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USATSI

Throughout the process, I have vocalized (via the Pick Six podcast) my belief that the 2022 NFL Draft class lacks the blue-chip talent that fans have seen atop the draft over the years. Yet, it feels as though the draft community, myself included, has generally made mock draft selections from the same pool of players. In an effort to provide an alternative look to how the draft could play out in April, I decided to mix it up this week and that starts with the No. 1 overall selection. 

In today's thought exercise, some new names are included in what could be a very volatile draft class. 

The 2022 NFL Draft order was determined with the updated strength of schedule and win-loss records, via Tankathon.com.

For a more extensive draft discussion beyond the mock drafts, check out our weekly show on YouTube

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Mississippi State • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
4th
Evan Neal is not the unanimous top offensive tackle, so why is it out of the realm of possibility that Jacksonville might take Cross? He is just a sophomore but has produced some of the best moments of any lineman this season. If he can find that production consistently, there is a good chance that he walks away as the best tackle to come from this class.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Michigan • 6'7" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
With the first of two Detroit picks, the Lions select Hutchinson, who is a powerful and relentless pass rusher from down the road. The team needs to identify strengths, and a line featuring Romeo Okwara and Hutchinson gives reason to be excited.
Round 1 - Pick 3
LSU • 6'1" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
Houston has essentially no one coming back at the cornerback position, so Stingley is not only the best player available but also fills a need. The Texans have several needs, and they have to start somewhere.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Oregon • 6'5" / 258 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
New York has to be excited seeing Thibodeaux slide to No. 4 overall. I think the Giants would be enticed to move ahead of the stadium co-tenant Jets to select him as well. The Jets landing the Oregon product to pair with Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams turns that into a very good unit.
Round 1 - Pick 5
NC State • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
1st
The Giants need to address the trenches with their picks. By a sheer numbers game, they should be able to get a quality combination of players. New York is guaranteed two of Charles Cross, Evan Neal, George Karlaftis, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, Tyler Linderbaum and Ekwonu.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Alabama • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Carolina is almost assuredly going to address the quarterback situation in some capacity this offseason, so that could impact the availability of this choice. As it stands, the Panthers stand tall and select Neal, who is a massive tackle from Alabama.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Purdue • 6'4" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
3rd
After selecting Ikem Ekwonu, New York uses its second selection on another trench player -- Karlaftis. The Purdue product is a mature defender who knows how to use his hands to get off blocks.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Pittsburgh • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Atlanta brings in a developmental quarterback behind Matt Ryan. His contract prohibits him from being moved this offseason, so that affords Pickett with the opportunity to learn behind a highly successful player. He would also benefit from playing in a dome.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Utah • 6'3" / 232 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Fans know what Bradley Chubb is capable of doing when healthy. Jonathon Cooper also did some good things after the Von Miller trade. Denver needs to get stronger up the middle. Lloyd is a player with great coverage ability in addition to a high proficiency level using his hands to get off blocks.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 219 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
I have a lot of respect for Jets general manager Joe Douglas. I think he has taken a savvy approach to building that roster in the short time that he has been there. The selection of a safety is a bit of out of the box, but he is the best player available and can be a mainstay on that defense for a decade.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Cincinnati • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Gardner is my second-rated cornerback because I value competitive toughness, confidence and consistency. The Bearcat has been a reliable contributor for that defense since he was a freshman playing in man coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Liberty • 6'1" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Wholesale changes are underway in Minnesota. Those changes began with head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman. Do not be surprised if it continues with Kirk Cousins. There are reasons to be concerned about Willis, but he also presents the highest upside of any quarterback in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Ohio State • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
I am not naive enough to think Cleveland is not going to explore its options at the quarterback position this offseason, but I also do not expect the franchise to find many viable upgrades. As a result, the Browns run it back with Baker Mayfield and add a downfield threat in the form of Wilson.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Georgia • 6'6" / 340 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams are free agents. Baltimore allowed the fewest rushing yards per game this season, but it may choose to get younger at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Iowa • 6'3" / 290 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
1st
Philadelphia also believes in having strong trench play, and that was evident when the offense became very run-centric. Jason Kelce is not going to play forever, and the selection of Linderbaum is the closest to a net zero loss as the team could possibly come at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Michigan • 6'5" / 250 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
35th
POSITION RNK
5th
The middle of the first round is too rich to take Ojabo in my opinion, but I think his natural pass rushing ability and upside are enough for teams to consider it. Derek Barnett is a free agent and Brandon Graham is not going to play forever, so Ojabo is picked to threaten opposing quarterbacks opposite Josh Sweat.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Georgia • 6'0" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
