The 2022 NFL Draft is only a few weeks away which means the player rankings are getting finalized and it is NFL mock draft time. Here we dive into which college football players could be going off the board in the first round! It all gets going on Thursday, April 28th from the Raiders' Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Whether you play fantasy football or are just a casual fan, the NFL Draft is always a time for optimism, possibility, and “what-if" dreams. Let's take a look at all 32 first-round selections and predict what every NFL team does – with a few projected trades mixed in.
2022 NFL Mock Draft
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Jaguars made plenty of moves this offseason to address the offensive side of the ball and build around Trevor Lawrence. In particular, franchise-tagging Cam Robinson and signing Brandon Scherff along the offensive line suggest this first overall pick will be used to lock down an elite pass rusher. Aidan Hutchinson is viewed as the most complete edge in the class, though Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux aren’t far behind. Hutchinson anchored a top-tier Michigan defense last season en route to First-Team AP All-American honors, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award, and the Ted Hendricks Award (given to the best defensive end in college football).
2) PROJECTED TRADE: Carolina Panthers (via Detroit Lions) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
After losing out on Deshaun Watson and other top available quarterbacks this offseason, the Panthers trade up from No. 6 to No. 2 overall to snag Malik Willis. It’s well-known that the Carolina front office isn’t content with Sam Darnold at QB, and Willis would challenge for the starting job right away. There are concerns about how pro-ready the Liberty product is, but the combination of big arm strength and dual-threat ability should make Willis a hot commodity in a below-average QB class.
3) Houston Texans – Evan Neal, OL, Alabama
The Texans have a ton of team needs all across the roster, but strengthening the offensive line should be a priority at the No. 3 pick. Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are viewed as the top O-linemen in this class, but the Alabama product gets the slight nod in this mock. Even though Houston restructured Laremy Tunsil’s contract, Neal would be a Day 1 starter at the other tackle spot. His athleticism and versatility as a big-bodied lineman are rare, and his 40-plus starts for the Crimson Tide provide proven experience. Tunsil and Neal should provide more protection for QB Davis Mills to further his development.
4) New York Jets – Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
New York’s top priority this season should be to maximize the development of second-year QB Zach Wilson. With that in mind, grabbing a top offensive lineman makes absolute sense at this No. 4 overall pick. The Jets have another pick in the top half of the first round to address other team needs, and it’ll be hard to pass on Ikem Ekwonu here. The physical specimen out of NC State has the NFL-ready build and bulldozing blocking ability to lock down one of NYJ’s tackle spots and protect Wilson for years to come.
5) New York Giants – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Giants lost both Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers in free agency, so there’s an immediate need at safety. New York could go with an offensive lineman or other defensive position here, but having two early first-round picks creates some draft flexibility. NFL front office execs may be worried about Kyle Hamilton’s slower 40-time and season-ending knee injury last year, but he’s arguably the most talented player in the entire class. The Notre Dame product has a natural nose for the football, whether he’s hawking down opposing passers in the defensive backfield or using his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame to stuff ball-carriers in the box.
6) PROJECTED TRADE: Detroit Lions (via CAR) – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
After trading down from the No. 2 pick, the Lions are still able to grab the guy they could’ve taken earlier. Travon Walker is right behind Aidan Hutchinson as one of the best edge rushers in this draft. As a member of Georgia’s fearsome defensive line and National Champion squad, Walker proved to be an elite run-stopper with a thick, muscular build. Though he wasn’t asked to rush the passer often in the Bulldogs’ defense, Walker’s quickness and strength suggest the sky is the limit in that area. Plus, the experience of playing both inside and on the edge will provide versatility to the Lions’ D-line.
7) New York Giants (via CHI) – Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi State
The Giants should go offense here after addressing the defensive side of the ball with their first selection a couple of picks earlier. New GM Joe Schoen and the NYG front office have made a public commitment to Daniel Jones at quarterback (at least for now), so strengthening the offensive line should be a priority. Charles Cross showcased his pass-blocking skills at tackle last year in Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense. Though his run-blocking could use some work, Cross can start right away at the next level after excelling against SEC defensive linemen this past season.
