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USATSI

We're less than two weeks away from the 2022 NFL Draft. How things will shake out at the top of the draft are much less clear this year than they were a year ago, when we knew who would be selected with the first two picks several weeks ahead of time. 

The lack of clarity means there are sure to be a ton of surprises on Day One of the draft, and that expectation gets baked into the projections you'll see below. Anything can happen, and if history is our guide, a whole lot of weird stuff is what we should expect. 

Let's mock this thing. 

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Michigan • 6'7" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
It's not quite as obvious this year as it was last year, but the No. 1 pick sure seems like it's going to be the star edge rusher from Michigan.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Oregon • 6'4" / 254 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
There's been a lot of talk about reasons why Thibodeaux might fall. What about the reasons he shouldn't? He's an outrageous athlete who was wildly productive in college, and he plays one of the league's most important positions. He can be a game-changing player for Detroit's defense.
Round 1 - Pick 3
NC State • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
4th
Laremy Tunsil is likely not long for Houston, if you take a look at the finances. Ekwonu can come in and play right tackle as a rookie, then slide over to the left side long term.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Cincinnati • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
Plenty of people will make the argument that Sauce Gardner is the best defensive player in the draft. Robert Saleh's defense needs an injection of talent in the secondary, and he can be a shut-down guy.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Alabama • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
New York needs a right tackle to play across from Andrew Thomas, and Neal has already played on the right side. (He's said he can play everywhere but center.) It helps that he's also one of the top three tackles in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Mississippi State • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Panthers would surely love to pick a quarterback here... but there just aren't top-six-worthy quarterback prospects in this class. Instead, they address a major need with the best pass-protector in the class.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Georgia • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
1st
Walker can be a flexible piece along the front for defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who values versatility. He's a tremendous athlete who wasn't asked to do as much as a pass rusher in college as he seems to be capable of.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Ohio State • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
Two years ago, the Falcons passed on CeeDee Lamb to take A.J. Terrell, who has turned into a terrific player in his own right. With their pass-catcher corps depleted aside from Kyle Pitts, they land Wilson here, who looks a whole lot like Lamb on tape.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Florida State • 6'5" / 262 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Seattle desperately needs pass-rush help, even after acquiring Shelby Harris in the Russell Wilson trade. Johnson had a breakout season for FSU after transferring from Georgia, and can be a twitchy presence on the edge for new defensive coordinator Sean Desai.
  Mock Trade from New York Jets
Round 1 - Pick 10
Liberty • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
1st
There's a theory that the Saints traded up simply to land a tackle ahead of the Chargers. I don't buy it. They're looking to move up the board again and nab their quarterback of the future. Willis would open up opportunities in their offense that the organization hasn't had in quite some time.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
1st
Washington could go receiver here, but Ron Rivera is going to want to fortify a need on defense by grabbing a safety who could make plays everywhere inside the box and match up against tight ends in space.
Round 1 - Pick 12
LSU • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Stingley has battled injuries over the past couple years, but his 2019 tape was outstanding and the bet here is the Vikings can tap back into that player -- especially after they re-signed former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, who can serve as a mentor for his fellow former Tiger.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Georgia • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Davis is a player who makes almost no sense, given his combination of size and athleticism. Lovie Smith would certainly love to add a player like that to his defense, which needs help at all levels of the field.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Purdue • 6'4" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
26th
POSITION RNK
4th
The Ravens love stocking up on edge rushers who can play the run as well as the pass, and while he's not the quickest guy around, Karlaftis can win in a bunch of different ways due to his power and technique. With Calais Campbell getting up there in age, Karlaftis can prepare to take over in a similar role.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Ohio State • 6'1" / 188 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
5th
Philly needs another receiving threat across from Devonta Smith, and Olave is a terrific complement. Smith is a burner who can take the top off of just about any defense and create big plays, while Olave is a technician who can also do the same.
  Mock Trade from New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 16
