The regular season is coming to a close and changes are already being made. Jacksonville and Las Vegas will be in the market for a new head coach. How will the Aaron Rodgers situation play out, and will Russell Wilson be headed elsewhere? The NFL news cycle never ends, but the draft brings a sense of hope and a fresh start for many organizations.
In today's thought exercise, we explore a few of those teams who may undergo a fresh start with a new quarterback while New York teams make four consecutive picks inside the top 10.
The 2022 NFL Draft order was determined with the updated strength of schedule and win-loss records, via Tankathon.com.
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Round 1 - Pick 1
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
There was a report that came out this week suggesting the Lions would take Thibodeaux if the event were held today and I agree with that line of thinking. Thibodeaux has more upside than other options in this class. I do not think he is Myles Garrett or the Bosas, but I believe he is on that next rung down on the ladder.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Michigan • Soph • 6'7" / 268 lbs
As you read this, Jacksonville has finally made the decision to move on from head coach Urban Meyer. Changes are afoot and it would not be a surprise if incoming coaches did not have a level of connection to K'Lavon Chaisson. Otherwise, the team brings in Hutchinson and has a working rotation with Chaisson until his contract expires.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Round 1 - Pick 4
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
New York is in a position to land a lockdown cornerback and continue adding building blocks to that defense. Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams and Stingley give that team some young tentpoles moving forward.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 5
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
Karlaftis is a strong player who is no stranger to fighting through chips and double teams. New York has been looking for consistent pass rushing and the hope is that Karlaftis is able to provide.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
With the following pick, the Giants address the other side of the ball with the selection of Linderbaum. He is an athletic, physical center who has set the tone for the entire Iowa offense. It is not unreasonable to think he could have a similar impact on the NFC East franchise. No. 6 overall would be the highest selection of a center in the modern era.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 180 lbs
The 2022 draft class as a whole lacks the same quantity of blue chip prospects and quarterback prospects. Relative to last year, Williams being selected at No. 7 overall suggests that I like him more than Devonta Smith, which is not true. Williams is an ascending player, but he has not reached that same threshold yet. However, I do believe he can be a No. 1 wide receiver, which would give Zach Wilson a tandem of Elijah Moore and Williams for many years.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Neal sliding to No. 8 overall is a dream for Carolina. The Panthers have to address the quarterback position this offseason. Trading for a veteran likely means that they surrender rights to this selection, but for the sake of this exercise, they stick and pick the massive human being from Alabama.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
As a former wide receiver, Ryan Tannehill is known as an athlete but has never consistently been a rusher in the NFL. When you examine what Arthur Smith has worked with in recent years, from Tannehill to now Matt Ryan, it suggests that he prefers a more traditional quarterback, which leads me to Pickett.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 10
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
As a talent, Hamilton is the best in the draft to me. Traditionally, safeties do not get picked within the top 10, but the Notre Dame product is not your typical safety. He is a hybrid player who has become all the rage in the NFL. Hamilton is at his best playing downhill and making plays in space.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Eagles fans seem to have graduated from "no chance they take a linebacker" to "let's get it over with." Lloyd is a good place for them to break the seal. He is excellent getting off blocks and has shown improvement dropping into coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • Soph • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Minnesota is a wacky team that swings back and forth between firing its head coach in the offseason and being on the doorstep of the playoffs. If the Vikings undergo changes this offseason, it is not unrealistic to think they might restart with a new quarterback on a rookie deal. Corral is the best option available.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
