Welcome to Wild Card Weekend! Let’s talk… draft!
As we get ready for the most fun weekend on the NFL calendar — with the knowledge that Georgia is our CFP Champion — it’s a fun time to look forward to the 2022 NFL Draft once again.
We now know the top 18 spots in the draft with the regular season in the books. We also know that there are a handful of teams in that top 18 that will have a new general manager making the pick — including the Giants. There are teams who will have new head coaches as well.
So how could things stack up when the draft begins? In honor of this being Wildcard Weekend, we cranked it up to four full rounds. And we’ve got a new name at No. 1 on the list.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
With Jacksonville now on the clock, we can begin looking at what they need. The first step is… a new head coach. The Urban Meyer Experiment went down in a blaze of glory. Whomever is their next head coach has a potential franchise quarterback who spent too much time on his back as a rookie. While the sex appeal of the top two pass rushers will be strong, protecting Trevor Lawrence needs to be a priority. Neal is a starting tackle for them on the first day of training camp. Jacksonville will try to trade out of this pick but the lack of an elite quarterback might make that tricky.
2. Detroit Lions
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
For all of the reasons we have loved this pick in the past, we’re sticking with it here even though Thibodeaux is still available. Hutchinson might be the “safer” pick (not a terrible idea if you’re the Lions), but he seems like the kind of guy who fits the culture they’re trying to build in Detroit. He’s consistent, and potentially great. Make him the face of your defense and keep him in the state.
3. Houston Texans
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Houston will try to trade Deshaun Watson before the draft, but the legal process isn’t going to make that easy. They need someone to sell tickets and the dynamic Thibodeaux would be someone they can market. He’ll probably blow people away at the combine.
4. New York Jets
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
We’ve been on this pick for months and we’re sticking to it. The Jets need to improve their secondary and Hamilton is the best back-end defender in the draft. It helps that the Jets are back on the clock at No. 10 and can add another impact player in a few picks.
5. New York Giants
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
If you watched Georgia on the national stage over the final two games of the College Football Playoff you don’t need to be sold on Dean as a game-changing inside linebacker. Which happens to be a big need for the Giants. If Dean is available, this should be an easy call for the Giants’ new GM.
6. Carolina Panthers
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
The first quarterback off the board goes to Carolina, who bet on Sam Darnold and lost this season. Matt Rhule kept his job and now will likely beg his front office to give him a young(er) quarterback to grow with in the coming years. Pickett’s the best in this class and will be the first quarterback called.
7. New York Giants (from CHI)
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
With two picks sandwiched around the Panthers, the Giants could go a couple directions here. Their offensive line needs help, but they could come back and get value later in the draft. Getting after the quarterback, a desperate need for the Giants, makes more sense here. And Karlaftis is a good one. Selecting Dean and Karlaftis completely changes the front-seven for the Giants next year.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
It appears the Falcons aren’t going to walk away from Matt Ryan… at least not yet. But Calvin Ridley might not be back, which makes a No. 1 receiver a glaring need in Atlanta. Wilson is the consensus top receiver in this year’s draft class and would be a nice addition to the offense.
9. Denver Broncos
David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Broncos need a quarterback. But we don’t see good value for them to take one in the top ten if Pickett is off the board. Instead, they’ll look at the outside linebacker/pass rusher area and hope Ojabo can replace Von Miller.
10. New York Jets (from SEA)
Ikem Ekwonmu, OL, North Carolina State
Okwonmu might actually be the highest graded offensive lineman in the coming draft class. Protecting Zach Wilson is paramount for the Jets; they must keep him on his feet so he can continue growing in the NFL. So taking a really good interior offensive lineman here makes perfect sense.
11. Washington Football Team
Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
Washington needs a new quarterback; it’s their biggest need. And Corral is a nice player who could come off the board inside the top ten (see: Denver). However, if the Broncos opt to wait to address that position later in the draft or via trade/free agency (which we think is more likely), Washington could have Corral available to them here.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
This would be a wonderful turn of events for a Vikings organization that’s embarking on an overhaul; they’re now looking for a new GM and head coach. Stingley is still considered the best corner in this draft class despite the last couple years not living up to the promise of his dynamic freshman campaign. Minnesota needs a corner and the best one in the draft is available at No. 12.
13. Cleveland Browns
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Lots of things went wrong in Cleveland this year, starting the Odell Beckham, Jr. wanting out and ending with alleged friction between the organization and their quarterback. However, their biggest need is an anchor in the middle of their defensive front. Davis is an absolute beast and would be a scary addition in Cleveland.
14. Baltimore Ravens
DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
An overtime loss knocking them out of the playoffs moves Baltimore’s first pick into the top 15. They need someone to help their defensive front and Leal is a versatile option who has a great motor. He could easily be a top-ten pick, but in this mock he’s still on the board. A terrific player falling into the Ravens’ lap feels all-too familiar for fans of their rivals.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA)
Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from IND)
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Eagles land two picks in the top-half of the draft by virtue of trades, and they’ll look to make significant changes to their defense early and often in the upcoming draft. Walker is a big-time pass rusher who looked great in the CFP; Lloyd is arguably the best inside linebacker in the draft class. These are two potential home runs for the Eagles.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
The last-second playoff elimination the Chargers’ suffered in front of a national audience on Sunday night is going to hurt for a while. And we saw what they need: protect their franchise quarterback. The Chargers’ defense also has issues, but Green is a really good interior offensive lineman who would be a huge upgrade in LA.
