We are now just about a week away from seeing the first player selected in this year's NFL Draft walk up onto the floating stage in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas to greet Roger Goodell.
But we still aren't sure who that will be.
In fact, this is still one of the more mysterious drafts in recent memory. There are still so many unknowns heading into April 28 as NFL Draft Odds continue to fluctuate.
There is no clear-cut No. 1 pick, and while there are some high-ceiling quarterbacks like Malik Willis and Matt Corral, there is certainly no Andrew Luck or Joe Burrow in this class.
We are now in the home stretch of the draft process, which means NFL Draft betting options are hitting the board in droves, so here is the fourth and final version of my 2022 NFL Mock Draft to help get us prepared.
1. Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
I did it. I caved. For the longest time, it felt like I was going to die on the Evan Neal No. 1 overall hill. But sources out of Hutchinson’s camp expect him to go first to the Jaguars on draft night. Hutchinson is, of course, the consensus pick to go No. 1 overall in most mock drafts and is still the -200 favorite to do so. If these rumors continue, you can only expect that price to go up. Hutchinson is a safe play at No. 1 for the Jags, as he has a high floor and a higher motor. I still think giving Trevor Lawrence the best chance to succeed should be priority No. 1, 2, and 3 for Jacksonville, however.
2. Detroit Lions: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
That said, with Hutchinson off the board in this mock, I feel way more confident that the Lions take a swing at Willis here. The Lions have kept their plans for the No. 2 pick close to the vest but an industry analyst I trust has said the Lions have been enamored with Willis since they coached him at the Senior Bowl. His arm talent and athleticism are off the charts and his ceiling as a pro is crazy high. The Lions have absolutely nothing to lose by making this pick. They need a quarterback and Willis has the best chance of anyone in this class to be a difference-maker.
3. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Deshaun Watson is gone. Now, the Texans can focus on rebuilding the roster from the ground up. Or maybe more accurately, from the trenches, out. A team with as many holes to be filled as the Texans will be thrilled to see a player as talented as Thibodeaux fall to them here. He is the top player on my board. Go look at the tape, Thibodeaux can easily be the top player in this draft class. Lovie Smith will be excited to build his new defense around him.
4. New York Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
I think the Jets would be thrilled to see the board fall this way. They have their choice of the top tackles or could address a shaky secondary. But for me, I’m betting the Jets do what the Jags did not and do all they can to help Zach Wilson develop. Drafting a tackle like Neal does just that. Neal is an athletic freak who can play multiple positions and is the top tackle on my board and could be protecting Wilson’s blindside for a decade.
5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekownu, OT, NC State
It sounds like Brian Daboll will give Daniel Jones every opportunity to prove he can be the long-term solution under center for the Giants and taking Ekownu to be a bookend tackle opposite Andrew Thomas is a step in the right direction. I have Evan Neal as my No. 1 tackle but there isn’t much separating him and Ekownu. “Icky” is a truck with all the tools to be a high-end tackle in the league with positional versatility.
6. Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Panthers seem like they are in draft purgatory and don’t know what to do. I had them taking Kenny Pickett in my first two mocks, but Matt Rhule grabbing a veteran quarterback is still an option. Even though that option appears to be Baker Mayfield (and Robby Anderson is not happy about it). I just don’t see Rhule going QB here with Willis off the board. But whoever is under center will need better protection from the Panthers' offensive line and Cross is an immediate improvement at left tackle.
7. New York Giants (via CHI): Travon Walker, DL, Georgia
The hype around Walker is for real. To the point where the Georgia defensive lineman is now the second favorite behind Hutchinson to go No. 1 overall at +200. No player has seen his stock rise more in the offseason process than Walker. He has tested through the roof and is the perfect example of the type of player who can benefit from the combine. His tape was great, and he can be moved all over the line, but his size had some thinking he was a tweener without a true position. After the show Walker put on in Indy, however, that versatility looks like a huge plus.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Matt Ryan era is over in Atlanta, and they would probably love it if Malik Willis fell to them, but he’s long gone in this mock. Just like Calvin Ridley, the Falcons were betting their wide receiver room was going to be a little deeper heading into the draft. Jokes aside, it sounds like the Falcons were ready to move on from Ridley before his suspension came to light, and now Russell Gage is gone too. They’ll need someone beside Kyle Pitts for Marcus Mariota to throw to. Enter Wilson. He’s an explosive playmaker at every level with breakaway speed and is a savvy route runner. Wilson isn’t the No. 1 receiver on my board but he’s a great compliment to Pitts.