New Orleans strikes me as a franchise that is going to be in the market for a veteran quarterback this offseason. It is also a team in need of wide receiver help with or without Michael Thomas. Wilson has sensational body control and makes plays downfield.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Las Vegas will undergo a head coaching search of its own in the offseason and that creates a lot of uncertainty. Davis is someone who can replace Johnathan Hankins in the current structure and help occupy some blockers.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Pittsburgh needs to upgrade its offensive line. Offensive tackle is the biggest need for that group, but Green is the best prospect available. The Steelers will be breaking in a new quarterback next season and that player is going to need protection.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Dean is a physical player who is not afraid to take on the dirty work. Bradley Chubb is a quality player when healthy and Jonathon Cooper has shown flashes of being a prospect worth developing. Denver just needs to add a few more pieces to that front seven to stack up to the secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Cincinnati has a few positions of need, including the offensive line, but I continuously come back to cornerback. One of the best available has been playing in its backyard for years. Gardner, along with Coby Bryant, has been a shutdown corner for that team, which opens the door for a lot of schematic possibilities elsewhere.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Burks would be a perfect fit for what Cleveland wants to do, but it has to be careful about the type of personalities it brings in at that position. The run game will always be the driving force in that offense. There are going to be games where the wide receiver is not heavily targeted and that will have to be acceptable or it will become a toxic situation once again.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Charles Leno has been better than I ever could have expected for Washington, but that is not a long-term solution. Cross is a long-term solution. Once it figures out the quarterback position, the offense should be in pretty good shape with the supporting cast.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 21
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 273 lbs
Philadelphia is destined to move on from Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox in the next few years and Howie Roseman has always been one to plan ahead for that unit. Derek Barnett was supposed to be that player who bridged the gap from the present to the future, but it has actually been Josh Sweat. Jackson gives them promising bookends.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 22
Northern Iowa • Soph • 6'7" / 325 lbs
The Austin Jackson experiment has not panned out the way that the organization had hoped. It is time for the Dolphins to cut their losses and do what is best for Tua Tagovailoa's development. Penning is next in line to take a swing at the piñata.
Round 1 - Pick 23
David Ojabo LB
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Brandon Staley wants speed and multitude on defense. Joey Bosa has struggled to stay healthy, so Ojabo is an insurance policy. Best-case scenario is that both are on the field creating a lot of havoc for opponents. His bend around the edge is in contention for best in the class.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 24
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
Amon-Ra St. Brown has shown a lot of promise in recent weeks, but Detroit needs to add a potential alpha receiver. Olave is a selfless player and polished route-runner. There are still questions about the quarterback, but the team would have high level talent along the offensive line in addition to wide receiver, running back and tight end.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Kentucky • Soph • 6'5" / 322 lbs
Kinnard is a mauler in the run game. For an offense that wants to run and run some more when healthy, the Kentucky product would be a great fit and a cost-effective replacement for Kevin Zeitler.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Pickens is still working his way back from injury, but there has never been any denying his talent. He showed a bit of that in the SEC Championship game, but he has a lot more to give. Dallas could save $16 million towards the salary cap by moving on from Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup could price himself out of town.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Kansas City brought in Jarran Reed to play next to Chris Jones, but that has not gone particularly well. The Chiefs would do well to add a player of Walker's caliber who can apply pressure up the middle but also has the speed and quickness to be effective on stunts.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Georgia • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
When Arizona went on its shopping spree over the offseason, it addressed just about everything except cornerback. It is such a deep pool of cornerback prospects that the Cardinals might be able to wait and address the position later. However, there is a strong case to be made for sticking and picking Kendrick.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
In a cost-cutting measure, Tennessee could move on from Julio Jones and opt for a cheaper option like London, whose season was cut short by an injury. Prior to that injury, he showcased his ability to attack the ball at its peak at an elite rate.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Jahan Dotson WR
Penn State • Soph • 5'11" / 182 lbs
Similar to Dallas and Tennessee, it would not come as a surprise to see Tampa Bay lose Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown in an effort to preserve other positions. Dotson is a three-level player who can become one of Tom Brady's favorite outlets.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Kaiir Elam CB
Florida • Soph • 6'1" / 191 lbs
New England believes in depth and versatility in the secondary. Elam has consistently faced some of college football's best talent in the SEC and also has the size to move around and fulfill other roles.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Central Michigan • Soph • 6'6" / 303 lbs
One would assume that David Bakhtiari will return to form and solidify the left tackle position, but Raimann would come in and take over the right tackle spot from Billy Turner, who turns 31 years old early in the 2022 season.