18. New Orleans Saints
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
This becomes a fascinating pick in the first round. The Saints have a huge quarterback problem. But do they reach for one in a weak class and hope Sean Payton can make him the second coming of Drew Brees? We’re more inclined to believe they’ll replace Michael Thomas with a new No. 1 receiver instead and wait on the quarterback… or trade for/sign a veteran.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
The Ben Roethlisberger Era gets at least one more weekend. But it isn’t going to last forever, and whenever their season ends will be the point when the Steelers begin thinking about their future. Everything we said about the Saints is also true of the Steelers; we really don’t see the right player in this draft class to solve their problem. But protecting whomever is under center is also a need. Linderbaum could be the next center in Pittsburgh who holds it down for a decade. He’s a stud. We love this fit.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
With their own pick — their third of the first round — the Eagles look to add a starting tackle to their offensive line. Cross is considered the No. 2 OT in this class and would likely be a starter Week One in Philly. They’ve got more picks coming in later rounds where they’ll double back to the defensive side of the ball.
21. Las Vegas Raiders
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
We absolutely love this pick. The Raiders need a starting corner and, in our humble opinion, Gardner is the best cover guy in this draft class. And who wouldn’t sign up for “Sauce” to be CB1 in Vegas? We’ll have to wait and see if they make a change at head coach until their playoff run ends.
22. Miami Dolphins (from SF)
Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
The Dolphins are (shockingly) looking for a new head coach, but we know the needs they have on the roster. Rushing opposing quarterbacks is always a need and Thomas is going to be a name to watch at the combine. He could be a guy with a big up arrow next to his name between now and the draft.
23. New England Patriots
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The Patriots clearly have their franchise quarterback in Mac Jones. But they need to give him some weapons in the pass game. Williams suffered an ACL injury in the national championship game, which could impact his stock; he likely won’t be able to work out at the combine. He could be the first receiver off the board, but a potential slide likely won’t make it past the Patriots. Roll Tide at quarterback and his No. 1 receiver? Why not?
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Bengals are a wonderful story, making their first playoff appearance in what feels like forever. And they clearly have a legit QB1 on the roster and strong receivers thanks to their last two drafts. Selecting Elam here helps bolster their secondary, which fills a need.
25. Arizona Cardinals
Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson
The Cardinals need to find someone to fill the hole left by Patrick Peterson in their secondary. The good news for Arizona fans is this is a pretty good class at corner. Booth is a really nice player who would help their secondary immediately.
26. Detroit Lions (from LAR)
Drake London, WR, USC
Another legit No. 1 receiver whose stock may be impacted by an injury, London would be a bona fide alpha in Detroit. Which they need. This is a spot where another quarterback might be in play (because of the extra year of control), but we think the Lions will wait for their pick early in the second round to think about their future under center and instead give Mr. Goff a big-time target.
27. Buffalo Bills
Drake Jackson, DE, USC
The Bills need to add strength and depth to their defensive front. Jackson would do precisely that; he’s a really good prospect who would be the kind of guy the Bills would love having rush passers.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Derion Kendrick III, CB, Georgia
The Cowboys’ defense improved dramatically this year. And they might need to make a call at receiver with Michael Gallup’s season (and likely his time in Dallas) coming to an end. But adding a young corner who can make an impact — and some swagger — might make more sense here. Kendrick was marvelous in the CFP.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
KC needs to help their offensive line and could use some help on defense, but they can’t keep all of their receivers under contract forever. Metchie would be a lovely fit in the offensive scheme for Andy Reid and would even likely be an upgrade from any departures not-named Tyreke Hill.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Did you hear about the whole Antonio Brown loses his mind thing? And did you know that they need to pay their No. 1 receiver, too? Receiver could be a huge need in Tampa this offseason and Tom Brady would love to have a really good option like Dotson to catch balls.
31. Tennessee Titans
Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
If Tennessee is picking this low, their season was a success. But they still have needs, many of which will be made more obvious in the playoffs. Adding a big tight end is one of the needs we already know needs to be addressed, so taking the top-ranked TE in this draft class makes sense here.