9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
It seems like QB eras are over all over the place, as Russell Wilson’s time in Seattle is done. Now, it’s what the Seahawks do with the return that will determine whether the rebuild in Seattle is a long process or a slow one. The great Seahawks teams were known for their defense and the Legion of Boom. They are set at safety, but they still need a lockdown corner and Gardner fits the bill. The long and athletic corner has all the tools to be a shutdown corner in the NFL.
10. Jets (via SEA): Drake London, WR, USC
The Jets protected Wilson with their first pick so now they can add an offensive weapon with their second, and London will provide him a much-needed security blanket in the passing game. The former Trojan has elite size, surprising speed, and can high point the ball better than anyone in this class. He’ll be the perfect outlet for Wilson in this offense.
11. Commanders: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The Commanders found their next quarterback when they traded for Carson Wentz. Washington will need to get him some more weapons if they want him to be effective. They do that by selecting Williams here. In my last mock, I had Williams going to the Texans at 13 and saying that was a bit of a stretch, but all the news out of Williams’ camp is that he is recovering at a crazy rate from his ACL injury suffered in the national championship. Before the injury, his tape was making the case for him to be WR No. 1 in this class. Pair him with Terry McLaurin and the Commanders suddenly have a terrific WR duo.
12. Vikings: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Vikings stop the fall of Hamilton and get one of the Top 3 players on my big board. Hamilton has been dinged a bit this offseason for the results of his workouts, but his tape says he is a football player and potentially a star one at that. While a lot of people like the Vikings to take a corner here, pairing Hamilton with Harrison Smith will give the Vikings one of the best back ends in football.
13. Texans (via CLE): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Texans have acquired a bunch of draft picks thanks to the Watson trade and now just need to stockpile as much talent as possible over the next couple of years. And Stingley is just that. Talented. He is going to be one of the most polarizing players in the draft, his ceiling is immense, and looked like a slam dunk Top 10 pick after his freshman year at LSU. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistent play the next two seasons have hurt his stock. He is worth the gamble at this spot for the Texans who all of a sudden would have playmakers at the front and back end of their defense.
14. Ravens: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
The Ravens were spurned by Za’Darius Smith in free agency but get a great consolation prize here in Johnson. Not many have seen their stock rise more this offseason than Johnson. The edge rusher had a great season at FSU after transferring from Georgia. He then had an outstanding Senior Bowl and followed that up with another electric performance at the combine.
15. Eagles (via MIA): Chris Olave WR, Ohio State
With the Eagles trading one of their three first-round picks to the Saints for a future first-rounder and a couple more picks, I think this year they focus on getting Jalen Hurts another weapon in this spot. Olave would be a great compliment to DeVonta Smith. He is a smooth route runner, can take the top off a defense, has stickum hands, and has a great catch radius.
16. Saints (via PHI, via IND): Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa
The Saints now possess the No. 16 and No. 19 picks in this draft and I can see them trying to use those picks as ammunition to trade up and grab a certain quarterback. I’m not doing trades in my mock, so instead, they sure up their offensive line for whoever is under center now that Terron Armstead has left the building. Penning is your classic nasty blocking lineman who loves contact. While he took too many penalties in the FCS last year, he is a monster in the run game and has quick feet to develop into a solid pass blocker.
17. Chargers: Jonathan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Chargers hit a home run this offseason when it comes to their defense. First, trading for Khalil Mack, then signing corner J.C. Jackson and defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day. But this was still one of the worst run defenses in the NFL last season and who better to stuff the middle than the monster that is Davis. The freak athlete can also develop into a solid interior pass rusher as well. There could be an urge to protect Justin Herbert and push for offensive line here, but the value at the position would be gone at this point of the first round and can be addressed in later picks.
18. Eagles (via NO): Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
I’ve had the Eagles taking McDuffie when they owned the No. 15 and 16 picks, so they’ll happily snap him up here as well. The Eagles need to improve their secondary. The corner out of Washington isn’t flashy, but he's versatile and one of the most polished prospects in the entire draft. He can play inside or in the slot, he’s a solid tackler, and while he didn’t have many picks at Washington, that’s because opponents barely threw his way. He’s a great fit opposite Darius Slay.
19. Saints (via PHI): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
The Saints basically struck out in the veteran QB market and while they brought back Jameis Winston, I don’t think that stops them from taking a quarterback here. Small hand jokes aside, Pickett is the most pro-ready signal-caller in this class and won’t have to worry about weather in the Superdome. This team still has a defense that is strong enough to contend next year and needs a QB who won’t make mistakes. Pickett fits the bill.
20. Steelers: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
It has been no secret that the Steelers will strongly consider a quarterback in this spot. They have been long enamored with Malik Willis but unless they trade way up (which they could), he’s going to be long gone. Corral is a solid consolation prize as he's a dynamic dual-threat QB with a strong arm and solid instincts.
