It’s rare to accurately predict every pick in the 2022 NFL draft first round. So, here are my likely picks for the first round barring any trades.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Aiden Hutchinson-Defensive End- Michigan- The Jaguars could select a wide receiver here but the depth at receiver is deep in this draft so the Jaguars don’t need to rush into it. Instead, they’ll make a wise choice and select the top edge rusher in the 2022 draft.
2. Lions- Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner- Cornerback-Cincinnati- A few years after not being able to keep Darius Slay, the Detroit Lions need depth at Cornerback. Although taller corners are more known for being physical than fast, Gardner is the exception.
3. Houston Texans-Evan Neal- Offensive Tackle- Alabama- Regardless of who the Texans start at quarterback after trading DeShaun Watson to Cleveland, Houston needs a reliable Offensive Tackle. Neal is the perfect choice for the Texans with the third overall pick.
4. New York Jets- Kayvon Thibodeaux- Defensive End-Oregon- Defense wins championships and the Jets are a long way from being that team. A speed edge rusher will get them back on the track. Thibodeaux is the obvious choice here.
5. New York Giants-Ickey Ekwonu- Offensive Tackle-NC State- The Giants need to make sure they protect Quarterback Daniel Jones if he is the franchise quarterback.
6. Carolina Panthers- Malik Willis- Quarterback- Liberty- This is a perfect choice for the Panthers with the sixth overall pick. The Panthers like to use a quarterback that can evade defensive linemen and extend plays. Willis can do that and so much more. He has a cannon arm.
7. New York Giants- Nakobe Dean- Linebacker- Georgia- The Giants need some defense and the top linebacker in the 2022 draft will provide that.
8. Atlanta Falcons- Garrett Wilson- Wide Receiver- Ohio State- Although Atlanta rarely needs an option at wide receiver- Calvin Ridley’s sudden off-the-field legal issues can mess things up for the Falcons offense. Atlanta may prefer Chris Olave but Wilson is the best overall receiver.
9. Seattle Seahawks- Derek Stingley- Cornerback-LSU- The Seahawks need a fresh new start on defense and having a feared dynamic duo at Cornerback is how Seattle will achieve that. Stingley is a great fit for Seattle.
10. New York Jets- Trent McDuffie- Cornerback-Washington- The Jets need to reestablish their secondary. Although Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton could have his name called here, the Jets are more likely to call the speedster Cornerback McDuffie.
11. Washington Commanders- Chris Olave- Wide Receiver- Ohio State- Scary Terry McLaurin is nice but having two track stars out of Ohio State will make the Washington Commanders one of the most feared passing offenses in the entire NFL. Although they need to have their answer at quarterback, there is no need to reach for one here.
12. Minnesota Vikings- Jordan Davis- Defensive Tackle- Georgia- The Vikings defense seemed to play a bit better last season but this unit still needs a few more dynamic playmakers. Davis would energize the team and the fan base.
13. Houston Texans- Jermaine Johnson- Defensive End- Florida State- Houston needs that J.J. Watt type of presence on the defense. This could’ve been where David Ojabo out of Michigan would go but with the sudden Achilles Tear, the draft board took a sudden shift. Johnson is the obvious choice for Houston.
14. Baltimore Ravens- Devin Lloyd- Linebacker- Utah- The Ravens love defense so the emphasis will continue to build the defense. Lloyd is one of the top linebackers in this draft and some may argue he’s actually better than Dean overall.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Jameson Williams- Wide Receiver- Alabama- Give Jalen Hurts another big-time dynamic playmaker? Sure why not. Although some mocks may have the Eagles give up on Hurts, that seems rather odd considering he showed up and balled out last season. Even if Hurts isn’t the franchise quarterback, it would be ridiculous to reach for a new one here. Although there could be some concerns due to Williams: Achilles Tear, one such tear isn’t the grim reaper it once was.
16. New Orleans Saints- Treylon Burks- Wide Receiver- Arkansas- Adding another receiver to make things easy for Micheal Thomas seems like a good idea. It’s smart to give defenses more of a challenge and someone else to think about covering. Burks would shine in New Orleans.
17. Los Angeles Chargers- Drake London- Wide Receiver-USC- Let’s give one of the best-rising stars Quarterback Justin Herbert another great receiver. London is already a Los Angeles favorite so keeping him in the “City of Angels” is a great idea and the fans would be very excited.