8) Atlanta Falcons – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
The Matt Ryan era is now over in Atlanta and the front office has to be thinking about their QB of the future. Though Marcus Mariota was brought in, he’s likely just a filler for the next year or two until the Falcons find their guy. If Kenny Pickett is still available at No. 8 overall, it may be hard to pass on the most pro-ready QB of this draft class. Pickett shot up draft boards this past season while tossing 42 touchdowns and 4,319 yards over 13 games at Pittsburgh. He boasts the starting experience, throwing technique, arm strength and accuracy to start right away in the NFL.
9) PROJECTED TRADE: Philadelphia Eagles (via SEA) – Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
After trading away one of their three first-round picks, the Eagles make one more deal to move up in the draft and snag a game-changing defensive player. If you watched any Georgia games last year or caught the Scouting Combine, you know that Jordan Davis is a physical and intimidating specimen along the defensive line. He’s an elite run-stopper who can line up at multiple spots along the D-line and clog holes. The pass-rushing is a bit unproven, but the speed at his size tells us opposing QBs will be seeing him often. Philadelphia has made the offensive and defensive lines a priority under GM Howie Roseman and moving up in the draft would be nothing new for the front office either.
10) New York Jets (via SEA) – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Jets get a gift here with Kayvon Thibodeaux falling down to the No. 10 pick. The Oregon defensive end is arguably the top talent in this draft class, but some teams reportedly worry about his lack of production last season and overall commitment. The raw skills as a pass-rusher are definitely there and he’s built like an ideal NFL edge with length and speed to get to the quarterback. Jets head coach Robert Salah would be thrilled to get a defensive stud like Thibodeaux to strengthen the D-line.
11) Washington Commanders – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
With Carson Wentz now in town, Washington needs to figure out right away if he’s the answer at QB. How do you do that? Get him as many weapons as possible! Garrett Wilson is debatably the most complete wide receiver in this draft class and he should be the first pass-catcher off the board. The Ohio State product is an explosive and polished route-runner who can make defenders miss after the catch and hit the home run over the top. Though he has a smaller build than a guy like Drake London, Wilson’s electric playmaking would be a nice complement to Terry McClaurin in the Commanders’ receiving corps.
12) Minnesota Vikings – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Depending on how teams value the cornerback position, there’s a decent chance Ahmad Gardner is gone before the Vikings get on the clock here. If he’s still available, though, “Sauce” would be a steal. At Cincinnati, he excelled in press-man coverage and routinely shut down opposing No. 1 wideouts. The ball-hawking pass-breakup tendencies are there, as are long arms and quick feet necessary to lock onto NFL receivers. Gardner can start right away in a Minnesota secondary that’s looking to replace Breshaud Breeland and Mackensie Alexander.
13) Houston Texans (via CLE) – Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
The Texans went offensive line with their first pick, so it’s defensive line with this latter selection. There’s a possibility Jermaine Johnson goes off the board earlier, but Houston should be ecstatic to grab him with so many team needs. The Florida State product has the physical build and power to both rush the passer and stop the run. The two worries about Johnson are his lack of burst from the edge and late bloom with just one breakout college season. Still, he has the pro-ready size and frame to help start the Texans’ rebuild.
14) Baltimore Ravens – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Baltimore is retooling the defensive line and has to replace the veteran production of Calais Campbell, Justin Houston, and Brandon Williams – all of whom are free agents or signed elsewhere this offseason. With that in mind, the Ravens might be targeting D-line with this No. 14 overall draft pick to get younger in the front seven. George Karlaftis boasts the ideal combination of power and athleticism from the edge and he has the versatility to play multiple spots along the line. The Purdue product would form a nice rushing trio with Derek Wolfe and Odafe Oweh.
15) PROJECTED TRADE: Seattle Seahawks (via PHI) – Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa
After trading down from the No. 9 overall pick, the Seahawks go offensive line with this selection as they start the rebuilding process. It’s possible Seattle goes with a QB in the first round after dealing away Russell Wilson, but adding a physical tackle like Trevor Penning would make sense with Pete Carroll’s desire to run the ball. Though Penning faced lesser competition at Northern Iowa, he has an NFL-ready build with the strength, athleticism and physicality to start right away at either tackle spot.
16) New Orleans Saints (via PHI) – Bernhard Raimann, OL, Central Michigan
The Saints acquired this pick in a recent trade with Philadelphia, and they use it to lock down an offensive tackle for the future. Though Bernhard Raimann has limited experience playing on the O-line, the converted tight end brings a unique athleticism to the tackle position. He’s a tough prospect to predict at the next level – especially since he played against lesser competition in the MAC – but scouts are raving at his upside and untapped potential as an athletic edge protector.
