a little more than Hutchinson's?

9. Broncos: Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

I’m making the assumption the Broncos go out and get a veteran quarterback this offseason. (Aaron Rodgers, anyone?) So, the Broncos go the best player available route, and that means they suddenly have a dynamic duo at the cornerback position with Patrick Surtain and Gardner. “Sauce” checks all the boxes to become an elite shutdown corner in the NFL.

10. Jets (via SEA): Drake London, WR, USC

For me, the Jets can go two ways here. Protect Zach Wilson, or get him another weapon. After watching the weapon route pay off for the Bengals, taking Ja’Marr Chase last year, the Jets do the same with London, who is my No. 1 receiver. The former Trojan has elite size, surprising speed, and can high point the ball better than anyone in this class.

11. Commanders: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

My gut says by the time the draft rolls around, someone will trade up with the intention of grabbing Willis. But, with no trades in this version, he goes to the next team that needs a quarterback and that’s the newly minted Commanders. Willis is raw but his potential is ridiculous and too tempting for Washington to pass on.

12. Vikings: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Will the Vikings move on from Kirk Cousins? That’s the big question in Minnesota this offseason. Now, a lot of people are mocking a corner here but whether it’s Cousins or someone else under center, that offensive line needs to be better. Linderbaum is a plug-and-play interior lineman coming off an incredible season at Iowa. We saw the impact Creed Humphrey had on the Chiefs' line — Linderbaum could do the same for the Vikings.

13. Browns: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Browns need to get Baker Mayfield some weapons and Burks might be the most versatile weapon in this draft class. He is a big, physical receiver with explosive breakaway speed and the ability to line up on the outside and in the slot. Heck, you can even line him up in the backfield a la Deebo Samuel. His versatility is exactly what the Browns need.

14. Ravens: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Stingley Jr. is going to be one of the most polarizing players in the draft. After his freshman season, he looked like a lock to be the first defensive back taken in the draft but injuries and inconsistent play the next two seasons derailed that. That said, Stingley has Top 10 talent and looks like a perfect fit with the Ravens.

15. Eagles (via MIA): Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Eagles now pick three times in the next five picks and don’t be surprised if they take defenders with all three. They start here with McDuffie. The corner out of Washington isn’t flashy, but he is versatile and as solid as they come. He didn’t have many picks at Washington but that’s because teams didn’t want to throw his way. He’s a great fit opposite Darius Slay.

16. Eagles (via IND): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Eagles stick with defense for pick No. 2. Lloyd will be the No. 1 linebacker on many draft boards due to his athleticism, length, and ability to play on all three downs. He can blow up runs in the backfield, blitz off the edge, and he’ll have no problem in coverage against running backs and tight ends at the next level.  

17. Chargers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Can the Chargers strike gold with another first-round tackle? There are some concerns with Mississippi State tackles, but this is a good spot for the Chargers to take a chance on Cross. With Rashawn Slater at the other end, Cross can settle in on the right side. While the Chargers have other needs, protecting Justin Herbert is still the top priority.

18. Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Saints could draft Drew Brees’ successor here, but I think they believe they have a championship-level defense in New Orleans and will be better off pursuing a veteran signal-caller via free agency or trade. That quarterback will need more weapons and Garrett Wilson does it all. He’s a smooth route runner with big-play ability. Plus, the Saints have a history of drafting Buckeyes receivers.

19. Eagles: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

Dang. The Eagles don’t go 3-for-3 on the defensive side in Mock 1.0. Instead, they look to shore up an offensive line that is likely to lose mainstay Jason Kelce. Subbing in Green is not a bad bet. You can plug him in anywhere on the line and he has the ability to be successful with a strong frame and long arms. 

20. Steelers: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi

It’s becoming widely rumored that the Steelers are enamored with quarterback Malik Willis. But, unless they trade way up in the draft (they could) it’s unlikely they get him. That said, in this mock, they’ll happily take Matt Corral to be Ben Roethlisberger’s successor. Corral is a dynamic dual-threat QB with a strong arm and solid instincts. 