Alabama • 6'1" / 179 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Williams is coming off a torn ACL, but with the Jets having Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Braxton Berrios in their receiving corps, they can let him take his time. He can then be the big-play guy for Zach Wilson over the long term.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Northern Iowa • 6'7" / 332 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
35th
POSITION RNK
8th
The Chargers did pretty damn well with their first-round tackle last year. Let's run it back for the opposite side of the line.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Washington • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
4th
The Eagles certainly need an injection of talent at cornerback, and McDuffie can slide in across from Darius Slay and be an immediate upgrade.
  Mock Trade from New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 19
Georgia • 6'3" / 304 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
4th
With the other pick received in their trade with the Saints, the Jets land an interior defensive lineman who can play an important role in Saleh's defense. Three first-round picks net New York three major pieces.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Pittsburgh • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
30th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Pittsburgh can afford to let Pickett sit behind Mitchell Trubisky for as long as he needs before he's ready to take over. We know the Steelers like taking players from Pitt (see: Conner, James) if it fits a need.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Baylor • 5'11" / 198 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
43rd
POSITION RNK
5th
Nobody loves anything as much as Bill Belichick loves defensive backs who can play safety and corner.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Georgia • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
34th
POSITION RNK
6th
Think of Pickens like a wide receiver version of Derek Stingley. He might be the best receiver in this class, we just haven't seen it for a couple years due to injuries. Green Bay needs a guy who can develop into a true No. 1 wideout.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Minnesota • 6'4" / 261 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Arizona needs to get more pressure from the edge. Mafe has great size (which the Cardinals love for their front-seven players) and was more productive with each passing season.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Boston College • 6'3" / 316 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
32nd
POSITION RNK
7th
Dallas could go with a wide receiver here, but the Cowboys also love being the first team to take a player at a specific position and here they land the first guard off the board. They desperately need a starter on the left side of the line and can land a wideout in Round 2.
Round 1 - Pick 25
USC • 6'4" / 213 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
3rd
With Cole Beasley no longer around to play the slot, Buffalo currently looks set to split the role between Jamison Crowder and Isaiah McKenzie. But what if they could get a monster-sized threat man like London, who provides something entirely different than either Stefon Diggs or Gabriel Davis with his size as an intermediate threat with great run-after-catch ability? That seems like it could really help Josh Allen.
  Mock Trade from Tennessee Titans
Round 1 - Pick 26
Cincinnati • 6'3" / 207 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
74th
POSITION RNK
5th
Detroit sees a quarterback fall within range of its second first-round pick, and moves up a few spots to go get him. There are people who think Ridder is the best QB in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Michigan • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
2nd
With Jordan Whitehead leaving in free agency, the Bucs go ahead and select a replacement who is even more versatile. Hill can play deep, in the box, or in the slot, and allow Todd Bowles to do the things he likes to do up front.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Houston • 6'6" / 283 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
39th
POSITION RNK
5th
After (finally) getting Aaron Rodgers a first-round receiver earlier in the draft, the Packers address a need along the interior of the defensive line. Hall can play as a 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle, and even rush from the edge.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Arkansas • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
4th
You think Patrick Mahomes might be able to work with a guy who creates yards after the catch like Burks does? I think so.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Michigan • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
44th
POSITION RNK
6th
Ojabo won't be able to contribute right away for the Chiefs, but this is the kind of pick they should be looking to make for their defense. He likely was not going to be available in this spot if not for his injury, and he has the type of upside that makes a dice-roll worth it. With the Chiefs seemingly taking a longer-term view at the moment, he makes sense.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Washington • 6'0" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
38th
POSITION RNK
1st
The Bengals spent most of their time, energy, and money this offseason on the offensive line. But they can't ignore the defensive backfield and pretend the contributions they got from their low-cost corners last season are guaranteed to them in the future. Gordon helps address that area.
  Mock Trade from Detroit Lions
Round 1 - Pick 32
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
6th
Tennessee builds its offensive around having a strong line in front of Derrick Henry. Here, the Titans move down and still land one of the best guards in the draft.