The playoff races are heating up. And the bottom feeders are looking to their futures.
We’re now one week from Christmas and the NFL playoff picture is as clear as mud. It feels like half of the league is around .500 which makes the draft order as much of a mess as the potential postseason matchups.
However, we already know four teams are eliminated from the playoffs: the Lions, Texans, Jaguars and Jets. Congrats to those franchises for being able to move forward! For the rest, good luck!
Here’s our latest mock of the 2022 NFL Draft!
1. Detroit Lions — Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Before he was named the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, Hutchinson heard Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh tell the ESPN crew that he believes his star defensive end will be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. We concur. Local product, potential superstar, great character — all things the Lions would benefit from adding to their organization.
2. Houston Texans — Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Houston needs pretty much everything. They used their top pick on a quarterback last year and may look to protect him. But one of the top defensive ends in this year’s class should be headed to Houston. JJ Watt was their identity for a decade. Now they’ll replace him.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Here’s a player for whom Urban Meyer won’t need to question the success on his resume. Neal is the top offensive tackle in this class and, at Alabama, has enjoyed nothing but big wins. Now, whether or not Meyer is still the Jags’ coach when this pick is made is another issue…
4. New York Jets — Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
We’re sticking with Hamilton to the Jets as long as they’re in the top four overall. He’s arguably the best back-end defensive player in the draft and would fill a need for the Jets. This should be a no-brainer if he’s on the board.
5. New York Giants — Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Giants need to protect whomever is their future quarterback. There are needs for the Giants at other positions, and they’ll be able to address one of them with the next pick (thanks, Chicago). But taking a potential starter on their offensive line fills a need.
6. New York Giants (from CHI) — Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
We’re mixing it up for the Giants here. They need to add to their pass rush but an upgrade at inside linebacker is also a need. Lloyd is a potential star who would be a great addition to their defense. What we don’t know is who will be making these picks, however.
7. Carolina Panthers — Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
It’s painfully obvious the Panthers need a new franchise quarterback. Pickett has emerged as the top signal caller in this year’s class, and would be the pick if the Panthers go that direction.
8. New York Jets (from SEA) — Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
We’re locked in on the Jets’ two picks in the top ten. If they can bring in a franchise safety and then fix the interior of their offensive line, the first round is a win. Linderbaum could be the first center to go in the top ten in almost 40 years — and he’s worth it.
9. Minnesota Vikings — DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Leal’s ability to play inside or outside on the defensive front makes him versatile. The fact that he can dominate at either spot makes him a fascinating player in the coming draft. Minnesota could have plenty of needs by the time the draft takes place but this is good value.
10. Washington Football Team — Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Washington needs a franchise quarterback. With Cincinnati now officially in the College Football Playoff, we’re going to get a great look at Ridder against a legit defense loaded with future NFL players. There are a few players whose draft stock will be significantly impacted by Cincinnati’s playoff appearance, the biggest of which is Ridder.
11. New Orleans Saints — Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
The quarterback position in New Orleans has been an absolute disaster this season. Corral can spin it and comes from the kind of system that would transition extremely well to what Sean Payton did with Drew Brees. This may feel like a reach, but the fit is there.
12. Atlanta Falcons — Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
If three quarterbacks are off the board before Atlanta’s on the clock, they should look at addressing their other needs. If the top corner in the class is still available at No. 12, they should jump at the opportunity to take an impact player to help their secondary.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA) — George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
The Eagles have three picks in the first round, so they’ll be able to do some serious work to improve their roster. Karlaftis is a legit edge rusher who would improve their defensive front immediately.
14. Las Vegas Raiders — Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
We’ve flipped the top receiver off the board in almost every mock draft this year, and right now we’re leaning on Wilson. He’s a big-play guy who can make contested catches. Mike Mayock loves big time players from big time programs so this fits.
15. Philadelphia Eagles — Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
If you watch the Cowboys run teams into submission on a weekly basis, you know stopping the run is critical if you want to win the NFC East. Davis, the college defensive player of the year, with Karlaftis would give the Eagles a dominant defensive front for the next five years (at least).
16. Pittsburgh Steelers — Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Pittsburgh needs a quarterback. But they also need to protect that player better, too. And there simply isn’t the right value player on the board for the Steelers to reach here. So take a dominant player to help the interior of the offensive line.
17. Denver Broncos — David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Broncos need to replace Von Miller. Ojabo had a great season opposite Hutchinson and his draft stock is benefitting from Michigan’s run to the playoff. He’ll be a first round pick in 2022, and would be a nice fit in Denver.
18. Cleveland Browns — Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The turnover at receiver in Cleveland continues, but being able to replace OBJ with a top level talent from inside the state would be a PR and on-field win for the Browns. Olave and Wilson should give the Buckeyes two receivers in the first round.
19. Miami Dolphins (from SF) — Drake London, WR, USC
Miami took a receiver in the first round last year, but they have receivers coming and going every year. Taking a big target like London would be a great piece for Tua… or Deshaun Watson… though, if it’s Watson, this pick will likely belong to Houston.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (from IND) — Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Eagles’ third pick in the first round could move from the defensive line to the other side of the ball. Penning is a dominant tackle who could be the third player at that position to come off the board.
21. Cincinnati Bengals — Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Like Ridder, this is a player whose stock could skyrocket with a strong performance against Alabama. He’s a big, physical corner who could become a trendy pick as high as the early teens if he shows out in the playoff.
