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USATSI

The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner and, as we get closer to the festivities, it's only natural that the tidal wave of mock drafts grows. In that spirit, this is my lone mock of the pre-draft process and naturally I expect every selection to go as predicted.

Unlike the 2021 draft, there isn't a clear consensus with the top overall pick for the Jaguars and the lack of a standout quarterback in this class does make things a bit trickier this time around. That said, I have three signal-callers coming off the board in the opening round, two of which are taken inside the top 10. After the seismic trades earlier this offseason with Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, I also have the Packers and Chiefs both plucking a receiver with one of their multiple selections. 

Ready? Let's jump in. 

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Alabama • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
1st
Jacksonville can go in a couple of different directions with this top spot. Aidan Hutchinson has been a popular selection here, but nothing should be more important to the Jaguars' brass than making sure last year's No. 1 pick in Trevor Lawrence develops into the generational quarterback he was billed to be. In that spirit, protecting him should be paramount. Cam Robinson did sign his franchise tag, but there is still no long-term answer. Neal could play right tackle in 2022 and then make the transition to the left side in 2023 if Robinson departs.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Michigan • 6'7" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
Best-case scenario here for the Lions with the Jaguars addressing the offensive line. Hutchinson makes sense in so many different ways. He's a local kid and fills a big need as Detroit struggled to pressure the quarterback in 2021.
Round 1 - Pick 3
NC State • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
4th
With no slam-dunk quarterback in this class, the Texans will give Davis Mills a shot to be "the guy" next season, which frees them up to improve the rest of the roster with their two first-rounders. With their top selection, they'll add to the offensive line with Ekwonu. He's an extremely versatile offensive lineman that can play tackle or guard at a high level. Pairing him with star left tackle Laremy Tunsil would be the foundation of a very strong O-line, which would be very good news for Mills and this rebuilding franchise.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Georgia • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
1st
Walker has been getting some No. 1 overall buzz, but the Jets are able to land him at No. 4. Walker's versatility at his size gives him a chance to be a special talent and would immediately help raise the ceiling of the Jets' defensive line for the foreseeable future. New York may also consider Kayvon Thibodeaux here as well.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Oregon • 6'4" / 254 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Thibodeaux falls in the Giants' lap and is a no-brainer selection. New York is in desperate need of improving its pass rush and Thibodeaux has all the talent in the world to be a foundation piece for this defense.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Pittsburgh • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
30th
POSITION RNK
2nd
There have been rumors that the Panthers may trade back from this spot to pick up more capital (next pick at No. 137 overall). If they stay at this spot, quarterback is a clear and obvious need for them and there are a number of connections that lead to Pickett being their choice. Ownership is a big donor to Pitt and Pickett once committed to playing for Matt Rhule at Temple.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Mississippi State • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Giants would love to have the likes of Neal or Ekwonu falling to them with one of their first-rounders, but they still address that big need at the tackle position by taking Cross. He should be able to start a right tackle out of the gate and form a young pairing with left tackle Andrew Thomas.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Ohio State • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
Quarterback could be a route for the Falcons here with Matt Ryan in Indianapolis and Marcus Mariota currently slated to be the Week 1 starter. However, wide receiver is also a position of great need with Calvin Ridley suspended and no depth outside of that to speak of. Wilson is our top-ranked receiver in this class and has shades of Odell Beckham Jr. in his game, which is exactly the type of high-end pass-catcher the Falcons need.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Liberty • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
1st
This might be a little too high for Willis, but never underestimate a team's willingness to reach for a quarterback. Drew Lock doesn't instill a lot of confidence at the position in the aftermath of the Russell Wilson trade and Seattle could see a raw version of their former quarterback in Willis, which may lead to this pick.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Cincinnati • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
With the top corner in the draft still sitting on the board, the Jets waste no time on this pick. "Sauce" Gardner, Bryce Hall, and free agent signee D.J. Reed form a strong unit in the secondary in a division that has a number of star receivers.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
Washington could very well go after a receiver at this spot, but Hamilton is a playmaker who should be able to help immediately in the Commanders' secondary. His low 40 time is noteworthy, but shouldn't send him falling down the board much farther than this.
Round 1 - Pick 12
LSU • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Patrick Peterson is back with Minnesota and the veteran corner would be an ideal mentor for the fellow LSU Tiger in Stingley to help mold the Vikings' secondary for the long haul.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Georgia • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Houston added a big body for the offensive side of the ball earlier in the first round and now adds one on defense. Davis fills an immediate need for the Texans' defensive line and has drawn comparisons to Vince Wilfork due to his sheer size. That's notable when considering the New England ties in the Texans' front office.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Florida State • 6'5" / 262 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Baltimore had pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith in their grasps, but the veteran then decided to renege on that agreement to join the Ravens and went back into the free agent pool. Here, Baltimore gets an electric pass-rusher in Johnson to pair with 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • 6'1" / 179 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
