2022 NFL Mock Draft: Malik Willis to Panthers, Kenny Pickett to Steelers, Predictions For First-Round Picks

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Malik Willis to Panthers, Kenny Pickett to Steelers, Predictions For First-Round Picks article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: 2022 NFL Draft prospects Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett

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
1JaguarsAidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
2LionsTravon Walker, Edge, Georgia
3TexansEvan Neal, OT, Alabama Ikem
4JetsKayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
5GiantsIkem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
6PanthersMalik Willis, QB Liberty
7Giants*Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
8FalconsGarrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
9Seahawks*Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
10Jets*Drake London, WR, USC
11CommandersKyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
12VikingsDerek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
13Texans*Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State
14RavensGeorge Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
15Eagles*Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
16Saints*Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
17ChargersJordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
18Eagles*Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
19Saints*Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
20SteelersKenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
21PatriotsTrent McDuffie, CB, Washington
22Packers*Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
23CardinalsDevonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
24CowboysZion Johnson, OG, Boston College
25BillsKenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
26TitansTyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
27BucsAndrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
28PackersBernhardt Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
29Chiefs*Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota
30ChiefsKaiir Elam, CB, Florida
31BengalsTyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
32Lions*Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
*Indicates pick acquired via trade

1. Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

Hutchinson has emerged as the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick (-250 at BetMGM) with the majority of pundits mocking him to the Jaguars. He's all but locked in to land with Jacksonville.

2. Lions: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

After impressing at his Pro Day, Liberty QB Malik Willis has climbed as high as No. 2 in some mocks. However, Travon Walker has been surging up draft boards throughout the pre-draft process. I'm projecting the Lions select Walker here and give Jared Goff another year.

3. Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama Ikem

With the blockbuster deal that sent Deshaun Watson to the Browns, the Texans have added another first-round selection after acquiring the 13th overall pick. They select Neal here, giving them protection for Davis Mills and flexibility in approaching the upcoming $35-million cap hit of Laremy Tunsil.

Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Neal

4. Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Thibodeaux’s decisions at the combine have been reportedly off-putting to some NFL decision makers. Rumors of a draft day slide could come to fruition, but it will be hard for a former defensive coordinator like Robert Saleh to pass on the talent.

5. Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

Ekwonu and Neal are arguably interchangeable. Behind-the-scenes interviews and scouting preference will ultimately decide their respective landing spots. Ekwonu fills a huge need for the Giants.

6. Panthers: Malik Willis, QB Liberty

When your job is on the line like Matt Rhule, there is no sensible way to enter a season with Sam Darnold as the top quarterback option. With the Panthers reportedly having little interest in Baker Mayfield, Willis becomes the future.

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7. Giants: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Gardner says he is the best player in the draft, and many scouts would agree. The Giants land an instant starter here who should lock down one side of the field.

8. Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Falcons struck out on landing Deshaun Watson. After adding Marcus Mariota, it's time to get Kyle Pitts a running mate. Wilson projects as the top wide receiver in this class and should be a priority here.

9. Seahawks: Charles Cross, OT,  Mississippi State

There is a clear drop-off in talent from the top tackles to Cross, but that isn't enough for the offensive line-needy Seahawks to pass on Cross. They seem like the last team standing in the Baker Mayfield sweepstakes, but that price should not include this pick.

10. Jets: Drake London, WR, USC

The Jets have been active in the WR market this offseason, but after missing out on Tyreek Hill via trade and other WRs during free agency, they add the young contested-catch machine from USC.

Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Drake London

11. Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

A trade back feels like it could be in play as the Commanders do not have a lot of picks in this draft. If that doesn’t happen, and Hamilton falls to No. 11, Washington will likely run this pick to the podium.

12. Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Stingley impressed at this late Pro Day and could catapult further up the rankings. For now, his talent fills a need here for the Vikings.

13. Texans: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

The Texans are in dire need of young talent across their defensive line. Johnson transferred to Florida State and displayed the ability to warrant this selection.