17) Los Angeles Chargers – Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU
It’s very possible Derek Stingley is off the board by the time the Chargers get on the clock, as some have him going ahead of Sauce Gardner as the top cornerback in the draft. In this mock, though, the Chargers should be pumped to grab a guy that’s a top-five talent in the class when fully healthy and dialed in. Those are the big worries, though, and it’s possible Stingley slips down to the teens. After being a shutdown corner as a true freshman for LSU’s national champion squad, Stingley has played in just 10 combined games over the last two seasons with multiple injuries and COVID disruptions. His talent, though, rivals anyone in this draft as a ball-hawking corner with the length and speed to develop into a lock-down DB.
18) Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) – Drake London, WR, Southern California
The Eagles have used first-round picks on wide receivers in back-to-back drafts, and they make it three straight with Drake London. Despite all the rumors and speculation, it seems Philly is committed to Jalen Hurts at QB (at least for the short-term). London would be a nice pass-catching complement to DeVonta Smith while bringing a different skill set to the Eagles’ offense. The USC product is a big-bodied wideout with the size and route-running ability to develop into a true No. 1 receiver. London presents a notable mismatch against smaller corners and will be a red-zone stud for years to come.
19) New Orleans Saints (via PHI) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Saints could go QB in the first round with one of their two picks, but the offseason signings of Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton make that seem more unlikely. Instead, New Orleans will be looking to bolster the receiving corps with Michael Thomas coming off his injury and unproven/inconsistent pass-catchers around him. Chris Olave can step in and produce right away as arguably the best deep-ball threat in the draft. He was a big play waiting to happen in Ohio State’s high-powered offense for the last few years and has the NFL-caliber speed to stretch the field for the Saints.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers – Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
Similar to New Orleans, Pittsburgh is another team that could go QB in the first round – though offseason moves make that seem less likely. The Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky and should look to improve the offensive line for a scheme that’ll likely lean on Najee Harris and the run game once again. Zion Johnson is a polished offensive guard who can start at either LG or RG right away for a Steelers team that needs all the help it can get along the line. Johnson is viewed as the best interior lineman in this draft, but that may cause him to slip down the board with teams valuing tackles more.
21) New England Patriots – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Patriots could target multiple positions here, but it'll be tough for Bill Belichick to pass on his next-great linebacker with Dont'a Hightower presumably not returning. It's between Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean as the best pure interior linebackers in this draft and, honestly, you likely can't go wrong choosing one over the other. At Utah, Lloyd showed off his aggressive, flying-to-the-ball playstyle with the athleticism and instincts to be productive in both pass coverage and run-stopping. He could easily replace Hightower in the middle of New England's defense and give Belichick a cheaper, younger linebacker.
22) Green Bay Packers – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
As much as we’d like to predict a QB here just to troll Aaron Rodgers further, the Packers instead cater to their back-to-back MVP. The Davante Adams departure this offseason amplifies Green Bay’s need for pass-catchers even more. Treylon Burks could go earlier in the draft, but he would slot right in as Rodgers’ top target if available here. Burks was a stud at Arkansas and routinely tore up opposing SEC secondaries. Similar to Deebo Samuel, he boasts an explosive combination of size, speed and game-breaking athleticism that’ll translate immediately to the pro level.
23) PROJECTED TRADE: Kansas City Chiefs (via Arizona Cardinals) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
At full health, Jameson Williams should probably be the first wide receiver off the board. Since he’s coming off an ACL tear at the end of last season, though, the Alabama standout will likely slip a bit. The Chiefs pounce at the opportunity by trading up from No. 29 overall to this spot. Losing Tyreek Hill is definitely a bummer, but Kansas City can replace his playmaking speed with Williams. He was a TD-waiting-to-happen every time he touched the ball for the Crimson Tide and, when back at full health, can bring the same big-play ability to the KC offense. Maybe he's not ready to contribute right away, but opposing NFL teams will eventually regret they passed on Williams – especially if it's for the benefit of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.
24) Dallas Cowboys – Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
Though Dallas fans probably want a WR here to replace Amari Cooper, the smart move would be to bolster the defensive side of the ball. In particular, the Cowboys need to improve the run defense and they do it with Devonte Wyatt. The defensive tackle was part of Georgia's ferocious D-line last season and he can be a run-stuffer right away at the NFL level. The Cowboys would now have a promising young defensive core with Wyatt joining Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons.
