2022 NFL Mock Draft: Aidan Hutchinson Still No. 1, Malik Willis to Steelers, More First-Round Pick Predictions
Getty Images. Pictured: Aidan Hutchinson, Ikem Ekwonu and Malik Willis
In a special collaboration with the Action Network, you’ll find the latest version of Scott Smith’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft below.
Smith was the most accurate mock drafter in 2018 and the ninth-most accurate in 2019 according to FantasyPros, which grades the accuracy of mock drafts industry-wide, including longtime draft analysts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
2022 NFL Mock Draft
Click the arrow to preview Scott Smith’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft results
|1||Jaguars||Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan|
|2||Lions||Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia|
|3||Texans||Evan Neal, OT, Alabama|
|4||Jets||Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon|
|5||Giants||Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State|
|6||Panthers||Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State|
|7||Giants*||Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati|
|8||Falcons||Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State|
|9||Seahawks*||Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State|
|10||Jets*||Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama|
|11||Commanders||Drake London, WR, USC|
|12||Vikings||Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU|
|13||Texans*||Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame|
|14||Ravens||Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia|
|15||Eagles*||Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington|
|16||Saints*||Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State|
|17||Chargers||Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa|
|18||Eagles*||Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah|
|19||Saints*||Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh|
|20||Steelers||Malik Willis, QB, Liberty|
|21||Patriots||Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M|
|22||Packers*||Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas|
|23||Cardinals||George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue|
|24||Cowboys||Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College|
|25||Bills||Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington|
|26||Titans||Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati|
|27||Bucs||Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia|
|28||Packers||George Pickens, WR, Georgia|
|29||Chiefs*||Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota|
|30||Chiefs||Daxton Hill, S, Michigan|
|31||Bengals||Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida|
|32||Lions*||Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia|
|*Indicates pick acquired via trade|
1. Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
Travon Walker has been linked to the No. 1 spot in select mocks recently, but in my opinion, this pick is all but locked in for Jacksonville.
Players like Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux may offer a higher ceiling, but Hutchinson is the safer play. Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is feeling the pressure, which should lead to Hutchinson being easy money as the top overall player selected at -200 odds (via DraftKings).
2. Lions: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia
Kayvon Thibodeaux (+130) has the best odds to be the No. 2 pick at FanDuel, but is seen as a questionable fit. Walker remains here in my mock at +400.
3. Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Working with Bill Belichick in New England links general manager Nick Caserio to Neal via the Nick Saban connection. The logic makes sense, but so does the fit and versatility that Neal would bring to Houston.
That said, Ikem Ekwonu (+200) is the betting favorite at FanDuel and could end up being the pick.
4. Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
Thibodeaux could be the best player in this draft, but he had his motor and dedication to football questioned. That has been the dilemma for teams during this evaluation period. A recent visit with the Jets may have eased any concerns for a team that has a need on the edge.
5. Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
Ekwonu and Neal are interchangeable in most mocks. The Giants have made no secret about their need to address the offensive line in this draft. With the Panthers having the same need, it would make sense for the Giants to get their guy here.
Thibodeaux would also be in heavy consideration should the Jets pass on him.
6. Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Kenny Pickett has been heavily linked to this pick while other pundits think Malik Willis is a better fit in Carolina, but offensive tackle is an urgent need for the Panthers. Taking Cross here is a bet that acquiring either Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo is a better plan for head coach Matt Rhule if he wants to keep his job.
7. Giants: Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Gardner fits here, whether it’s the Giants who pick or another team trades up to take the coveted Bearcat. The over/under on his draft position at DraftKings sits at 7.5, favoring the under.
8. Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Falcons may have the least talented position group in the entire NFL at wide receiver. Wilson is the favorite (+105) to be the first WR to come off the board at FanDuel and would fill an immediate need for the Falcons.
Keep an eye on this pick, though, as it’s another possible spot for a team to trade up and select one of the QBs.
9. Seahawks: Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State
There is a lot of smoke linking Johnson to the Jets. Johnson vs. Thibodeaux is absolutely a discussion that is being had in New York. In this scenario, Johnson lands in Seattle after the Jets settle on Thibodeaux at the fourth pick.
10. Jets: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Th Jets’ offseason actions have linked them to multiple failed WR acquisitions. The tea leaves lead to a strong indication that a WR could be the selection here.
Drake London recently completed a full workout at his pro day, indicating that he will be ready for training camp. Williams, however, is the pick here as his speed is what sets him apart from every WR prospect in this draft.
11. Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC
Washington owns only two picks inside the top 50, making the Commanders a leading candidate to trading down in the first round. Kyle Hamilton and Derek Stingley Jr. should both be in heavy consideration at this pick, but London is the selection in this mock as the Commanders attempt to give Carson Wentz every chance to succeed.
12. Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Stingley proved at his pro day that he is physically recovered from his injuries. With consistency being a question, look for the Vikings to use fellow LSU alumnus, Patrick Peterson, in a mentor role with Stingley in much the same way he did with Tyrann Mathieu when he entered the league.
13. Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton was once thought to be a surefire top-10 prospect. His fall ends here with Houston selecting him to be a versatile piece of its defense. Jordan Davis would also be in consideration.
14. Ravens: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
Davis is one of the few unicorns in this draft and offers the talent to be a key building block for this unit moving forward. The Ravens have edge rushers who should come back from injury, which would allow them to focus on the interior.
15. Eagles: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
McDuffie is an ascending talent with some scouts preferring him to Derek Stingley Jr. The Eagles have been linked to a possible trade to select Stingley, but the talent gap isn’t big enough to warrant that move. A WR could also be in play here.
16. Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Local whispers in New Orleans believe the Saints moved ahead of the Charger to specifically select a WR. In this scenario, Olave is that guy and would added a much-needed deep threat to the Saints offense.
17. Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
After missing out on Olave, the Bolts turn their focus to the offensive line with Penning, who could project to both tackle or guard.
18. Eagles: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Lloyd has consistently been one of the most difficult projections in this draft. He could land in Philly, where most fans would be hard pressed to name any of the team’s starting linebackers.
I could also see the Eagles adding to their defensive line.
19. Saints: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
I don’t believe the Saints are prioritizing the QB position. If the draft falls this way. however, I do not think they will shy away from taking one of the top QB prospects.
With the talent at the tackle position falling off, the Saints select Pickett here as the first QB off the board.
20. Steelers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Steelers haven’t had much of a poker face over the years. I expect that to continue with Willis here. Ultimately, I expect this pick to be made with a trade up. But for now, I will leave it here.
I am betting the Pittsburgh pick will be known before draft day, just as it has been over the last few years.
21. Patriots: Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
The Patriots have done their homework on Green, having him in for a top-30 visit. They need more help at cornerback and possibly linebacker, but with the top players off the board, Belichick settles on the versatility Green brings to the offensive line.
22. Packers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Packers acquired this pick as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Davante Adams to the Raiders. I don’t see a scenario in which Green Bay exits the first round without a WR. The Packers select Burks here, but they could easily move up higher if they have their eyes on a specific WR to help Aaron Rodgers.
23: Cardinals: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
Karlaftis represents an ideal scheme fit for a Cardinals team that needs to infuse youth at the position. Karlaftis has been mocked in all ranges outside the top 10 with his draft position over/under sitting at 16.5 as of writing.
24. Cowboys: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
The Cowboys have been successful over the past few years in simply taking the best player available. I expect that strategy to continue. Johnson grades out as one of the more athletic offensive line prospects and had started at every position on the line during his college career.
25. Bills: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
The Bills have one of the stronger rosters in the NFL. Defensive back could be a focus here as the secondary has struggled when Tre’Davious White has not been in the line up.
This could also end up being the only spot in the first round that a RB would be in consideration.
26. Titans: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Titans have a number of needs across the board, filling needs at various positions in different mocks. One position I believe they could target, though, is quarterback.
Ryan Tannehill is 34 years old and set to have a hefty cap hit beyond this season. After coming off the team’s regular-season success, his playoff performance was disappointing.
Ridder going here would puts over 2.5 first-round QBs in play — a bet I continue to like.
27. Buccaneers: Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
Infusing Wyatt next to Vita Vea could be the perfect scenario after Tampa Bay has failed to bring back Ndamukong Suh, though it’s worth noting his reported off-field issues.
Taking an interior lineman to replace Ali Marpet would also be a priority if one were to slip down the draft board.
28. Packers: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Doubling up at the WR position could absolutely be in play. Some scouts think Pickens has the best hands in the draft. Selecting him here along with the earlier selection of Burks would complete a WR makeover after shipping Davante Adams to Las Vegas.
29. Chiefs: Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota
Mafe has started to infiltrate the first round of many mock drafts. With most of the first-round worthy WRs gone, Mafe fills the need at Edge for a Chiefs team that’s going through identity changes.
30. Chiefs: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
One of the best general managers to bet on making a trade happen is Brett Veach. Adding a WR earlier in the draft would be the motivation needed for the Chiefs to move up with one of these two picks. If that doesn’t happen, I would expect them to address the secondary with a versatile talent like Hill.
31. Bengals: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Bengals have gone to great lengths to address their offensive line in free agency. With that out of the way, it’s time to focus on the secondary, where Eli Apple has been a continued sore spot.
Elam offers SEC pedigree and has been linked to Cincinnati.
32. Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
After selecting a Georgia Bulldog at No. 2, the Lions follow it up by selecting another to close out the first round. Detroit could go a number of directions with this pick, but Dean offers an upgrade at LB and is the highest rated player left on my board.