21. Patriots: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Traditional thinking would be to get Mac Jones a shiny new toy after it became clear throughout the season he was held up by good gameplans and a great defense. But, this is now Josh Allen’s division and Bill Belichick will do all he can to stop him. Enter Vince Wilfork Jr. Davis is a behemoth of a man who clogs up the run and can provide some pressure up the middle.

22. Raiders: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Raiders are hurting for help at wide receiver and Olave fits the bill. He is a smooth route runner, can take the top off a defense, and has stickum hands. Olave provides another weapon for Derek Carr and takes some of the pressure off pass-catchers Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow.

23. Cardinals: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Chandler Jones could be on his way out of the desert and with J.J. Watt always an injury concern, the Cardinals could have a big need for a pass rusher. Johnson had an outstanding Senior Bowl and might rise up some draft boards but for this mock, the Cardinals are happy Johnson falls into their laps.

24. Cowboys: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

The Cowboys take a linebacker in the first round for the second consecutive year. While Micah Parsons is more of an edge rusher, Dean can be the Cowboys' quarterback on defense. He’s a prototypical inside linebacker with great instincts and playmaking ability but is also athletic enough to play all three downs. 

25. Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Bills don’t have many holes on this roster, so they can take the best player available and for me, that’s Booth. The former Clemson Tiger is a long and athletic corner with excellent ball skills. And the name of the game for the Bills is slowing down the playmakers of the Chiefs and Bengals when the playoffs roll around. Booth helps that big time.

26. Titans: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Talk about a steal for the Titans. Williams’ draft stock took a huge hit after tearing his ACL in the national championship, but the price is right here. One way to prop up Ryan Tannehill is to put elite playmakers around him, and Williams is that. If Williams was a Mario Kart character, he would always have a golden mushroom activated. Now, imagine him next to A.J. Brown with Derrick Henry in the backfield. (And Julio Jones has been broken since 2018.)

27. Buccaneers: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Bucs could go a ton of different ways here with the retirement of Tom Brady. They could draft a quarterback and start the rebuild, or they could sign or trade for a veteran signal-caller and go for more of a retool. I’m thinking the latter and giving whoever is playing QB another weapon in the quick and sure-handed Dotson, particularly since Chris Godwin is also a free agent.

28. Packers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa 

It would be something if Aaron Rodgers were to leave and the Packers finally take a wide receiver in the first round. That said, they’ll do anything they can to keep Rodgers at this point. Keeping him upright is one way to do that. Penning has some flaws, but he is a monster. He has quick feet for pass blocking and manhandles opponents in the run game.

29. Dolphins (via SF): Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

If the Dolphins and new head coach Mike McDaniel are really going to give Tua Tagovailoa one more shot, it needs to be a fair one, which means fixing a horrendous offensive line. Drafting Raimann addresses that. Although he hasn’t been playing tackle for too long, he has tremendous upside with strong hands and quick feet.

30. Chiefs: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

The Chiefs saw how much better their defense got when they were able to put Melvin Gordon next to Chris Jones, so the thinking is similar by drafting Walker here. He is an elite athlete, built like a tank, and can play all over the line, kind of like Jones. Moving the pair of them all around the line could be scary for opposing offenses.

31. Bengals: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

I don’t care if rumors come out saying otherwise. You can’t convince me the Bengals won’t invest heavily in offensive lineman in this draft. Did you see the Super Bowl? Or the Divisional Round, where they allowed Burrow to get sacked nine times? Johnson put on a great show at the Senior Bowl and has positional versatility, which is something the Bengals should love.

32. Lions (via LAR): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

It’s obvious that the Lions need a quarterback and the trend these days is to get one at the end of the first round so you have the extra year of control at a reasonable price, and Ridder is another guy Dan Campbell could fall in love with. He’s an experienced dual-threat quarterback who works hard with sound technique. He has the ability to develop into a solid pro.

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