Chris Olave lands in the top five
As we head into the home stretch of the college football season, the reality of the NFL Draft draws near. Teams have plenty of data on collegiate prospects, and tiers are beginning to form already. Soon, these 2022 NFL Mock Draft articles will become more consistent, and fans can elevate their excitement about who they’ll draft in the spring.
This mock draft was done with Pro Football Network’s free Mock Draft Simulator. Every pick was automatically selected. Let’s see how it went!
2022 NFL Mock Draft | 1-16
No trades in the first half of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but still plenty of interesting picks. Still, no surprise as to who the Lions choose first overall.
1) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
While Oregon continues to cling to a College Football Playoff berth, Kayvon Thibodeaux keeps wrecking his competition. Washington State decided to let Abraham Lucas go one-on-one with Oregon’s star, and Thibodeaux took advantage. He finished the game with 2 sacks and reminded everyone why you can’t block him with just one guy.
2) Houston Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
A surprising early start has quickly turned into a season that everyone expected the Texans to produce. They need help at multiple positions, but drafting a talent like Evan Neal seems like a good place to start. Alabama’s entering the final tough stretch of their schedule, and they’ll need their offensive line to step up.
It’s a great chance for Neal to remind NFL teams why he’s worth a pick this high. The Crimson Tide still have to face Auburn and Georgia (should they win out the rest of the regular season). That game against Georgia presents an elite battle in the trenches that everyone should watch.
3) New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
While Kyle Hamilton currently battles a lower body injury, teams haven’t wavered in their excitement to draft him. They’ve seen enough film to know what they’re getting, and the injury is just a minor setback for a unique player. The Jets just got torched by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills passing attack, so getting a game-changer in the secondary will help.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Trevor Lawrence needs a reliable pass catcher, and adding Chris Olave to the roster would be a great step in that direction. Lawrence knows firsthand what Olave can do from their battles in the College Football Playoff. A great route runner who can create a ton of separation, Olave is exactly what Jacksonville needs on their offense.
5) Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Philadelphia can change its organization, and this 2022 NFL Mock Draft shows how. With three picks in the top 15, hitting three home runs would be monumental in moving the Eagles in the right direction. Derek Stingley Jr. won’t play another down for LSU this year, but that shouldn’t affect his draft stock much.
The best corner in the draft heads northeast, and the Eagles will love what he can do for their secondary. So, with this pick, Philly’s 1-for-1 with their first-round selections. Imagine what will happen if they hit all three.
6) New York Giants: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
New York’s looking for someone who can take away half of the field, and Kaiir Elam gives them that. With Florida’s current struggles defensively, not many people are talking about Elam. That’s alright because the film will tell scouts and analysts everything they need to know. He’s a future star on a struggling team, but he’ll get another chance to be in the spotlight come April.
7) New York Jets: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Michigan’s defense continues to stifle nearly everyone it faces, thanks to two elite pass rushers in Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Teams aren’t able to double team Hutchinson because of Ojabo’s emergence, and the results have been exciting to watch. Usually seen overpowering his adversary, Hutchinson continues to see his draft stock rise every week, and his toughest matchup (Ohio State) is still on the schedule.
8) New York Giants: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
It appears the general consensus will end with Matt Corral being QB1 for the 2022 NFL Draft. New York’s happy to snag him with their second top-10 pick. Corral and Elam will have their battles in practice thanks to this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but those battles will help elevate the play on both sides of the ball.
USC football hasn’t been on anyone’s radar since they fired Clay Helton (now the new Georgia Southern head coach), but Drake Jackson‘s still putting in work. His versatility doesn’t show up in the box score, but Washington will love what they’re getting in him. It’s too bad Jackson’s not on the roster now to step in for the injured Chase Young, but a healthy Young and Jackson will be a nightmare to block in 2022.
10) Philadelphia Eagles: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
This one surprised me. Daxton Hill made a number of critical plays on Saturday against Penn State, and it’s easy to see why teams would covet his services. A secondary with Hill and Stingley instantly makes the Eagles’ defense better. Hill’s athleticism allows him to cover much of the field, and the combination of these two new secondary players could take away a big chunk of the field for opposing offenses.
11) Atlanta Falcons: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
In many of the mock drafts I’ve seen, Atlanta has selected a quarterback or wide receiver. With Matt Ryan getting older and Calvin Ridley out for the foreseeable future, it makes sense. Yet, if Kenyon Green falls to the Falcons at 11, I don’t see how they pass on him. Position versatility allows them to add depth by selecting him, though they’ll love what he can do for this offense at guard.
12) Miami Dolphins: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Purdue’s been able to pull off some big upsets this year thanks to the play of wide receiver David Bell, but don’t forget about guys like George Karlaftis. The Boilermakers’ defensive end doesn’t fill up the box score, but he makes an impact by commanding extra help for the offensive tackles he faces. Miami might need reinforcements on the offensive line, but adding to the defensive line is also a great move.
13) Minnesota Vikings: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
It doesn’t matter if you blame Kirk Cousins for the Vikings’ early-season struggles because he’s not playing as well as he should. Drafting the quarterback of the future is on the table for Minnesota at this point, and taking Sam Howell would create excitement in the fan base.
The Tar Heels aren’t having the season they anticipated in 2021, but Howell has been slinging it nonetheless. His ability to throw the ball anywhere on the field remains evident, but he brings something to Minnesota that Cousins doesn’t possess. Howell’s running ability has jumped to another level this year, and his capacity to be mobile might be too good to pass up.
14) Denver Broncos: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Denver needs a quarterback of the future, but adding the athleticism of Garrett Wilson could change those plans. Add in that there isn’t a definitive QB1 yet, and the Broncos might be content waiting to select their new signal-caller.
Wilson gives any quarterback room for more error, thanks to an incredible catch radius. Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud currently benefits the most from this, as most of the time, he just needs to get it close for Wilson to come down with it.
15) Philadelphia Eagles: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
After selecting two elite secondary players with their first two picks, Philadelphia makes it three great selections by adding Malik Willis. Jalen Hurts has played well at times this year, but it’s tough to see them passing on a talent like the Liberty QB. Not only are you getting an athletic quarterback, but Willis has a great arm capable of making any throw. Willis and DeVonta Smith is a combination I would love to see at the NFL level.
16) Cleveland Browns: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
In my last 2022 NFL Mock Draft, DeMarvin Leal fell too late in the first round. Here, Cleveland decides to add him to their roster. Listed at 290 pounds, he’ll spend most of his time on the inside. However, Leal brings scheme versatility to the Browns and can even play on the edge. That’s how explosive he can be, and we saw that on full display this weekend against Ole Miss.