32. Green Bay Packers
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Will Aaron Rodgers be a Packer next year? Will DeVante Adams be in Green Bay after this season? Maybe no team has two more significant potential departures looming than the Packers. They already (theoretically) addressed one, selecting a quarterback in the first round a couple years ago that led to the friction with Rodgers. If they need to replace Adams, Burks could be the guy here.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars — Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
34. Detroit Lions — Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
35. Houston Texans — Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
36. New York Jets — Jalen Wynermyer, TE, Texas A&M
37. New York Giants — David Bell, WR, Purdue
38. New York Jets (from CAR) — Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
39. Chicago Bears — Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan
40. Atlanta Falcons — Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
41. Denver Broncos — Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
42. Seattle Seahawks — Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
43. Washington Football Team — Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
44. Minnesota Vikings — Channing Tindhall, LB, Georgia
45. Cleveland Browns — Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
46. Baltimore Ravens — Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
47. Miami Dolphins — JJ Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
48. Indianapolis Colts — Myjai Sanders, DE, Cincinnati
49. Los Angeles Chargers — Logan Hall, DL, Houston
50. New Orleans Saints — Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
51. Pittsburgh Steelers — Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
52. Philadelphia Eagles — Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
53. Las Vegas Raiders — Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State
54. San Francisco 49ers — Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
55. New England Patriots — Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
56. Cincinnati Bengals — Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
57. Arizona Cardinals — Brandon Smith, EDGE, Penn State
58. Denver Broncos (from LAR) — Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
59. Buffalo Bills — Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
60. Dallas Cowboys — Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
61. Kansas City Chiefs — Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
62. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
63. Atlanta Falcons (from TEN) — Amare Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech
64. Green Bay Packers — Thayer Munford, OT, Ohio State
65. Jacksonville Jaguars — Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
66. Detroit Lions — Jaxson Kirkland, OL, Washington
67. Houston Texans — Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
68. New York Jets — Sean Rhyan, OG, UCLA
69. New York Giants — Cade Otten, TE, Washington
70. Jacksonville Jaguars (from CAR) — Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
71. Chicago Bears — John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
72. Atlanta Falcons — Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
73. Denver Broncos — Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
74. Seattle Seahawks — Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
75. Washington Football Team — Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
76. Minnesota Vikings — Obinna Eze, OT, TCU
77. Cleveland Browns — Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
78. Baltimore Ravens — Damone Clark, LB, LSU
79. New York Giants (from MIA) — Justin Shaffer, OG, Georgia
80. Indianapolis Colts — Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia
81. Los Angeles Chargers — George Pickens, WR, Georgia
82. Houston Texans (from NO) — Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
83. Pittsburgh Steelers — Darien Butler, LB, Arizona State
84. Philadelphia Eagles — Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
85. Las Vegas Raiders — Kevin Austin, Jr., WR, Notre Dame
86. San Francisco 49ers — Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
87. New England Patriots — Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
88. Cincinnati Bengals — Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
89. Arizona Cardinals — Zachary Carter, DT, Florida
90. Denver Broncos (from LAR) — Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
91. Buffalo Bills — Dontay Demus, Jr., WR, Maryland
92. Dallas Cowboys — Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
93. Kansas City Chiefs — Andrew Steuber, OT, Michigan
94. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
95. Atlanta Falcons (from TEN) — Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
96. Green Bay Packers — Nik Bonnito, EDGE, Oklahoma
97. Detroit Lions (comp) — Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
98. Baltimore Ravens (comp) — Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
99. New Orleans Saints (comp) — Sam Williams, EDGE, Mississippi
100. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp) — Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
101. Los Angeles Rams (comp) — Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
102. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas
103. Cleveland Browns (from DET) — Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
104. Carolina Panthers (from HOU) — Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
105. Seattle Seahawks (from NYJ) — Jermayne Lole, DT, Arizona State
106. Baltimore Ravens (from NYG) — Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
107. New York Jets (from CAR) — Justin Eboigbe, DE, Alabama
108. Baltimore Ravens (from CHI) — Jahleel Billingsley, TE, Alabama
109. Atlanta Falcons — EJ Perry, QB, Brown
110. Denver Broncos — Nick Broeker, OT, Mississippi
111. Seattle Seahawks — Cole Rutner, TE, Nevada
112. Washington Football Team — Ali Gaye, EDGE, LSU
113. New York Jets (from MIN) — Jarrett Patterson, OC, Notre Dame
114. Cleveland Browns — Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
115. Baltimore Ravens — Logan Bruss, OL, Wisconsin
116. Miami Dolphins — Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
117. Indianapolis Colts — Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
118. Los Angeles Chargers — Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
119. New Orleans Saints — Storm Duck, CB, North Carolina
120. Miami Dolphins (from PIT) — Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
121. Philadelphia Eagles — Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
122. Las Vegas Raiders — Joshua Ezeudu, OG, North Carolina
123. San Francisco 49ers — PJ Mustipher, DT, Penn State
124. New England Patriots — Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
125. Cincinnati Bengals — Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson
126. Baltimore Ravens (from ARI) — Tyreke Smith, DE, Ohio State
127. Carolina Panthers (from LAR) — Lecitus Smith, OL, Virginia Tech
128. Buffalo Bills — Bubba Bolden, S, Miami
129. Dallas Cowboys — Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
130. Kansas City Chiefs — Dohnavan West, OG, Arizona State
131. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
132. Tennessee Titans — Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State
133. Green Bay Packers — Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
134. Baltimore Ravens (comp) — DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
135. Baltimore Ravens (comp) — Cade Mays, OL, Tennessee
136. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp) — Tre Sterling, S, Oklahoma State
137. Cincinnati Bengals (comp) — Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
138. Los Angeles Rams (comp) — Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
139. Tennessee Titans (comp) — Travis Jones, DT, UConn
140. Green Bay Packers (comp) — Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati