2022 NFL Mock Draft V. 2: Predicting Round 1

Free agency, which commences shortly, will absolutely change our projections as team needs fluctuate. But for now, it’s clear where teams are lacking.

Aidan Hutchinson Michigan Bowl Game 2022
USA Today Sports

2. Detroit Lions - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan Syndication Usa Today

Aidan Hutchinson Michigan Bowl Game 2022

The NFL offseason is in full swing before free agency even begins. Trades, like Russell Wilson to the Broncos and Carson Wentz to the Commanders, have already changed how the 2022 NFL Draft will play out. We also saw Aaron Rodgers go back to Green Bay plus eight players receive the franchise tag. And Tom Brady retired, then un-retired just before legal tampering kicked off , since our last mock draft

It’s time to update our mock draft after seeing these moves and hearing the whispers that came out of the NFL Scouting Combine and with free agency arriving this week. But the early returns of trades and tag decisions have delivered loud messages. We can start to see which teams need to be aggressive and which are planning to look for value while filling needs.

This is a unique draft class that’s been lauded as deep but not top-heavy. That’s true in some ways but there are plenty of potential impact players emerging already this offseason. 

Let’s jump into our second mock of the first-round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

1. Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

Aidan Hutchinson NFL Combine 2022

2. Lions - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Malik Willis Liberty Senior Bowl 2022

3. Texans - Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux Oregon Oregon St 2021

4. Jets - Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Ahmad Gardner Cincinnati Houston 2021

5. Giants - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Evan Neal Alabama Florida 2021

6. Panthers - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Charles Cross NFL Combine 2022

7. Giants (via Bears) - Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

Derek Stingley LSU Central Michigan 2021

8. Falcons - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Garrett Wilson NFL Combine 2022

9. Seahawks (via Broncos) - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Kyle Hamilton Notre Dame South Bend 2021

10. Jets (via Seahawks) - David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

David Obajo NFL Combine 2022

11. Commanders - Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

Ikem Okwonu NC State Louisville 2021

12. Vikings - Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

Travon Walker NFL Combine 2022

13. Browns - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Chris Olave Ohio State 2021

14. Ravens - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

George Karlaftis NFL Combine 2022

15. Eagles (via Dolphins) - Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

Jermain Johnson II NFL Combine 2022

2021 Stats: 34 SOLO, 12 SACK, 2 FF

Having three selections between the 15th and 19th pick is a wonderful thing in this class. Philadelphia can play the board and simply grab value as they fill needs with stars. The first key is to reinvest into their pass rush.

Landing Jermaine Johnson II, arguably the third-most ready 4-3 end in this class, here is a solid get. Johnson is already a plus run defender and has upside to be a top pass-rusher on a great unit. He’d make Derek Barnett completely expendable. 

16. Eagles (via Colts) - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Devin Lloyd NFL Combine 2022

17. Chargers - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Jordan Davis NFL Combine 2022

18. Saints - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Jameson Williams Alabama Cincinnati 2021

19. Eagles - Drake London, WR, USC

Drake London USC Auburn 2021

20. Steelers - Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Desmond Ridder NFL Combine 2022

21. Patriots - Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Nakobe Dean Georgia National Championship 2022

22. Raiders - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Daxton Hill Michigan Big Ten Championship 2021

23. Cardinals - Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

Zion Johnson NFL Combine 2022

24. Cowboys - Cameron Thomas, Edge, San Diego State

Cameron Thomas San Diego St Boise St 2021

25. Bills - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Kaiir Elam Florida Samford 2021

26. Titans - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Tyler Linderbaum Iowa Kentucky 2022

27. Buccaneers - Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

Kenyon Green Texas A&M Arkansas 2021

28. Packers - George Pickens, WR, Georgia

George Pickens Georgia Championship 2022

29. Dolphins (via 49ers) - Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

Tyler Smith NFL Combine 2022

30. Chiefs - Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

Jaquan Brisker Penn St 2 2021

31. Bengals - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Bernhard Raimann NFL Combine 2022

32. Lions (via Rams) - Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

Boye Mafe NFL Combine 2022

2021 Stats: 26 SOLO, 7 SACK, 10 TFL

Picking 32nd is a great spot to be in, and the Lions have the benefit of simply taking the best overall player available. With their franchise quarterback already added at No. 2 in Malik Willis, adding edge-rusher Boye Mafe gives them a potential star on defense. Mafe emerged as a dangerous pass-rusher in his senior season at Minnesota.

Continuing to take stabs at finding defensive stars is huge for Detroit as they want to fast-track their rebuild. Mafe is fast off the line and has the hip flexibility that is often found in the most dangerous edge presences around the league. 

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