22. Buffalo Bills — Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson
Buffalo’s season has not gone as many expected, and their pick continues to climb the draft board as their playoff chances slide the opposite direction. We’ll see what their biggest needs are, but after watching them against the Bucs this past weekend the secondary could use some help.
23. Baltimore Ravens — Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Baltimore could go a number of directions. But we think corner is a position of glaring need. The good news for the Ravens is there should be good value at the position on the board when it’s their turn to pick.
24. Los Angeles Chargers — Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
Thomas isn’t from a Power 5 program, but he’s a terrific talent who is a disruptive force. The Chargers could use another pass rusher to take pressure off their secondary and Thomas could be the guy.
25. Tennessee Titans — Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Titans, like the Chargers, need to bolster their pass rush (among other things). Walker is climbing the draft boards and could be a smooth pick for the Titans here. They may also look to fix their offensive line, too.
26. Dallas Cowboys — Ikem Ekwomu, OL, North Carolina State
The Cowboys may need a tackle here. They could also look to find the next generation of their interior offensive line. Ekwomu is the perfect prospect because he can do either/both.
27. Detroit Lions (from LAR) — Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
We’ve liked the idea of the Lions going quarterback here, and they might. But taking a potential No. 1 receiver is also a strong play, and there are a few candidates for that role on the board at this point who might not be there at the top of the second round.
28. New England Patriots — Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Pats need to help their secondary, and McCreary is the top corner on the board at this point. Of course, the Pats will probably move down and add picks and somehow find a gem nobody has heard of.
29. Arizona Cardinals — Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
The Cardinals loss to the Rams drops them from the top of the NFC. It also made clear they have some needs they’ll want to address in the upcoming draft. Protecting Kyler Murray should be their priority. Ohio State has produced some good offensive linemen and has usually had mobile quarterbacks, to this could be a good system fit.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
We’ve had the Bucs looking at the inside linebacker position for a while, but this mock has Lloyd’s stock all the way up into the top ten. Dean could be up there, too, if he plays well in the playoff. If he’s available, he’ll be a Buc.
31. Kansas City Chiefs — Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
The Chiefs have gone from the middle of the round to a potential AFC champion pretty quickly. We do like them looking at the back end of their secondary with a true safety that could free up the Honeybadger to use his versatility. Brisker’s a great talent.
32. Green Bay Packers — Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Could the Packers win the Super Bowl in spite of all their off-field drama this year? It’s very possible. However, if Aaron Rodgers actually leaves, Davante Adams likely leaves as well. Which means the Packers would need another receiver. Dotson is a terrific player who did well in bad weather at Penn State.
33. Detroit Lions — Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
34. Houston Texans — Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
35. Jacksonville Jaguars — Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
36. New York Jets — Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
37. New York Giants — Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
38. Chicago Bears — Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan
39. New York Jets (from CAR) — Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
40. Seattle Seahawks — Storm Duck, CB, North Carolina
41. Minnesota Vikings — Nik Bonnito, EDGE, Oklahoma
42. Washington Football Team — Logan Hall, DL, Houston
43. New Orleans Saints — John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
44. Atlanta Falcons — Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
45. Miami Dolphins — Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
46. Las Vegas Raiders — Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
47. Philadelphia Eagles — Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
48. Pittsburgh Steelers — Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
49. Denver Broncos — Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
50. Cleveland Browns — Brandon Smith, EDGE, Penn State
51. San Francisco 49ers — Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
52. Indianapolis Colts — JJ Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
53. Cincinnati Bengals — Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
54. Buffalo Bills — Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
55. Baltimore Ravens — Thayer Munford, OL, Ohio State
56. Los Angeles Chargers — Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
57. Atlanta Falcons (from TEN) — Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
58. Dallas Cowboys — Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
59. Denver Broncos (from LAR) — Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
60. New England Patriots — David Bell, WR, Purdue
61. Arizona Cardinals — Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
62. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
63. Kansas City Chiefs — Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
64. Green Bay Packers — Jaxson Kirkland, OL, Washington
65. Detroit Lions — Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern
66. Houston Texans — Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
67. Jacksonville Jaguars — Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
68. New York Jets — Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
69. New York Giants — Jalen Wynermyer, TE, Texas A&M
70. Chicago Bears — Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
71. Jacksonville Jaguars (from CAR) — Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia
72. Seattle Seahawks — Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
73. Minnesota Vikings — Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
74. Washington Football Team — Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
75. Houston Texans (from NO) — Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
76. Atlanta Falcons — Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
77. New York Giants (from MIA) — EJ Brown, QB, Brown
78. Las Vegas Raiders — Damone Clark, LB, LSU
79. Philadelphia Eagles — Jahleel Billingsley, TE, Alabama
80. Pittsburgh Steelers — Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
81. Denver Broncos — Cade Otten, TE, Washington
82. Cleveland Browns — Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
83. San Francisco 49ers — Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
84. Indianapolis Colts — Obinna Eze, OT, TCU
85. Cincinnati Bengals — Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
86. Buffalo Bills — John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
87. Baltimore Ravens — Sam Williams, EDGE, Mississippi
88. Los Angeles Chargers — George Pickens, WR, Georgia
89. Atlanta Falcons (from TEN) — Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
90. Dallas Cowboys — Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
91. Denver Broncos (from LAR) — Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
92. New England Patriots — Andrew Steuber, OT, Michigan
93. Arizona Cardinals — Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas
94. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson
95. Kansas City Chiefs — Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
96. Green Bay Packers — Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
97. Detroit Lions (comp) — Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
98. New Orleans Saints (comp) — Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLA
99. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp) — Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
100. Baltimore Ravens (comp) — Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
101. Los Angeles Rams (comp) — Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
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