2022 NFL Mock Draft

2022 NFL Mock Draft

NFL Draft 2022

2022 NFL Mock Draft

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AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The NFL 2021 season has come to a close, and with the Super Bowl over the official draft order is known. Every team’s needs are known which means it is time for a mock draft with the new order. Each pick takes into account free agents and wild possibilities that could possibly happen during now and the draft in April.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Offensive Tackle, Evan Neal-Alabama 

The Jaguars are picking at No. 1 for the second year in a row and their offense still ranked in the bottom six in terms of yards and had the least amount of points scored. Over Evan Neal’s career at Alabama, he only allowed five total sacks across three seasons. The Jaguars have their franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and need to reduce his 32 sacks and 151 pressures. Not to mention the Jaguars head coach in Doug Pederson knows how to develop strong offensive lines and what better way to do so than with a dominant prospect in Neal. Over the last two seasons, Neal had only allowed 22 total pressures due to his ability to recognize defensive formations and not get caught off guard by defenders’ counters. Adding a valuable player like Neal should immensely help this Jaguars offense. 

2. Detroit Lions: Edge, Aidan Hutchinson-Michigan  

When Joe Burrow, an Ohio native was drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals it brought a sense of pride back to the team. With Aidan Hutchinson being from Michigan he could do the same thing for this Lions team. The style of how Aidan Hutchinson plays fits the defensive scheme Dan Campbell is trying to run. Hutchinson is a leader on and off the field who can help get the Lions’ defense on the same page. There is a reason why Hutchinson was able to have a pass rush win rate of 24.8% and 14 sacks and it’s due to his relentless motor. Not to mention his diverse set of pass rush moves and physical playstyle is one that is hard to pass over at this spot.

3. Houston Texans: Edge, Kayvon Thibodeaux- Oregon 

With Neal, and Hutchinson off the board, the Houston Texans decide to go with the best player available and that is Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Texans do need to address the offensive line, and secondary but getting a dynamic player like Thibodeaux will go a long way. Especially in helping the Texans pass rush that only got pressure on the quarterback 124 times which was the third-lowest in 2021. Thibodeaux’s football IQ and strength provide massive upside to continue his production in the NFL and new head coach Lovie Smith will fall in love with a player of his caliber. 

4. New York Jets: Safety, Kyle Hamilton- Notre Dame

Robert Saleh is a defensive-minded head coach yet his secondary did not perform well in 2021. They allowed the fourth-highest completion percentage with 68.3% and the second-fewest interceptions with seven. A unique player that will instantly help is Kyle Hamilton who has the athleticism to play sideline-to-sideline and make an immediate impact. There is a reason he accumulated 97 solo tackles and 17 defended passes over three seasons and it’s because of his ability to quickly figure out offensive tendencies. Not to mention safety Marcus Maye is a free agent, knowing they can get a talent like Hamilton could allow them to address other areas in free agency. 

5. New York Giants: Offensive Tackle, Ikem Ekwonu- NC State 

When the New York Giants hired their new head coach in Brian Daboll he made his message clear that they are committed to Daniel Jones at quarterback. The first step in helping Jones is surrounding him with better offensive line talent because outside of Andrew Thomas at right tackle every position could use an upgrade. A dynamic force in helping create run lanes and a powerful blocker in pass protection leads to Ikem Ekwonu being the pick. Ekwonu has the ideal size, length, and intelligence to be the first step in an upgrade for this line. The competitive toughness he plays with will set the tone for what the Giants want from their offensive line. 

6. Carolina Panthers: Quarterback, Kenny Pickett- Pittsburgh 

Kenny Pickett showed at the Senior Bowl that he is the top quarterback in this class that can start day one. It was not a best-kept secret either that the Carolina Panthers really started to like Pickett throughout the week. Now yes, the Panthers severely need to upgrade their offensive line but they decide to do so in free agency and surround Pickett with veterans. Pickett makes smart decisions which was shown in 2021 with his 499 passing attempts going for 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. With his pocket mobility, accuracy, and athleticism Pickett will provide a much-needed boost to this position for the Panthers. 

7. New York Giants: Center, Tyler Linderbaum- Iowa

The Giants do need to address the edge position on defense but luckily for them, this is a deep class for that spot. So the Giants still follow through with helping Daniel Jones by drafting Tyler Linderbaum. A center is crucial to offensive line production and the Giants haven’t exactly had elite play there. Linderbaum only allowed two sacks over his career and his anchor allows him to play a huge factor in pass protection. Combine that with his strength and hand technique to move defenders he is able to open running lanes. Linderbaum is exactly who the Giants need at this spot. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Edge, George Karlaftis- Purdue 

The Atlanta Falcons defense was not able to get pressure on quarterbacks as they had the lowest pressure rate in the NFL. Not being able to find success on defense led to more pressure on the offense. With the top two edge rushers off the board, the Falcons go with the third-best in George Karlaftis. He is a player who plays with urgency on every rep and has a nose for always ending up in the backfield. With the power and explosiveness, Karlaftis plays with he should take the double-teams off of Grady Jarrett. 

9. Denver Broncos: Linebacker, Nakobe Dean- Georgia 

With new head coach Nathaniel Hackett coming from the Green Bay Packers he may try to bring Jordan Love with him to help at quarterback. With that, the Broncos go with a talented linebacker in Nakobe Dean to add to an already talented defense. The Broncos have five linebackers set to hit free agency in 2022 including Alexander Johnson, so a player like Nakobe Dean at this spot could really elevate the defense. Dean is instinctive when it comes to stopping the run, has the quickness off the line to blitz, and can recognize pass plays early to get to the spot to disrupt the play. 

10. New York Jets: Offensive Guard, Kenyon Green- Texas A&M

With the Jets addressing defense-first they now address the offensive line. The Jets need to protect Zach Wilson after allowing 136 pressures and 44 sacks if they want Wilson to truly find a rhythm. Not to mention they struggled to get a run game going as Michael Carter only had one 100 plus yard game. Kenyon Green ends up being the ideal pick here as he is a dominant force in the run game with his lateral mobility, and in the passing game with his anchor ability. Over his career, he has only allowed five sacks and has played every position on the offensive line besides center.

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