14. Ravens: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

The Ravens' entire defensive line rotation is older than 30 and Derek Wolfe is the only one left under contract. Karlaftis has the strength and versatility to make an immediate impact in this rotation.

15. Eagles: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Williams quite possibly would have been the top WR selected in this draft if not for injury. The trade with the Saints gives the Eagles more versatility in the draft over the next few seasons. Williams missing some time to start his career isn’t that big of a deal if he turns out to be the best of this draft.

16. Saints: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Saints must have a specific player in mind after making a blockbuster trade with the Eagles for this pick. The strategic move to jump the Chargers leads me to believe that it’s for a tackle or receiver. Here, they take Penning, who I originally had pegged to the Chargers with the next pick.

17. Chargers: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia

The Chargers' offseason game plan has resembled that of the other L.A. team over the past few years. Jordan is a disruptive athletic freak and could become head coach Brandon Staley’s new version of Aaron Donald.

Adding Davis to defensive line featuring Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack should be illegal.

18. Eagles: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Lloyd is widely considered the best linebacker in this draft. While he didn’t “wow” everyone at the combine, his film shows the type of versatility and instincts that can anchor the middle of any defensive scheme.

19. Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Saints have major needs at safety and receiver. After addressing the tackle position with Penning at No. 16, they add a much needed threat opposite Michael Thomas.

New Orleans will have to put talent around Jameis Winston if the Saints are going to contend in a wide-open NFC.

20. Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Kenny Pickett is the popular pick here. This draft will hinge on where the quarterbacks get selected. Pickett is in play to go earlier to a few QB-needy teams. In this mock, he stays in Pittsburgh.

pitt vs. wake forest-odds-spread-total-2021 acc championship game
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenny Pickett.

21. Patriots: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

After losing J.C. Jackson in free agency, it’s important for the Patriots to re-tool an aging secondary. McDuffie offers the quickness that would positively assert his talents in a Bill Belichick defense.

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. Here, the Packers select Burks, but they could still easily move up higher if they have there eyes on a specific WR to help Aaron Rodgers.

23: Cardinals: Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia

The Cardinals addressed issues on the offensive line by signing Will Hernandez. Here they add to the defensive line with another Georgia product in the form of Wyatt.

24. Cowboys: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

The Cowboys have been successful in simply taking the best player available over the past few drafts. 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: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

The Bills have one of the NFL's stronger rosters. Defensive back could be a focus here, but getting the running game to be more productive seems to be a priority going into 2022. Green’s combine performance doesn’t match his game film, which could be a reason he drops to this range.

26. Titans: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

The Titans landed WR help in the form of Robert Woods, leaving OT as a main priority. Smith will be a bit of a late riser in the pre-draft process but should solidify the right side for a Mike Vrabel offense that relies heavily on dominating the trenches.

27. Buccaneers: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Carlton Davis was retained in free agency and is the only defensive back under contract beyond 2022. Adding another young piece to a secondary that struggled down the stretch last season seems paramount.

28. Packers: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Doubling up at the WR position could absolutely be in play. However, the Packers try to keep Rodgers standing by taking the Raimann to man the right side of the line.

Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Bernhard Raimann #OL40 of Central Michigan

29. Chiefs: Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

With the unfortunate injury to David Ojabo, Mafe is a player who has started to infiltrate the first round of many mocks. With most of the first-round worthy WRs gone, Mafe fills the need at Edge for a Chiefs team undergoing (some) identity changes.

30. Chiefs: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Chiefs' biggest need lies in the back end of their defense as they have only two starters under contract. Elam offers the SEC pedigree and has competed against some of the top WRs in this draft.

31. Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

The Bengals complete their offensive line makeover with Linderbaum. While slightly undersized, the Iowa product projects as a stud on the interior.

32. Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

The Lions recently brought back Jarred Davis to lineup next to Alex Anzalone, but he shouldn’t preclude them from selecting Dean here. Dean’s skillset and versatility fits today’s NFL and how defensive coaches are looking to match-up with offenses.

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