2022 NFL Mock Draft & Round 1 Predictions: Aidan Hutchinson to Jags at No. 1, Malik Willis to Seahawks, More
Getty Images. Pictured: Aidan Hutchinson, Ikem Ekwonu and Malik Willis
In a special collaboration with the Action Network, you’ll find the debut version of Scott Smith’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft below.
Smith was the most accurate mock drafter of 2018 on sites like Fantasy Pros and Mock Draft Database, which grades the accuracy of mock drafts industry-wide, including longtime draft analysts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper. Smith’s ability to consistently finish in the top five of mock draft accuracy contests is what sets his mocks apart from others.
2022 NFL Draft Predictions
1. Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
Hutchinson is the odds on favorite at -150 to be the No. 1 overall pick. Hutchinson may not have the ceiling of the Bosa brothers, but he offers the safest blend of talent for a team that can’t afford to blow this pick. Pivoting to an offensive tackle to protect Trevor Lawrence would be the other option at this spot.
2. Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
In a draft without a consensus top talent, Thibodeaux offers elite traits that coaches covet. The Lions were among the league’s worst at creating pressure and would benefit from adding a player with All-Pro potential. Without a QB deserving of this draft capital, Edge seems like the position Detroit will address.
3. Texans: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Texans’ roster is in a state of despair, placing them in a position to take the best player available. With rumors of Leramy Tunsil not playing for the Texans in 2022, protecting a young Davis Mills may become a priority. Ekwonu offers dominant run-blocking and a nasty demeanor.
4. Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton rates as one of the top players on most evaluators’ draft boards. His positional value makes him hard to project as safeties generally don’t get drafted this high. The Jets could address the offensive and defensive lines here, but take the ultra-talented Hamilton instead.
5. Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Neal is a player that has been an option to go first overall in some mock drafts. In this draft, he goes to the Giants where he can immediately start at right tackle as new head coach Brian Daboll attempts to fix New York’s offense.
6. Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Rumors have the Panthers all in on acquiring Deshaun Watson. Whether that comes to fruition or not, the Panthers have to address their porous offensive line for whichever QB starts for Carolina next season.
7. Giants: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia
The Giants desperately need an overhaul along the defensive line. Travon Walker’s athleticism would fit in nicely next to Leonard Williams, giving the Giants a formidable tandem to generate pressure on opposing offenses.
8. Falcons: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State
The Falcons had a league-worst 18 sacks in 2021. Adding an edge defender is imperative for a defense that struggles to create pressure. Fast riser Johnson gets the nod over addressing the WR position after news of Calvin Ridley’s 2022 suspension. Atlanta can address the WR position in free agency.
9. Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB Liberty
The offseason blockbuster trade sending Russell Wilson to Denver leaves a vacancy under center in Seattle. Scouts love the physical tools of Willis and smart money has him being the first QB selected in the 2022 draft.
10. Jets: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Gardner has solidified himself as the top cornerback in this draft. His speed and length — along with the fact that he never allowed a touchdown in college — could have the Jets making this selection with the fourth pick.
11. Commanders: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Commanders made a questionable trade for Carson Wentz. Head coach Ron Rivera could soon find himself on the hot seat if things don’t start clicking soon. Drafting Wilson gives Wentz another much-needed weapon while also providing Washington a backup plan should Terry McLaurin decide to test free agency next year.
12. Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The 2019 version of Derek Stingley would be drafted much higher than here. Injuries and inconsistency have him sliding to the Vikings as talent meets and extreme team need.
13. Browns: Drake London, WR, USC
Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Rams and Jarvis Landry is done in Cleveland after being released. The Browns desperately need to give Baker Mayfield weapons to succeed after a disappointing 2021. London was on a tear before injuring his ankle and is one of the youngest WR talents available in this draft.
14. Ravens: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
Everyone in the Ravens’ defensive line rotation is over 30 years of age and Derek Wolfe is the only one left under contract. Karlaftis offers the strength and versatility that generally transitions well in Baltimore’s scheme.
15. Eagles: David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan
Ojabo doesn’t have much experience under his belt but his physical traits are what scouts drool over. With Derek Barnett set to become a free agent, infusing a young talent like Ojabo would be a win.
16. Eagles: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
With Jalen Reagor looking like a bust, Philadelphia was close to trading for Calvin Ridley before his suspension came to light. That signal shows adding a WR as a priority for the Eagles. Ultimately it could be medical checks that decide how Williams is viewed in this draft, but he is talented enough to be considered the top WR talent here.
17. Chargers: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
The Chargers just added Khalil Mack in a trade with the Bears. Adding a monster like Davis to bookends in Joey Bosa and Mack will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. After his combine performance, this could be Davis’ floor.
18. Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Anyone who has watched the Saints over the last few years can see the need they have to add another receiving threat opposite of Michael Thomas. If the board falls this way, Olave could be an easy selection. If the quarterback position remains unsettled, Kenny Pickett could come into play here.
19. Eagles: Devin Lloyd LB, Utah
Lloyd is widely considered the best LB in this draft. While he didn’t “wow” everyone at the combine, his film shows the versatility and instincts that can anchor the middle of any defensive scheme.
20. Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Kenny Pickett is the popular pick here in most mock drafts. The Steelers’ addition of Mitch Trubisky for two years keeps Pickett in play in Pittsburgh. Expect the coaching staff to hedge their bet in case Trubisky doesn’t work out.
21. Patriots: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
J.C. Jackson is set to test the free agency market, leaving a hole in the Patriots’ secondary. With New England’s history drafting WRs in the first round, it would be wise for the Pats to stick to selecting a well-rounded DB like McDuffie.
22. Raiders: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
Five players in the Raiders defensive interior rotation are all set to be free agents. Wyatt dominated at the Senior Bowl and would fill an immediate need for the Raiders.
23: Cardinals: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
The Cardinals need interior offensive line help as D.J. Humphries is the only starter under the age of 30. Green started at every offensive line position during his college career and offers movement ability that few linemen possess.
24. Cowboys: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Cowboys hit a home run drafting Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons in 2021. With no other starting linebackers under contract, drafting Dean to man the middle could be the move that unleashes Parson’s maximum potential.
25. Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
The Bills have very few needs across their roster. Tre’Davious White’s injury showed a need to add another talent to solidify the Buffalo secondary. Booth has the skills to fit in most NFL defenses.
Linderbaum is one of the cleanest prospects in this draft. With Ben Jones set to leave, the Titans would be smart to get a plug-and-play prospect who fits the run-heavy scheme Mike Vrabel wants to run.
27. Buccaneers: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Tom Brady coming back for the 2022 season changes the draft outlook for the Buccaneers. The focus shifts to making sure the band stays together. Tampa Bay chooses to address Ali Marpet’s retirement here with the selection of Johnson.
The Packers seem to have mended fences with Aaron Rodgers. Now its time to follow through and give the back-to-back MVP some much-needed help opposite Davante Adams.
29. Dolphins: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Dolphins have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Penning offers the physical mentality that could change the demeanor of this group. A secondary player could be another priority at this spot.
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: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
The Bengals have addressed the offensive line early in free agency. The RT position currently has Isaiah Prince atop the depth chart. Cincinnati will surely address that by bringing in help in the form of massive-yet-nimble big man Daniel Faalele.
32. Lions: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The Lions get their QB of the future here. Howell offers the physical tools that had him projected to go much higher than this heading into the 2021 season. Howell didn’t take the leap that many expected as a passer but showed toughness and an unexpected ability as a rusher gaining 1,072 yards on the ground.