21. Patriots: Devin Lloyd LB, Utah
Getting the No. 1 linebacker on my board makes perfect sense for the Patriots. D’onta Hightower and Jamie Collins are free agents and the team just released Kyle Van Noy. The Pats will need to improve that linebacking corps and Lloyd is the perfect guy for that. The kid out of Utah is an elite athlete who can play all three downs, blitz off the edge, and he’ll have no problem in coverage against running backs and tight ends at the next level.
22. Packers (via LV): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
I, like most Packers fans am still processing the fact that Devante Adams is no longer in Green Bay. So, if the Packers front office does nothing other than select a viable WR with this pick, there may be riots in the streets of Wisconsin. Burks is a good place to start as a big, physical receiver with explosive breakaway speed and the ability to line up on the outside and in the slot. Sure, he is still a little raw and could improve his route running, but letting him work with Aaron Rodgers could produce some great results.
23. Cardinals: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Chandler Jones has left the desert and J.J. Watt is always an injury concern, so pass rusher is a big area of need for the Cardinals. In a draft full of great edge rushers, Karlaftis can be overlooked and he drops a bit in this version, but he does it all and the Cardinals are getting a steal. He is a great athlete with tremendous power and a high motor.
24. Cowboys: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
The best Cowboys teams in recent years have been anchored by strong offensive line play. The once-vaunted Dallas offensive line is lacking some depth, particularly on the inside. Johnson’s combination of size, strength, and positional versatility makes him a great fit for America’s team. He can start inside and eventually move to tackle.
25. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
The rich get richer. This roster doesn’t have many holes but with the number of great quarterbacks now roaming the AFC, it never hurts to have more corners. The former Tiger is a long and athletic corner with excellent ball skills and will be an excellent addition to Sean McDermott's defense.
26. Titans: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
PICK: Over 5.5 WRs drafted in First Round (-130)
The Titans traded for Robert Woods but he is still recovering from an ACL injury, so there is still a big need to improve the WR room in Tennessee. Dotson is quick with great hands and is an excellent route runner. He’s the type of guy who can make Ryan Tannehill’s life a lot easier and is a great compliment to Woods and A.J. Brown.
27. Buccaneers: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia.
So, Brady went home for like three weeks and was like, "Nah, I’m good", and just like that, the Bucs are a Super Bowl favorite again. Obviously, they are in win-now mode, and Wyatt immediately improves a Tampa Bay defensive front that still has a bunch of question marks. Another great Bulldog defender, Wyatt is powerful and has a quick first step. He will be disruptive in the running game and has the potential to develop into a solid interior pass rusher.
28. Packers: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
After finally adding an offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers in the first round, they improve their pass rush with their next pick. Mafe is another prospect who has been flying up draft boards this offseason. The Golden Gopher dominated the Senior Bowl and that continued with great testing at the combine. Mafe is explosive, long, and athletic.
29. Chiefs (via MIA): Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
No one can replace Tyreek Hill but Watson is an intriguing wide receiver prospect nonetheless. Watson is a fantastic athlete who has a tantalizing combination of size and speed, and profiles as a WR No. 1. He followed up a solid Senior Bowl by putting on a show at the combine.
30. Chiefs: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Chiefs will also consider an edge here but have lost two key members of their secondary with Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward moving on, so adding a guy who would be an immediate starter on the outside is a must. Elam is a long, physical corner with great closing speed and loves to man up and play press coverage.
31. Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Ha! Back to my prediction from the get-go as the Bengals take an offensive lineman in the first round. The Bengals completely reworked their O-line in free agency bringing in La'el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras. Drafting Linderbaum would be the cherry on top. The Hawkeye standout is a plug-and-play interior lineman coming off an incredible season in the Big Ten. He has a strong frame despite being a little undersized, boasts great footwork, and is an expert in leverage.
32. Lions (via LA): David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Lions get their hometown edge rusher after all. After passing on an edge at No. 2, Detroit gets a steal to close out the first round. Considering they are likely still a year or so away from seeing noted improvement, they can take a gamble with Ojabo here, who tore his Achilles at his pro day and could miss much of the season. Prior to the injury, the uber-athletic, yet raw Ojabo would have had a real shot at being a Top 10 pick.
2023 NFL Draft FAQs
Round 1 is on April 28, Rounds 2 and 3 will be on April 29, with Rounds 4-7 closing it out on Saturday, April 30.
QB CJ Stroud is the favorite to go first overall at -260. Fellow quarterbacks Anthony Richardson and Bryce Young check in next at +275 and +320, respectively.