25) Buffalo Bills – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Bills don't have many team needs after bringing back the large majority of a team that could've won the Super Bowl a year ago. You can never have enough secondary depth and talent, though, and Buffalo could prioritize the defensive backfield here to keep pace with a loaded AFC QB group. Trent McDuffie showed off his lockdown coverage ability at Washington and routinely blanketed top opposing Pac-12 receivers. McDuffie also showed the versatility to blitz from the edge and do his part in run-stopping with strong tackling skills for a corner.
26) Tennessee Titans – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Titans can go in a number of different directions with this pick, but Nakobe Dean would be hard to pass up if still on the board. Dean made play after play for Georgia's elite defense last year and his combination of instincts, speed, and run/pass recognition can translate right over to the NFL level. His undersized frame is a slight worry, but he can make an impact right away for Mike Vrabel's Tennessee defense that would welcome a championship-proven talent like Dean's.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Did you hear that Tom Brady is back in Tampa Bay? So, no, the Buccaneers won't be drafting a quarterback here. Instead, Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich should be pining for offensive line help to keep the G.O.A.T upright as much as possible this season. The Bucs lost starting guards Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa from last year's squad, so the interior line is an obvious team need – if only for overall depth along the front five. Kenyon Green played both guard and tackle positions for Texas A&M last season and that versatility should be valuable to any NFL team looking to bolster the O-line.
28) Green Bay Packers – George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Even after drafting a WR with their earlier pick, the Packers double-down as Aaron Rodgers finally gets his way. Losing both Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason increases the need for competent pass-catchers in Green Bay – though Rodgers could probably make do with whomever. So, the Packers pair Treylon Burks with George Pickens here. Pickens only played in a few games for Georgia last season while coming off an ACL tear, but the talent is still there. He boasts the ideal speed, size and big-play ability to stretch the field and be a deep threat for Rodgers and immediately replace what Valdes-Scantling did in the offense.
29) PROJECTED TRADE: Arizona Cardinals (via Kansas City Chiefs) – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
After trading down from No. 23 overall, the Cardinals still grab one of the top cornerbacks in the draft. Kaiir Elam is a physical cover corner with a taller frame who regularly caused trouble for opposing SEC wideouts and quarterbacks while at Florida. He could start right away for an Arizona defense that still has a glaring team need at corner. The Cards could also look at Roger McCreary or Andrew Booth as other top defensive backs still available.
30) Kansas City Chiefs – Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Chiefs go defense here, after snagging a Tyreek Hill replacement with their first selection. Kansas City needs to replace both Charvarius Ward and Mike Hughes from last year's cornerback room, and Tyrann Mathieu not returning is looking more and more likely. Roger McCreary would be a welcome addition to a KC secondary that needs all the help it can get. The Auburn product was one of the top cover corners in the country last year and the experience of playing against top SEC wideouts can't go overlooked when it comes to translating over to the NFL. McCreary earned first-team All-American honors last season and could start right away at corner for the Chiefs.
31) Cincinnati Bengals – Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Cincinnati addressed its offensive line issues with a slew of offseason signings, so it's defense with this pick. Though the Bengals have Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell at safety, both are set to be free agents next year with cornerback Eli Apple on a one-year deal as well. If the reigning AFC North champs want to stay atop the division, reloading the secondary should be a priority at No. 31 overall. Daxton Hill is arguably the second-best safety in this draft behind Kyle Hamilton, but he has the ability and athleticism to play corner as well. At Michigan, he showed the versatility to cover slot receivers or man the deep zones as a playmaking defensive back.
32) Detroit Lions – Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
After passing on QB with their earlier pick, the Lions take a chance on Desmond Ridder here to close out the first round. Ridder isn't the most polished QB prospect, but Detroit has the luxury of taking a risk with Jared Goff still on the team to bridge the gap. Plus, NFL teams always seem to be more prone to draft a quarterback at the tail end of the first round to take advantage of the extra year of control – if it all works out. We saw it with Lamar Jackson, Teddy Bridgewater, and (infamously) Jordan Love in the past. Ridder has dual-threat athleticism and was a proven winner and leader at Cincinnati. People may knock the lack of competition in college or his inconsistent arm talent, but he's worth a shot for a Detroit team that's likely not content with Goff for the long-term.