For the third consecutive year, the Eagles take a receiver in the first round. Williams would have arguably been the top pass-catcher in this class had it not been for him tearing his ACL in the College Football Playoff title game. When healthy, he all the speed and route-running ability that you're looking for in a top-tier receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Northern Iowa • 6'7" / 332 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
35th
POSITION RNK
8th
New Orleans had a need at the position after losing Terron Armstead in free agency and I don't see the Saints going quarterback after signing Jameis Winston to a two-year deal.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Boston College • 6'3" / 316 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
34th
POSITION RNK
7th
Protecting Justin Herbert is of the greatest importance as he enters Year 3 and is set to face off in the toughest division in the NFL. Johnson gives L.A. someone who can start in the interior from the jump.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Utah • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Adding Lloyd to a linebacker unit that already consists of free agent additions like Haason Reddick and Kyzir White would bring this position to another level. While his 40 time may say otherwise, Lloyd plays fast and can line up all over the field.
Round 1 - Pick 19
USC • 6'4" / 213 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Michael Thomas has struggled to see the field over the last two seasons due to injury and New Orleans needs a high-upside receiver to inject into this offense. London is a big body who can go up and get the football, which would complement Thomas well if he's fully healthy.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Cincinnati • 6'3" / 207 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
75th
POSITION RNK
5th
It's no secret that the Steelers need a long-term option at quarterback. It's possible they trade up to take their preferred signal-caller, but if they stand pat there's a chance that both Willis and Pickett are off the board, which leads them to Ridder.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Washington • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The DeVante Parker trade likely takes New England out of the receiver conversation in the first round unless their top-graded wideout is still on the board. They could go with Nakobe Dean to address their need at linebacker or snag a tackle, but arguably the club's biggest need is at corner with J.C. Jackson departing in free agency. McDuffie would likely be a Day 1 starter in this secondary with a chance to develop into a true No. 1 corner.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Ohio State • 6'1" / 188 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
5th
Sammy Watkins' arrival in Green Bay shouldn't shake up its draft strategy too much. After all, it's going to take a small army to replace Davante Adams. Olave is said to be the best route-runner in this class, which is a trait that should get him forming a quick rapport with Aaron Rodgers.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Purdue • 6'4" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
4th
Arizona has a massive need on the edge after losing Chandler Jones in free agency and can begin addressing it by adding Karlaftis to this front seven. The 6-foot-4, 266-pounder already has an NFL body that he can use to get after the quarterback in Vance Joseph's defense.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Green has shown an ability to be a versatile weapon across the O-line as he started at every position outside of center for the Aggies. He moves well at 325 pounds and is well-polished at this stage of his career. He'd challenge left guard Connor McGovern for the starting spot from the jump or push for the right tackle spot opposite Tyron Smith.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Clemson • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Booth replaces Levi Wallace in Buffalo's secondary and would create a dangerous one-two combo with Tre'Davious White.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Arkansas • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Even with the addition of Robert Woods, the Titans needs as many pass-catching weapons as they can to compete in this high-powered AFC. Burks plays much faster than his sluggish 4.55 40 at the combine suggests and should be able to pick up plenty of yards after the catch.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • 6'3" / 304 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
34th
POSITION RNK
7th
The Buccaneers get younger at the position by replacing Ndamukong Suh with Wyatt on the inside to play alongside Vita Vea.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Georgia • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Love the value here for Green Bay. Dean's size has him fall into the back half of the first round here, but he's an explosive, three-down linebacker that pairs well with De'Vondre Campbell.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Minnesota • 6'4" / 261 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Wide receiver is a clear need, but the Chiefs could also use some help rushing the passer. Mafe would give Kansas City a nice replacement for Melvin Ingram with a higher upside.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Penn State • 5'11" / 182 lbs
Similar to the situation in Green Bay, no one player is going to replace the productivity of Tyreek Hill, but Dotson is a solid piece to add to this offense for Patrick Mahomes.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Iowa • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Ted Karras is a decent stopgap interior lineman, but Cincinnati could select its long-term center at this spot with Linderbaum and further create a wall in front of Joe Burrow.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Michigan • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
2nd
If the Lions are going to select a quarterback at some point in this draft, taking Matt Corral at this spot may be the smart move simply to have the long-term security of the fifth-year option. If they decide to punt on the position altogether and roll with Jared Goff, safety is a need. Hill can line up all over the secondary, giving Detroit some much-needed versatility.