18. Philadelphia Eagles- Kyle Hamilton- Safety- Notre Dame- The Eagles defense can use a knowledgeable playmaker in the secondary. Hamilton would give the defense the every and playmaking ability. It’s hard to pass on him and it’s difficult for Quarterbacks to throw in his area.
19. New Orleans Saints- Travon Walker- Defensive End- Georgia- The Saints need some playmakers on defense too. Walker shouldn’t fall this far. The Saints would have a golden opportunity and wouldn’t pass up on Walker.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers- Matt Corral- Quarterback- Mississippi- After the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers don’t have an obvious answer at quarterback. Corral will still be on the board. Although Steelers fans would prefer the local favorite, Kenny Pickett out of Pittsburgh, Corral is the better overall Quarterback.
21. New England Patriots- Kaiir Elam- Cornerback- Florida- It’s time to bring back that feared Patriots defense. Elam is rising fast up the draft boards and would be an absolute steal for the Patriots with the first overall pick.
22. Green Bay Packers- Christian Harris- Linebacker- Alabama- The Packers may need to draft a new linebacker to keep the momentum going on defense. Harris will fit in nicely on this defense.
23. Arizona Cardinals- Quay Walker- Linebacker- Georgia- If J.J. Watt isn’t enough to worry about, adding Walker would really shake things up.
24. Dallas Cowboys- George Karlaftis- Defensive End- Purdue- The Cowboys are making moves to add balance to the team. Dallas is known for scoring points in bunches but the defense is still in need of more dynamic playmakers. Karlaftis at pick 24 would be one of those “How did this happen?” type of selections. The Cowboys drafted Micah Parsons last season so adding Karlaftis to the defensive line would be a huge boost.
25. Buffalo Bills- Andrew Booth- Cornerback- Clemson- The Bills already boast one of the top secondaries in the entire NFL so they’ll keep it going by adding Booth. It’s difficult to throw against Cornerback Tre’Davious White and Safety Jordan Poyer. This just makes everything unfair for the opposing offenses.
26. Tennessee Titans- Tyler Linderbaum-Center-Iowa- More protection for Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and someone who can create running lanes for Derrick Henry is a must. Linderbaum is the home run pick the Titans desperately need.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Kenyon Green- Guard- Texas A/M- After the retirement of Guard Ali Marpet, The Buccaneers need a Guard who can consistently protect Quarterback Tom Brady.
28. Green Bay Packers- Christian Watson- Wide Receiver- North Dakota State- No more DeVante Adams sounds like an Off-Season loss for the Packers. There was absolutely no way to retain him with the gap situation. However, Packers fans don’t need to panic or throw the towel in before the season begins. Christian Watson is a rare receiver at 6′ 4″ or 6′ 5″ with this much speed. Aaron Rodgers will have a new favorite receiver who will develop quickly under his leadership.
29. Kansas City Chiefs- Devonte Wyatt- Defensive Tackle- Georgia- Do the Chiefs need some great defensive players? There were some Injuries and inconsistencies early during the 2021 season and this simply can’t continue. Adding Wyatt may seem like a reach at pick 29 but it’s a good idea anyway.
30. Kansas City Chiefs- Jahan Dotson- Wide Receiver-Penn State- No more Tyreek Hill? No problem. The Chiefs have a boatload of picks and will probably select two receivers. It may seem a bit early to take Dotson but this will work.
31. Cincinnati Bengals- Trevor Penning- Offensive Tackle- Northern Iowa- The Bengals need to make sure they have an adequate offensive line. The lack of protection leads to another major injury for Quarterback Joe Burrow. He can’t take too many more hits like that. Also, this clearly cost the Bengals the Super Bowl and Bengals fans have surely had enough of watching Burrow go down like this. Although it was a miracle year for the Bengals, it should’ve been a Super Bowl-winning year the way they played. Selecting Penning isn’t just an option. They have to take him. Burrow needs protection from defensive lines. It sounds like an easy thing to say but it’s time for the Bengals to make it happen.
32. Detroit Lions- Desmond Ridder- Quarterback- Cincinnati- It’s time for the Detroit Lions front office to admit that the trade for Jared Goff was a mistake. Even if Ridder isn’t ready to start, the Lions should at least “light a fire” under Goff.
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