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NFL Mock Draft 2022: Post-Super Bowl edition

Projecting all the first round picks.

Clemson v South Carolina Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL season has come to a close with the Los Angeles Rams winning the Super Bowl in dramatic fashion. Now all attention turns to an offseason that is bound to be just as exciting as the postseason. Each of the league’s 32 teams head into the spring with dozens of questions about their future, among them being what they will do in the 2022 NFL Draft. While many factors can change the shape of the first round between now and April, here is how the first round could look right now.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: With Doug Pederson now in the fold, the mission of the Jacksonville Jaguars is to surround Trevor Lawrence with as much talent as possible. First step is getting him the best tackle in the draft.
  2. Detroit Lions- Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon: Expect the momentum around Kayvon Thibodeaux to pick up after he has a strong showing at the NFL combine. This is still the top defender in this class.
  3. Houston Texans- Derek Stingley Junior, Cornerback, LSU: The Houston Texans have holes all over their roster, so the best thing to do is just get playmakers wherever possible. It will be hard for Lovie Smith to pass up on a cornerback with such a back for turnovers.
  4. New York Jets- Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan: Aidan Hutchinson would be a great addition to the defense Robert Saleh is building in New York. Would be a perfect pairing with a returning Carl Lawson.
  5. New York Giants- Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame: Picking a safety this high is a big risk, but Kyle Hamilton is a rare talent at the position. He can help turn a solid New York Giants defense into a top tier one.
  6. Carolina Panthers- Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty: The quarterbacks in this class are going to be really hard to project, but there is little doubt Malik Willis is the most talented passer in this class. His combination of arm strength, aggressive passing style, and dangerous mobility make him a tempting choice for teams swinging for the fences at quarterback. Willis would be a nice fit in a talented Panthers offense.
  7. New York Giants (From CHI)- Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Tackle, NC State: Brian Daboll is all about physicality on offense and Ikem Ekwonu would help bring that hurt at offensive tackle.
  8. Atlanta Falcons- Jordan Davis, Defensive Lineman, Georgia: The Falcons are in a weird purgatory right now, but there is never a downside to adding a high quality defensive talent. Keeping Jordan Davis in Georgia and putting him next to Grady Jarrett would be a serious upgrade for their defense.
  9. Denver Broncos- David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan: The Broncos made a great addition to their secondary last year with Patrick Surtain II and now they can boost their front seven with David Ojabo.
  10. New York Jets (From SEA)- Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati: Ahmad Gardner is as good a cover cornerback as there is in this class. His addition to a young Jets defense would help turn them into a really good group.
  11. Washington Commanders- Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pitt: Kenny Pickett figures as the second best quarterback in this class and would be a good fit on a talented Washington Commanders offense.
  12. Minnesota Vikings- Kenyon Green, Guard, Texas A&M: Minnesota is going through a period of change and questions surrounding Kirk Cousins are swirling around. Right now, adding a talented offensive lineman makes the most sense.
  13. Cleveland Browns- Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Arkansas: The Browns need a true number one receiver. Treylon Burks’ size, speed and ability after the catch make him a great fit in this Browns offense.
  14. Baltimore Ravens- Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi State: The Ravens 2021 season was a wash with injuries plaguing the team. Now they have a chance to get a quality tackle prospect to strengthen the offense around Lamar Jackson.
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (From MIA)- George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue: Upgrading the pass rush needs to be a high priority for Philadelphia. With Brandon Graham coming off injury, Derek Barnett set to leave in free agency, and not much else outside of Josh Sweat… the team needs an influx of defensive edge talent. George Karlaftis is a great athlete with high upside at the position. He would immediately contribute as a situational rusher as he develops into an every down defender.
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (From IND)- Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa: Signs are pointing towards Jason Kelce returning in 2022, but the Eagles need to draft with the long term in mind. Tyler Linderbaum would be an excellent heir to Kelce’s spot at center and in the meantime, Linderbaum could start at a guard spot left empty by Brandon Brooks’ retirement.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers- Jermaine Johnson, Edge, FSU: The Chargers’ future is clearly bright, but they are still a few pieces away on both sides of the ball. Jermaine Johnson is a high effort, highly physical defender who would create a dangerous pairing with Joey Bosa.