1st
Los Angeles' run defense needs to improve. The conventional way of making that happen is with the selection of a big run-stuffing defensive lineman, but Jordan Davis is off the board and the Chargers can probably wait to select one in future rounds. In the meantime, they select a linebacker who is willing to do the dirty work and blow up lead blocks.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Ole Miss • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
1st
We discussed the fit of Matt Corral in the New Orleans offense on this week's Pick Six podcast YouTube show. Sean Payton is an ideal fit for any young quarterback because he offers a master class on how to play the position. Corral has spent all season making quick decisions in Lane Kiffin's offense and has done a much better job of taking care of the football.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Clemson • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
3rd
I love the fit of Booth in Philadelphia's defense. He is accustomed to playing a high percentage of zone coverage and gives the Eagles a very talented tandem at cornerback. To recap the NFC East franchise's haul, it selected Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo and now Booth.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Northern Iowa • 6'7" / 332 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
43rd
POSITION RNK
8th
I think Pittsburgh has a few interior players that are worth developing. I am more concerned with the offense tackle position. Najee Harris had to feel as though he was slamming his head against a brick wall countless times this season, as he found few clear run lanes.
Round 1 - Pick 21
USC • 6'4" / 213 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
6th
Mac Jones relies on timing and precision. The best assets for him are tight ends, wide receivers who are going to catch and run at or near the line of scrimmage and wide receivers who are going to win jump balls for him. London falls into the latter category, posterizing defenders on a weekly basis in the Pac-12.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Alabama • 6'1" / 179 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Williams is going to slide a bit as a result of his injury, but it would be a surprise if he fell out of the first round. Las Vegas needs someone to step up outside of Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. The Alabama product can be that player for them. When Waller was out, the offense became force feeding Renfrow with touches.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Washington • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
48th
POSITION RNK
3rd
McDuffie is at his best in man coverage on the boundary. He is able to stay in-phase with such ease. It would be nice to see better ball production, but that is also reliant on how the team coaches the position.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Georgia • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
49th
POSITION RNK
5th
Dallas turned up the heat on its pass rush this season, but the run defense is still a work in progress. The Cowboys have thrown a lot of bodies and assets at that position group, but it just has not panned out yet. The Georgia front was asked to run a lot of stunts and just create chaos, but I think when he gets to the next level and is asked to fulfill a more narrow purpose, he will thrive.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 325 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Green is great value at this stage of the first round. He has shown flashes of being a dominant interior player when entrenched at that spot. He has also shown the versatility to play tackle in a pinch. Cincinnati does not need any more wide receivers, so address Joe Burrow's protection.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Kentucky • 6'5" / 345 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
44th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Some teams value Kinnard as an offensive tackle, but I still believe his brightest future comes as an interior offensive lineman. Miami committed to an RPO heavy scheme this season, and protection is of the utmost importance.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Michigan • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
2nd
"This is the [AFC East] way." *Mandalorian voice* Buffalo follows New England's style of building depth in the secondary. Hill is a prospect capable of wearing many hats. He can play in the slot or drop deep into a safety role. There is no need to rush Micah Hyde and/or Jordan Poyer out the door, but each will be at least 31 years old when the 2022 season commences. While more and more players are playing into their mid-to-late 30s, those players are still considered outliers.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Ohio State • 6'1" / 188 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Detroit is getting very good value in Olave at No. 28 overall. The Lions need a No. 1 wide receiver rather than a slot, which is where Amon-Ra St. Brown was really impressive this season. I was concerned only slot options would be on the board, but Olave makes their decision easy.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Arkansas • 6'3" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
4th
Treylon Burks in Kansas City's offense alongside Tyreek Hill is a scary proposition. I do not think any more needs to be said.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Florida • 6'2" / 193 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
4th
Tampa Bay has few needs in all honesty. Wide receiver could materialize as one if Chris Godwin is gone, which is very likely. The Buccaneers elect to upgrade the secondary with a big cornerback from Gainesville. At worst, the team has playable depth rather than finding itself in desperation, contacting every veteran with a pulse after one injury.
Round 1 - Pick 31
USC • 6'4" / 273 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
34th
POSITION RNK
4th
Bud Dupree has really struggled to stay healthy this year, and Harold Landry's explosive start to the season dissipated. In the first 10 games of the season, Landry recorded ten sacks. Over the final seven, he had just two. Jackson is a great insurance policy in the event that one or both do not return next season or are unavailable.
Round 1 - Pick 32
South Carolina • 6'4" / 258 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
26th
POSITION RNK
3rd
I am excited to how Za'Darius Smith performs down the stretch after his return from injury. Green Bay could face a significant commitment to Aaron Rodgers and/or Davante Adams this offseason, and that could lead the team to move on from either of the two Smiths in an effort to find more salary cap space. Enagbare gives the team a cost-effective solution.