  18. New Orleans Saints- Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Alabama: Lots of things are up in the air down in New Orleans, but it is clear the Saints need a viable receiving option outside of Michael Thomas. Jameson Williams’ speed would be a great complement.
  19. Philadelphia Eagles- Andrew Booth Junior, Cornerback, Clemson: Andrew Booth Junior makes a ton of sense to play across from Darius Slay. Booth’s speed, size and physicality make him an ideal fit at CB2 in the Eagles offense.
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers- Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, Georgia: The Steelers defense, for all its talent, got exposed in crucial match ups in 2021. Nakobe Dean would be a dynamic talent next to Devin Bush.
  21. New England Patriots- Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, Utah: Devin Lloyd’s versatility as a rusher, run stopper and coverage linebacker would give Bill Belichick a much needed talent on defense. The Patriots need some young blood on that side of the ball.
  22. Las Vegas Raiders- Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia: The Raiders were a surprise playoff team last year despite talent lacking on defense. Now with a new coaching staff in place, getting playmakers on that side of the ball will be a high priority. Walker would be a great addition to that young defensive line.
  23. Arizona Cardinals- Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State: The Cardinals need to draft for Kyler Murray. Their franchise quarterback is reportedly unhappy with the team’s inability to draft for his needs. Garrett Wilson is maybe the most technically sound wide receiver in this class and would immediately contribute in the Cardinals passing game.
  24. Dallas Cowboys- Roger McCreary, Cornerback, Auburn: The Cowboys defensive took a huge step forward in 2021, thanks huge plays from Trevon Diggs, Micah Parsons and great coaching from Dan Quinn. The unit still has room to improve and Roger McCreary makes a ton of sense as a physical CB2 in Quinn’s defense.
  25. Buffalo Bills- Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, Washington: The Bills defense remained a top unit even when Tre White went down. In the playoffs, however, the lack of top tier cornerback talent was exposed by the Chiefs offense. While the team is getting White back for 2022, adding another quality corner next to him is exactly what the team needs. After all, they need to build this defense considering that they will inevitably face off against the Chiefs in the playoffs again.
  26. Tennessee Titans- Zion Johnson, Offensive Lineman, Boston College: The Titans were the top seed in the AFC despite dealing with injuries all over their offense. As they get healthy, they can also draft to strengthen their physical identity on offense. Zion Johnson is a mauling lineman who could play tackle or guard in Tennessee.
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State: The Bucs have a ton of question marks on offense with Tom Brady (likely) retired. With the team becoming a hot destination for veteran quarterbacks, they can keep their offense dangerous with a quality deep threat to play across from Mike Evans.
  28. Green Bay Packers- Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Penn State: Reports are that the Packers will make a full court press to keep Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. If that is going to happen, drafting weapons for Rodgers to play with should be point number one through five. Jahan Dotson is the type of receiver who can make an immediate impact as a slot receiver given his route running, strong hands and great speed after the catch.
  29. Miami Dolphins (From SF)- Trevor Penning, Offensive Tackle, Northern Iowa: Mike McDaniel’s offense is going to run the ball early and often and will need the men up front to do it. Trevor Penning is a nasty, high upside tackle who can turn into a franchise cornerstone on a young Dolphin’s offense.
  30. Kansas City Chiefs- DeMarvin Leal, Defensive Lineman, Texas A&M: Few things Andy Reid likes more than an athletic defensive lineman in the first round. DeMarvin Leal has a lot of Mississippi State Chris Jones to him and would be nice fit to a Chiefs defense that could use some more juice from the pass rush.
  31. Cincinnati Bengals- Daniel Faalele, Offensive Tackle, Minnesota: The Cincinnati Bengals are probably planning their Super Bowl parade if they had even average offensive line play. Surrounding Joe Burrow with five competent blockers has to be the highest of priorities for Cincinnati this spring. Daniel Faalele is a massive tackle that would be an immediate upgrade for the Bengals.
  32. Detroit Lions (From LAR)- David Bell, Wide Receiver, Purdue: The Lions could go quarterback here, but there is no need for the team to rush their rebuild. Here they get fantastic receiving prospect as they keep building solid foundations on both sides of the ball.